How is this the same movie?
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are the people who made Crazy, Stupid, Love. Their next project is called Focus, and it was originally intended for their CSL stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Gosling couldn’t work it into his schedule and Stone was only doing it to work with him again so they were subsequently replaced by Kristen Stewart and Ben Affleck. Affleck was to play a veteran con man who trains a young protégée and they hook up. Then Affleck quit the project because he’s also too busy or maybe Jennifer Garner told him to.
That left Kristen Stewart, and I was hoping it would be Leonardo DiCaprio to fill in since he seems to be a go-to for Warner Bros, the studio behind the picture.
Variety confirmed yesterday however that it would not be DiCaprio but Will Smith. So now we have a film that was initially written for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling that will now star ... Will Smith?
How is that the same movie?
Not surprisingly, Kristen Stewart has now walked away from the project. Variety reports that she felt the age difference would be too much. Smith is only 4 years older than Affleck. Other outlets are less specific about the reasons for Stewart’s departure, citing only that she “quietly” exited a few weeks ago.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Brothers has been actively trying to re-engage Smith for a few years, especially after the success of I Am Legend. Will Smith isn’t one of those actors who comes on board and stays in his trailer until he’s told when to come out and what to do. Will Smith has a say. A big, big say. He would probably have a say tonally on what this movie will look like. And he has the clout to push that forward. As Sarah wrote recently, Smith’s professional decisions also seem to be motivated not by artistic interest but by blockbuster potential, prioritising BIG over interesting and diverse.
It’s probably not a bad move then that Kristen Stewart is no longer involved, regardless of whether or not that decision was made for her.
But it has been a while since she’s been on a film set. Earlier this week Universal announced plans to move ahead with a Snow White sequel for release in 2015. She’s also attached to a project called The Big Shoe with Jim Sturgess and Elizabeth Banks but with no set timeline for release and distribution, it could very well be that one of Hollywood’s most promising young stars will have a gap of 3 years between theatrical appearances. Not that that hasn’t been done before. Natalie Portman, for example, took a break to go to Harvard. That, of course, was voluntarily. But patience is a good idea, especially if it’s supplemented by something productive. Like college, if we’re on the subject. If only to develop an awareness of something, anything, away from Los Angeles. I would have never imagined it 6 months ago, but maybe Kristen Stewart is a candidate for Sarah’s Career Prospectus series.