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Interview with Lasse HallstrŲm, director of Safe Haven

Relativity Media releases Safe Haven nationwide on February 14th, 2013.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think are the basic elements that turn a romantic film into a classic?

Lasse HallstrŲm: My favorite romance is Annie Hall because itís original, feels authentic, and itís told with passion and a sense of humor. For me, a good romance canít be sentimental or maudlin. To counter that, it has to feel authentic, and to achieve that you need to have a sense of humor about it because life is dramatic, tragic, funny and real. So, if you want to be truthful, you have to have a bit of comedy within the story; you canít be dead serious with a romance if you want it to succeed.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What was the process like to find the right actors to play the two romantic leads, Katie and Alex?

LH: We started off with Josh Duhamel, and we wanted to pair him with someone, so we auditioned three or four actresses for it. You canít really see that chemistry in an audition because itís too tense. You canít sense if they get along reasonably, but you can sense if you like the person or not. Regarding chemistry, you have to take a chance on that. You have to really go by a hunch. We got a good hunch from Julianne Hough. We had her first strange audition when I was on Skype in New York. During the second audition, I was in the same room with her and she showed a range that she hadnít even shown before or she wasnít allowed to show that range before in Rock of Ages or Footloose. So, we hired her.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Who among the actors of the old days of cinema would you cast in the roles of Katie and Alex?

LH: For the role of Katie, I would have picked Liselotte Pulver, a virtually unknown who I loved as a kid. Clark Cable would play the role of Alex.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How has the advancement of filmmaking technology affected your choices as a filmmaker?

LH: Itís heading in the right direction because I love the fact that we abandoned film for a less expensive way of shooting. I shoot a lot of footage, so now I can roll the camera for forty minutes and thereís no cost for film anymore. It really works well for my method of improvising, keeping it loose and saving decisions for editing.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you think the advancement of modern technology affects the quality of human relationships?

LH: Itís really weird when you click on the keyboard and claim that you have a girlfriend that you never met. Itís just a couple years ago that that idea would have been so ridiculous and laughable. To claim that you have a relationship over the computer without physical contact is odd. So, in that respect, things are going downhill, arenít they? I donít like the texting as a method of communicating as long as you have good transportation to get together.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you someone to find true love in modern times?

LH: Iím very lucky because I found true love twenty years ago in my wife, [Lena Olin], so Iím in a ďsafe havenĒ there. I fell in love with her for the first time when I saw her on television. Or maybe I wanted to meet her and knew that I was going to fall in love. For everyone else, I would go on all these websites, send in my photo and rťsumť. I would be happy to do that instead of racing around nightclubs, getting drunk and asking people to dance which I did for many, many years. Itís hard work.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How important is risk-taking for you as a filmmaker?

LH: My taste in films, at times, has luckily coincided with audiencesí tastes, so I donít think Iíve been taking risks with my true taste in films. I do love making movies about people, moving audiences and entertaining them, though.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think that there's a shortage of films for adults nowadays?

LH: It seems that kids, teenagers and people up to their mid-twenties have taken movie theaters hostage a little bit with all of the ďcarnivalĒ movies, but there should be at least twenty of movies like Argo each year, with that kind of ambition and quality. There used to be movies like that on a regular basis---I think that even kids would enjoy those movies.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What films would you like Safe Haven to be double-featured with?

: I would be very proud if it was paired with Minnie and Moskowitz, Husbands and Loves of a Blonde.

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