In the film, Beth ( Bell ) is an ambitious young New Yorker who is disillusioned with romance. On a whirlwind trip to Rome , she defiantly plucks magic coins from a fountain of love, inexplicably igniting the passion of those who threw them in. But when a charming sports reporter, pursues her with equal zest, she’s not sure if his love is the real thing.
“I would say Nick and Beth have the same outlook on life,” says Duhamel. “Both of them are very driven in their given professions and neither is really looking for love. It’s one of those things, I guess, you usually find it when you’re not looking.”
The unexpectedly awkward quality that Duhamel brought to the character made him that much funnier and more endearing, says producer Andrew Panay. “One of Josh’s greatest gifts is his ability to be physically funny. He was a college quarterback in real life, so he’s very coordinated. But to watch him scramble, fall and run into things—it’s absolutely, incredibly funny. And he’s so natural.”
Producer Gary Foster adds, “Josh is from South Dakota , and he has just got this very authentic way about him. He’s really kind of ‘aw shucks.’ He works really hard. He’s a very competitive guy, a former athlete, and that drive is still there.”
In doing one of his stunts, Josh Duhamel was subjected to an intense night. The actor’s parents were on set as Duhamel shot part of Nick’s race uptown to Beth -- rolling over the vintage car driven by his buddy Puck (Bobby Moynihan). “The car was coming at me and was actually going to hit me and I was to roll up on the hood of the car,” says Duhamel. “I was in a sprint and the car was coming pretty fast so, naturally, my momentum was going to take me up on the other side of the car.
“The first couple of times were pretty tense,” the actor continues. “I was OK, I felt fine, but I looked around and everybody’s eyeballs were wide open—‘Oh my God, we are going to have to stop this right now because he’s going to break his neck.’ So when I actually flew over the hood and landed on my neck, everyone was like, ‘Are you all right?!’
“All of the sudden I hear “‘BOOOOOOO!!!’ in the background, and it’s my old man. Thanks for the support, Dad, I appreciate it!! But he knew I was OK—he was the only one who knew.”
Duhamel says he tweaked the stunt when he realized that the only thing between him and the other side of the car was the windshield. “Finally I figured out that as soon as I hit the car I had to roll, because the glass was the only thing that was going to stop me from going on the other side of the car. Sure enough, I almost went through it—I broke the windshield. And it wasn’t even a stunt windshield.”
Duhamel recently wrapped production on “Life as We Know It,” starring opposite Katherine Heigl for Warner Bros.
Opening soon across the Philippines , “When in Rome ” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.