What Love Means to the Cast of “Safe Haven”

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to get the chance to fly over to North Carolina for a chance to visit the set of the upcoming Nicholas Sparks film, Safe Haven and chat with the stars of the film.

Safe Haven was the first Nicholas Sparks book I had ever read and I started and finished it on the plane ride over. Even though I had seen some of his book to film adaptations before, I was going in completely blind with the book which I assumed would be light-hearted and sweet, but was actually much darker and filled with twists and turns than I imagined. A young woman named Katie arrives to the small town of Southport, North Carolina and nobody seems to know very much about her, except for her next door neighbor Jo (whom she befriends) and Alex, the widowed owner of a general store with two children. The closer she gets to both of these two people, and the more she grows to love Alex and his family especially, the more Katie lets down her guard and is able to reveal bits and pieces about her past and the secrets from it she struggles with… aaaaand that’s as far as I’ll go with the spoilers!

Since Safe Haven opens on Valentine’s Day – February 14th, I went on the set armed with one question I had to know the answer to: what’s your philosophy on love? How do you define real, true love? The first remarkable thing about defining love is that absolutely nobody has the same answer. The second, is that it’s a loaded question. No matter how prepared you think you are in answering it, discussing love throws you completely off guard. Depending on where you are in life and the relationships you’ve had, it could be a different answer given right now than you would have said five years ago. The third is that love, in all of its forms, always has strong opinions associated with it. Nobody ever goes, “Yeah, uh, love’s okay, I guess” and skips ahead to the next question. There are theories and arguments and years of groundwork and things you’ve carried over from your childhood that all go into play. And when it comes to the cast and crew of Safe Haven, much like snowflakes, no two answers on love were alike.

Josh Duhamel, who plays Alex, told me he thinks love is constantly in motion, all the time, “I think it changes. [The definition of love] has changed for me since I was younger. But to me, it’s not just about making your heart go all a’flutter or having this undying need to be next to the person all the time. Love’s about whether or not you genuinely like the person, and whether that person is kind and thoughtful.”

“What is my philosophy on love? There should be more of it.” David Lyons, who plays Kevin, a mysterious figure from Katie’s past, told me, “Love is there and it’s in everyone. You don’t ever know if you get love right either, but there are a couple of people in literature that have nailed it, especially [writer] Kahlil Gibran who speaks of love in the book ‘The Prophet’ by saying ‘fill each other’s cup but drink but not from one cup.’”

Julianne Hough, who plays Katie, believes love is all about being honest. “Not necessarily just with your partner but with who you are too and being vulnerable enough to open yourself up to somebody.”

And what does the author and producer behind Safe Haven and of all of these beloved romantic novels from The Notebook to The Last Song, Nicholas Sparks, offer up on his take on love? A hand written love letter serves as his best philosophy, written to his wife each year recapping their year in love together. So far, they have 23 years worth of letters together.

*cue the single girl sigh*

Now, that’s amore.

Film still provided by Mammoth Advertising.

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