This week alone, years on How I Met Your Mother and a small, entertaining turn in The Avengers are really paying off for Cobie Smulders. Right in the wake of signing for David Wain‘s They Came Together, Variety reports that she, in a slightly strange turn of events, will also make a turn in Safe Haven, a Lasse Hallström-directred Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

Julianne Hough will star as Katie Feldman, a woman who mysteriously enters Southport, North Carolina, and strikes up a romance with two separate men — Alex, the widowed father of two, and Jo, her straight-laced neighbor — one of whom is a dead ringer for Josh Duhamel. Smulders‘ role sounds terrific; she’ll play “a neighbor.”

Oh, and it’s “a slightly strange turn of events” because, when you read about They Came Together, it’s clear that Wain is taking well-worn conventions of romantic comedies and trying to completely turn them on their head. And, it goes without saying, a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book is, by this point, an entire mold that the genre’s “more serious” side can be associated with. Smulders is covering her bases, in that case.

Safe Haven opens on February 8th, 2013.

Could Smulders bring something more grounded to the world of Sparks?

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