Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough Starring in Nicholas Sparks Movie

Entertainment May. 31, 2012 AT 2:30PM
Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage.com; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Move over Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams: Nicholas Sparks is banking on a new couple to bring in box office dollars when the big screen version of his novel Safe Haven hits theaters.

Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough have been tapped to take part in the Relativity Media-backed project, which will bring Sparks' bestselling 2010 novel to theaters early next year.

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"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," Sparks tells Us Weekly in a statement. "They are both such talented and charismatic individuals – and best of all, they have tremendous personal chemistry, which is essential for this film."

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Set to begin production next month in Southport, N.C., Safe Haven centers around a young woman's struggle to find love 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," a studio press release explains of the characters portrayed by Hough, 23, and Duhamel, 39.

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The romantic thriller will come on the heels of Hough's latest project, Rock of Ages, which hits theaters June 15. Duhamel was last seen in the romantic ensemble comedy New Year's Eve.

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