The Choice: Is the Movie Inspired by on a Real Love Story?

Directed by Ross Katz, ‘The Choice’ is a 2016 romantic drama movie that scrutinizes the choices two people make for love throughout their lives. Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina, it follows the polar opposite characters of Travis Shaw and Gabby Holland. The former’s playboy lifestyle flips on its axis after he meets Gabby, his stubborn new next-door neighbor. Despite their differences and hurdles, the two find love and start a life together. However, when life throws them one last curveball, Travis has to make one significant choice to keep their love alive.

Revolving around a classic banter-filled romance, ‘The Choice’ presents an entertaining story about the ups and downs of life. Due to the story’s contemporary setting and relatable characters, it manages to tell a stirring love story that feels grounded in reality. As such, viewers might wonder about the film’s connection to real life. Here is everything you need to know about the origin of ‘The Choice.’

The Choice is Based on Nicholas Sparks’ Novel

‘The Choice’ is not based on a true story. Written by Bryan Sipe, ‘The Choice’ is based on the 2007 Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. The author is well-known for his celebrated romance novels charged with heartfelt and genuine emotions. Several of his stories have been adapted into films over the years, with 2004’s ‘The Notebook’ starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, gaining wide recognition in pop culture.

According to Sparks, when writing ‘The Choice,’ he consciously drew parallels between its storyline and the one in ‘The Notebook.’ While discussing ‘The Choice’ in an interview, Sparks commented, “First, I wanted to write a novel that was a little bit of a throwback to ‘The Notebook.’ I wanted to write a story about what happens after the honeymoon [so to speak.] Okay, we see this wonderful couple fall in love; what next?” Therefore, ‘The Choice’ may be reminiscent of the romantic classic ‘The Notebook’ for the viewers while still being distinct enough to provide a new perspective.

On the other hand, Sparks also drew references from his own life when creating Travis and Gabby’s characters. The author’s brother, who was a bachelor for a few years, acted as an inspiration for the author when he was creating Travis. Similarly, Sparks fashioned Gabby’s character after an assistant, who was the kind of person who had her whole life planned out. The two stories together helped Sparks create his ideal recipe for a heartfelt romance.

Additionally, as with any good romance, the chemistry between the leads, Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker, significantly informs the quality of the film. Since it relies upon the protagonists, Travis and Gabby, to keep the viewers engaged, it was pertinent for the actors to get a good idea of their characters. “We both chose not to read the book [The Choice] until after filming was done,” said Palmer in an interview. “Nicholas Sparks wrote a fantastic story and then hired an amazing screenwriter to write the screenplay. And our job was to act as those characters in the screenplay.”

Palmer further discussed her connection with her character, Gabby Holland, commenting, “I think Nicholas Sparks writes females well. I was very inspired by the character traits of Gabby because she is such a strong, fiercely independent woman. She’s feisty; she knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She is in this constant battle between her head and her heart. I loved that because that is how I live my life.”

As such, although ‘The Choice’ depicts an empathic love story that viewers can easily relate to, it isn’t based on actual events. It is a tale of finding love in unlikely places and fighting to hold onto that. “If there is a message in the movie, part of it is sort of going after, following your heart,” stated director Ross Katz. Therefore, many people might be able to see a reflection of themselves and their experiences in this fictional story of Travis and Gabby.

Read More: Where Was The Choice (2016) Filmed?