Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation filming in region

Longest Ride

"The Longest Ride" filmed on the 200 block of S. 4th St. in downtown Wilmington. The film is based on the Nicholas Sparks book of the same name.

Staff Photo By Matt Born/ Wilmington StarNews
Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 12:18 PM.

Spruced up classic cars from the 1930s and 1940s lined a section of Fourth Street recently to fill a few film roles they were born to play.

The cars, glistening in the afternoon sun, were positioned along the street. Extras, decked out in period-specific attire,found their marks for a flashback scene in “The Longest Ride,” the latest film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel now shooting in Wilmington.

Between takes and during scene prep, crew members hunkered in pockets of shade on the set of the romantic drama for a brief escape from the 90-plus-degree heat. When it came time to shoot, however, everyone moved into place.

The scene required a camera track in the street, allowing the camera to move smoothly along the bumpy road. “Boardwalk Empire’s” Jack Huston and “Game of Thrones’” Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of iconic silent film star Charlie Chaplin, were the stars of the June 17 scenes, which take place in the years following World War II.

The film, based on the book of the same name released last September, follows two love stories separated by decades. Huston and Chaplin’s story is told through the flashbacks of Ira (“M*A*S*H’s” Alan Alda), a 90-year-old man trapped in his car after an accident. Fading in and out of consciousness, Ira (his younger self played by Huston) thinks back on his life with his late wife, Ruth (Chaplin), and their love story that spans decades.

Just down the road from Ira’s accident, a new romance blossoms between Sophia (“Under the Dome’s” Britt Robertson), a young college student, and Luke (Scott Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood), a handsome bullrider.

Incorporating scenes from several decades, as well as an inside look into the world of bullriding, the film is an ambitious project slated to film for nine weeks, both in Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Several rodeo-centric scenes will also be filmed in July in Jacksonville.

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