Transformers' Josh Duhamel doesn't play it safe in Safe Haven
Love story: The official trailer for Safe Haven, in cinemas now.
HOLLYWOOD heart-throb Josh Duhamel talks love, life and expectation with Neala Johnson.
Josh Duhamel has a bone to pick with his Safe Haven co-star Julianne Hough.
The Hollywood hottie stumbled across an article where Hough apparently described how Duhamel cried with her as the pair lay naked in bed together.
"What was that about?" Duhamel asks the bubbly blonde sitting beside him.
"I have never said that!" counters Hough.
"I think you were kidding about the naked bit," Duhamel continues, stern of face.
"But that's not even what I minded. It just made me sound so vulnerable, like I was there curled up in the foetal position, naked and crying with you. That's not the image I'm trying to put out there!"
Duhamel is laughing as he says this, but he's not 100 per cent joking.
The idea of starring in a film based on a Nicholas Sparks story the guy who wrote weepies The Notebook and Dear John didn't immediately appeal to the 40-year-old.
Though he's done his fair share of rom-coms and says he keeps his four-year marriage to Black Eyed Peas pop singer Fergie fresh with small, day-to-day romantic gestures.
Duhamel has no desire to be the knight in shining armour on screen or off.
Alex, the single father and small town store-owner who takes the troubled Katie (Hough) under his wing in Safe Haven, was just too squeaky clean a character.
"When I first read Safe Haven, I passed on it because he was too perfect," Duhamel admits.
"Then it came back around about a year later when Lasse (Hallstrom, director) was attached and the script was a little more dynamic, I guess. But it was something, from the very beginning, I talked to them about the need to mess this guy up. He's too good, he never does anything wrong. I definitely am reluctant when it comes to playing that, unless you earn it in some way.
"We did our best to flaw him, make him a guy who's still working on it, who is learning as he goes with raising these kids.
"So yes, there's definitely a reluctance to play a knight in shining armour."
Duhamel did his best to "take the more indirect route" with the character and the movie, which follows Katie as she flees a mysterious trauma and an obsessed cop in Boston and winds up on the coast of North Carolina and in the arms of Alex.
Sparks calls it "a patient, beautiful love story".
But Duhamel didn't want to play it like (he adopts a soothing, silver-screen Romeo voice): "Don't worry, I'm there for you."
He wanted to "mess Alex up".
As it is, Alex remains a lot of good-guy to live up to. When Hit spoke to Duhamel, his wife had yet to see Safe Haven. He joked he would wear "rib pads" when Fergie did finally see it, lest she elbow him in the ribs and ask, "Why can't you be more like that guy?"
But would Fergie really want an Alex?
"No. No. No. No," says Duhamel.
The former model says he and Fergie are happier together now than they were when they first met nine years ago, but that hasn't been achieved without struggle.
Not long after they were married, a stripper went public with claims she had slept with Duhamel.
The couple got through it, Duhamel says, thanks to Fergie's positive attitude and "lots of therapy" he says that last part jokingly, but Fergie did admit to Oprah last year that the pair went to therapy.
"The whole thing just became a positive for us," the singer told Oprah last year. "Our marriage today I couldn't ask for anything more."
In the past, Josh has talked about having to prove he's more than just a pretty face. Apparently the proving never stops.
"I've always said I'd much rather sneak up on somebody than have 'em expect too much from me," he says.
"Safe Haven was a real challenge because, even though he was a guy who on the outside just seems the knight in shining armour if you wanna call it that, my goal was to try and buck that and make him as complex as I could.
"It is this behind-the-scenes work that Duhamel believes people miss.
"A lot of times you'll see some kids, they shoot to superstardom and then they fizzle because they don't understand, they don't truly appreciate it. This is a grind. It's a real grind, you know."
It helps to have someone at home who gets it.
"My wife would say the same thing," Duhamel nods. "She's had a long road. She started when she was much younger than me.
"She gets it and she's supportive ... and I'm sure she can't wait to see me make out with Julianne Hough!"
Save Haven (M) is out today.
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Beach love: Julianne Hough (left) and Josh Duhamel (right) in Safe Haven.