31 January 2013

Safe Haven Movie Set Visit: Part 1

You might recall that last summer I had the unbelievable opportunity to visit the movie set of the upcoming film Safe Haven, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. A huge thanks goes out to Big Honcho Media for inviting me to participate.

I can't wait to see the movie, which comes out on February 14 and stars Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, David Lyons, and Cobie Smulders. And, if I'm very lucky, I might be seen on screen too (don't blink or you'll miss me).

The movie was filmed in Southport, North Carolina, and used existing houses, some sets, and some repurposed buildings. It was a rainy day for our visit but we had a great time, watching a scene being filmed, talking with Nicholas Sparks, exploring the town, taking photographs and meeting the actors.

First, here's the studio's summary of the movie plot:

An affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman’s struggle to love again, Safe Haven is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the hit films The Notebook and Dear John. 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.
Sounds exciting, doesn't it? I've read the book, and I've gotten the inside scoop on some of the movie plot, and  I can tell you that there is danger, excitement, new friendships, and--of course--love.

Come along with me while I visit the movie set! (Click on the images to see them full size)

You'll see from the photos that our day on the Safe Haven set was a little damp, but that didn't seem to stop the filming. When the rain came down, the movie crew covered the equipment and we all took a break.
Here we are on the set waiting to film. You can see the crew hard at work, the very cool director chairs with the actors' names, and even me!
Finally the day cleared up enough to film. If you've read the book Safe Haven, then you are very familiar with the carnival scene. For the movie, that part of the book was transformed into a Fourth of July celebration. Southport put on their red, white, and blue and reenacted their traditional and quirky annual parade. We got our first star sighting! And if I'm in the film, I'm in this scene.
After a hard morning being movie stars, it was time for lunch and a look at the town. Isn't that Safe Haven sign the best? We had lunch in the colorful restaurant shown here. It has a great waterfront name: Fishy Fishy Cafe. If you click on the link, you'll go to their website and see photos of the interior and get a peek at the menu. I had the coastal crab cake sandwich, and let me tell you -- OMG good.
After lunch we met up with author Nicholas Sparks who took us on a walking tour of the sites and buildings used for filming the movie. Here are exterior and interior shots of the house that Alex and his kids live in. You might recall that in the book Alex lives over his store, but that was changed for the movie. When Katie comes to town, she gets a job a Ivan's Fish Shack. Carpenters were working on that set, so we didn't have an opportunity to photograph the interior.

After that, we had a chance to talk with Mr. Sparks about the movie, the book, and his work. Thanks to the Frying Pan Restaurant for hosting the interviews, providing yummy hush puppies, and letting us stay to party. Next week's post will be all about talking to Mr. Sparks, so let's move right along to the party!

After our interviews, Mr. Sparks graciously signed a copy of the book Safe Haven for each of us and then posed for a photograph with every one of the bloggers. (You'll see my individual photo next week.) Here's a photo of all the invited guests and another of our fantastic and generous hosts from Big Honcho Media.

The party was super fun because it was hosted by Yellow Tail Wines. We had several wines to choose from, both sweet and dry. I picked the Merlot, which was delicious. Thanks to Yellow Tail for thinking of us and for making the afternoon so relaxing.

While we sipped our wine, we got to try on a special present we got from Sole Society. A week before we headed to North Carolina, Sole Society sent us a mini catalog and we were asked to pick out our favorite shoe. I had such a hard time deciding because I really liked so many of them. One other woman picked the exact same ones I did, and you see our pretty flats in the photo.
Even though we had a reception, our day wasn't over. The film crew was on a break from that day's shooting, and so we went back to the parade set to meet the actors and have a chance to take some photos. Before we were introduced to Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, David Lyons, and others we were lucky enough to witness a special ceremony. The Safe Haven production company made a generous donation to the Southport Boys and Girls Club. Afterward we met the stars and got our pictures taken. The photo on the stairs and the earlier group photo were taken by Big Honcho Media.

Unfortunately the rain put the day's shooting behind schedule and we didn't have time to conduct interviews, but we were able to have a chance to chat with the stars. They were all very down to earth, kind, and accessible.

We topped off our visit by having a fantastic and leisurely dinner at Mr. P's Bistro in Southport. The wine, the appetizers, the entrees--all were fabulous. If you click on the link, you can see photos and their menu. I ordered an outstanding tuna dish, which was one of the chef's specials for the day. After dinner, we walked down the street for some ice cream, and then headed back to the hotel to get some much needed rest before leaving the glamor of Hollywood behind us.

Stop back next Thursday for more about Nicholas Sparks, the movie Safe Haven, and a chance to win a book and tickets to the movie. Watch your local listings, the movie opens on February 14.

If you want to stay current on the movie's doings, you have plenty of opportunity. Check out the Safe Haven Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Finally(!) check out the official trailer: (for some reason the trailer has disappeared. I hope it's temporary)


Sandy Nawrot 1/31/13, 6:58 AM  

I am certain my daughter will want to see this. Julianne Hough is a very enigmatic young actress. I saw her Rock of Ages and the Footloose remake and I like her. How totally cool you were invited to do this! And free shoes! Gah!

Molly 1/31/13, 7:12 AM  

What an amazing opportunity! Thanks so much for allowing us to share it with you :)

bermudaonion 1/31/13, 7:44 AM  

So much fun!!! It sounds like you had a total blast. I've met Nicholas Sparks a couple of times and he is a great guy! I saw the trailer at the theater recently and think the movie looks good.

Erika Robuck 1/31/13, 9:16 AM  

This is so exciting!!! I can't wait to see the movie. I wonder if I can drag my husband with me.

Daryl 1/31/13, 10:04 AM  

you look fabulous ... as a long time All My Children watcher i am tickled you got to meet Leo Dupres, er, Josh Duhamel ...

Zibilee 1/31/13, 12:18 PM  

This is just the coolest thing! It sounds like the bloggers were treated like stars that day, and that they made every consideration for you guys. I am so thrilled that you got to be a part of this, and also, I agree with Sandy. Free Shoes!!

Amy 1/31/13, 12:50 PM  

aw I had no idea you did this, this is amazing! How fun.

Julie P. 1/31/13, 2:50 PM  

Sounds like you had an amazing time!

Beth Hoffman 1/31/13, 4:47 PM  

Oh my gosh, this was such fun to read! What a fabulous memory this has given you. Thank you so much for sharing!

Ali 1/31/13, 5:23 PM  

This looks like so much fun! I was away from the blogosphere last summer so I missed how it all came about, but what fun to read the story and see the pictures.

Laurie C 2/1/13, 6:35 AM  

What a great recap of your fun time! Loved hearing all about it. You've even made me think about seeing the movie, which I never would have considered going to before!

Unknown 2/1/13, 7:12 AM  

I remember when you went, and what a great time you had!!! I read this book so long ago now I can't remember it. Thank you so much for sharing.

Julie Z,  2/1/13, 9:09 AM  

This looked like so much fun! Thanks for sharing all the amazing pics. Gotta see if I can drag my hubby to this chick flick. :)

Karen White 2/1/13, 12:09 PM  

What fun! My family vacations at Oak Island every summer, which "next door" to Southport. We often watch the fireworks over the channel. It'll be fun to see all the locales.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 2/1/13, 2:39 PM  

What a fun thing to get to go to!

Tina 2/2/13, 7:54 AM  

Wow, what a fun time, thank you for sharing your experience. I am envious!

Rachel 2/5/13, 11:46 AM  

Wow, what a fun opportunity!

Lenore Appelhans 2/5/13, 9:54 PM  

So happy to finally hear about your experiences there. Big Honcho is the best!!

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