When in Rome - Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel
Beth (Kristen Bell) and Nick (Josh Duhamel - center) © Touchstone Pictures

When in Rome spotlights the story of Beth (Kristen Bell), an ambitious New Yorker who, disillusioned with romance, steals three coins from a reputed fountain of love while she’s in Rome for her sister’s wedding, only to discover the three men who threw those coins in the fountain, a sausage magnate (Danny DeVito), a street magician (Jon Heder) and a painter (Will Arnett) are now pursuing her.

When a charming reporter, Nick (Josh Duhamel), who she meets at the wedding, also shows interest in her, although her feelings are mutual, she’s not sure if his love is the real thing.

Best known for his portrayals of Danny McCoy on TV’s Las Vegas, and Captain Lennox in Transformers, Josh Duhamel talked about his work in this new romantic comedy.

Are Nick and Beth alike?

When in Rome - Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell
Nick (Josh Duhamel) and Beth (Kristen Bell) © Touchstone Pictures

I would say Nick and Beth have the same outlook on life. 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 for it.

How did you build up your relationship with Kristen for this romantic comedy?

We had to start out so quick and fall in love so quick in order to propel the movie through. We had to make those first couple of scenes work at the wedding and the stuff afterwards when we get back to New York.

Otherwise, it would have felt like there was nothing there to begin with, so what’s he really chasing after? So we really focused on that wedding scene and tried to establish as much of a love- at-first-sight thing as we could, so when she got back to New York and all these guys were chasing after her, it would make sense.

What was the experience like shooting in Italy?

When in Rome - Josh Duhamel, Dax Shepard, Will Arnett, Mark Steven Johnson and Kristen Bell
Nick (Josh Duhamel), Gale (Dax Shepard - obscured), Antonio (Will Arnett), Director Mark Steven Johnson and Beth (Kristen Bell) © Touchstone Pictures

I loved it. The only problem was it was just so hot. We were in the middle of a heat wave shooting the stuff in Rome.

I got to study a lot of art history in college and it was always a dream of mine to be able to go to Rome and see some of the things there. So that was the best part of it for me. I had a day off when we were there and I rented a Vespa and just went out, didn’t know where I was going and got to see some of the sights in Rome. I still can’t believe I had the balls to do it. There are nine million Vespas driving around and I didn’t know where I was going but it was a great day.

I hear you did your own stunts in the film, and your parents visited the set the day you rolled over the car hood.

When in Rome - Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel
Beth (Kristen Bell) and Nick (Josh Duhamel) © Touchstone Pictures

If Mark (Steven Johnson, the director) and I had any arguments in this film, it was about that. There was a scene where I was supposed to run into this car but the stunt coordinator had it set up where the car was going to sweep out my leg and I was going to roll onto the front of the windshield and look up and see that it’s my friend Punk.

It wasn’t the most well-conceived stunt ever performed. 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. 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. I was okay, 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.’

When I actually flew over the hood and landed on my neck, everyone as like, ‘Are you all right?’ All of a sudden I hear ‘Booooo’ in the background, and it’s my old man. Thanks for the support, Dad, I appreciate it! But he knew I was okay, he was the only one who knew.

Did you do the final take that’s in the movie?

[Yes], 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!

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.