Fans excited for Sparks on set in Southport

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — An anxious crowd waited for the chance to catch a glimpse of some of their favorite stars Wednesday in Southport. After close to an hour, “Safe Haven” stars Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, along with writer Nicholas Sparks, finally arrived.

The crew was on hand to present The Boys and Girls Club of Southport with a $1,500 check, because the group won a float contest for the movie. Not only will the organization get the money but the float is going to be featured in the film during the 4th of July parade scene.

“Now we just have to deliver a good movie,” Duhamel said. “We’ll try to make you proud.”

After the ceremony, we caught up with Sparks. He says he is thrilled the book and the movie will feature one of North Carolina’s hidden treasures.

“It was exciting for me to not only set the novel here,” Sparks said. “That was neat, because it gave me a chance to sneak down here without anyone knowing and check out some things. But when they decided to film here, that was great, because Southport is very unique. It’s one of these wonderful gems in the Carolinas, and there’s really not any other town just like it. I couldn’t be more excited that it’s filming here.”

The attention garnered from the production is predicted to bring about $16 million to the economy in Southport. Sparks says he is proud that his work can help his home state.

“I don’t necessarily count it as giving back,” Sparks said. “I just try to write good stories, and I think it’s great that the eastern part of the state, where all my novels are set, gets some sort of help.”

When it comes to his next book, Sparks is staying tight-lipped. One thing’s for sure: readers can expect the story to be set on the coast of North Carolina, and Wrightsville Beach may not be out of the question.

“Safe Haven” is set to wrap up filming in Southport later this month.

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