Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
If you have ever read a Nicholas Sparks novel, you may have wondered whether he has some kind of magic formula for creating such absorbing love stories. Part of the ingredients include two people falling in love, despite their differences, in the lovely setting of North Carolina. How the man takes that and shakes it up into something fresh each time (especially here) is beyond me.
When we last spoke to Sparks back in 2013 for SAFE HAVEN, we discussed his favorite novel that he had written. He told us it was the one that he was working on– THE LONGEST RIDE.
I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Sparks is on a bit of a hot streak. His last two books got immediate movie deals, with THE LONGEST RIDE getting one before the novel even hit bookshelves (which goes to show you it’s certainly something special).
THE LONGEST RIDE tells two love stories: One focuses on the budding romance of a champion bull rider named Luke (Scott Eastwood) and an art history student named Sophia (Britt Robertson). The other is of Ira Levinson (Jack Huston, Alan Alda), a Jewish haberdasher, and his wife, Ruth (Oona Chaplin), who came to North Carolina from Vienna when Hitler’s atrocities were merely speculation.
Fresh Fiction recently had the opportunity to sit down with author-producer Nicholas Sparks and stars Britt Robertson (TOMORROWLAND) and Scott Eastwood (FURY). We discussed the moment that caused their life to change, the romance within the film, and what kind of cuts director George Tillman Jr. would make if he made a movie about each of their lives.
THE LONGEST RIDE opens Friday, April 10.