Beverly Hills, Ca. After talking with the stars of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton for a few seconds, it becomes obvious that they are all perfectly suited to the roles they play in the film. The romantic comedy needed a believable "biggest movie star in the world," and it found him in the virtually unknown Josh Duhamel (All My Children). It required a beautiful yet approachable woman able to successfully portray a credible love interest for someone who dates models, and Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush) fits the bill. And, it needed an underdog: Topher Grace (That 70's Show) is that guy.
At the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel, screenwriter Victor Levin (Mad About You) explains his motivations for making Win a Date with Tad Hamilton: "I think a David versus Goliath story in modern day and a culture obsessed with celebrities and every last move they make and the notion that everybody's somebody and that ultimately there's much greater similarity between the most famous person on Earth and the least famous person on Earth." Levin started with this premise and tried to follow through with it. Although the film winds up being about a celebrity dating contest, that wasn't his original intention.
Kate Bosworth is as bubbly and delightful in person as she is onscreen. The gorgeous, 21-year-old, Princeton-bound Bosworth shares her own crush on a famous Hollywood star, this time not named Tad: "I remember playing Ouija board with my best friends, like 'which one of us is gonna marry Macaulay Culkin?' And whenever it started going to a certain letter, all of us would push it a certain way."
Just coming off Blue Crush, Bosworth received scripts for Tad Hamilton and Wonderland and found her way into both. She was the first actor cast in Tad Hamilton, and the reason is obvious: Bosworth is giddy, and -- though a rising star herself -- is still awed by Hollywood's glitz. She is Rosalee Futch in many respects: "Everyday I feel like that wide-eyed, small-town girl -- which I think keeps everything really fresh and magical."
The leading man, Josh Duhamel, is making his film debut as Tad. He cockily swaggers in with a shirt buttoned halfway down, hair slightly tussled, a sheepish grin and a 5 o'clock shadow (at 9 a.m.). Duhamel muses about his friends and family's take on his newfound fame: "They don't know me as this guy; they know me as Josh whom they've known my whole life. So to see this through their point of view is really cool, and it kinda made it more realistic too." He realizes the nature of Hollywood and is level-headed: "This whole thing really isn't that big of a deal, because it can all be taken away."
Though new to the screen, Duhamel is not new to "win a date" contests: "I did it when I was on All My Children for Seventeen Magazine....I went to Alabama with this girl Laura and we just went to her prom. So it was kinda [laughs] art imitates life."
The story's David, Topher Grace, "was this guy in high school.... Yeah, it wasn't Brad Pitt but it was the other guy, the better looking guy." He exudes the John Cusack, everyman quality and is aware of it. "There are two guys that you can play in this world, as an actor: There's the guy you want to be and the guy you are," he explains. "That's the difference between Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks....To me, it's infinitely more interesting to play the guy you are." Don't worry about Grace keeping a 20-year-long secret crush, though: "I think if I like a girl, I will pull the trigger"