Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough to star in Nicholas Sparks adaptation ‘Safe Haven’

“Transformers’ hero Josh Duhamel and “Rock of Ages” starlet Julianne Hough are about to enter Nicholas Sparks territory together. 

The duo will star in “Safe Haven,” the latest romantic melodrama based on a book by the mega-selling author. 

“Safe Haven” centers on a young newcomer to a small North Carolina town (Hough) who falls  for Alex (Duhamel), a widowed store owner with two young children. However, some dark secrets from her past resurface and jeopardize their future together.  

Sparks — who has seen his books translated into recent hit melodramas like “The Vow” and “The Lucky One” –recently launched his production company, Nicholas Sparks Productions, and will co-produce the new film.

In a press release Sparks said, “I”m thrilled that Josh and Julianne have agreed to come aboard ‘Safe Haven’ — it”s hard to think of an actor better-suited to play the character of Alex than Josh, and Julianne will bring a combination of vulnerability and strength to the role of Katie. They are both such talented and charismatic individuals – and best of all, they have tremendous personal chemistry, which is essential for this film.”

“Safe Haven” is scheduled to start production in Southport, North Carolina in June. Lasse Hallström (“The Cider House Rules,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”) is directing.

“Dancing With the Stars” champ Hough showed off her footwork in “Footloose,” and will soon be seen opposite Tom Cruise in the musical  “Rock of Ages.” 

Duhamel, best known for the three “Transformers” films, will next be seen alongside Bruce Willis in “Fire With Fire.”

“Safe Haven” is set to be released February 8, 2013.