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Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel Confirmed For Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven

The “Nicholas Sparks” brand is a proven commodity. Sometimes it stumbles ever so slightly, as when Zac Efron’s The Lucky Ones earns $58.4M at the domestic box office (as opposed to the $81M notched by The Notebook or Dear John). But it rarely slows. One adaptation reaches theaters, and another heads right into production.

Up next will be an adaptation of Sparks’ best-seller Safe Haven. Relativity Media confirmed via press release the recent casting rumors that put Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel in the lead roles of Sparks’ latest romantic weeper. The story this time out involves a pretty young girl (Hough) moving to a North Carolina town where her presence raises suspicions amongst the locals, even as she strikes up a relationship with a widowed father of two (Duhamel).

Oscar nominee Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules) will direct the film, which looks to begin shooting in North Carolina in July. Relativity has targeted a Feb. 8, 2013 release date … automatically making Safe Haven the ideal Valentine’s Day date movie for early next year.

Duhamel’s no stranger to romantic dramas, having appeared in Life as We Know It alongside Katherine Heigl and briefly in Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve. Hough, meanwhile, is about to break big in Adam Shankman’s Broadway adaptation of Rock of Ages, the latest feature to take advantage of her singing and dancing abilities after Craig Brewer’s stellar Footloose reboot. We know the beautiful blonde can move. Footloose proved she could act, as well, and Safe Haven should look to continue that streak.

Sean O'Connell

Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.