But don't expect some sort of retread of The Notebook…
"That movie was great in its own right, but this is different," Duhamel recently told us while promoting PetSmart's pet adoption program. "It's more of a suspenseful kind of thriller."
Adapted from Sparks' novel of the same name, the Lasse Hallström-directed flick revolves around a young woman (Hough) who moves to Southport, North Carolina, where she becomes intertwined with a local widower (Duhamel).
Duhamel compared Safe Haven to Sleeping With the Enemy, the 1991 flick starring Julia Roberts as a woman who fakes her own death to get out of a horrific marriage.
"I didn't want it to just be a love story," he said. "I wanted it to have something different."
Cameras just started rolling on the 10-week shoot. Duhamel said of Hough, "They saw a bunch of girls for it ,and she came in and she just did it! You could tell that she's got that drive and she's go that work ethic, too."
Hough recently told us she immediately signed on for the chance to work with Hallström. "I think he's one of the most prestigious directors I will be working with, so it's very, very exciting," she said. "And Josh—not a bad guy to look at. He's really great."
Hough, who's currently in theaters with Rock of Ages, will next be seen playing a burn victim opposite Russell Brand in Juno writer Diablo Cody's still-to-be-titled directorial debut.
With her character having been burned over two thirds of her body, Hough spent more than three hours every day putting on prosthetics and makeup. "But it was one of those movies that really changed my perspective on what's important," she recently told us. "It really brought me back to my roots. I want to be a nicer person and I want to be more thoughtful."
—Additional reporting by Brett Malec