Screenwriter for Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, We Were Soldiers
Winner, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay for Braveheart
Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Braveheart
Founder, Hollywood Habitat for Humanity
Studied religion and Russian and creative writing, Duke University
Went to seminary
“Heaven is for Real” Director Randall Wallace
Randall was not familiar with the story of 3-year old Colton Burpo. One day, his friend and movie producer Joe Roth called him about Colton. (Joe is a TV and film veteran whose 60 movies and television programs include, Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful and Snow White and the Huntsman. ) “I was not familiar with the book,” says Randall. “When I did hear about it, I found it riveting.” “Here is this little 4-year old boy who clearly could not be making up these stories,” says Randall. “These stories had elements of faith, suspense and intrigue. I knew this movie would have enormous appeal.” Randall also said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: “I’m amazed it got to me. I’ve been around churches all my life, and I’ve been exposed to a lot of material that would be categorized as inspirational. Most of the stuff is anything but inspirational for me. But I found this story to have an incredible intrigue and emotional power,” he said. “It speaks to the cynic in most of us.”
The book spent 64 weeks at Number 1 on the New York Times best seller list and remains on the list after more than 3 years and 10 million copies sold.
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL – THE MOVIE
Academy Award and Emmy winner Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine, We Were Soldiers) stars as Todd Burpo. Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes, Flight) stars as Colton’s mom, Sonja. Newcomer Connor Corum stars as Colton. Joe produced the movie along with Bishop T.D. Jakes. Randall directed the movie and rewrote the screenplay by Christopher Parker. The movie hits theaters April 16, 2014.
Randall says Hollywood has a growing interest in the faith-based market. “Every human being is concerned with the ultimate questions of life, death and love,” he says. “This movie has the power to reach across all the lines.”
Todd Burpo, Colton’s father, credits Wallace for bringing the themes of “faith is not just an experience or decision of the intellect” and for capturing the struggles of his family “spot on.”
A NOBLE CALL
Randall was born in Jackson, Tennessee and grew up in a strong Baptist home. He remembers as a teen being in church 10 hours a week and attending tent revivals. Faith has always been important in his life and a major influence in his writing. Randall always looked at the way Jesus told stories. Something that stood out that helped with his writing was seeing the power of the narrative. Jesus taught by telling stories.
While at Duke, Randall struggled with knowing how he could live his life as a true believer. At graduation, all of his friends were going into traditional forms of ministry but Randall did not. Randall decided to serve God as a writer. His pastor told him that the noblest calling is whatever God’s calling was on your life.
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