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Margot Robbie and Will Smith tell all at the Focus Press Conference

25 February 2015

Will Smith stars as Nicky, a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Margot Robbie).  As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off.  Three years later, the former flame—now an accomplished femme fatale—shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes racecar circuit.  In the midst of Nicky’s latest, very dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop…and the consummate con man off his game.

Moderated by Edith Bowman, ActingHour’s Lydia Kay was in attendance for The Fan Carpet at the press conference attended by Margot Robbie and Will Smith, they talk about their chemistry, working together on Suicide Squad and music...


I want to know what was the first thing that interested you about this project?

WS: The impetus to make Focus. I love the work of John and Glenn, the directors. They did Crazy, Stupid, Love and I love that film and when I read Focus it was so interesting because it is so many different kinds of movies, they like completely ignore genre. So, it’s a heist film but then it will be a bizarre comedy for a while and then its really serious and there’s great action and then there’s a love story, as you’re aware. There’s a wonderful love story at the centre. So I just love how many different styles and flavours that they would demand of the actors and you know we would be in scenes sometimes and be like so this is serious right? Yeah, but have fun with it. You would just get to go through so many ranges of the spectrum.


They write really well for women as well. They write great female characters as well.

Margot Robbie: They do. Like Will was saying, they say at the heart of it there’s this love story so yeah they was a lot to digest in that sense because half way through she’s a woman scorned and it kind of transforms her after that. They develop it really well.

She has a great journey though and I imagine it was kind of fun to bring to life

MR: Yeah, it was really nice to have a character who has one starting point and is a totally different person at the end of the film. It’s kind of nice to play that so I was lucky.


Who do you think is more in control by the end of the film between the two of you? Who’s in charge?

WS: I think it’s pretty obvious, kind of like on set.

Well I heard when you kind of arrived on set you had this amazing confidence

MR: I call it bossiness more than confidence.

WS: The thing about Margot is that she is absolutely certain of who she wants to be and wants she wants to do but she’s also absolutely certain who she wants you to be and what she wants you to do. So that was funny to see. She’d say ‘No like sorry hold up a second, no’ ‘You know I’ve made a couple movies Margot I have some ideas too’

I bet you quite like that though

WS: You know what’s great is that she’s right most of the time, which is fantastic. 90% of time if something doesn’t feel right to her in a scene it’s correct but I’m a man I gotta go against it anyway. Her instincts are really brilliant. She can’t always say why it doesn’t feel right she’ll just say ‘do it the way I said’ you know. So I learned to do that, but it was really fun working with someone with that level of instincts that were so different from my own.


Did you guys get much of a chance to improv in this film or was it kind of sticking to the script with the whole thing?

MR: I feel like we improv-ed quite a bit

WS: Yeah

MR: Which is surprising because there were so many plot points that we obviously had to hit in each scene or hit to a certain degree or high to a certain degree. So, it shouldn’t have left much room for improv but the guys really encouraged it.


Is there one scene that sticks out for you that was kind of really good example of you improving?

MB/WS: The end scene.

MR: When we did that end scene, I don’t want to ruin it for people who haven’t seen it, it’s quite dramatic but there were takes when we were just in hysterics and when you watch it

WS: It looks like it makes sense

MR: Yeah.

WS: What’s really great that they do, that is fantastic, is that they create a set where everyone is involved so they get what they want and you’re rolling and they’ll let anyone yell out a line if it’s funny. If somebody just yells something out that’s funny they’ll be like ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, Marot say that say that! Say that!’ The grip says ‘hey he should say…’ you know they’ll be like ‘Will say that say that!’ It’s like this really great family.

MR: It’s good though. Everyone’s in it together and everyone’s working towards the same goal.

WS: It was a little awkward for me in the love scene but other than that. ‘Will, Will, Will, where’d your leg where’d you leg go?’


I wanted to know if it was difficult to learn these tricks and have you been robbed before? If you have been robbed how did it feel?

MR: It didn’t feel like anything because I didn’t notice I was being robbed at the time. I’ve been pickpocketed very effectively and I’ve been blatantly robber, so that I was aware of.

WS: Margot gets robbed all the time and I’m like how can you manage to get robbed so much?

MR: Cause I’m not 6-foot-3, I’m an easy target.

WS: Well, she grew up in Australia where people are nice all the time but I was like when I leave the house 5% of my money is in my sock. You split some of your stuff up cause you know you’re gonna get robbed.


How kind of difficult were the tricks of the trade to learn?

MR: It’s a lot harder than it looks and the more you understand it the easier it gets. So the more you look in to the kind of psychological side of it the more the physical side makes more sense because to begin with you cant believe that you could steal something in plain sight. They will to catch me there is now way I’m going to try that but if you learn it from the finest. When he explains misdirection and things like that, it makes the physical side of stealing a lot easier.


Have you tried it on mates and stuff since then

MR: I have

WS: You know what’s really great though is the psychological side for me, the human behaviour side; you just can’t imagine that a human brain is that feeble. We think that we’re aware and we’re paying attention and we think we’re on top of things but right now everyone is looking this way anything could be going on over there and the more attention we put forwards it just completely blinds us to such huge blind spots. Apollo showed us a surveillance video of a fight where the second the fighter gets knocked down the whole crowd cheers and he goes in and he shows us 30 people pickpocketing at that point. I was like oh my god, how many times have you been at a fight and you’ve gone ‘yeah!’ and the people they sit and they wait for that moment of complete distraction and go right into your bag. This is insane that people don’t even know that this happening around us. We just made £400 just now.

Yeah Apollo’s just rocking around the back right there. You thought he had gone but he’s here.





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