Why is Will Smith the only Black Actor in Focus?


Will Smith's last film wasn't the biggest success. In fact, I don't think that I ever watched After Earth. Still, I was excited when previews for Focus started airing in theaters and online. The movie looked promising and it appeared that Smith was ready to return to box office form.  

My thoughts on Focus? I give it a C+.

Let me start with a casting observation.  Now, I'm not one to get hung up on race, but somehow Will being the only Black actor in the movie with a key role made things awkward. Were we supposed to believe that Smith's character, Nicky Spurgeon, had zero Black friends or co-workers...and what about his family? Really, no other Black people?

There were some good unexpected moments throughout the film, but the biggest twist of all came at the end. Nicky was running a job with his father Bucky, unknown to viewers, and his father ends up screwing him over in the end (and shooting him). His father looks like this:

Bucky Spurgeon

Not really buying Gerald McRaney as Bucky Spurgeon. Race wasn't supposed to be a factor in Focus, but unlike Smith's breakout role in Six Degrees of Separation, it did end up getting in the way of the story for me. 

If you've seen the movie, I'm interested in your thoughts.