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Nicholas Sparks on Dear John

Published February 2, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Screen Gems
Nicholas Sparks has become this generation’s big name in love stories. The Notebook is the ultimate classic but even putting his name before Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember helped those movies. The latest adaptation of one of his books is Dear John, cites an even bigger name in romance for his inspiration.

Nicholas Sparks Writes Dear John

Dear John I think, was largely modeled on probably the best film love story ever made, Casablanca,” Sparks said. “If you remember that film, you’ve got Rick played by Humphrey Bogart, He’s got the tickets. The woman shows up with her husband, got to get out or the Nazi’s are going to kill him. If Rick gives them the tickets, he doesn’t get the girl. If he saves her husband’s life, he doesn’t get the girl. This is essentially that story. It’s just a modern updated twist on that story and, of course, with its own distinct elements.”

Fans of Sparks’ books and movies know that most of them are tear-jerkers. They can be pretty brutal. “I’ve had happy endings,” Sparks reminds readers. “Happy endings are easy. Tragic endings are easy. What you have here with Dear John is a bittersweet ending. This is just about the hardest thing to pull off. You can’t hate him. You can’t hate her. They just can’t be together.”

Dear John Dear John

Dealing with a military character complicates things too. “Of course, I wrote the novel in 2004 or something like that so it was a while ago. People forget the feelings in this country in the weeks following 9/11. In the couple weeks following 9/11, all the flags are flying out front. People are enlisting in droves. All of this, whether or not it was the right war at that time. That’s what happened to my cousin. The exact same thing that happened to John happened to my cousin. So, to me, there’s very little anything to do with politics about that or whether or not it was the right war, the right place, the right time. It was simply a reflection of the reality after 9/11.”

Sparks’ stories also involve elements of Christianity, which is kind of okay to put in movies now. “I certainly don’t shy away from a spiritual element within the novels or anything like that. However, I don’t do it for the sake of doing it. I’m not doing it to proselytize. If it’s important to the story, then I put it in. In this case, it was important for Savannah, because you look at all the choices she ends up making. This is a good young lady. I mean, she’s just a good young lady. So the last song has a spiritual element. A Walk to Remember, those are probably my heaviest. But if you look at something like The Lucky One which is again going to be a film, there’s not because it wasn’t central to that particular character or the story.”

Dear John opens to theaters on February 5th.

For the trailers and more movie info, go to the Dear John Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Screen Gems

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