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A new Nicolas Sparks movie is in the works! Following in the footsteps of hot onscreen couples before them (like Mandy Moore and Shane West; Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth; and, of course, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams – the greatest Sparks movie duo of all time), sexy stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel are set to make movie magic together in the screen adaptation of Safe Haven. Safe Haven is one of Sparks’ more recent novels – it was published in 2010 – and like all the rest, it’s a love story set in a coastal town.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a J and J hater (I think Julianne is absolutely adorable, and I’ve loved Josh since his Las Vegas days), but I was not pleased as punch when I heard this Hollywood casting news.
For those that haven’t read the romance novel, Safe Haven is about a woman who runs away from an abusive husband and takes refuge in a small North Carolina town with a completely new identity. Naturally, it isn’t long before the mysterious beauty catches the eye of a local widower, and well, I’m sure you can guess the rest.
The problem for me is probably the number one complaint that book readers have when a film version comes out: That’s not who I pictured in the lead! Though Katie, the main character, is described as young, I definitely imagined her as older than my 23-year-old self, especially since she’d been married long enough to go through a horrible marital transformation from wedded bliss to torture all while living in the suburbs. That just doesn’t sound like someone my age – and Julianne is also 23.
The man she meets, Alex, is a widower and business owner with two young children. Josh is 39, so his age is appropriate for a (sexy) widower, but the age difference between the two stars is not. The plot isn’t about falling in love with a much older man or a much younger women; their 16-year age difference takes away from the story, in my humble opinion.
But Sparks, who must be making some serious bank of having a new film adaptation each year, seems to be happy with the casting choices.
"I'm thrilled that Josh and Julianne have agreed to come aboard Safe Haven,” the author told Us Weekly, “It's hard to think of an actor better-suited to play the character of Alex than Josh, and Julianne will bring a combination of vulnerability and strength to the role of Katie."
And of course, the two very attractive actors should make some steamy onscreen scenes. "They are both such talented and charismatic individuals – and best of all, they have tremendous personal chemistry, which is essential for this film," Sparks added.