2_13_SafeHavenAfter 17 novels, eight of them already adapted into film, Nicholas Sparks is something of a force in the literary and filmmaking worlds. His body of work is beholden to some very specific tropes: two star-crossed lovers, usually in a port town, fighting the outside world until ultimately conquering insurmountable odds and succumbing to passion in the final act. The author’s connection with his audience is undeniable, as works (both page and film) like The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe and A Walk to Remember have established Sparks as both a brand and a star in his own right.

His latest book to be adapted is Safe Haven. Directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules) and staring Josh Duhamel (Transformers) and Julianne Hough (Footloose remake), Haven finds Hough’s character Katie on the run and hiding out from unknown forces in the sleepy cape town of Southport, North Carolina. She quickly falls in with Alex (Duhamel), a widower and father of two running a smalltime convenience store. The film sees Katie wrestling with her secret in the face of rising feelings for Alex.

The movie’s actually damn decent, I enjoyed it considerably more than I’d expected. A review will be up shortly but in the meantime enjoy this roundtable I sat in on with Sparks, Hough and Duhamel recently. They were very kind folks who provided nice insight on a film that I suspect might surprise more than a few people: