Duhamel, Hough test limits of romance in 'Safe Haven'
05:00 AM, Feb 13, 2013
BEVERLY HILLS — It’s a safe bet that to get Julianne Hough laughing, just hit her movie premiere incognito, in full costume.
In fact, when Duhamel showed up to last year’s Rock of Ages L.A. premiere with his wife, Fergie, bare-chested, in a long black wig and holding a beer, “you didn’t even recognize me,” he teases Hough over lunch at the Four Seasons.
“By the way, that’s like, who I am,” says Hough. “I like doing stuff like that. I was like, oh, he’s awesome. That’s so great. How fun is this going to be?”
Shortly after, they flew to North Carolina to begin filming Safe Haven (out Valentine’s Day), the newest Nicholas Sparks adaption, which stirs suspense for the first time (think Sleeping with the Enemy). Hough plays Katie, a woman on the run from a dangerous man in Boston. After booking a bus ticket south, she lands in Southport, N.C., a sleepy beach town where she meets Alex (Duhamel), a widower with two children who runs a small general store.
“It didn’t feel like we had to force anything,” says Duhamel, who overcame his initial reservations about the role through the author’s encouragement to muss up his character. “We talked a lot about what we wanted this movie to be. And we didn’t want to fall into the traps of what people were going to expect from this movie.”
Safe Haven “feels a little bit more adult, a little bit more mature,” says Hough, compared to previous Sparks films, such as The Notebook, Dear John or A Walk to Remember. “This is not about first love. This is about second chances.”
Director Lasse Hallstrom (Dear John, Cider House Rules) says Duhamel and Hough found ?common ground quickly on set. “I could certainly tell the first day of them working together they both had this easygoing nature in common,” he says. “They were both playful and up for improvising. They were a good match in that respect.”
How did their famous partners (Hough dates Ryan Seacrest) feel about the requisite love scenes? Both stars easily shrug it off. “(Fergie) knows that Julianne respects her relationship, just like I respect her and Ryan’s relationship. And they both are secure enough to know that whatever happens is not real life,” says Duhamel.
His Valentine’s Day style is low-key, especially because the Hallmark-approved day comes just a month after his anniversary. “But I know that I can never go wrong with jewelry,” he says. “Or a bag. But the longer we’re together the more creative I try to get with it.” As for those baby rumors, “every three months she’s pregnant,” in the press, he says. “It’ll happen. We’re on our own schedule with that.”
Hough is looking for some creativity. “I’m so not about buying things recently,” says Hough. (She similarly dismisses wedding hype. “I think about who I want to be with and what I want my life to be like more than like, the wedding day,” she says. “I’m happy where we’re at. I don’t need a certificate.”)
“On Valentine’s Day,” she continues, “I’d like to stay up all night and just like, talk.”
“Oh, god,” Duhamel teases, brown eyes wide. “Stay up and talk on Valentine’s Day?
Hough laughs, indignant. “Or do it,” she jokes. “But I mean, I don’t care, like, about a trip or jewelry or anything.”
Duhamel looks mischievous. “What if Ryan came out in like you came home and there he was like laying on the bed in something sexy?”
Hough: “That would be awesome. Because it would be really funny. And we would laugh about it.”
Duhamel: “I’m actually going to try that.”
Hough: “Now you’ve made me feel self-conscious about my answer! I didn’t mean, talk, like some boring girl!”
A waitress interrupts. “Dessert?”
Hough laughs. “I think we just had it.”