Josh Duhamel in talks for Relativity’s ‘Safe Haven’

Nicholas Sparks adaptation seeks female lead, in theaters Feb. 2013

After the success of Nicholas Sparks’ “The Lucky One,” Relativity is gearing up another Sparks novel with Josh Duhamel in negotiations to star in “Safe Haven.”

Lasse Hallstrom is helming the pic with Dana Stevens adapting the script.

Story follows a mysterious young woman who arrives in a small North Carolina town, and how 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 a widowed store owner who has two young children.

Duhamel would play the widower.

Sparks will produce along with Relativity topper Ryan Kavanaugh, Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen. Tucker Tooley will exec produce.

The pic is set to bow on Feb. 8, 2013 and Relativity is trying to lock down the female lead. There was talk of Keira Knightley, but the role is still open.

Relativity sees this as a top priority after the success of so many Sparks tomes. Besides “The Lucky One,” which brought in $22.5 million at the domestic B.O. last weekend, other successful adaptations have included “The Last Song,” “Dear John” and “The Notebook.”

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Duhamel was most recently seen in New Line’s “New Year’s Eve.”

He is repped by ICM and John Carrabino Management.

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