According to Variety, Randall Wallace (who made the narrative mess that is Secretariat) is set to craft a film version of Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent’s “Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.” The book made waves by 1) claiming to be a true account of a 3-year-old’s story that he went to Heaven during an emergency surgery to save his life and 2) for dominating the Best Seller lists.
So what’s in Heaven? Angels, of course, as well as a horse that only Jesus can ride, an enormous God and exactly zero eyeglasses. Burpo, the boy’s father, contends that the child mentions details about their family that he had no way of knowing without actually visiting Heaven and visiting with them. The child never mentions that God is made out of Terry Gilliam cut-out pieces.
As acknowledged before, Christianity (specifically The Bible) is a big topic right now in filmmaking, but this book comes with a huge narrative challenge. Specifically, it’s made up of the initial hospital drama and the following years where young Colton Burpo relays his account of being inside the Pearly Gates. On the other hand, its lack of cinematic-ness might mark it with potential to be told experimentally. Unfortunately, Wallace – who wrote Pearl Harbor – fell off after We Were Soldiers and Braveheart, and he seems to walk around with a giant hammer in case a bit of subtlety sneaks into his work. This is already an overtly sentimental project, and with Wallace at the helm, the situation has probably gotten more syrupy. Then again, maybe that’s just what a movie like this deserves.