Locals appear in 'Safe Haven'
Andrew Freeman, 11, and Calvin Huelsman, 10, both students at Hardin Park Elementary, were vacationing with their families in Oak Island last summer when their brush with fame began.
Andrew’s aunt, teacher Corrie Freeman, said she was in nearby Southport when she saw a casting poster seeking 10- to 14-year-old boys. She sent in a photo of the best friends, thinking there was no way they’d be chosen.
Almost immediately, the producers replied: Yes, we’re interested.
The very next day, on July 30, 2012, the group boarded a ferry at Southport at 5 a.m. to ride to Kure Beach, where the show was filming.
It was the start of a long day — filming didn’t wrap until 7:30 p.m.
In the scene, the boys are throwing a baseball in the sand before the main characters ask them to take a photograph. Andrew's aunt, Corrie Freeman, and Calvin's mother, Jeanne Huelsman, also appear in the background.
“We’re so far back that you would never know it was us,” Freeman said.
The scene appears about 35 minutes into the film, she said.
“It was kind of exhausting, but fun,” Calvin said. “It was a neat experience. I liked watching how they set up the cameras and all that.”
Andrew agreed, saying the only part he didn’t like was waking up early.
“It was kind of weird and awkward, because they had a bunch of cameras in a bunch of different places, and I wasn’t used to it and I was a little nervous,” he said.
Both boys mentioned the incredible food tent on set: grilled chicken, prime rib, lobster, crab legs, ice cream. Each also received about $150 for their work that day, and the boys got to meet the stars of the film.
But the true treat is seeing themselves on the big screen.
Freeman said she “freaked out in the movie theater” when she saw the film this week and planned to take Andrew to see his scene Friday.
The movie, based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, follows a mysterious young woman named Katie (Julianne Hough) as she moves to Southport and begins putting down roots. A new relationship blossoms with Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner with two young kids, before dark parts of her past arise.
The Miami Herald calls the film “a sentimental romantic thriller.”
Calvin said he planned to see the movie Saturday.
“I think it will be exciting and really cool to see myself in a movie theater on the screen,” Calvin said.
“I hope my speaking part is in the movie.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the relationship between Corrie and Andrew Freeman. The story has been corrected.