New Actors Replace Paul Walker in The Best of Me and Agent 47. James Marsden has been offered the male lead role in the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me (2014) and Rupert Friend is being eyed to take over the lead hitman role in Agent 47. Both were parts planned for Paul Walker to star in.
Perhaps due to the great emphasis placed on Fast & Furious 7 (2015) being Walkers last film in production, it would seem to some that Fast & Furious 7 was the only film put on a hiatus due to the actor’s death. In reality, the actor had been slated to star in several other upcoming films over the next years that have had pre-production hiccups due to the actor’s passing.
In the wake of the death of actor Paul Walker in a Nov. 30 2013 fiery car crash, studios have scrambled to find replacements. Rumors quickly spread that Walker, who was in mid production of Fast & Furious 7, the seventh installment in the Fast and The Furious franchise upon his death; would have his character killed off as Walker had already shot some scenes for the action flick. Others speculated the role would be recast altogether as rumors that Justin Bieber was approached to take over the role spread like wildfire across social networks. Needless to say, the reaction to Bieber replacing Walker was fast and furious. The Twitterverse kicked into overdrive with outrage upon the release of the rumor that Canadian pop star Justin Bieber had been chosen to replace the late Paul Walker in Fast & Furious 7. While one rumor linked Bieber to the role, others reported that Walker’s younger brother, Cody Walker, who bears a striking resemblance to Paul, would stand in for the actor. Never fear devoted Fast fans, the rumors aren’t true.
Universal made it official that they would be retiring Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner character. Like Universal, other studios have begun to resolve how they will replace Walker on their own films. 20th Century Fox’s Hitman (2007) reboot now dubbed Agent 47 and Relativity’s romantic drama The Best of Me both have substitutes in negotiations.
According to news sources, Relativity will be moving forward with James Marsden being offered the lead in the adaption of Nicholas Sparks’ New York Times best-selling romantic novel, The Best of Me, opposite Michelle Monaghan. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has locked its sights on Homeland star Rupert Friend to take over the lead role of hitman in their upcoming reboot Agent 47.
Find the casting of Friend in the role to be an interesting choice? I don’t find him as nearly miscast as Timothy Olyphant in the role in Fox’s first attempt at a low budget Hitman back in 2007. Friend certainly doesn’t have the fanbase Walker had to bring to the project, and he has yet to establish himself on the big screen; but he’s certainly shown potential with his general badassery as CIA operative Quinn on Homeland.
Audiences and fans of Walker’s would have been treated to a surprise had Walker traded in his action hero boots and slipped into the romantic lead for The Best of Me. We don’t see many stars, known primarily for action roles take on the sappy hopeless romantic character Sparks’ films are known for. Generally speaking, we’re excited to see funny man James Marsden in this role. He’s got a proven silver screen track record that includes on screen romantic chemistry. Marsden already has experience with Sparks’ works with his turn as Lon Hammond in Sparks’ break out hit, The Notebook (2004).
The book version of The Best of Me follows two former high school lovers reunited after 20 years when they return to their hometown to attend the funeral of a friend. It seems destined they’ll get back together, however problems that drove them apart when they were young resurface. Marsden can currently be seen in Anchorman 2 (2013) and expect to see him soon in the upcoming Walk of Shame (2014).
No plans for when either of these films will go into production, but we’ll keep you updated as things progress.
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