Josh Duhamel has a lot to live up to now that he's bringing a Nicholas Sparks leading man to life. But how will Duhamel's in Safe Haven compare to Ryan Gosling's work in The Notebook, Channing Tatum's performance in Dear John or Liam Hemsworth's star-making role in The Last Song?
That was just one of the questions I asked when Duhamel rang up ETonine in support of A Night With Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven: Filmmakers, Author and Stars Bring the Book to Life, the NCM Fathom event taking place in cinemas nationwide on January 17.
ETonline: This is a very cool partnership you're doing with NCM Fathom. What appealed to you about this opportunity?
Josh Duhamel: I thought it was an interesting new way to get people interested and involved with the movie. The way Hollywood involves fans now is much different than it was when I first started, 12 years ago. Especially with a genre like this.
ETonline: Twitter has become a major way stars connect with their fans. Are you a fan of the platform?
Duhamel: It's interesting. There's something to be said about keeping your anonymity in some ways; maintaining some mystery. Some people say that familiarity breeds contempt, while sometimes it's the other way around. Nobody wants to know what I'm doing 24 hours a day, they'd be painfully bored, trust me [laughs]. At the same time, if I'm doing something interesting or funny, I like being able to share that with my fans. I'm not a completely closed book; I'm a social person and if I see something worth sharing, I'm happy to do that.
ETonline: One of the things you'll talk about during the NCM Fathom event is the film's production. Did you have a good time making this movie?
Duhamel: It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I'll be honest; you have to be a pretty miserable person to not enjoy making movies. It's something I always dreamed about. I do not take it for granted. We were in Southport, North Carolina -- this beachtown in the middle of summer. Julianne is so much fun to work with. She's so real, and Lasse [Hallstrom, director] is about the most collaborative director you could have. You can do no wrong with him, and when you're in a situation like that, you can't help but make a movie you're proud of. All the elements were there to make the kind of movie we set out to. I'm so grateful I got the opportunity to work with him, Lasse is one of the greats.
ETonline: When you first read the script, what appealed to you about this role?
Duhamel: To be honest, and I talked to Nicholas at length about this, if I was going to do this character, I wanted the freedom to make him three dimensional. I ran the risk of playing a boring suburban dad. The interesting parts in the script were Julianne's character, and David Lyons' character. Mine was a guy who could have easily been boring. But Lasse was open to all these ideas, and it was so much about finding moments in improv, that we ended up with something amazing. I mean, this is a single guy in the prime of his life trying to raise two kids and run a store, there's a lot of complexity there, and sometimes those are the hardest characters to play. They're not obvious, you have to do a lot of searching to find what these characters are made of.
ETonline: Now that you've created a character you're proud of, do you think he stands up against previous Sparks' men, like Noah in The Notebook or John in Dear John?
Duhamel: You can only hope. There have been so many successful stories and movies that Nicholas has told over the years, it's scary to compare yourself to those. We wanted sentiment without being sentimental here, and I talked at length with Nicholas about this. He said to me that if you look at a character like Noah, he's a guy who spends a whole movie pining for a girl. It was what Ryan brought to it that made the movie so interesting -- and that's what we focused on here. Forgetting what the expectations of a movie like this are and just focusing on getting to the core of what these two people are going through. By doing that, I think we found a lot of real moments between these two broken people who weren't searching for love, but happened to find it.
ETonline: Nicholas Sparks' movies are notorious for making people cry -- what was the last thing that made you cry?
Duhamel: Just yesterday, I was shown this love story that's told in 22 pictures. You can go online and look at it -- it's 22 photos about the genesis of this couple's relationship. It tells the whole story of their love in 22 photos and that had me crying. I'm a bit of a sap in that way. It doesn't take much to make me cry if I'm being honest.
NCM Fathom's A Night With Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven in theater Q&A is on January 17, click here to buy tickets!