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SAFE HAVEN Movie: Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough

Josh DuhamelJosh Duhamel and Julianne Hough will star in Safe Haven, the latest Nicholas Sparks novel to be turned into a movie. Lasse Hallström, Oscar nominated for My Life As a Dog and The Cider House Rules, has been assigned to direct the romantic drama for Relativity Media.

Safe Haven revolves around a young woman (Julianne Hough) who becomes the talk to the (small North Carolina) town after she becomes much too intimate with a widowed father (Josh Duhamel). Filming should commence in July. For the time being, the Safe Haven release date is a Valentine's Day-friendly Feb. 8, 2013.

Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations aren't expensive to make, and they're reliable box office performers in North America — though considerably less so overseas. The current big screen adaptation of a Sparks novel is the Zac Efron / Taylor Schilling romantic melodrama The Lucky One, which has collected $58.49 million in North America, in addition to $29.4 million internationally, for a worldwide cume of $89.84m. The Lucky One cost a reported $25m; if that amount is accurate, the Efron movie earned back its production budget in North America alone.

Among Josh Duhamel's screen credits are both romantic comedies and dramas (Life As We Know It, When in Rome, New Year's Day), in addition to a series of perfect date movies (Michael Bay's Transformers franchise). Julianne Hough is featured in the upcoming Tom Cruise movie Rock of Ages. Hough's previous film credits are the musicals Footloose, with Kenny Wormald, and Burlesque, with Cher and Christina Aguilera.

Lasse Hallström, 66, has directed two Best Picture Academy Award nominees, the Tobey Maguire / Michael Caine drama The Cider House Rules and the Juliette Binoche / Johnny Depp romantic confection Chocolat. Hallström's other credits include What's Eating Gilbert Grape, which earned Leonardo DiCaprio a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod; The Shipping News, with Judi Dench, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, and Kevin Spacey; and the popular Nicholas Sparks adaptation Dear John, which starred Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.

Hallström is currently shooting The Hypnotist. The Swedish crime thriller features Tobias Zilliacus, Helena af Sandeberg, Lena Olin, and Mikael Persbrandt.

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