Fans of Nicholas Sparks might not typically frequent rodeos, but Sparks himself grew up watching them. His latest book to be adapted into a film, The Longest Ride, focus on a champion bull rider, Luke, rehabilitating from a severe injury and his love affair with Sophia, an art student.
Sparks is best known for his romance novels and their film adaptations such as The Notebook and Dear John.
The film tells two tales of love set decades apart. In the film the young lovers rescue an elderly widow after a car accident. While helping Luke back to health through his rehabilitation Sophia finds a common thread between the widower’s tales of love and her own relationship.
Sparks typically works very closely with the adaptations of his novels, playing an active role in screenwriting, directing, and producing.
While Sparks denies directly courting a more male audience, The Longest Ride looks set to potentially attract one. Luke, the protagonist, is being played by Clint Eastwoods’ son Scott Eastwood. The rodeo aspect of the film includes several tense close-ups on the action. The film was made with the help of Professional Bull Riders and Eastwood met for several hours a day with real cowboys to get a feel for the role.
During filming Eastwood was offered the chance to ride an actual bull, he lasted around 2 seconds before being thrown off. With the inclusion of such rough and tumble action this could be Sparks’ first novel adaptation to draw in a more traditionally male audience.