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Posted March 11, 2015 by admin in Resource
 
 

Catatan Produksi Film Focus (2015)


About The Production

Never drop the con. Die with the lie. – Nicky

Nicky Spurgeon is all charm and ease, a cool, smooth operator with a million-dollar smile and perfectly understated style. Just don’t turn your back on him…don’t let him steal your focus for a second.

Enter Jess Barrett, a gorgeous young woman with flirty blonde locks and a wiggle in her short skirt, looking to get in the con game. She’s got all the right equipment, but she’s green. She just needs a guiding hand to show her all the right moves.

Will Smith and Margot Robbie star in “Focus,” a slick heist film with a sophisticated vibe in which the stakes start out high and get exponentially higher. Nicky’s masterful cons take them from snowy New York to sunny New Orleans to one of South America’s most exquisite cities, Buenos Aires. Toss in the year’s ultimate football match and the exceedingly competitive world of car racing and all together it’s a formula for high-octane action, adventure and romance.

“I loved ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.,'” Smith states, “so when I heard that John and Glenn were working on another screenplay, I was excited to get in anywhere that I fit in. And when I read the screenplay, I thought it was a brilliant combination of comedy, drama, psychology and intrigue. It demanded a wide spectrum of behavior. As an actor, I was inspired by the challenge of it.”

Writing and directing partners Glenn Ficarra and John Requa conceived of the story by first asking themselves, “In a world where trust is currency, and love requires trust, how can two people ever fall in love?”

“That relationship was my way in,” Ficarra says. “Two people who work together falling in love. Traditionally that means letting your guard down, but for these characters, that’s the complete antithesis of who they are.”

Requa adds, “A con artist uses his particular skill set to manipulate others, to gain their confidence and ultimately their trust, while his very nature is to not trust. We thought it would be interesting to explore whether two people, two such con artists, could overcome these competing concepts that sort of naturally cancel each other out.”

Denise Di Novi, the film’s producer, had worked with Requa and Ficarra previously on “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” “I knew how talented they were,” she says, “but when I read the first draft of ‘Focus,’ I was just blown away by how clever, how emotional, how glamorous and smart the script was, and how well all the elements came together, like a Chinese puzzle.”

“The script immediately caught my attention,” Robbie recalls. “It was funny and dramatic with touching emotional scenes but also a really engaging and intricate plot. There was just so much going on, both on the surface and beneath. I thought it was brilliant that this pair of thieves might fall in love in a world where there’s no room for it, where trust is just a tool to manipulate people, to steal from them.”

Ficarra notes that working out the details of such a complex story, where the relationships are also critical to the execution, required a difficult balancing act, “because the nature of a con movie is to withhold so much from the audience for the purposes of the plot, but a romantic movie requires exposure of the characters’ motivations. It becomes particularly complicated. You can’t compromise the plot for the emotional content, but you need the emotional content to drive the story.”

Requa found that once they had their cast, they were able to ease any real concerns they might have had about how things would play out off the page. “Will and Margot and the rest of our actors brought so much to their roles. They really helped us navigate the tricky spots.”

 

I’ve been in this game for a really long time, I had what I needed. And then the girl walked in. – Nicky

A jack-of-all-trades by trade, Nicky was raised in the world of deception. He’s left his family behind, but nevertheless continues on in the family business, from neatly picking pockets to expertly running the long con, and everything in between.

“Nicky is one of the smartest, most dysfunctional people you’ll ever meet,” says Will Smith of his character. “He understands human nature and human behavior-there are very few people with that level of depth and comprehension. But he got his heart broken when he was little, and he has not yet learned to use his powers for good.”

According to Ficarra, “When we first thought about casting Nicky, we thought it would be great if Will Smith-who we all know is an affable, charming guy-would be interested in playing this man who can draw anybody in, but underneath it’s all an act.

Behind the facade he shows to the world lies cool calculation. We really wanted to see Will take Nicky on.”

Requa says, “Will is a great actor, and also a great improviser, both in the traditional sense but especially when it comes to finding small, subtle improvisations within the context of the written dialogue that aid the other actors in a scene. He’s very giving of himself, and he shapes his performance to provide the others what they need for their performance as well. In essence, he already understands how a confidence artist operates.”

Smith conveys with a smile, “Glenn and John, as a directing team, are like loving parents who used to own a casino and a strip club. They always want to make sure that their children are in good spirits, are working hard to keep the family business alive, and want their children to be just intoxicated enough to do the best work of their lives.”

Though Nicky is clearly one of the best in his business, Requa notes, “He never developed the qualities the rest of us have-empathy, sympathy, love. He’s sublimated his emotions and his feelings for others in order to make his living, and he’s made a really good living.”

Di Novi adds, “I think Nicky is a fascinating character. He’s brilliant, he’s sharp and observant…all aspects of one’s character that could lead to success in almost any field. But because of the hard knocks he had as a kid, he’s a con man, albeit a very successful one.”

Nicky is a master at discerning the weakness of any mark. That is, until he stumbles across a weakness of his own: Jess. Having first made her acquaintance briefly in New York, he takes her on as part of his crew in New Orleans, where the alcohol flows, the crowds swell, and an abundance of cash, watches, jewels, electronics, and much more become easy pickings for those schooled in exploiting the peccadilloes of others. Eager to please, Jess is a quick learner and executes her assignments like an old pro.

Margot Robbie says she relished the part. “Jess is a dream. She has such an arc in the film, starting out as one sort of girl-inexperienced, sort of a diamond-in-the-rough-and ending up in a completely different place, and that was so much fun to play.”

Di Novi says Robbie and Smith played well off each other from the start. “I’ve made a lot of films that depend on chemistry between the two leads, and it’s always a nail biter until you get those first few days under your belt. Will is so dynamic, and when Margot walked into the room, they sparked to each other, the banter was immediate. She was fearless, confident, and not at all intimidated, and, Will being Will, he loved that.”

“I think Will and I had the right sort of energy for the characters from the start,” Robbie allows. “We got along right away, and that made it easy to goof around and improvise. It was a very fast friendship.”

The actress credits Smith’s generous nature for their instant rapport. “Will’s the best. He’s hilarious, he has such a positive presence and he’s so accommodating and lovely. I actually forgot that he has such a high profile and huge fan base-until we got to Argentina and suddenly there were thousands of people outside the trailer on our first day of shooting there!”

“Margot is fantastic,” Smith reciprocates. “She is the perfect little Energizer Bunny. I’ve always prided myself on having the most energy on any set; I like to keep the workplace fun and upbeat. In my 20-plus years in this business, Margot was the first person that made me tap out with entertaining the crew and keeping the workplace spirits ablaze.”

Requa calls Robbie “a force of nature,” adding, “we were instantly taken by her. She’s intelligent and driven, which was perfect for her character, and when she came into the room, she just lit everything up. It was effortless from that point forward.”

Nicky and Jess meet when he thinks he’s picked up a beautiful woman in a bar, and she has actually picked the worst possible mark for a scam she’s running. Jess quickly admires Nicky’s level of skill and is eager to learn from him. Though he agrees to mentor her, he comes to envy her emotional availability, a quality that scares him, too. While his profession takes him to places teeming with people, he’s grown accustomed to keeping himself at a distance, personally; his only friends are his partners-in-crime, and vice versa.

The well-oiled machine that Nicky runs is comprised of a motley crew of characters, each with their own talent, making a much better living than they probably would by going straight. Perhaps the least expected is Farhad, aptly described by Adrian Martinez, the actor who plays him, as “a bull in a china shop. He may not look like it, but he’s the computer guy, the smarty,” Martinez smiles, noting that he especially liked the undertones he was able to explore as Farhad, a vital member of Nicky’s team.

Ficarra was impressed by the actor’s creativity in the role. “I thought we’d written a really fun character, but Adrian put together a really full character. He took Farhad to the next level and fleshed him out in some really intriguing, unexpected ways.”

“To me, the movie is about the conversation we’re having, but also about the conversation we’re not having,” Martinez offers. “Whenever something’s going on, there’s something else going on. Think about all the times in your life you’re thinking about something while doing something else. Where is your focus, and where should it be? That is what these guys do. They just have the ability to earn millions doing it.”

Farhad is probably the person closest to Nicky; it’s clear they’ve been together a long time, and Smith, Martinez says, made it easy to pull that off. “He is so magnanimous. He let me come in, do my thing, be the clown or the butt of the joke. He just allowed the light to shine on me in those moments. He was like that with everyone.”

Having parted ways in New Orleans, Nicky spots Jess again in Buenos Aires, throwing him for a real loop as he realizes that, not only has he never really gotten over her, but that she has clearly moved on…and up. Not to mention that she is now romantically involved with the very man that Nicky is getting into business with: millionaire Spanish racecar team owner Rafael Garriga.

The filmmakers brought in Rodrigo Santoro, with whom they’d worked before, to take on the role of the racing tycoon. “Rodrigo found such interesting ways to play him,” Requa states. “As opposed to just portraying him as a macho, powerful Latin villain, he infused him with an air of petulance, a quality that I think really deepened him.”

“Garriga was a really fun character,” Santoro relates. “He’s a very wealthy European gentleman who owns a racing team, and it’s truly his passion. He’s in love with that whole world, but he’s also a businessman who wants to make sure he will win not only the race but the championship. That is why he has hired Nicky-to help him accomplish this goal, even if he has to do something not quite legal. For him it’s just part of a strategy to win, and he needs the adrenaline rush that comes with winning.”

While researching the role, Santoro rode in a two-seater IndyCar at over 200 miles per hour, an unforgettable experience that opened his eyes to the allure of the sport. “It’s a fascinating world,” he says. “It’s a sport of nano-seconds, and people spend millions of dollars to get the slightest edge-half a second, a quarter of a second…”

With so much money riding on success and failure not an option, Garriga not only hires a con man to help him gain an edge, but naturally takes every precaution to keep an eye on him. Owens, Garriga’s head of security, is assigned the unenviable task of outmaneuvering the seasoned player.

Gerald McRaney, who plays the distrustful Owens, says, “His job is to be suspicious, and the first time he meets Nicky, he tells his boss not to have anything to do with the kid, he’s no good. Of course, Garriga doesn’t listen, there’s too much on the line.”

“Gerald McRaney has been on our radar for a long time,” Ficarra says. “We’ve been hoping the right opportunity would come along to work with him, and with Owens, it was a great fit.”

The veteran actor was instantly attracted to “Focus.” “The thing that appealed to me about the script more than anything else is the way the language was crafted,” he recalls. “It’s witty, intelligent and elegant, with crisp, clean dialogue and a great tempo. It’s a movie with fast cars and guns, but it doesn’t depend on the fast cars and gunplay to be entertaining.”

To round out the cast, Ficarra and Requa enlisted BD Wong as Liyuan, a businessman with a penchant for making bets; Brennan Brown as Horst, Nicky’s right-hand man; and Robert Taylor as McEwen, Garriga’s-and therefore, Nicky’s-mark on the racing circuit.

And no story set in the racing milieu would be complete without the sight-and sounds-of cars speeding around the track, so former IndyCar driver Bryan Herta of Bryan Herta Autosport, and up-and-coming star Carlos Muñoz, who finished second in his first IndyCar go-round at the Indianapolis 500, each took the wheel.

But perhaps the key figure the filmmakers employed to assure the sense of realism on screen was “The Gentleman Thief” who trained the cast in mastering the art of the steal…

 

There’s a science to getting people to trust you. – Nicky

To showcase for the audience the finest details of Nicky and his team’s thievery, every move, however subtle, would have to come off perfectly-and be caught on film.

“It’s hard to photograph pickpocketing,” Requa contends. “The skills that pickpockets have developed over centuries have been specifically designed so that you don’t see what they’re doing.”

In order to capture the acts on camera, Ficarra reveals they employed specific angles or slowed down the movements, and that “quite a few times, we opened up the space in the scene so you can see what’s happening, where ordinarily you wouldn’t; they would be completely hidden.”

When it came time to prep the actors, the filmmakers brought in world-renowned expert Apollo Robbins, known as The Gentleman Thief, to conceive and choreograph original sleight-of-hand maneuvers and to teach Smith, Robbie and the other cast members the tricks of the confidence trade.

“As we were researching this world,” Requa remembers, “his name kept coming up as an extraordinary magician and con-artist.”

“In addition to teaching us how certain tricks are accomplished, Apollo really gave us all insight into what it is to live in a world where you don’t trust people,” Ficarra adds.

“I’ve spent my life studying deception and human behavior in a rather untraditional way…by stealing from people,” Robbins acknowledges. “Rather than diverting their eyes, you must occupy their minds. Their attention is controlled by their dreams, desires and fears. People often see what they want to believe rather than what is really there. So, if you can control their focus, you control their reality.”

Robbins helped to prepare Smith for his role as Nicky over the course of several days. “I spent about four or five days with Will in Las Vegas,” Robbins says. “He first wanted to step inside the mind of a con man and see how they see the world. How they think, process and influence. I took this opportunity to bring in some people to sit down and meet with him, people whose experiences parallel the world Will’s character is in, so he could ask them questions directly.”

“It was interesting working with Apollo,” Smith attests. “Apollo is more of a psychologist than anything. Most of our time together was spent discussing people, the brain, and the human ability to pay attention. I was surprised at how little focus we actually put on stealing in the creation of this master-thief character.”

Robbins and his wife, Ava Do, co-founded Whizmob Inc, a company that utilizes the expertise of former con-artists, thieves and hackers to study human behavior. They have collaborated with neuroscientists and researchers to study the blind spots in the human brain. “Since we can’t truly focus on more than one thing at a time, our brain creates shortcuts to be more efficient,” he says. “Unfortunately, these shortcuts sometimes automate our decision process while giving us the illusion we are multitasking. It’s like toddlers playing soccer; the kids eagerly chase after the soccer ball until a new one comes rolling by, then another, then another… They get so caught up chasing each new ball they never stop to ask who is putting the balls on the field. Will’s character exploits this type of vulnerability.”

He taught the actors the various skills they would need to pull off each trick, including the lift, which is stealing something out of a pocket, and a touch, which can be used in a lift. In order to describe each individual’s role in the scheme, he likens the crew to a sports team.

“As in sports, there are different positions in laying out a con-the steer, the stick, the shade, the wire. There are some who have mastered all those positions and can play ‘single-o,’ they’re called Cannons. That’s Nicky,” he explains. “Sometimes Cannons meet on the road to form a sort of MVP dream team, called “whiz mobs.” As in the movie, whiz mobs will generally meet in a town a couple weeks before a large sporting event. They will combine their talents, such as pick pocketing, card hustling and hacking, to nail unwitting tourists before they even know the game has begun.”

Robbins’ quickest study on set was arguably Margot Robbie, who had also come across his name as she prepared to play Jess. “I remember thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could just sit down with him for a meeting, or talk to him somehow?’ And it turned out they’d brought him on board to choreograph everything.”

“We had about 20 hours to work together,” Robbins says, “and Margot not only had the aptitude but real tenacity. She was like a bulldog, wanting to get everything right, asking how she could take things further. She did phenomenally well handling the difficult mechanics of it, making it look natural…and sometimes she had to do it in a tight dress and high heels, on cobblestone!”

“Margot was so good that we actually had to slow her down,” Ficarra laughs. “We were constantly looking at the playback on set, asking each other, ‘Did she do it? Did we get it?'”

“I think audiences are going to see things they’ve never seen on screen before, thanks to Apollo,” Di Novi states. “We were so lucky he was willing to share his top-secret techniques with us.”

 

I know you’re doing something big… I want in. – Jess

“Focus” takes place in three distinctly different, world-famous cities: New York, New Orleans and Buenos Aires. Happily, the filmmakers were able to shoot in each locale, beginning in the Bayou State.

“We shot our first movie in New Orleans,” Requa remarks, “but it was standing in for other cities. We were determined that the next time we were going to shoot New Orleans for New Orleans because it’s a really beautiful place. The culture, the architecture, it’s just amazing. We wanted to show it off.”

“The landscape of the movie is a large part of the story,” Di Novi says, “and New Orleans is beautiful, romantic, and extremely welcoming of eccentrics, which made for a really diverse canvas for us.”

The sequences in New Orleans were specifically designed to highlight the filmmakers’ favorite parts of the area, especially the French Quarter, and production designer Beth Mickle was thrilled to have a lot with which to work. “The city has so much flavor, so much heart and texture,” she says. “It’s as authentic as it gets. It’s a pleasure to not have to mask the architecture but to actually embrace it.”

To showcase a scene that takes place on Bourbon Street, Mickle and her team “loaded up on neon signs, Mardi Gras beads and colorful flags.”

One of Mickle’s biggest undertakings was to replicate the setting of a championship football game taking place in town, the very reason Nicky and his crew are there. “We had to stage a fake game that Nicky and Jess attend, and all of the hoopla that goes with it.”

While they were able to shoot at an actual pro stadium, they needed to create their own league and teams, including signage, merchandise, and so forth-everything a fan would see around town and at the arena. Pre-existing advertisements around the field were altered via CGI in post-production.

Thus the American Football Franchise of America (AFFA) was born, along with its two top competing teams, the Rhinos and the Threshers. They battle it out as Nicky and Jess look on from a VIP skybox built on the production’s nearby soundstage-formerly NASA’s assembly plant for the Challenger-to better accommodate filming.

One of Mickle’s biggest challenges was, unexpectedly, the team logos. “I showed John and Glenn grand illustrations for huge stage builds and they were happy with everything. Then I showed them football logos and it was weeks and weeks of going back to the drawing board.”

Mickle says the best advice she received in that regard was from football consultant and former pro player Pat O’Hare. “He said to start with the helmet when designing the logos, because once you know it looks good on a helmet, it will translate onto T-shirts, banners, and onto the field.”

Costume designer Dayna Pink then took the approved logos and incorporated them into the wardrobe needed for the extras as well as the uniforms she designed for the players.

O’Hara, who spent most of his life on a grid, says, “They did a tremendous job setting the field. It looked like a real championship game, and it was great for the players because they saw the realistic environment and turned it up a notch.”

As part of his contribution as consultant, O’Hara brought in the men who would make up the two teams on the field. “Every one of the players I hired has professional league experience and has played at the highest levels. This was a chance for them to put the pads back on and show what they can do. They understand game choreography, which was key to making it look real.”

The plays needed to be caught on camera were specific to the story, so O’Hara gave the directors options for four plays that happen within the 30-yard line, plenty of workable space to accomplish the necessary sequences.

Though the racecar circuit sequence takes place in Buenos Aires, a portion of those scenes were shot at the NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans. This was done because, according to Mickle, “The very famous Autodromo Buenos Aires is not in the greatest shape. It was in its prime in the 1950s or so, but they haven’t held races there since 2009.”

The IndyCars featured in the film are Bryan Herta Autosport, Andretti Auto Sport, and the Midas car of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, of which David Letterman is part owner.

Fortunately, there was much the production would be able to accomplish in Buenos Aires, a locale Requa and Ficarra have been eyeing for years.

“We hadn’t been there, we had just heard great things about it, and when we went down to scout we realized it may be the most photogenic city in the world,” Requa states. “It’s really a remarkable place and we felt lucky to be there.”

Ficarra agrees. “We needed romantic, but not overdone. Argentina seemed to have the variety, the lineage, the architecture…everything. It’s a great, untapped resource for filming since not a lot of people shoot there.”

Among the many sites they were able to film in was the Circulo Militar, overlooking Plaza San Martin, which is where they held their Grand Prix party, and where Nicky first spots Jess after he let her go three years earlier.

“A lot of things led us to the Circulo Militar,” Mickle notes. “The availability was a big thing, and that they were so enthusiastic to have us, of course, but the accessibility and the fact that it’s just stunning were the biggest factors.”

Mickle’s team also had to marry the location with the Park Hyatt Hotel, formerly the Palacio Duhau mansion, which served as Nicky’s hotel. “The architecture seemed to match really well, but Glenn and John did have one dictate: make it modern,” she says. “They are among the most visual directors I’ve ever worked with. They really understand architectural style, and they wanted me to find a way to bring it into this century, to reflect Buenos Aires in the way it merges the old and new so beautifully. I knew we’d have our work cut out for us, but that was part of the fun.”

Some of Mickle’s most enjoyable creative choices involved ways to incorporate color into each setting, but most notably Buenos Aires. “The colors needed to evoke a playful, magical environment,” she says. The designer loved working with the local crew who assisted her in incorporating local customs, including yarn bombing, an urban art form similar to graffiti, but with yarn rather than paint.

“People come out in the middle of the night and cover the tree trunks and branches with colorful yarns, and knit sweaters to put around the trees. Or they’ll yarn bomb your bike, a parking meter, anything. It’s so wild. So, we found a local yarn bomber and brought her to La Boca to do a bunch of trees for us.” La Boca, with its brightly painted rainbow of corrugated metal homes lining the streets, served as a striking backdrop for the action, along with the San Telmo flea market and the Faena. “The Faena was an old brick factory that has been turned into an elegant hotel, and its interior décor borders on the flamboyant,” Mickle suggests. The production took advantage of the scenery, including the unicorn wall hangings and the gold crown-shaped fountain emerging from the swimming pool, turning the hotel into rival race team owner McEwen’s turf.

To evoke the proper tone and reflect Nicky’s arc at each stage of the story, Mickle employed a changing color palette as well. “The progression of the visuals in the movie had to reflect Nicky’s progression as a character. We start with New York; it’s very cold and he’s isolated, so we used a lot of stone, glass and metal to give a sense of detachment.”

She continues, “In New Orleans, where Jess starts to become part of his world and the city has so much life inherent to it, the palette comes to life, too, with greenery, orange tones in the skybox, purples and lush pinks. The colors are warming up just as Nicky is starting to open up. Then, once we get to Buenos Aires, where he is most vulnerable, at his most exposed, the colors really pop. The architecture becomes really fun and the visuals start to indicate this romantic and mysterious world.”

Ficarra allows that “Beth had a huge undertaking. She had to replicate an open wheel racing league, a championship football game, New Orleans, Buenos Aires and New York. She has exquisite taste, and she understood the tone of escapism and glamour with realism that we were going for. It’s as if she could read our minds. We feel so lucky to have found her, and we’re not going to let anyone else use her,” he laughs.

Costume designer Dayna Pink, who has worked with the directors before, also embraced the opportunity to reflect the changes in mood and intention through the use of color as well as fashion. “Part of the reason I love my job is that I learn something new on every movie,” she says. “The most interesting aspect of my research for ‘Focus’ was the psychology of color. We spoke with an expert on color and talked about what you would wear if you wanted someone to trust you, and what you would wear if you wanted to scam someone. If you want somebody to trust you, wear blue. Blue is reliable; it’s the water, it’s the sky, and those never change. And Will looks amazing in blue.”

Requa recounts that in early meetings with the actor, Smith said, “‘Just tell me what you want me to wear and I’ll wear it,’ because that’s how Will is. But we told him just to meet with Dayna, she’s one of the greatest costume designers working right now, especially for men, and explore the character, go on a journey, try things out. Now, Will is no clothes horse, but Dayna turned him into one. Her love of costume is infectious. I think that they even went off to fashion week events together after we wrapped.”

Pink says, “Taking a character who loves clothes and knows how to dress, and figuring out with the actor how to express that, is my favorite thing to do. And to have the opportunity to do that with Will was pretty cool.”

Margot Robbie’s character, Jess, also undergoes quite a transformation in the movie, which is very easily conveyed in her wardrobe. “In the first part of the film, Jess is a girl,” Pink relates. “She’s funky, young, cute and sassy. Layers and leather.”

By the time she gets to Buenos Aires, however, she’s all grown up, inside and out. “All of a sudden she’s a woman in sophisticated silhouettes, long and lean and statuesque,” Pink smiles.

“At the beginning of the movie, we wanted Jess to be a sort of ragamuffin street girl with dirty blonde hair, not really knowing how to dress or present herself,” Requa elaborates. “Then she becomes a completely gorgeous, glacial seductress. Dayna really delivered.”

The directors also credit hair designer Anne Morgan for making Jess’s before and after styles so distinctive. “She goes from dirty blonde to Swedish blonde, and Anne found some hair designs that were just brilliant,” Requa says.

“They were definitely winks at Grace Kelly or Kim Novak, the classic femme fatale image we were trying to court,” Ficarra adds.

In addition to selecting the wardrobe, Pink had to ensure that certain items would work with the action in a scene. “Occasionally a pocket had to be made a little more shallow so an actor could more easily grab something out of it,” she reveals. “It was fun to have the clothes be a functional part of making the whole scene work in such an unusual way.”

 

At the end of the day, this is a game of focus. – Nicky

Attentive to the way the songs and the score will enhance what’s on screen, Ficarra and Requa once again turned to composer Nick Urata, who co-scored “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” to create an appropriately evocative listening experience.

“This was an exciting scoring opportunity,” Urata states. “John and Glenn are very musical. Music plays a big role in the script writing and editing process, so they always have a unique palette of musical ideas that play well against the story.”

Urata fully embraced the film’s locations as part of his creative process. “The story is set in two of the richest musical environments on Earth: New Orleans and Buenos Aires. We spent a lot of time in each city and did our best to immerse ourselves in the sounds and musical histories. I found myself overwhelmed by the spirituality of these two rich cultures and did my best to harness this in the score.”

Having had such a memorable experience making the movie, the filmmakers hope that audiences will enjoy every element of “Focus.” As Ficarra maintains, “There’s football, fast cars, sex, romance, comedy, drama, big stars and two really big cons…something for everyone.”

“And it’s got a couple of walloping surprises that I think will blindside everyone who sees it,” Requa hints. “Sometimes it even surprises me-and I wrote it.”

Focus-Poster