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Monday, February 4,2013

Safe Haven

By Liz Sterling  
I met Nicholas Sparks in 1996 when his first book, The Notebook, was launched. Those were the early days of my radio broadcasting career and Sparks was a newcomer on the block. His publisher, Warner Brothers, sent him on tour with a video camera creating pre-YouTube vignettes to be used for promotions. We had a fun and fabulous time. I learned that he wrote the book in six months and was just 28 years old at the time. Sparks was destined to be a success and has become one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his 16 books have been New York Times best-sellers, with nearly 80 million copies in print worldwide in more than 45 languages. Eight of his books have been adapted for the screen and his newest, Safe Haven, is scheduled for release in theaters nationwide on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013.

Julianne Hough, Ryan Seacrest’s girlfriend, and Josh Duhamel, Fergie’s husband, are the love interests in Safe Haven, an affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman’s struggle to love again. The movie begins when a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town and her reluctance to join the tight-knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life that force her to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love.

Hough discovered that her role was unique. She reflected, “This was an interesting process for me because everything that I’ve done before has been so scripted and on the page. In this one, he’s like, ‘Make it your own, say what you want.’ It’s so much more real. Because I do relate so much to my character, it’s a lot of what I would say. Not a lot of talking, a lot of feeling.”

When asked about working with Josh, she replied, “He’s very easy to work with. He is Alex. He’s the nice guy who’s been through things that shaped who he is. He’s that safe person in real life, too. He’s very open to people and wanting to be their friend. He’s got that light about him, where you feel safe. When I’m around him, there’s a safety and comfort.” And on her relationship with Ryan Seacrest, she said the most important thing is, “Being honest with your partner and being vulnerable to open yourself up to somebody.”

Director Lasse Hallström brings a kind of European feel to American films, and Josh Duhamel shared an overview of his experience on the set of Safe Haven with Danny Miller of MSN Entertainment. “It was a completely different experience than anything I’ve done. Lasse is all about spontaneity. Some directors won’t ever veer from the written word, but he is more about those real moments that can be found through improvisation. That was scary for me in the beginning. You might think, “Oh, I’m going to improvise my scenes so I don’t have to worry that much about my lines,” but the truth is, when you’re doing that, you have to know every scene as it’s written, inside and out. You’re going to do it that way first, and then Lasse wants you to just flow freely and say whatever you feel so you really have to understand each scene and what it’s about before you can improvise within that. It was a scary experience, but also very liberating and exciting as an actor!”

And Josh also shared about the synchronicity of meeting his co-star. “I met Julianne at the Trevor Live Awards, given out by this great anti-bullying organization called the Trevor Project. We were talking backstage, and she said, ‘Oh, I’d really love to work with you some day!’ And sure enough, when this movie happened, they brought her name up, and I said that’s actually a very good idea! You know, she’s somebody who is perceived as this beautiful dancer, this girl who’s got such a bright and bubbly personality, but underneath it, there’s a lot more than people might expect. She came in and blew everyone away with her audition, and she was a real pleasure to work with it. Julianne is just a very genuine person; there’s nothing phony about her at all.

“In the movie, at first, Alex doesn’t really know what to make of her. And after a while, I think that he just can’t help that everything about her seems right,” Josh said of Julianne‘s character in the film.

This one is going to be a winner!

Sparks does it again. Safe Haven is a wonderful mix of love, trust and understanding. That sounds like a good formula for relationship success!

Have a beautiful month with Lots of LOVE!


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