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Randall Wallace, Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes Bring A Boy's Story of Heaven to the Big Screen April 16
From the international bestseller, and with an impressive Hollywood creative team and cast, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL – the spellbinding story of 4-year-old Colton Burpo’s trip to Heaven . . . and back–comes to theaters April 16, 2014.
Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL brings to the screen the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world.
Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Greg Kinnear (AS GOOD AS IT GETS, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, WE WERE SOLDIERS) stars as Todd Burpo.
“What appealed to me most at the end of the day is that Randy (director and co-writer Randall Wallace) had tackled this very human story and the eternal question everyone has about what comes after,” said Kinnear. “Whatever your feelings on the afterlife–even in your current life, right here, right now–there is this beauty all around you that’s been nicely captured for this film through the eyes of a little boy. If you don’t have any personal inspiration, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL will give you some.”
“What do you do when your four-year-old son looks at you and says, ‘I went to Heaven and this is what it’s like,’ . . . and you’re a pastor? That, for me, is the stuff of drama,” said Director/Co-writer Randall Wallace. Alongside producers Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes, Wallace considers heaven from a boy’s-eye view, and from the here and now.
“Todd grounds the story in day-to-day reality, the way it really unfolded,” Wallace said. “Colton doesn’t just blurt it all out. It comes out in little bits and pieces in the course of everyday life.”
Wallace and Christopher Parker adapted their screenplay from Heaven is for Real written by Colton’s father, Todd Burpo, with Lynn Vincent, which spent 64 weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times best sellers list. The book remains on the Times best-seller list after more than three years with nearly 8 million copies sold, and has been translated into 25 languages.
Wallace is the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of BRAVEHEART; among others, he directed WE WERE SOLDIERS and SECRETARIAT. Roth is a TV and film veteran whose 60 movies and television programs include MALEFICENT, Anger Management, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN. Jakes–pastor, author, entrepreneur, producer–is known to movie audiences for WOMAN, THOU ART LOOSED, SPARKLE, JUMPING THE BROOM, and BLACK NATIVITY.
In addition to Kinnear, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL’s top cast includes Kelly Reilly (SHERLOCK HOLMES, FLIGHT) as Colton’s mom, Sonja and newcomer Connor Corum as Colton Burpo. The film also features Emmy winner Margo Martindale (Justified) and Academy Award nominee Thomas Haden Church (SIDEWAYS, Wings).
“A lot of things in this story appealed to me, and one was Todd’s conflict. Should he stir up the townspeople with his son’s story or put it aside?” Roth said. “And he did the unsafe thing. He backed his son’s vision, though it could cost him his job and make him quite unpopular in town.”
“The great gift of HEAVEN IS FOR REAL is the possibility of the impossible, the touch-ability of the abstract–so powerful that we feel as if we are one with something we just can't touch,” Jakes said. “That's what faith is.”
“But the faith in this film is far from simplistic,” Jakes adds. “It's no quick solution, nothing magical. It's a struggling, stumbling, groping, grasping faith, reaching through dark fear and confusion to solidify the abstractions of life. And it's appropriate that a little child teaches adults how to believe again, how to trust again.”
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL is directed by Randall Wallace. The screenplay is by Randall Wallace and Christopher Parker based on the book by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. The movie is produced by Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes.