Is 'Focus' Based on a True Story? The Will Smith & Margot Robbie Movie Has An Outlandish Plot

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Margot Robbie and Will Smith attend a special screening of 'Focus' at Vue West End on February 11, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
Source: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Will Smith has a new movie coming out, so let's all get on our hands and knees and pray that it's better than After Earth. The new film, set for release on Feb. 27, tells the story Nicky Spurgeon, a con artist whose romantic entanglement with fellow criminal Jess Barrett complicates one of his biggest schemes to date. The film was shot in both Buenos Aires — where the films "big con" takes place — and in New Orleans, and from the trailer it looks like an international crime story a la The Italian Job. So is this crime story based on any true events or previous work? While the film seems to share a style with sleek con stories, it's not based on anything specific — though the con game is very much real. Though the story of Focus isn't based on true events, con artists do use many of the same tricks that the trailer depicts. 

In the trailer, we see Robbie's character Jess steal a watch from a man by distracting him. That's a real maneuver, and it can be taught. Leading expert on pickpockets, confidence crimes, and deception Apollo Robbins consulted on the film and made sure that the actors were performing these "cons" in the most realistic way possible. You can watch Robbins discussing the very concept of focus here. 

Check out the trailer for Focus below, and maybe practice your own slight of hand tricks in the meantime. 

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