Rodanthe’s Romantic ‘Nights’
Take a lonely divorced mother from Rocky Mount, a spiritually damaged Raleigh doctor seeking redemption, and put them alone in an Outer Banks inn during a powerful nor’easter. What have you got? A recipe for romance, and the basis for Nicolas Sparks’ Nights In Rodanthe, a best-selling novel and new movie starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere.
While Lane and Gere take care of the acting in the film, the real star of the movie is North Carolina’s Outer Banks village of Rodanthe, where the novel was set and where much of the filming was done. “There are these scenes in Rodanthe, and you just get the wind-swept, austere beauty of the Outer Banks”, says Sparks. “It’s co-mingled with a story that I’m proud to have written and that translated well to film.”
Sparks, a resident of New Bern, says the name ‘Rodanthe’ itself (pronounced ro-DAN-thee) conjures up a mixture of mystery and sensuality, but folks on the Outer Banks will tell you there’s more to it than that. “It’s America’s last, most beautiful isolated place,” says Carolyn McCormick, the managing director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. “We’ve got wild, dynamic, unspoiled beauty on a little strip of land at the edge of the world.”
Indeed, Rodanthe’s isolated location, perched on the slender and fragile Hatteras Island, seems the perfect place for two lonely fictional people to find love. Add to that a charming seaside inn, a quiet beach and a fierce winter storm (cue the candles), and you’ve got a setting as ripe for romance as Paris in the springtime.
When filming began on location in May 2007, locals relished their chance to be part of a major motion picture production. A former Rodanthe rental property, the Serendipity Cottage, served as the inn in the movie, and many residents filled out the cast as extras. Area musicians played music in a few scenes, local police provided security, and fire crews provided the ‘rain’ needed for storm scenes.
But exactly how much of Rodanthe’s romance is real, and how much is the product of a moviemaker’s imagination? Can someone looking for love actually find their soulmate on an isolated Outer Banks beach? “I’m not gonna promise them Richard Gere,” says McCormick, “but a lot of people do get married or take their honeymoons here. We do have an ambiance, an atmosphere for passion, and I think people will find that both on the screen and on the real-life Outer Banks.” For this little village at the edge of the world, it is the stuff romance novels, and blockbuster movies, are made of.
Want to experience the movie's romance for yourself? Download our Nights In Rodanthe Film Trail!
added: December 5, 2008
updated: September 14, 2011