With 17 books already written and another one — The Longest Ride — scheduled to be released in September, it would seem like romance novelist Nicholas Sparks wouldn't have much time to do anything other than write. But, he earned his first official producing credit in February when his book-turned-movie Safe Haven arrived on the big screen.
"It was a lot of fun," Sparks tells Hollywood.com. "I’ve always been involved in the development process and the selection of the screenwriter and the director and had my hand in casting and all that, so it was fun."
With Safe Haven, Sparks was quite proud of his leading actor Josh Duhamel's performance of his character Alex. "I thought he did an amazing job," he says. "It was tough character to play, and he really brought the character’s emotions to life with every scene that he was in. He really tried to bring a complexity to the character so he wouldn’t just be a boring suburban dad. He really tried to make this character come alive, and I thought he did an amazing job."
Julianne Hough did pretty decent as Katie too. "The key is to really let the professionals do their job," Sparks says. "I thought she did an extraordinary job as well."
Sparks has seen pretty astounding performances from actors in some of his past movies. "I think everyone would admit that there is a little bit of chemistry magic in The Notebook," he says. "It just really came to life on screen. And way back when, Rachel [McAdams] and Ryan [Gosling] were very new and hardly anybody knew who they were. I thought that they did a terrific job."
Yes, Sparks has worked with some pretty talented actors. In fact, he has even written roles in the past with a particular actor or actress in mind for a character. "I did it for The Last Song because I knew that if that was going to be a film, that Miley [Cyrus] was going to be in it," he says.
But more than writing about the characters, Sparks finds coming up with a new idea for an actual story the most challenging aspect of his writing. "It’s the creation or the conception of a new story," he says. "We all know what’s going to happen: You’re going to have a couple fall in love. We all know that’s part of what I do. It will be set in North Carolina. We understand that. But how do you write something so utterly different? How do you write something that if you had read back-to-back Safe Haven and The Notebook, you would not have thought the same author wrote them? Even though they had some certain familiarities, [it was] different structure, lengths, tone, point of view, character dilemmas [that set them apart]. Everything was different."
In Safe Haven, Sparks attempted to vary this work by including a plot twist involving a ghost. “I got a lot of people tweeting, ‘Wow, I didn’t see that coming,' ‘What a terrific ending,’ and ‘Caught me off-guard,’" he says. "Most people liked it.”
Sparks has made a great career as a best-selling romance novelist and as a successful screenwriter. So, like other great authors, one day, it might be interesting to see his own life turned into a big screen script. And if that does happen, Sparks would love to see Matt Damon cast as himself for the starring role. "He’s a terrific performer," Sparks says. "He’s about my age, and he’s about my height and everything." Sparks wants "someone high quality" and of course Damon is the perfect choice given that criteria.
Safe Haven is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD as of Tuesday. Plus, stay tuned for Sparks' upcoming book, The Longest Ride, which is scheduled to be released in September.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger's is undoubtedly one of Hollywood's greatest stories. First, he achieved a career that many actors can only aspire to with starring roles in movies like The Terminator (1, 2, and 3), Total Recall, and True Lies. Then in 2003, Schwarzenegger added "The Governor of California" to his resumé, a title he held until 2011. But at the end of his governorship, a scandal tarnished the beloved 65-year-old actor's name. On May 17, 2011, Schwarzenegger publicly admitted to cheating on his wife Maria Shriver after 25 years of marriage and to fathering a love child with their maid Mildred Patricia Baena. Over a year later, Schwarzenegger has released a new memoir called Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story in which he pointedly discusses the heartbreaking affair and many of his other life secrets.
While some readers will probably pick up this memoir to read about Schwarzenegger's acting career and the years he spent in the Governor's office, many of us are more interested to find out what this man — who we once considered Hollywood's Prince Charming — really has to say about the scandal that destroyed his family. In his memoir, he reportedly opens up about the day that Shriver confronted him in the therapist's office once he was no longer the governor. He also admits that she had asked him about the affair and love child many years before that day — but he chose not to reveal that truth during the earlier confrontation. "I did not know how to," he explained during an interview on Good Morning America Monday. "I was just too scared about losing everything, losing her, losing the family. I just didn't know how."
"Doing the book was kind of an interesting way of analyzing my life," Schwarzenegger continues in his interview. "This book made me look back. Analyzing that specific thing was kind of really painful, but necessary because when you look at the whole thing, it was just so horrible, what it did to the kids, what it did to my wife. They were really fantastic. I had the most extraordinary family that anyone could ever dream of." He adds, "Just because of my doing this stupid thing, I got into the situation that I'm in ... I definitely wish we all could be together."
If you are like me, you'll read the chapter about the affair before tackling Schwarzenegger's other secrets, which are many. The Los Angeles Times reports that the actor also discusses experiences in his life like spending Thanksgiving with the Kennedys (maybe Taylor Swift will be able to relate to him on this topic come November) and his decision to switch roles in The Terminator, the movie that made the world aware of his talents. The Washington Post even highlights a selection from the memoir where Schwarzenegger discusses how he felt that Karl Rove had tried to intimidate him with the idea that Condoleezza Rice was planning to run for the governorship of California.
Which of Schwarzenegger's secrets do you think interests you the most? Total Recall is on sale now on Amazon.
[Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster]
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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Donna Summer, a five-time Grammy Award winner, died on Thursday morning after losing her battle to cancer, TMZ reports. According to the report, the 63-year-old singer was in Florida when she passed away.
Summer's family confirmed the sad news with a statement. "[We] are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy," the statement reads according to USA Today. "Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."
Summer first rose to fame in the 1970s disco era with songs like "Last Dance" and "Bad Girls." (Prior to breaking out on her own, the singer sang back up for Three Dog Night.) In the '80s, she released a slew of popular albums including She Works Hard for the Money, The Wanderer, and the self-titled Donna Summer Greatest Hits. In 2008, she came out with her first studio album in almost 17 years, called Crayons, which included titles "Stamp Your Feet" and "I'm a Fire."
Summer's hits were famous for their sexually charged lyrics — content that clashed with her strict Christian upbringing. The musician didn't even have to sing words to make a controversial splash. In 1975, radio stations in the U.S. and oversees refused to play "Love to Love You Baby" due to Summer's suggestive groans in the song. Still, fans latched onto the catchy songs, and the singer became a favorite in discos across the country. Not to mention on reality shows. In recent years, Summer participated as a guest judge on both America's Got Talent and Platinum Hit, and has seen her songs played on series like So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. (She even sang on America's Got Talent with Prince Poppycock, who issued the following statement about Summer to Hollywood.com: "It's with a heavy heart to hear of Donnna Summer passing today. She was incredibly gracious to me with her time and advice. I still have her number in my phone for a lunch date we were to have in the future when our schedules permitted. I'll always cherish our time together , and forever treasure the memory of our duet. Heaven has one more singing angel.") Summer was also the first artist ever to have three back-to-back double albums reach No. 1 on the US Billboard chart. She also boasted four No. 1 singles within a period of 13 months. [Photo Credit: DonnaSummer.com] More: Chuck Brown Dies at 75 Bobby Brown Sings about Whitney Houston's Death
The Pretty Woman star shot to international stardom when she was 21 and has since expanded her craft to include producing projects such as independent picture Jesus Henry Christ and her recent TV documentary Extraordinary Moms.
But Roberts, 43, is adamant she will never direct a film for herself.
She tells W magazine, "I can direct breakfast, lunch and dinner. I take pride in my kitchen, but I'm not going to direct a movie."
Instead, the mother-of-three hopes to continue using her influence in Hollywood to champion other movies she believes in, like she did for Javier Bardem and his emotional drama Biutiful in the run-up to the 2011 Academy Awards.
Her outspoken support for the movie helped Bardem land an Oscar nomination, and Roberts is proud he earned the recognition he deserved.
She says, "I was the loudmouth on that. It was such a crazy travesty that the movie wasn't getting attention. And it's fun to throw your weight around. That's one of the perks of what we do."
"I didn't have to show her office anything (beforehand) and she answered all of my questions... She was amazing." Julia Roberts on interviewing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her Extraordinary Moms TV special, which will air on America's Oprah Winfrey Network on Saturday (07May11).
The Hollywood actress first learned about the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves organisation earlier this year (11) when she sat down to interview U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her TV special Extraordinary Moms. The politician helped to launch the Alliance last year (10).
Roberts, a mother of three, has now joined forces with Clinton to bring attention to the need for modern, clean and safe stoves in the developing world, where many families rely on kitchen appliances or open fires fuelled by wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook, which can cause potentially fatal health affects.
She says, "Nearly two million people around the world - mostly women and children - die each year from an activity that many of us take for granted: cooking for our families.
"I am proud to stand with Secretary Clinton to work to reduce the senseless and preventable deaths from unsafe cooking conditions in developing countries and I look forward to contributing to the important work of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves."
Extraordinary Moms will air in the U.S. on the Oprah Winfrey Network on Saturday (07May11), on the eve of America's Mothers Day (08May11).
The trio, along with American actress Mariel Hemingway and Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, will produce documentaries for Winfrey's new OWN TV network, set to launch next year (11).
The shows will be part of a monthly Documentary Film Club.
Roberts will present and executive-produce Extraordinary Moms, a film looking at the power of mothers who have fought to make their kids - and the world - better, while Whitaker will produce and narrate One Last Shot, a film that goes inside Louisiana's Angola prison.
Hawn will produce, host and narrate Searching for Happiness, a documentary that will focus on positive psychology; Byrne will look at homelessness in Nashville, Tennessee with the film Tent City, and Hemingway will explore the legacy of suicide in her own family in the film Seven Suicides, reports Variety.
A spokesperson for OWN says, "All of these documentaries fundamentally explore human interaction, relationships and emotions. We're excited to provide viewers with new perspectives and new ways of looking at core themes that shape and affect their lives."
The group joins a growing number of A-list celebrities to work with the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Country music singer Shania Twain will star in Why Not? With Shania Twain, which will follow her life on the rebound after a messy public divorce, while Jenny McCarthy has reportedly landed a deal for her own talk show.
Over the weekend (ends25Jul10), executives also acknowledged that former British royal Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was in talks for an OWN "docu-series".
Documentary explores the power of mothers, featuring courageous, brilliant and awe-inspiring women who share a powerful connection: the love they have for their children combined with a fierce desire to protect the future of all children.