Will Smith & Margot Robbie Star

February 26, 2015 5:15 PM

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Musical chairs or Russian roulette? Sometimes there’s as much tense drama in the casting of a Hollywood movie as there is in the finished product. This week’s example: Focus, a caper film about a veteran con man and the young woman he takes as his accomplice. Ryan Gosling, then Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck were touted as the dapper con, while the female lead was reckoned to be played, at one time or another, by Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Jessica Biel, Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn — basically, every working actress under 35.

Since Focus conjures up a more relaxed time in Hollywood history, when the top stars radiated their golden appeal in romantic comedies about duplicitous souls, writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa might have dreamed of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, who paired in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 To Cat...

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