James Marsden in Early Talks to Replace Paul Walker in 'Best of Me'

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James Marsden

Michelle Monaghan remains the female lead of Relativity's romance movie.

James Marsden is in early talks to step into the role originally held by Paul Walker in Relativity’s adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel The Best of Me.

This marks the second Walker project to find its new lead Thursday as the town gets back to work after its winter holiday break; Rupert Friend earlier in the day closed a deal to star in Agent 47 for Fox International.

STORY: 'Homeland' Actor Rupert Friend in Talks to Replace Paul Walker in 'Agent 47'

Walker died in a car crash Nov. 30.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Marsden has the offer and is just beginning negotiations.

The Best of Me follows a pair of former high school sweethearts who reunite after many years when they both return to their small North Carolina hometown. The story tracks the couple both as adults and students and has Michelle Monaghan on board as the female star.

Michael Hoffman will direct the film, which is being produced by Ryan Kavanaugh, Theresa Park and Sparks.

Marsden is coming off appearances in last year's Anchorman 2, Lee Daniels' The Butler and 2 Guns.