300's Rodrigo Santoro To Star Opposite Will Smith In Con Drama Focus

After originally being set to star Ben Affleck and Kristen Stewart, the upcoming con drama Focus is back in gear with Will Smith and Australian actress Margot Robbie, and now the project has lured a third actor into the fold. Rodrigo Santoro, who is best known for playing Xerxes in Zack Snyder's 300, has come aboard the film and is now set to play one of the principal antagonists.

Set to be directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. the film is about an experienced con artist (Smith) who begins a romantic relationship with a young woman (Robbie) and teaches her the ways of the trade. Eventually they go their separate ways, but years later the con man is in Buenos Aires pulling a job and is thrown off his game when she resurfaces. According to The Hollywood Reporter - which broke the casting news - Santoro will play the owner of a racing car team who "hires Smith to gain a competitive edge for his racing team." Given Smith's profession as a grifter, one can guess that Santoro is his mark. The character also reportedly has a romantic interest in Robbie, which means that he is also probably the one that links the male and female leads together.

The movie will be the third directed by Requa and Ficarra, who made their directorial debut with the long-delayed gay crime comedy I Love You Phillip Morris, starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. In 2011 they made the romantic drama Crazy, Stupid, Love with Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone. The two filmmakers have also worked as writers for a long time, previously scripting both Bad Santa and the Bad News Bears remake.

Santoro had a rough start to the year starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the box office flop The Last Stand, but he's been keeping busy since. He most recently completed production on the new western Jane Got A Gun (which had more than its own share of on-set drama) and he will next be seen reprising his role as Xerxes in Noam Murro's 300: Rise of An Empire. You can get a preview of the latter film below:

He is also attached to the in-development Chilean miner movie The 33 and is expected to reprise his role as Tulio in the upcoming animated feature Rio 2.

Production on Focus is set to start up this October, meaning that we should be hearing even more casting announcements very soon. Filming will be taking place in both New Orleans and in Buenos Aires.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.