Teaching Will Smith how to pick-pocket: Interview with Focus con artists, Ava Do and Apollo Robbins
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"I once pick-pocketed Jimmy Carter's secret agent!" New heist rom-com Focus, from Crazy, Stupid, Love directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa and starring Academy-Award nominee Will Smith and BAFTA Rising Star Award nominee Margot Robbie, has just premiered in London. Ahead of its release later this month, we caught up with Ava Do and Apollo Robbins - the con artists who taught Will and Margot everything you'll see on screen. The film’s behind-the-scenes stars, ‘technical adviser’ duo Ava and Apollo, taught the on-screen stars the ways of the pick-pocket and the con-artist. Their success is clear: Will and Margot’s characters are talented and cunning pickpockets and demonstrate exceptional skills. ‘The Gentleman Thief’, Apollo Robbins, is famous for successfully pick-pocketing former United States President Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service agents. He says: “I was in a show in Vegas and Jimmy Carter came through the show and he had a team of Secret Service Agents guarding him, and I ended up taking their credentials, their keys to the motorcade and a bunch of other stuff.” Apollo described his background in the ‘con’ business: “I’m a ‘theatrical thief’ I grew up in an environment where I grew up around some cons, my half-brothers did cons when I was a kid… I’ve been around the game, not in the game.” Along with his associate Ava, another ‘deceptionist’ and ‘con artist’ who performs sleight-of-hand magic and cons, he set up “consulting” company Whizmob Inc in 2006. Apollo says: “We would bring different types of hackers, cat-burglars and thieves, into one space and we would talk to them about what they do.”
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