Relativity Media has closed deals with Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Life as We Know It) and Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages, Footloose) to star as the lead roles in its upcoming film adaptation of Safe Haven, based on the best-selling novel from internationally-known author Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John), it was announced today by Relativity's President Tucker Tooley. The film is targeted to start production next month in Southport, North Carolina with a February 8th, 2013 release date. Additional casting to be announced.

Oscar and DGA-nominee Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules) will direct the film with Temple Hill Entertainment's Marty Bowen (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2) and Wyck Godfrey (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2) producing alongside Relativity's CEO Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter). Sparks, who recently launched his production company, Nicholas Sparks Productions, will also produce. Relativity's Tooley (The Fighter) will serve as executive producer. The screenplay is written by Dana Stevens (City of Angels) and Leslie Bohem (Dante's Peak). Relativity previously teamed up with Hallström, Bowen, Godfrey and Sparks on the 2010 box office hit Dear John.

Sparks said, "I'm thrilled that Josh and Julianne have agreed to come aboard Safe Haven. It's hard to think of an actor better suited to play the character of Alex than Josh, and Julianne will bring a combination of vulnerability and strength to the role of Katie. They are both such talented and charismatic individuals - and best of all, they have tremendous personal chemistry, which is essential for this film."

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.

Duhamel was most recently seen in the romantic comedy New Year's Eve and Michael Bay's Oscar-nominated sci-fi action thriller Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Hough starred in the 2011 remake of the classic Footloose and stars in the highly-anticipated Rock of Ages with Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mary J. Blige, opening June 15th. She has completed filming the female lead role in Diablo Cody's untitled directorial debut opposite Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer.

Duhamel was represented by ICM, John Carrabino Management, and Hansen, Jacobsen & Teller in the deal. Hough was represented by CAA and Azoff, Geary, Paul, Smith Management in the deal.