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The cast and crew of Warner Bros.’ Focus were in high spirits Tuesday night at the film’s premiere at the TLC Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
“I’m so happy it is almost sad,” Will Smith told The Hollywood Reporter.
At the premiere, people took time to catch up with their former co-stars and reminisce about their time on location in New York, New Orleans and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Said co-director/writer John Requa about Buenos Aires: “It became a co-star in a way. We always knew it was an exciting place, but not until we got there with our cameras [did] we realize just how amazing it was.”
Smith attributed part of the fun environment to co-star Margot Robbie. “She’s like the camp coordinator on the set,” he said. “She’s always planning something, and then the whole crew has to come. Or you know her feelings are hurt if you don’t come to her ‘Zombie Hunt’ that she found in New Orleans.”
Focus centers on Nicky (Smith), a top con man whose life is changed when a beautiful aspiring con (Robbie) asks him to mentor her. When they reconnect after three years in Buenos Aires, the romantic tension interferes with Nicky’s ultimate heist.
The actors received intense training on how to pickpocket from expert on deception Apollo Robbins. Robbins told THR, “It was about taking them out and letting them know what it feels like to steal from someone and the predatory nature of that. Then the physical thing about being able to pull things out and steal from them without people knowing.”
The newfound skills contributed to a quite a few pranks on-set. Co-director/writer Glen Ficarra told THR, “I didn’t bring my credit cards to work. I just brought my wallet with cash and my ID. At first it was just Apollo who was pickpocketing. But then once he taught the actors, they thought it would be fun, and you had to be really careful.”
When asked about his training, Adrian Martinez, who plays Farhad in the film, reached into his pocket and said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. Let me first of all give you back your wallet.” After he put his prop wallet back, he added, “I learned that no matter what, you have to absolutely, positively say the lie with complete honesty. There’s a lot of common ground with that and acting.”
Robbie, who stunned on the carpet in a sheer black-and-white Giambattista Valli Couture gown, echoed her co-stars’ sentiments: “That’s often one of my favorite perks of doing a job — the icing on the cake — is a skill you get to learn for your character and then the locations you get to shoot in. And in this case, I got to learn pickpocketing from one of the world’s best and got to shoot in New Orleans, Buenos Aires and New York. It’s a dream come true.”
Focus opens Feb. 27.
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