Young star of Boardwalk Empire, Jack Huston, has been cast as co-lead in the upcoming adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel, The Longest Ride. It came as no surprise when Fox 2000 snapped up the rights to the book when it was published in 2013, as previous works by Sparks – including The Notebook, Dear John and Safe Haven – have proved extremely popular in the romantic drama genre. The Longest Ride looks like it will be no exception.
The story begins with an elderly man, trapped in a car following a crash on a snowbound highway. Awaiting rescue, the steadily weakening man reflects on the years he spent with his beloved, but deceased, wife. Elsewhere, as the elderly man reminisces, an Art History college senior is busy finding unlikely love with a bull rider. Eventually, a strange occurrence causes the two stories to intertwine.
Jack Huston will play the younger version of the elderly man – seen in his vivid flashbacks – while Scott Eastwood will star as the bull rider. Britt Robertson has been cast as in the role of college senior, while Oona Chaplin will also take a role – presumably as the elderly man’s late wife. George Tillman Jr. (Faster) will direct the film, from a script adaptation penned by Craig Bolotin, Brad Desch, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber.
While the premise of two separate love stories certainly puts a twist on the genre, there’s not a great deal of originality happening in this plot. It seems that it may be the cast that provides the big draw for the audience in this one. Jack Huston has been building on his Boardwalk Empire goodwill with roles in American Hustle and Kill Your Darlings. Britt Robertson’s profile is steadily growing, too, with upcoming roles in Tomorrowland and Cake. As we’ve seen with past Nicholas Sparks adaptations, they often catch young, talented performers on their way to bigger, better things – for example, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Liam Hemsworth, Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried have all paid their dues in popular Sparks tales.
With a fairly reliable Sparks fan-base already built in, Fox 2000 has set a release date of April 3, 2015 for The Longest Ride. Let’s hope the title reflects the journey of Jack Huston’s character – and not the way audiences will feel about the experience of watching the film as they leave the theatre.