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Interview: Josh Duhamel of 'Safe Haven'

'The most difficult scenes for me are the big confession, the big kiss at the end. '

By James Rocchi Feb 14, 2013 1:01PM


In Lasse Halstrom's adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel "Safe Haven," Josh Duhamel plays the coastal-town widowed dad who meets -- and falls for -- Julianne Hough's woman-on-the-run. We spoke with Duhamel in Los Angeles about signing up for a Sparks film, the nature of big romance and knowing you're going to wind up kissing someone while soaked to the bone ...


MSN Movies: When you come on board a film like this do you actually read the book to get a sense of character and subtler moments, or do you just go with "Hey, what's on the page is what the audience is going to see..."?


Josh Duhamel: No, man, I'm just going to wing it. I don’t need to read anything. I didn’t even read the script.


Really? The all improv "Safe Haven"? Really?


(Laughs) No. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I read the book, of course, because I think it'd be irresponsible not to, and it'd be disrespectful to the author not to read it. I mean I wanted to know everything that I could about this guy, and I wanted to get inside Nicholas' head when he was writing him. And I called him before we started shooting to offer my ideas and what I felt like I wanted to do, and I asked him what he felt, or what inspired him to write the character. So yeah, I think it'd be irresponsible not to read the book.


BING: Josh Duhamel l Nicholas Sparks

More importantly, when you read the script and you realize this is a Nicholas Sparks film did you go, "Wow, looks like I'm going to be spending a lot of time getting rained on"?


(Laughs) You know that there's going to be elements of certain things in all these movies, for sure.


Elements of the elements?


Elements of the elements, elements of, you know, the big romantic kiss, and the big confession of love, and all that stuff. But in my opinion if you're going to make a movie like this to work you can't just slap Nicholas' name on it and a beach and some rain and expect it's going to work. For me, the reason these movies, most of them or some of them, work is because, in our case anyway, we talked a lot with Lasse about how important it is to develop the actual relationship. And how for me, the most fun I had on this movie were little scenes in the general store, or dropping her off at her house with the paint, or little silly scenes that don’t seem to mean anything but when you add them all together they do mean something.


And you get the slow accrual of moments which make the big passionate...


Well, then, you earn that big moment in the end.


And also nobody ever said, "Boy, I love that love story. It was so cold and dispassionate."


(Laughs) It's true.


You want sincerity in every moment no matter how passionate it is.


Yeah, I want to find humor in it. I want to find the irony in it. I want to make sure that it wouldn't ... I don’t know. The most difficult scenes for me are the big confession, the big kiss at the end. Those are the ones I struggle the most with. But in this case, it felt like we hit  ... we really sort of laid the groundwork for that stuff to make sense. We feel like we should have this, you know? These two really are in love, and hopefully the audience will be on board with it at the end. They'll be rooting for these two to get together.


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



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