Face red from arctic wind and hair tossed by wet snow, we arrived at The Trump Hotel to meet the sun kissed, polished stars of Safe Haven. Hollywood actors get hair and makeup; we leap across intersection ice ponds and battle road rage drivers on foot. You do what you gotta do to do the city, and if that means meeting a heartthrob looking like an urban wilderness witch, so be it.
Adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel, Safe Haven hits all the right notes: it’s mushy enough to make you cry, has thrilling chase scenes to rile you up—and who doesn’t love a film that involves riding a Greyhound to a new life? I was excited to hear from the stars, but just as I dove in with my big, open-ended romance question (“Do you believe in fate?”), the fire alarm went off. You know what’s awkward? Trying to conduct an interview over top of repetitive shrill beeps and, “ATTENTION: WE ARE EXPERIENCING BLAH BLAH BLAH” messages. Like always, we soldiered on. I turned to Josh and Julia, raised my voice, and asked again.
SDTC: DO YOU BELIEVE IN FATE?
Julianne: My dad always told me not to believe in fate, but to believe in serendipity. You create your own path but there are certain things that happen for a reason to get you to where you need to be. I believe in that.
Josh: I think that christianmingle.com helps. (He says that with a grin but then clears his throat to get serious.) Everything is about timing and recognizing windows of opportunity. A lot of times fate crosses us by, and and most of us don’t recognize it. This film is about second chances.
*BEEP*BEEP*BEEP* The fire alarm keeps going. I clear my throat to project over it.
SDTC: WHAT I WAS PARTICULARLY DRAWN TO IN THIS FILM IS THE IDEA OF STARTING A NEW CHAPTER: TAKING A BUS WITH NO REAL DESTINATION AND STARTING OVER. YOU HAVE BOTH LIVED INTERESTING LIVES, AND I BET YOU’VE ENDED UP IN PLACES THAT YOU NEVER EXPECTED, AMIRIGHT? (All caps cuz I had to speak UP!)
Julianne: I feel like I’ve lived four lives. Being 10 years old and moving to London, that was one. Leaving London and going back to high school, that was another. When I was 18, having $2,000 and moving to LA, going to Nashville for my singing career, coming here for the film; every day is kind of a new beginning in my mind. I always tell my close friends and sisters, “Your life starts tomorrow, you can do whatever you want!” That’s how I think of things.
Josh: The hell with today! Your life starts tomorrow!! (He jokes, but then gets serious again.) I’ve lived many different lives myself. I lived in North Dakota and took a risk going to California. I went to Northern California first just to get away. All I had was an 86 Ford Taurus that already had 260,000 miles on it before I left. I’ve been knocked on my butt a lot in this business. There’s no guide to navigating this profession, and there are a lot of traps you can fall into and a lot of mistakes you can make. Nobody escapes this industry without being humbled; you have to grow a thick skin. I’ve come out a little battered and bruised, but I feel better now than I have in the past 10 years.
Despite the chaotic background noise, it was a pleasure chatting with two celebrities who were comfortable being open and honest. Like the film, their stories prove that taking risks is scary, but that you’ve got to take action to steer your own life. The tough times will make you stronger—and if you open yourself up to being vulnerable, you may just meet that someone special in the most unusual, but ever so serendipitous, moment.
Safe Haven is now playing in theatres everywhere.