It’s no doubt that folks in Southport NC were chomping at the bit last week, waiting for the local and national premier of the movie Safe Haven on Valentine's Day. The town has never looked so good and many were heard leaving the theatre saying the real star of the movie was indeed Southport. As a long-time resident, I can't disagree. Our little town of Southport fit Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven script like a glove... as it was the author's first movie that takes place in the same NC town as the book. The local scene was quite a hit with the actors and production crew as well, with many local business benefitting by the filming and patronage at many of our favorite local haunts including, Fishy Fishy, Old American Fish, Moore Street Market, Ports of Call, Taylor's and Loco Jo's. Here is some of what they had to say... Quotes are from Wilmington Star interviews by Cassie FossJosh Duhamel
If the film goes really well, then I think Southport's gonna get a lot of attention … It's not like when you go to a town and you're like, "It kinda looks the way it did in the film." It totally is the film. It's like a character in it. You see the Yacht Basin, you see Fishy Fishy and all these places along the waterfront and Oak Island. It's just so Southport, which is awesome. I think if it somehow helps the town, then that will be fantastic. Southport helped us so much, so hopefully the film will also help it."
Julianne Hough from juliannehough.com"It’s not every day that you get to shoot in the location where the story is set. It’s gorgeous in Southport and I just loved it. It’s kind of a hidden gem. Everything about it was amazing. It was honestly one of the best summers of my life so far because it was so calm. I loved the breeze, the nature; the people on the street were so lo-key and chill. Instead of running up to us, like, ‘Oh, my God,’ they were like, ‘Hey, how are you enjoying our town?’ It was really nice. And, oh my Gosh, the Christmas store. On down time, we’d go there – Christmas in the summer! – and buy Christmas ornaments. It was a really cute place. I think something about the South in general, you have more time in the day and you get to enjoy each moment and not rush to the next."
Nicholas Sparks"I think Southport 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."
And he did! Sparks has a lot of nice things to say about Southport in an interview with VisitNC … The box office numbers for it’s Valentine’s Day opening and first weekend, Safe Haven brings in 30 million, more than it cost to produce the entire movie!
And Don’t forget the kids! They did a terrific job. Watch them here.
The local pride was overwhelming for some. "To see my hometown of 60 years on the big screen like that – I can’t describe how that feels," said City Clerk Regina Alexander. "I’m so, so proud."
Bravo Southport... well done!