An offer is out to James Marsden ("Anchorman 2," "X-Men") for the male lead role in Michael Hoffman's film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestseller "The Best Of Me" at Relativity.
The story follows two former small-town high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they've taken wildly divergent paths but neither has forgotten their first love affair and the past is confronted when they return to their hometown for a funeral.
The casting is of note as he would take over a role that the late Paul Walker was originally slated to play. Marsden looks to have beaten out the other main competitor for the role, "True Blood" star Joe Manganiello.
Michelle Monaghan is set to play the female lead. J. Mills Goodloe, Will Fetters and Hoffman wrote the script while Theresa Park, Ryan Kavanaugh, Denise DiNovi and Sparks are producing.