In their new movie Focus, Hollywood star Will Smith and BAFTA Rising Star nominee Margot Robbie play con artists, Nicky and Jess, who find themselves caught up in the middle of an important, high risk scheme - but love is ruining all their plans. During the press conference in London on Thursday, the pair opened up on their chemistry - which they proved with plenty of laughs and jokes - teaming up together again on the upcoming Suicide Squad, and whether Margot is Team Leo or Team Will...
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On why they wanted to work on Focus:
Will Smith: "I love the work of John Requa and Glen Ficarra - they did Crazy Stupid Love and I love that film... They completely ignore genre. So, it’s a heist film but then it will be a bizarre comedy for a while and then it’s really serious and there is great action… and then there’s a wonderful love story in the centre of the film."
Margot Robbie: "They [write great female character], and like Will said, at the heart of it was a love story, so there was lot to do for Jess, in that sense, as half way through she’s a woman scorned and then she transforms after that.
Will: "It’s never straight forward funny. It’s dead serious and they manage to figure how the situation makes it funny, and that’s different for me. I’m from the American sitcom school, you don’t have to make people guess if it’s funny. So it’s a different tone of quality for me, which was fun."
On using improvisation on the set:
Margot: "We improvised quite a bit, which is surprising as there are so many plot points we had to hit in each scene, or hit to a certain degree or hide to a certain degree. It shouldn’t have left much room for improv but the guys really encouraged it."
On why people love con films such as Ocean's Eleven and Focus:
Margot: "I think people have a particular fascination with con and heist films because there is something a little dangerous about them, perhaps it’s our way of living vicariously through someone else."
Will: "I think it’s also the idea, in these films, if you’re going to steal something, you’re stealing something from someone who has a lot, and most times it’s someone who doesn’t share so I think, deep inside of all of us, everyone kinda feels the Robin Hood feeling - you love for someone to get their comeuppance."
On the characters in Focus:
Margot: "It’s nice having a character that has one starting point and is a totally different person by the end of the film. It’s kind of nice to play with that, so I was lucky."
Will: "I like the concept of dubious morals, and I like to play in that area. The character in Focus, his issue is he is committed to lying, and wearing a mask and no one ever knowing who he is. And the idea that you can’t have love if you’re lying. You can’t have that thing that we all search for if you’re not being authentic, so morally he made a decision that being a liar is the way he can survive."
"Hitch wouldn’t work with Nicky! That was part of the fun of this character, I worked so hard and did so much reading and studying and marriage counselling to figure out the right way [for Hitch], just to go and play a character who does it all wrong."
On their chemistry:
Margot: "We’ve said it a couple of times, it was something neither of us were really expecting but for some reason when we walked into the room we just really got along and that continued through the shoot, and it made every scene exciting and fun. It’s not something you can manufacture, so it wasn’t forced or planned, it just existed already which was handy."
Wil: "I was 46 and Margot was 23 when we were filming, I’m from Philly and she’s from Australia, and then there’s obvious genetic differences. But for some reason it just worked perfectly. We see it on screen, none of those questions come up. It just works very well."
On Margot's confidence on set:
Wil: "The thing about Margot is that she is absolutely certain of who she wants to be and what she wants to do – but she’s absolutely certain of who she wants you to be too! So that’s fun in a scene – she’d say 'no do it like this' and I’d be like: 'I've done a couple of movies Margot!'"
"What’s great is that she is right most of the time, 90% of the time if something doesn’t feel right to here in a scene, it’s correct, but I’m a man I got to do against it anyway. But her instincts are really brilliant, she can’t always say why it doesn’t feel right, and she’ll say 'oh just do it the way I said' so I learnt to do that.But it was fun to work with someone with that level of instincts are so different to my own."
On reteaming for the upcoming Suicide Squad:
Margot: "We don’t know what the relationship is going to be yet. [The script] is ever-changing."
Will: The way [director] David Ayer works is all images, all ideas, and he holds the screenplay, and he keeps sending you things about your character, he just wants you to be prepared for anything."
Margot: "I think we’re going to be allies for sure."
Will: "We’re definitely allies."
Margot: "We’re not being secretive, we honestly don’t know.
Will: "He only sends you your character so you don’t know what’s going on with the other characters. I think he wants it to come alive on set."
On Will's career history:
Will: "I was in a really competitive place for a good part of my career where everything has to be number one and do half a billion around the world and it stopped being fun. Now I’ve settled into a place emotionally, where I just want to create and have fun and not concern myself with the outcome of the movie.
"Less goal-orientated, and more path-orientated."
On Margot's gamble of leaving Neighbours and moving to Hollywood:
Margot: "It didn’t feel like a gamble at the time, it felt like the only way to move forward. Definitely terrifying but I did a lot of pre-planning and saved all my money."
On Will working with Kanye West on music:
Wil: "I went in with Kanye a couple of times, just exploring. He’s pushing me a little bit but I… Margot has heard one or two things but I don’t know what’s happening yet. But I always record, I’ve never stopped recording, I always make songs and records.
"But I want to find that, well, you get rusty, I have thoughts and ideas of things I want to say, but artistically and poetically they won’t come out of my pen. So if Kanye has his way I will be recording."
Leonardo DiCaprio or WIll Smith:
Wil: "That’s a good question, your honour, will you please make the witness answer the question?"
Margot: "Either way I will get in trouble!
"They both have extremely huge profiles, but despite that, when they both walk on to set they’re extremely professional they’re so courteous to everyone on set and it just goes to show, that if someone in their positon can behave that way and be so decent, then no-one can be [rude] on set."