Swoon for Josh Duhamel, Your Next Nicholas Sparks Hero

After zooming to fame with TV's Las Vegas and the Transformers series (with the odd detour into Katherine Heigl rom-com territory), Josh Duhamel is coming full circle, in a way: The onetime All My Children soap star set to step into the next Nicholas Sparks romantic weepie, Safe Haven, opposite Footloose/Rock of Ages starlet Julianne Hough.

The Sparks flick looks to be one-time would-be dentist Duhamel's first straight romantic film role yet that doesn't overlap into romantic comedy (When in Rome, Life as We Know It) or ensemble (The Romantics, New Year's Eve). For Hough, Safe Haven will mark her first work in a non-performance-based role (as in Footloose, Burlesque, and Rock of Ages) aside from her upcoming turn in Diablo Cody's directorial debut.

I say it's about time Duhamel embrace his leading man status in the kind of movie that has more explosive sighs then explosions. Unleash that inner Leo du Pres, you gorgeous (and, per Sparks tradition) tortured man! Lasse Hallstrom is set to direct, with filming to begin in June for a pre-Valentine's Week 2013 release. Soak up the synopsis and ponder: just how Sparksian will Safe Haven be?

Safe Haven is an affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman’s struggle to find love again after she arrives 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. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.

[via HitFix]