Jeremy Strong, Malin Akerman, Rebecca Lawrence,Adam Brody, and Katie Holmes in The Romantics
Jeremy Strong, Malin Akerman, Rebecca Lawrence,
Adam Brody, and Katie Holmes in The Romantics
Ever since Grand Hotel and Dinner at Eight, audiences have loved the concept of ensemble films -- where a slew of famous actors come together to tell a story. The latest example is The Romantics, Galt Niederhoffer's screen adaptation of her own novel, which features a who's who of young film stars: Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Elijah Wood, Josh Duhamel, Malin Akerman, Adam Brody, Jeremy Strong, Rebecca Lawrence, and Glee's Dianna Agron.

At first glance, The Romantics tells a familiar tale: a group of twenty-something college friends gather for the wedding of golden girl Lila (Paquin) and BMOC Tom (Duhamel) six years after graduation. While everyone seems friendly enough, certain looks and sideways glances show cracks in their congenial veneer.

Then, during the rehearsal dinner, maid of honor Laura (Holmes) explains why the group was dubbed "The Romantics" in the first place, touching on the "incestuous" nature of any group falling in and out of love with each other over the years. By the time the night is over, a host of drunken couplings has taken place.

It's a reflection of the fact that no matter how golden anyone might seem on the surface, we're all flawed and we're all dysfunctional," says Niderhoffer of the film. "People can be kind and mean or petty and generous all in a single day."

Josh Duhamel and Katie Holmesin The Romantics
Josh Duhamel and Katie Holmes
in The Romantics
Holmes, who is also an executive producer of the film, says she was immediately attracted to the project. "I loved the script when I first read it, because it reminded me of all those great ensemble films," she says. And I was very flattered to be offered my position on the film where I could help and cheer people on."

Conversely, Duhamel confesses that he was a bit repulsed at first by the characters in the film. "I didn't much like any of them; they seemed to be a bunch of selfish people making big deals out of their problems," he notes. But then I saw what Galt was really doing. All of these relationships are on fault lines."

Meanwhile, Strong focused on what he saw as the truthfulness of the film. "Most films tend to idealize this age group," he notes. "But a lot of my friends in their twenties are still drifting."

Regardless of what they thought about their characters, the actors all admit that they became one big happy family offscreen; and they continue to be one. "We really were an incestuous group. I mean we were all so friendly and supportive of each other," says Brody. Adds Holmes: "We still like to hang out and go to dinner; we're really a tight-knit group."