Focus Movie Cast, Trailer & Release Date 2015: Adrian Martinez Talks Playing Will Smith's Snarky Sidekick (EXCLUSIVE)
When you're actor, writer, producer, and soon-to-be-director, Adrian Martinez life is pretty sweet playing the sidekick, the wing man, and the loyal friend who gets to share laughs both on and off-screen with some of the funniest and most talented actors in Hollywood.
While Martinez is recognizable, you may not realize the wealth of his character roles unless you take a closer look at his body of work on TV, film and Off-Broadway. Currently, he plays Will Smith's funny, smart-mouthed yet lovable sidekick, Farhad, in "Focus," which hits theaters this weekend. He's also played Ben Stiller's pal in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," Will Ferrell's amigo in "Casa de mi Padre," and Zach Galifianakis' sidekick in "It's Kind of a Funny Story."
He's also appeared in "American Hustle," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "Gotham," "Louie," "Flight of the Conchords" and "The Sopranos," and is collaborating with Obie winner/Oscar nominated screenwriter Jose Rivera ("The Motorcycle Diaries") in "Celestina."
In an exclusive interview with Latin Post, Martinez dishes on filming "Focus" in beautiful Buenos Aires, Argentina, alongside a stellar cast including Will Smith, Margo Robbie and Rodrigo Santoro. He also touches upon his previous and current collaborations, including an upcoming project, in which he stars, with director Hugo Perez ("Betty la Flaca") at South by Southwest that gives a satirical approach to Latino identity in the U.S.
So what's it like being a "sidekick to the stars?"
"I would have say that Zach brings his own thing, with Will Ferrell it was really about discipline, is very reserved like a banker and when you yell 'Action,' he becomes this hysterical human being. His Spanish was good, but when we did 'Casa de mi Padre' though he had has Spanish cue cards on horses," he laughed. "He had a Puerto Rican, Mexican and a 'Dominiaguan' advice on how to pronounce the Spanish, so it was hysterical to hear anything come out of his mouth...Ben Stiller was basically about work, basically this is a guy who would spend all day shooting, directing then he would go into the editing room, just a work ethic that is off the charts."
Though Martinez plays Smith's Persian sidekick in "Focus," in real life he is an American of Dominican-Nicaraguan descent, or as he calls it 'Dominiaguan,' which is what I coin myself," he laughed. "I have never met that combo. Dominican, yes, but not the combo. There aren't too many 'Dominiaguans' in showbiz. If you know of any Dominiaguans in showbiz, let me know, maybe we could sit at a small table somewhere and compare notes."
In "Focus," Will Smith plays Nicky, "a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Margot Robbie)." While he's showing her the ropes, she gets too close for comfort, so he immediately puts an end to it.
However, three years later, Jess his "former-flame-turned accomplished femme fatale" resurfaces in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes racecar circuit. While Nicky's working his magic in a very dangerous scheme, she throws "the consummate con man him off his game."
"I just have to give a shot out to co-writers/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who really established a sense of safety for the actors and took chances and improvised, and just let us be ourselves," Martinez explained. "Not every director does that, they certainly did. Once that sort of atmosphere was set, it was playtime really with Margot and Will who are just really class acts, very professional. From Day One, I felt very safe to work with them."
Filming in Buenos Aires was "a trip," according to Martinez, for the country and its people were beautiful and full of life.
"These people know how to party, when things close up in L.A. and in New York, that's when things just get going! I don't know what they are putting in the steaks, but every woman looks like Gisele Bundchen or Margo Robbie," he laughed. "And, of course, you have all of the natural wonders, you have Patagonia, the Iguazu Falls, it's worth a trip."
Was he entranced by the stunning "Wolf of Wall Street" actress?
"She is (stunning) but she's also the real deal. She's very authentic as a person and very intelligent. Every 20 million people kind of gets everything -- beauty, talent, looks -- that's me," he laughed, "and then next 20 million people will be her, I'm pretty sure."
Martinez has nothing but love for Will Smith, saying that he has such "a sense of gratitude."
"This is a guy, who like you said, has been at it for a long time but he seems to still have such enthusiasm for the work and for his fans," he reiterated. "When we were in Buenos Aires, he was coming out of the market, and there must have been like 500 people there waiting for him. He stopped for everyone and every selfie, but with a real sense of glee...He was actually having the time of his life. He is like a one-man parade and you just can't help but take in his energy and want to be a part of it."
Martinez has also starred in "American Hustle" and "Spider-Man 2" and is set to appear in Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's "Sisters," which will come out later this year.
"We're going to look back and see them as one of the great comedic pairs ever. I mean, they are that smart and funny," he said.
Martinez is especially excited for his current collaboration with director Hugo Perez ("Betty la Flaca"), which will appear at South by Southwest.
"I have a great project coming out at South by Southwest that Time Warner is going to announce of a project that I am cultivating with my friend Hugo Perez. I am psyched about it. He's kind of a self-loathing Latino...He can't stand the fact that he's Latino, so all he does is run into people who of course love being Latino. It kind of like a satirical look at identity and race in this country. I think the time is right for it."
"Focus," released by Warner Bros. Pictures, hits theaters Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Check out the official trailer for the sexy, slick heist film.