During a visit to the movie set of 'Safe Haven' (starring Julianne Hough, Cobie Smulders and Josh Duhamel), Sparks explained that he's very realistic about the changes that inevitably come with adapting a novel to film. When we asked if was hard for him to give up control and let his original story to be changed by a screenwriter, he shared: "Films are always collaborative. I know going in that you're only one part of a team. I have to say that I am very fortunate in that my opinion is weighed fairly heavily. And yet I also understand that they're very different mediums, and you can't do everything. They're not just going to film the entire book. The other part is that I make a conscious choice to limit my involvement at times because, if my thumb is the dominant thumb on every project, everything feels the same, now, doesn't it?" He hopes that each film will feel very different from the last. "I want that because I want you to enjoy all of them. I want you to enjoy Safe Haven. But, I don't want you walking out of there saying, "Man, that was just like all the other ones," either. So, you have to let someone else create. Making that decision is more important than, "Do I get my way?"
The same can be said for the details that are sometimes left on the cutting room floor. Sparks isn't disappointed in things that need to be tweaked or cut. "Most of the big stuff is in there. And that's really all you can ask for. And I say that because they're totally different mediums. You know, a novel is a story told with words. A film is a story told with pictures. I've written both screenplays and novels and it's a different thinking. I find novel writing much harder. It is a different kind of thinking. You have to be able to capture things. It's the picture first. And if you have a scene of introspection that you can't capture in a quick picture, sometimes you have to invent things or put things in or take things out to make it work. That’s just the nature of it. I've grown used to it after, what, movie number eight?"
Sparks also revealed which Safe Haven character he relates to the most. "In Safe Haven, it’s Alex. He is a guy trying to do the best he can for his kids, and he's not perfect, right? Good guy, but he's got his flaws. That’s who I would relate to most."
'Safe Haven' hits theaters on Thursday, February 14th. If you haven't read the book, here's a peek at the movie's summary: "When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Katie struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards."
Stay tuned as we bring you behind-the-scenes photos and tidbits from the set!