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The Best of Me: Casting the movie based on Nicholas Spark's book

When I compiled this year's Guide to Movies Based on Books, I included The Best of Me, the ninth or zillionth of Nicholas Sparks book headed for the screen. Already slated for an October 17th release, The Best of Me news came with Michelle Monaghan attached but no word on who would play the male lead. Monaghan herself isn't all that well known yet - I first noticed her as Tom Cruise's wife in the 2006 Mission Impossible III - but that could soon change as she's playing Maggie Hart, Woody Harrelson's wife in HBO's brand new True Detective series costarring Matthew McConaughey. The show premieres this Sunday night as does the season opener of Girls, and it also happens to be the night of the Golden Globes. I guess you know where I'll be Sunday night ... planted in front of the tube with cheese and crackers and mini quiche for dinner, maybe some champagne and ... 

Monaghan can also be seen in the upcoming Better Living Thru Chemistry coming out in March. But back to The Best of Me and the right man for Monaghan. Go ahead and read the storyline from Spark's website and then see who's been cast in the lead role.
"Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She’d believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen.”
In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew—about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear—was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?"

According to Deadline, Paul Walker was in line to star opposite Monaghan as Dawson. That would have been quite a different direction for the Fast & Furious actor who died tragically in a car crash this past November. He had the requisite good looks of a romantic leading man; who knows where his professional path might have gone? With Walker's untimely death, Relativity and director Michael Hoffman have reached out to James Marsden to take on the part. The details haven't been worked out yet, but Marsden (30 Rock, The Butler, Anchorman 2) who already has 4 or 5 films wrapped and ready to come out this year, looks like he's available. On the surface, I'm liking the looks of this casting, don't they make a gorgeous couple?

James Marsden as John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniel's The Butler

Have you read The Best of Me? Sparks notes on his website the characters are in their forties, in the middle of their lives, looking back. When I think of my life's journey that makes me smile; I was just shy of forty when MLH and I married, followed by the birth of our beautiful boy a few month before I turned the big Four O. At forty, my life, in many ways, was only just beginning. The best was most definitely yet to come.  The Best of Me? Has to be my son.