Josh Duhamel 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 and David Lyons.

Your character Katie has a large arc in this story. Was that something that intrigued you, the idea of there being so many layers to her….?                                

Julianne Hough: Definitely. Katie has a huge arc, and I think that’s what I found fascinating about her. I knew that it was going to be a challenge to play guarded and mysterious. I kept trying to think about keeping her interesting with those things still in mind, and likable enough that Alex would even consider falling in love with her, and vice versa. There was a lot of layers to her. She’s a fighter and that’s one thing I really loved about her, and behind every fighter there’s often someone who’s a little bit broken. I think that’s why I resonated with Katie. Katie is not who she wants to be and not who she knows she can be. She has to change her situation. That idea of redemption is so appealing. Katie is almost two different people. She goes go from being super guarded to falling completely in love with somebody she just met.

How was it working with Josh Duhamel and the kids, as that unit? Was that chemistry easy to build?

Julianne Hough: It was very much about the unit. That was above anything. I don’t think Alex and Katie would have fallen in love without the embrace of the children. And I don’t think we would have had as much chemistry without the children, because they broke all of the walls and the barriers down. When you have kids around it’s not about you anymore, it’s about them. So it was really great. And Josh, he’s really hard to look at, so I’m so glad we had the kids to break the ice (laughs). In all seriousness, Josh is the perfect Alex. In real life he’s incredibly kind, thoughtful, nice… all of those things.

safe haven Julianne Hough

On set, literally the highlight of my day was that Mimi would be gone for a couple of hours doing school work, and she would come back and run up to me and jump on me and she would be like, “I missed you!” And I’m like, “I missed you too!” (laughs). That was the greatest.

Was there a particular scene that you found the most challenging?

Julianne Hough: As gorgeous as the cabin in the woods was, it was pretty hot and humid. When you have over 100 crew guys in that level of humidity in North Carolina…. it starts getting smelly (laughs). There would be ticks – it definitely wasn’t as glamorous as it looks (laughs). But then once we were out of that and in the actual town of Southport, it was absolutely stunning every single day. The breeze, the calm nature, the people – I loved it! Being in Southport, people knew that we were shooting the movie,  but it was never like, “Oh my gosh, how are you?! It was very chilled and welcoming. The people were incredible, they were always offering a helping hand and being so warm.

How was it speaking to Nicholas Sparks about the role of Katie, picking his mind about what he envisioned?

Julianne Hough: I spoke to him when I first got the role, I talked to him about what he thought Katie would be like. I read the book and I could see it, but I wanted to get his firsthand thoughts. I’ve read all of his books. ‘A Walk To Remember’ was my favourite when I was growing up. I must have read it seven times and then watched the movie over and over and over. Nicholas really speaks to women. He understands that we want compassion and love, safety and security. And ‘Safe Haven,’ it’s a very suspenseful movie and I think that guys are going to enjoy the action. It was a great help speaking to Nicholas, getting those firsthand nuggets!

Josh Duhamel Julianne Hough safe haven