Behind the Scenes at "Safe Haven"
Last summer Rolemommy had the chance to fly to North Carolina to meet Nicholas Sparks and tour the set of his new movie SAFE HAVEN in theaters February 14, 2013. When I flew in to North Carolina, I was met by a local towncar driver who whisked me away (well, I was running late) and we started on the hour journey to get to the parade scene in the movie.
On our way I learned all about Southport, North Carolina's history (in 2010 when it was announced that billionaire hedge fund manager, Louis Moore Bacon, bought this huge mansion called Orton Plantation), the other films that have shot in NC (Hunger Games, Iron Man 3 and soon to be released We're The Millers) and his divorce and kids (what can I say, people tell me everything!). We already knew why Southport, NC was the perfect spot to film SAFE HAVEN but taking a walking tour with Nicholas Sparks was something we did not want to miss....
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: The really interesting thing about North Carolina, it's one of the reasons why I set the stories here and why this particular place is perfect is that it's a very unique state in that, unlike virtually every other state, the big cities are off the coast because of the hurricanes.
The entire eastern part of the state is dotted with small towns. Biggest town is Wilmington, about 150,000. And that's huge. I mean, you know, Southport has a population of 1,500.
So here is something very typical of outdoor dining in these small towns. And it's a great place where someone like Katie could wander in and, you know, there's never going to be anyone from Boston that you'd ever happen to bump into here.
Mr. Nicholas Sparks: You're at the mouth of the Cape Fear River here. Over there is Oak Island, where they were filming the parachuting scenes for Iron Man 3.
People here are watching fireworks and people diving from the sky over there. Poor little Southport, right? Southport is interesting. Wilmington was the last open port in the, as they say here, the war for Southern Independence.
Charleston had closed, and everything else had closed, New Orleans had closed. Southport was really the last place that everything came in. And this was the south port, hence the name that they change it to in about 1887. It was originally called Smithville. There's your North Carolina history lesson.
Most people don't know, but the last major battle of the Civil War was fought in North Carolina, it was fought after Robert E. Lee surrendered.
This is true, the Battle of Bentonville, which was fought by Joe Johnson because Robert E. Lee, he was just in charge of the armies of Northern Virginia, which was the main army, but you still had the North Carolina regimens--.
Rolemommy: I think this such an amazing experience -it's fun to see the actual place your filming, and then to see it on the big screen, I know it will look so different.
Nicholas Sparks: yes, it always looks different when you frame things. That's called movie magic.
We walked down the street to the set of "Ryan's Port Market" which was fully built from scratch. *Plot spoiler alert* Unfortunately, the very cool-looking market did not stay there in keeping with the plot of Nicholas Sparks' book they burnt it down.
Nicholas Sparks: The one side of the store is here. This is where they entered. Now it's burned down, people were sad that it was gone. One of the great things about North Carolina are these live oaks. I love these trees, they are very interesting because they don't shed like regular oak trees. They stay green year round, they shed three times per year.
And so, they're always as beautiful as this. It'll be this green throughout winter, these little leaves just fall all the time.
Normally when they grow let's say, in Virginia, they don't look like this because it's not quite as wet and humid. It's the moisture in the air that causes these trunks to twist and to spread out.
So if you buy a live oak in a nursery they won't look the same. The sad thing they do now is they kind of force them to grow straight and spread.
Nicholas Sparks: So, the best way to get a live oak for your yard -- that'll look like this -- if you live outside of North Carolina - is to go out to the forest, find someone with some forest land, and you dig up one that's already kind of growing like this.
And then in about 60 years when you're dead, you'll have a fabulous tombstone there. And people say, "Man, that is a great tree."
I mean, I think this is one of the most beautiful towns. Ten years ago, I was here for the filming of "A Walk to Remember." I remember walking down here and I said, "I have to find a book for this place one day."
So get ready for Nicholas Spark's SAFE HAVEN in Theaters February 14, 2013
In the meantime, click here to see the trailer and the beauty of North Carolina....