When Ben Affleck vacates a movie’s central role, everything can get out of focus. His absence having halted production and, in turn, forcing co-star Kristen Stewart to move on, TheWrap tell us directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) are changing the project’s tone a bit — Will Smith is about to sign up, while a new female lead closer to the central protagonist’s age is being scouted at the moment. All things considered, this is probably for the better: it makes the relationship slightly less strange and uncomfortable.

In the comedic picture, Smith is required to step into the part of a con man — new for him, unless we’re making jokes about, say Hitch, and who even remembers that film — who mentors a female upstart in the shady business. It, by all means, sounds like the sort of light material he’s been comfortable with — considering who’s behind the script — though it’s relatively interesting to read the actor gravitated toward this project because it offered “an original movie that can showcase his strengths.” Men in Black doesn’t fit the bill, as you can see — which doesn’t put a lot more on Focus, per se, but here’s hoping this desire pays off in the final product. Oh, how nice it would be to enjoy a Smith performance again.

Warner Bros. and DiNovi Pictures are backing Focus, which should expand its casting as the weeks progress.

Is Smith a good replacement for Affleck? Any thoughts on who should fill Stewart’s place?

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