Josh Duhamel Replacing Armie Hammer In Jennifer Lopez’s Shotgun Wedding

Following Armie Hammer stepping back from action rom-com Shotgun Wedding, Josh Duhamel emerges as frontrunner to star opposite Jennifer Lopez.

Josh Duhamel is in talks to replace Armie Hammer in the upcoming romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding. The Jennifer Lopez-helmed film follows a couple who both get cold feet about the relationship on the eve of their destination wedding. The tension escalates when the entire wedding party is taken hostage. Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) is set to direct with a script from Mark Hammer (Beautiful Ruins) and Liz Meriwether (New Girl). The film will be produced by Lionsgate and Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions.

Ryan Reynolds, who is still attached as a producer, was originally cast as the groom before being replaced by Hammer. The latter eventually “requested to step away from the film” before production began, according to a spokesperson for Lionsgate. The actor had become embroiled in controversy over allegedly leaked messages purporting sexual violence and cannibalism. Hammer called the claims “bulls–t,” but announced he could not “in good conscience” leave his children to film Shotgun Wedding amidst the ongoing scandal.

A week later, it appears that Transformers star Josh Duhamel will be the one to fill Hammer’s shoes. THR revealed that Duhamel quickly became a frontrunner on the list of possible replacements, with Lopez said to be involved in the search for a new leading man. According to THR, Duhamel is currently in negotiations, and should he officially sign on, the film will likely be able to keep its February release date.

Hammer gained significant career momentum from Call Me By Your Name, so he may have been the “buzzier” choice for the role. However, both men have similar action movie bonafides (Hammer with big-budget flops like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Lone Ranger and Duhamel in the Transformers franchise) that would come in handy escaping Shotgun’s hostage situation. (Fun fact: both men have also made small appearances on Veronica Mars, Hammer back in the original run and Duhamel in the Hulu revival.)

In fact, Duhamel’s background might actually make him a better choice for Lopez’s opposite than Hammer. For one, Duhamel has more rom-com experience than Hammer, appearing in films like Life As We Know It and When In Rome (and the more-rom, less-com Safe Haven). He’s also closer in age to Lopez (Hammer is more than 15 years younger than she), so they might make a more believable, or at least more evenly matched, couple. Of course, Duhamel also doesn’t have cannibalism rumors swirling around him, so his cleaner image could also come in handy for the presumably family-friendly fare. All in all, this casting could potentially be a big improvement to Shotgun Wedding.