We’ve really missed seeing living legend Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) at the movies. Outside of playing the antagonist in the forgettable Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy caper Tower Heist and taking a small supporting role in the also dreary Wanderlust, Alda has been largely absent from the big screen. Luckily, that’s changing now that he has booked the lead role in the upcoming Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Longest Ride.
In the romantic drama, which is set up over at Fox 2000, Alda will play a man stuck in his car after crashing on an isolated road during a heavy snowstorm. Fighting to stay conscious as he awaits rescuers, the man sees visions of the love of his life, who previously passed away. Meanwhile, outside of the car, there is another romance playing out between a young art history major and a handsome bull rider, who fall in love despite their different personalities, dreams and backgrounds. That night, the bull rider, whose past injuries mean he shouldn’t ride, is fighting the clock to get to his family ranch, which is in danger. The strange circumstances of that night allow the two generations of lovers to meet and save each other.
Normally, getting excited about a Nicholas Sparks adaptation would be foolish, but this one was scripted by Craig Bolotin (No Small Affair), Brad Desch (the upcoming Fathers and Daughters), Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (the red-hot duo behind The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now and 500 Days of Summer). That’s a talented team of writers, and it will be exciting to see what they do with such an ambitious story.
Alda joins Jack Huston, who’ll play a younger version of Alda’s character; Scott Eastwood, who’ll play the bull rider; and Oona Chaplin, who’ll play Eastwood’s love interest, in the film. With the writers on board, the intriguing premise and the strong cast attached, The Longest Ride may be the first Nicholas Sparks adaptation worth getting excited about since The Notebook.