‘The Best of Me’ Will Pull the Heartstrings of Nicholas Sparks Fans

Yet another Nicholas Sparks adaptation is coming to the big screen, as the first trailer for the romantic drama The Best of Me starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as former high school sweethearts who are allowed to fulfill their forbidden affair twenty years later.

“You aren’t just someone I loved back then. You are the very best of me,” Marsden’s character Dawson tells Monaghan’s character Amanda in the trailer, which features lots of kissing and longing glances that characterize the movies made from Sparks’ romance novels. Fans of Sparks’ books and previous film adaptations will likely enjoy The Best of Me just as much as the others, since the film seems poised to use the same heartstring-tugging tactics, including piano ballads and lots of tender sex scenes.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that Paul Walker was originally attached to play the lead male role of the adult Dawson, but Marsden replaced Walker after his tragic death in a car accident last fall. The lovers’ story will be told partly in the present and partly in flashbacks to when they met and fell in love in high school. Luke Bracey will play the high school age Dawson. True Detective’s Michelle Monaghan plays the adult Amanda, and Liana Liberato plays a younger version of the character.

Dawson and Amanda are from opposite sides of the tracks in their small town of Oriental, North Carolina. After they fall totally, irrevocably in love, Amanda’s father forbids them from seeing each other. The two return to Oriental twenty years after their high school graduation upon the death of one of their mentors during that turbulent time in their lives and are reunited as they carry out the mentor’s last wishes.

Monaghan has gained a serious amount of recognition for her work on True Detective, which is easily the most critically acclaimed and talked about show of the year. She gives an amazing performance as the scorned and vindictive Maggie on that show, but The Best of Me isn’t really appealing to the same audience that enjoyed True Detective. Marsden himself has been busy this year, having already starred in Walk of Shame and the thriller The Loft coming later this summer.

Sparks’ best selling novels are written with the screen in mind and previous adaptations like The Notebook and A Walk to Remember are highly beloved by fans of his particular brand of romantic drama.

Sparks has been getting even more involved in Hollywood lately. At the end of May, it was announced that the author would make his television producing debut with the Lifetime movie Deliverance Creek, a drama set during the Civil War about a woman intent on protecting her family at all costs.

The Best of Me is set to hit theaters on October 17.

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