John Requa and Glenn Ficarra are directing the grifter tale, which will pair Smith with a new female lead
What do you do if you're Warner Bros. and you lose Ben Affleck as the star of your con artist movie? Why, cast smooth-talking Will Smith, of course!
The A-list star of Sony's upcoming tentpole "After Earth" is nearing a deal to topline WB's "Focus," TheWrap has confirmed.
While Kristen Stewart had been attached to star opposite Affleck, she too has recently exited the project, and filmmakers are currently seeking a new female lead closer to Smith's age.
The "Crazy, Stupid, Love" team of John Requa and Glenn Ficarra are writing and directing "Focus," which follows an inexperienced female con artist who teams up with a veteran grifter (Smith).
Denise Di Novi is producing via her production company DiNovi Pictures, whose Alison Greenspan will executive produce.
The project was originally envisioned as a reunion between Requa and Ficarra's "Crazy, Stupid, Love" stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who had sizzling chemistry in that 2011 comedy. Scheduling issues prevented that pairing, and while the idea of pairing red-hot Affleck with Stewart was certainly intriguing, prior commitments kept the "Argo" star from closing a deal, prompting Warner Bros. to seek another A-list leading man.
The understandably selective Smith had been weighing several projects, including WB's "The Accountant," for his next move, and the prospect of doing an original movie that can showcase his strengths appealed to him, thus the commitment to "Focus."
Smith is represented by CAA, and Variety first reported the news of his casting.