Last August we headed down to Southport, North Carolina to get a behind-the-scenes look at the set of Safe Haven, the latest Nicholas Sparks novel to be given the movie treatment – starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel!
Nicholas took us on a tour of several of the key locations in the film – Alex’s home, Ivan’s Fish Shack (where Katie works), among others, and even gave us a little history lesson along the way. It’s pretty rare that a film is actually shot in the “real” place where a story is set, much less the same location as mentioned in the book, as well. Nicholas shared how he chose Southport for Safe Haven. “I think this is one of the most beautiful towns. Ten years ago, I was here for the filming of A Walk to Remember. I remember walking down here and I said, ‘I have to find a book for this place one day.'”
Nicholas, who also lives in North Carolina with his family, often uses the state as inspiration for the settings of his books. He explained to us on a walking tour of the set locations, “The really interesting thing about North Carolina, it’s one of the reasons why I set the stories here and why this particular place is perfect is that it’s a very unique state in that, unlike virtually every other state, the big cities are off the coast because of the hurricanes. The entire eastern part of the state is dotted with small towns. Southport has a population of 1,500. So here is something very typical of outdoor dining in these small towns. And it’s a great place where someone like Katie could wander in and, you know, there’s never going to be anyone from Boston that you’d ever happen to bump into here.”
He continues, “So, that’s what you’re looking for, just one of the great places. Southport is interesting. Wilmington was the last open port in the, as they say here, the war for Southern Independence. Charleston had closed, and everything else had closed, New Orleans had closed. Southport was really the last place that everything came in. And this was the south port, hence the name that they changed it to in about 1887. It was originally called Smithville. There’s your North Carolina history lesson. Most people don’t know, but the last major battle of the Civil War was fought in North Carolina, it was fought after Robert E. Lee surrendered.”
“When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.”
Nicholas chatting with us about the film from inside Alex’s home (played by Josh Duhamel).
Alex’s front porch
Another interior shot of Alex’s house
Ivan’s Fish Shack where Katie works
Josh made a quick stop to say hello to everyone
Alex’s living room
Welcome To Southport