Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Genre-bending, young talent make ‘Tad Hamilton’ a delight

Director Robert Luketic appears to be a ball of nervous energy. Actually, his fierce Australian accent and jittery movements, all barely restrained by a retainer and a New York Yankees hat, are the kinetic detritus forcibly cast off by a man bursting with creativity. His debut feature film, 2001?s ?Legally Blonde,? established him as a master of bending genre conventions. With his debut he did the seemingly impossible and made a chick flick that dudes could enjoy too.

?I think that after ?Legally Blonde? I became the go-to guy for romantic comedies,? says Luketic. ?Ultimately, I like that cinema can be fantasy. I like a heightened reality.?

So now comes the dubious task of releasing his follow-up feature. And faced with the looming possibility of a sophomore slump, Luketic stuck to a similar format. With ?Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!? Luketic embraces the fantasy of film and the very real myths generated by Hollywood and America?s obsession with celebrity.


?It both celebrates the cult of celebrity and Hollywood, and I also think it skewers it and makes you aware that everything you see on the surface may not necessarily be all true or all real,? says Luketic.

The movie cleverly warps the traditional romantic comedy, and a cast of Young Hollywood all-stars and cinema veterans appearing in supporting roles ensures the film will have a strong showing at the box office.

Kate Bosworth (?Blue Crush?) plays Rosalee Futch, a Piggly Wiggly clerk from Frazier?s Bottom, W.Va., whose admiration of Hollywood hunk Tad Hamilton (played by Emmy Award-winning soap opera star Josh Duhamel) leads her to enter the ?Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!? contest. When she wins the contest, to her best friend and co-worker Pete?s (Topher Grace, TV?s ?That 70?s Show?) dismay, Rosalee gets shipped out to Los Angeles. The cast gets rounded out with Gary Cole (?Office Space?) playing Rosalee?s father and Nathan Lane (?Birdcage?) and Shawn Hayes (TV?s ?Will and Grace?) as Tad?s agent and manager.

Luketic knew exactly what he wanted in his female lead and was interested in Kate Bosworth immediately upon meeting her.

?She came in and she took my hand and looked me in the eye and said, ?Robert, you don?t understand. I am Rosalee Futch. When I was growing up this is what I was like.? So I told her to come and show me, and of all the girls she had this purity and innocence. She?s so unaware of the effect she has when she comes into a room, but she does have an effect,? says Luketic.

Bosworth does resemble a real-life version of her wide-eyed on-screen counterpart. She smiles profusely and uses phrases like, ?Thank my lucky stars,? in casual conversation. At 21 years old, Bosworth is preparing a return to school to study English literature at Princeton, and her next role finds her opposite Kevin Spacey in ?Beyond the Sea,? where she will play the anorexic drug addict Sandra Dee, but in the meantime she credits her costars for advancing her silver-screen education.

?We?re all so young and learning from each other. And luckily we had of course Nathan Lane and Shawn Hayes, and they were just hilariously brilliant. We?re a bunch of young kids, and fortunately we got along so well. And just allowed each other to be free and learn from one another and grow with each other, and that was really neat,? Bosworth says.

Even ?Tad Hamilton? screenwriter Victor Levin ( TV?s ?Mad About You?) can?t contain his excitement over the group of young actors, admitting, ?In many instances they beat the page.?

As Rosalee Futch, Bosworth constructs the emotional center of the film. And as she finds herself caught between Tad and Pete, she must also pull the audience into the mix. Bosworth gives all the credit to her on-screen love interests.

?I was so in awe of how Topher and Josh played the leading men in such a smart, likable way. It?s hard to play the leading man. It?s a hard line to walk. It?s easier for women in a romantic comedy,? she says.

After Bosworth was signed on, the filmmakers had the difficult task of finding the leading men. ?Tad Hamilton? producer Douglas Wick explained: ?We tried a few movie stars, and we found that when their agents said to them, ?Look, here?s a really good part, it?s about a guy who?s really good-looking, a little self-absorbed, kinda lost his values, maybe does too much coke and cares too much about cars and women,? they just turned and left.?

Luketic agrees. ?It could have been a disaster. He could have come across as an arrogant, good-looking, vacuous, empty shell, and that?s not what I wanted Tad to be.?

Josh Duhamel was added to the cast just after shooting the pilot episode of his now wildly popular ?Las Vegas,? and he hadn?t yet received much notoriety outside of the soap-opera crowd. The filmmakers wondered if he could convey the persona of a superstar unable to leave his house without being recognized.

?You can?t just call up Tom Hanks and say, ?Dude, how?s it like to have everyone know who you are?? I tried that, and he just hung up on me,? says Duhamel, who seems to reside in a perpetual state of dry humor, perfectly sculpted hair and unbuttoned dress shirts with rolled-up sleeves. He looks like he?s stepped directly off the ?Tad Hamilton? set. Although he is in physical rehab for a ruptured Achilles, his limp is hardly noticeable. Despite his inadequate expertise with superstardom, Duhamel did have some other relevant experience.

?When I was on ?All My Children,? we had a competition for Seventeen magazine and I went to Alabama for this girl?s prom. So it?s kind of like art imitating life, in a way. She was a sweetheart, and we still keep in touch, but I never actually moved to Alabama.?

As for Tad?s competition, Topher Grace had a strong idea of how he wanted his ?everyman? Piggly Wiggly manager, Pete, to come across.

?It was important to me that he?d be very strong, that Pete would be a victim of nothing but circumstance,? says Grace.

He elaborated his understanding of Pete: ? There are two guys in this world that you can play as an actor. There?s the guy you want to be and the guy you are. And that?s the difference between Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks.?

Although he only lands a few minutes on screen, veteran actor, Gary Cole winds up with some of the movie?s most memorable moments with his portrayal of Henry Futch, Rosalee?s eager father.

?He was a really well defined character, and his time was well spent. The writing was very strong. You?d get a really poignant moment, and then you?d need a little air,? says Cole. Although he was only on the set four days out of six weeks, Cole?s character best (and most uproariously) symbolizes Luketic?s goal of twisting the romantic-comedy genre in new directions.

?Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!? plays host to an assembly of talented young actors and works hard to push its themes of love and forgiveness without ever taking itself too seriously.

?I like to make films that are outside the realm of the norm. I don?t give it a realistic texture. You could get that anywhere. I like the fantasy of color. I just enjoy that as an aesthetic,? says Luketic. With his latest, audiences can be sure to dive deep into Luketic?s world of almost retro Hollywood fantasy.

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