By contributing blogger Benjamín Harguindey
Wouldn’t you know it, Will Smith is coming over to Buenos Aires, Argentina this November to wrap up production of his new movie Focus, a comedy feature written and directed by filmmaking duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, of I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) fame. The film’s troubled casting history had juggled Ryan Gosling and Kristen Stewart as its leads – with Ben Affleck dropping in and out at some point during casting – before settling with Smith and Australian actress Margot Robbie.
The premise revolves around veteran con man Nicky Spurgeon (Smith) taking a young rookie protégé under his wing (Robbie) for a gig in New Orleáns, LA, but romance ensues and complicates things. The second half of the movie takes place in Buenos Aires, where Spurgeon and his old flame meet again. Brazilian Rodrigo Santoro plays an F1 auto team racing owner who completes the murky love triangle (alas, a bit of a plot hole – there’s been no Formula 1 racing in Argentina since 1998, or for that matter, none whatsoever in New Orleáns). Character actors Stephanie Honore, B.D. Wong and Dominic Fumusa complete the cast, while a local casting is being held to fill up secondary roles “of minor and major importance“, as per one of the movie’s producers.
The directing duo and production designer Beth Mickle (of Drive) made a scouting trip to Buenos Aires in June and a second trip with producers Denise Di Novi and Mark Scoon, in which they finally settled to shoot in the barrios of San Telmo, Puerto Madero, Barracas, Recoleta and Palermo, as well as Ezeiza Airport and a few hotels. Said Di Novi, “I’m happy to be filming in one of the most exciting and beautiful cities in the world. Buenos Aires’s sofistication, romance and complexity are perfect for the film“. While the production team scouted the Juan and Oscar Gálvez Autodrome, the 2.6 mile F1 circuit where the Argentine Grand Prix was held intermittently between 1953 and 1998, they eventually decided to spare on expenses and shoot the racing scenes back in the US.
Filming begain in New Orleáns on September 12th and will move over to Buenos Aires for three weeks beginning November 18th, with an unspecified release date in 2014, distributed by Warner Bros.