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Interview: Cobie Smulders of 'Safe Haven'

On romance vs. crimefighting, the nature of Nicholas Sparks and the perils of the woods ...

By James Rocchi Feb 15, 2013 12:06PM

 After jumpsuiting-up for last summers' "The Avengers," you might think Cobie Smulders wouldn't be caught dead in a conventional romance -- and yet, with Nicholas Sparks involved as both the original novelist and, for the first time, as a producer, it's clear "Safe Haven" is anything but a conventional romance. We talked with Smulders about shooting the novel, filming in North Carolina and the dangers of the deep, dark woods ...

 

MSN Movies: Your last film was a very, very large blockbuster with a lot of exposition and jumpsuit wearing ...

 

Cobie Smulders: Yes. This is similar except for the jumpsuit and ...

 

The flying aircraft carrier?

 

That is in this one. That is in this one. That is actually in it.

 

Then the cut may have changed between your seeing it and my screening it last night.

 

(Laughs) Exactly.

 

But all mockery aside, is it nice to do something like this, which is so predicated on classic, emotion-driven storytelling?

 

Absolutely. I mean, Nicholas Sparks does it best. And it was really cool to be able to do a movie that was based off of the book, to go to the book and get all this backstory and this history and to read really what Nicholas saw these characters, how he saw them, and how he saw them interacting with each other. That has changed very much to the movie they have onscreen today -- but you need to, because you have a shorter amount of time. But yeah, it was really cool to do sort of an emotional piece or to be part of an emotional piece.

 

BING: Cobie Smulders l Opossums


I also think Mr. Sparks' work always takes place on the North Carolina coast and he makes these little towns look so lovely ...

 

Yes.

 

Is that town, Southport, actually that lovely? It can't be. It must be crawling with opossums or ringed by meth-addled bikers?

 

No, no.

 

Was it that nice?

 

It is really that nice. I mean, they used the best parts of it, yes. But it's like even like the bad parts are really like the wilderness like the woods and stuff, which I feel has a beauty onto itself. But it was such a wonderful town, and the people who live there were so welcoming and so accommodating. And we thanked them by putting in a lot of them in our scenes.

 

And you folks recreated their Fourth of July a week later for your own purposes.

 

Yes, exactly. You did your research!

 

I  ... read the notes they handed me, Miss Smulders. Don't offer me a cookie or anything ...

 

(Laughs) You're the first one!

 

Wow, in that case we're all in trouble. But did the town kind of come together around the production not just because of their jobs or because of the local economy, but as a chance to kind of show off their town a little bit?

 

Yeah, I think so. I think they were really proud of it, and they have a lot of pride with their July Fourth Parade. It's like a big deal for them. It says on the sign when you enter the town. It says, "Home of the July Fourth Parade" like on their sign.

 

Not 'a' but 'the.'

 

'The. '

 

Right.

 

Right?

 

Yes.

 

So they take it very seriously. They don’t really say, but I think by the end I don’t know. I hope they were okay with us. There were a couple night shoots toward the end that I felt pretty bad about.

 

A lot of noise...

 

Noise, fireworks.

 

A lot of traffic?

 

Like the fireworks lighting, like the fireworks happening at 3 a.m. so.

 

It's hard to imagine anyone complaining about fireworks, but, yes -- when you're not expecting them.

 

Yes. When you're not expecting them and you hear them over and over again, and it's like, "Do I get to sleep?"

 

The woods in this film are so beautiful, but were they riddled with mosquitoes and ticks, or were they actually as pleasant as they looked?

 

No, (mosquitoes) was serious.

 

You'd shoot a scene and be four pounds lighter just from losing blood?

 

Yes. There was a lot of like poisonous Off! sprays being sprayed on our bodies. And the ticks were the biggest concern amongst the crew I believe. Lasse Haalstrom made me very paranoid, as well, about Lyme disease.

 

Right, or its tastier offshoot, lemon-lyme disease. I'm kidding.

 

Oh my God. I was like, "What?" (laughs)

 

That was just a horrible joke.

 

(Laughs)

 

For more on "Safe Haven," watch our video interview with the cast and author Nicholas Sparks:

 



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