Cobie Smulders and  Julianne Hough safe haven

From director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), ‘Safe Haven’ is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the films ‘The Notebook’  and ‘Dear John.’ Lead by Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, the story follows a young woman (Hough) with a mysterious past who lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widowed store owner (Duhamel) forces her to confront dark secrets that haunt her. ‘Safe Haven’ arrives in cinemas on Febuary 14th in the US and March 1st in the UK. The film also stars Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, The Avengers) and David Lyons.

Both your character and Julianne Hough’s Katie are at a crossroads in their lives, they both seem somewhat lost at the beginning of the film….

Cobie Smulders: Yeah. Katie and Jo build a bond that grows deeper over time. Katie is very hesitant to talk to anybody about anything, but Jo is great at gently prying the truth out of her. Both Katie and Jo crave the isolation of the woods (laughs). On their first introduction Jo is curious about Katie, so there’s a lot of conversations that come up between them. Eventually they become friends and they help iron out each others issues (laugh). They’re good for each other.

And how was it playing opposite Julianne considering both of your characters relationship?

Cobie Smulders: She was awesome, we had such a blast. Julianne is so sweet and she works so hard. I think we shot something like 50 days on this film, and she worked like 49 and a half of them (laughs). She was there everyday in rain and heat, and she had so much grace throughout it all. It’s a very challenging role that she took on and I think she was great.

I read that you’re a big fan of Lasse Hallstrom and Nichols Sparks. Do you have an experience from watching a Nichols Sparks movie adaptation that sticks out to you? Plus, how was it working with Lasse Hallstrom?

Cobie Smulders: ‘The Notebook’ was huge for me. I remember sitting in the theater with about seven of my best girlfriends. I was sobbing hysterically at the end. When the lights came up, I saw that they were all sobbing too (laughs). I think Nicholas Sparks’ stories have an amazing ability to transport you to another world.

Cobie Smulders safe haven

One of the main reasons to do this was to work with Lasse. I think he’s a genius. Lasse is so patient, sweet and Swedish (laughs)! His eyes twinkle. He exists on a different plane than the rest of us. He’s always happy and seems not to get flustered by anything. He creates such a safe environment and lets the actors be a big part of the creative process, as opposed to just showing up and just saying words that need to be said.

How was it shooting ‘Safe Haven’ in Southport, North Carolina, the town that the story was written and set in?

Cobie Smulders: I think it was really a great call to shoot in Southport, as the book was written in Southport. Southport ended up being a big character in the movie. And especially for me, I’m very much a west coast girl, I grew up in Vancouver, I’ve lived in LA for 9 years. So to be in the humidity, then all of a sudden it’s pouring with rain, to live in that and have that be a part of the story, that was great – because that would be how Jo’s life would be. I feel that definitely helps with performances and it also makes the film look great. I loved that town.

Did you have a favourite part of the town?

Cobie Smulders: Yeah, I loved downtown Southport. They have all these little shops, these antique shops. And they also had the “Christmas House”, which was like a 2 level old-timey house that was just Christmas stuff – and it was like July when we were there. It’s like that all year round. They also have some really great beaches down there too, there’s a lot of beach days (laughs). That’s important (laughs).

And do you have a favourite scene in the movie, something that resonated with you?

Cobie Smulders: What was wonderful to watch… it’s hard to say, because shooting and watching it are two very different things. But it was really cool to see the movie and watch the kids performances, they were so cute. Shooting the film I didn’t have many scenes with them. I saw them on set and I got to know them, but I didn’t get to work with them that much. So it was so nice to see what a great job they did, I was so proud of them. It was nice to see it all come together.

Is ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ up next for you?

Cobie Smulders: Yep, I’m going to be doing ‘Captain America 2.’ I don’t know how much I’m involved with that, but I know it’s happening. And I’m shooting that during the hiatus, I go back for season 9 of ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ our final season, in July. I’m excited but it’s going to be really sad. It’s going to be like a year of emotions, every emotion is going to be put to good use with that (laughs).