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Director Randall Wallace believes “Heaven is for Real”

Acclaimed filmmaker Randall Wallace talks about his new movie, “Heaven is for Real,” and why it has a special significance to him. Read Transcript


Wendy: BEFORE THE

BREAK, I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY

TO SIT DOWN WITH THE BURPO

FAMILY, THE SUBJECTS OF A

NEW MAJOR MOTION PICTURE,

"HEAVEN IS FOR REAL."

AND JOINING ME NOW IS THE

MOVIE'S DIRECTOR, RANDALL

WALLACE.

OH, THANK YOU.

SO GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

Wendy: GREAT TO BE WITH

YOU.

YOU READ THE BOOK, AND DID

YOU JUST DECIDE IT HAS TO BE

A MOVIE?

I READ THE BOOK, AND I

REALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH THE

BURPO FAMILY.

I SAW SUCH A REAL STORY IN

THEM.

PEOPLE WHO WEREN'T TRYING TO

MANUFACTURE SOMETHING, BUT

SOMEONE FOR WHOM A MIRACLE

HAD HAPPENED, A COMPLETELY

REAL KIND OF MIRACLE.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU'RE A

PARENT AND YOU GO THROUGH

THIS EXPERIENCE OF NEARLY

LOSING YOUR CHILD, AND

UNTHINKABLE THING TO ME.

AND THEN HE STARTS TO TALK

ABOUT WHAT HEAVEN IS LIKE.

IT IS LIKE EVERYBODY YOU

WOULD WANT TO BELIEVE.

AND CAN YOU REALLY ACCEPT

THAT?

AND WHAT ARE ITS

IMPLICATIONS?

IT'S NOT LIKE THEY THOUGHT,

HOW DO WE MANUFACTURE A

STORY.

IT'S LIKE SUDDENLY WE'RE IN

THE GRIP OF GOD.

AND THAT'S A GREAT TALE ANY

TIME, ANYWHERE.

Wendy: WAS THAT A

CHALLENGE?

HOW DO YOU DEPICT HEAVEN,

EVEN AS A VERY GREAT

MOVIE-MAKER, AS YOU ARE?

HOW DO YOU DEPICT SOMETHING

THAT NOBODY HAS EVER SEEN?

THAT WAS THE SCARY PART.

BECAUSE IN MOST MOVIES YOU

END UP, LIKE, MORGAN FREEMAN

AND WHITE PAJAMAS.

AND I LOVE THAT MOVIE, MADE

BY A GREAT FRIEND OF MINE.

AND I UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DO

THAT, BECAUSE HEAVEN IS SO

MAJESTIC.

THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A

PROHIBITION AGAINST TRYING

TO DEPICT THE FACE OF GOD

OUT OF THE SACREDNESS, AND

IT'S TOO HOLY.

BUT THIS BOY, COLTON BURPO,

CAME BACK SAYING, THIS IS

WHAT HEAVEN IS LIKE.

THAT IS WHAT WAS SO GRIPPING

TO ME.

I WANTED TO LET THE AUDIENCE

EXPERIENCE THAT.

AND THE CLOSEST I KNEW HOW

TO COME WAS INSPIRED BY THE

LORD'S PRAYER, "ON EARTH AS

IT IS IN HEAVEN."

AND THE THOUGHT THAT AS C.S.

LEWIS SAID, GOD IS A GREAT

ARTIST.

GOD'S HANDY WORK IS EVIDENT

TO US IN THIS WORLD, THIS

WORLD THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL.

SO WE DIDN'T TRY TO CREATE

FANTASY ELEMENTS FOR

HEAVEN.

WE TRIED TO USE THE MOST

BEAUTIFUL ELEMENTS OF THE

EARTH TO SAY THIS MUST BE

WHAT HEAVEN IS LIKE.

Wendy: THERE HAVE BEEN

SOME EARLY SCREENINGS, AND

I, FORTUNATELY, HAD THE

OPPORTUNITY TO SEE IT.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE

REACTIONS YOU ARE GETTING

FROM PEOPLE?

WELL, DID IT RUIN YOUR

MASCARA, BECAUSE IT IS

MAKING A LOT OF PEOPLE VERY

EMOTIONAL.

Wendy: IT IS VERY

EMOTIONAL.

IT IS FOR ME, TOO.

I'VE SEEN THE MOVIE DOZENS

AND DOZENS OF TIMES, AND IT

STILL MOVES ME.

WHAT HAS REALLY BEEN

STRIKING TO ME IS THAT

PEOPLE OF FAITH, PEOPLE WHO

SEE THEMSELVES AS HAVING A

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE AND

PRACTICE, THEY REALLY LOVE

THIS MOVIE.

WHAT SURPRISED ME, BUT IT IS

SOMETHING THAT WE ALL

WANTED -- I KNOW THE BURPOS

WANTED IT AND I SURE WANTED

IT, TOO, IS THAT THE MOVIE

WOULD SAY TO PEOPLE, WHO SEE

THEMSELVES AS OUTSIDE THE

FAITH, THAT GOD LOVES THEM.

THAT GOD IS ALWAYS REACHING

OUT.

AND THAT THE AUDIENCES THAT

HAVE COME, AND WE TESTED IT

FOR AUDIENCES WHO IDENTIFY

THEMSELVES AS HAVING NO

FAITH AT ALL.

AND THEIR EMOTIONAL REACTION

HAS BEEN AS GREAT AS THE

FAITH-BASED AUDIENCE.

THEY'RE LESS LIKELY TO WANT

TO TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE

THEY'RE AFRAID OF SOUNDING

RELIGIOUS, BUT THEY LOVED

THE MOVIE.

AND IT'S A MOVIE THAT

REACHES ACROSS BOUNDARIES.

I LOVE TO SAY, GOD'S LOVE

JUMPS ALL OF THE FENCES.

Wendy: IT SURE DOES.

WELL-SAID.

YOU GOT GREG KINNEAR, ONE OF

MY FAVVRITE ACTORS, TO PLAY

TODD BURPO, AND IT IS AN

ALL-STAR CAST.

WAS THAT DIFFICULT?

BECAUSE THIS IS A

FAITH-BASED MOVIE, AND

HOLLYWOOD CAN SOMETIMES HAVE

SOME ISSUES WITH THAT.

DID THE ACTORS, DID GREG

KINNEAR AND THE OTHERS HAVE

ANY PROBLEM KNOWING THIS IS

A VERY EVANGELICAL,

FAITH-BASED MOVIE?

WELL, I'LL TELL YOU,

WRITING, DIRECTING, ACTING,

WHAT WE'RE DOING, WHAT YOU

DO, IT IS AN ACT OF FAITH.

YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE THE

COURAGE TO FACE WHATEVER

SOMEBODY -- IF YOU LIVE YOUR

LIFE ALONG THE LINES OF, I'M

GOING TO LET MYSELF BE

MEASURED BY WHAT OTHER

PEOPLE THINK OF ME, THEN

YOU'VE LOST YOUR SOUL.

AND IN SOME WAYS THE

FUNDAMENTAL SPIRITUAL ISSUE

IS TO SAY, GOD LOVES ME;

THAT'S ENOUGH.

IF GOD LOVES ME, NOTHING

ELSE WILL MATTER BECAUSE

EVERYTHING ELSE WILL BE

RIGHT.

AND THOSE ACTORS THAT I

ASKED ALL -- ALL OF THE

ACTORS THAT I WANTED SAID

YES IMMEDIATELY.

Wendy: WOW!

AND I CAN ONLY ATTRIBUTE

THAT TO SOMETHING MUCH

GREATER THAN ME WORKING.

Wendy: YOU HAVE

WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND

DIRECTED SOME OF HOLLYWOOD'S

BIGGEST HITS, "BRAVEHEART,"

I KNOW IT IS ONE OF MY

FAVORITE MOVIES -- HOW HAVE

YOU SEEN GOD USE YOU IN THE

SECULAR WORLD OF

MOVIE-MAKING?

I THINK THE BIGGEST THING

IS GOD'S PLANS ARE WAY

BIGGER THAN OUR PLANS ARE.

ONE OF MY FRIENDS IN

SEMINARY SAID, IF YOU WANT

TO MAKE GOD LAUGH, JUST TELL

GOD YOUR PLANS.

I DIDN'T GO TO HOLLYWOOD

PLANNING TO BE A DIRECTOR.

Wendy: WHY DID YOU GO?

I WANTED TO BE A

SONGWRITER.

AND I WAS SO GOOD AT IT, NO

ONE EVER LISTENED TO MY

SONGS.

AND NO ONE EVER WANTED TO

HEAR ME SING.

Wendy: AND THEN YOU END

UP MAKING "BRAVEHEART," AND

WORKING WITH MEL GIBSON, AND

"PEARL HARBOR," AND THE LIST

GOES ON AND ON.

WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO

TAKE AWAY FROM "HEAVEN IS

FOR REAL."

I WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE A

GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN

THEMSELVES.

SO THAT WHEN THEY GO,

THEY'LL HAVE A SENSE OF JOY

AND WONDER, AND IS SENSE OF

MYSTERY.

SO MUCH WE TALK ABOUT, WHEN

YOU HAVE A CRISIS OF FAITH,

IT GENERALLY MEANS THAT

SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAS

HAPPENED TO YOU.

IN FACT, THE REAL CHALLENGE

IS TO BELIEVE THE BEST

POSSIBLE THINGS ARE TRUE.

THAT GOD LOVES YOU, THAT

WHERE BABIES COME FROM IS

WHERE WE GO WHEN WE TAKE OUR

LAST BREATHS HERE.

IF WE CAN BELIEVE THAT, THEN

LIFE IS ETERNAL AND

ETERNALLY WONDERFUL.

Wendy: THAT IS

PROFOUND.

I SERIOUSLY WISH WE HAD MORE

TIME.

RANDALL WALLACE, THANK YOU

FOR SPENDING SOMETIME WITH

US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Wendy: THE MOVIE

"HEAVEN IS FOR REAL" OPENS

APRIL 14th IN MOVIE

THEATERS NATIONWIDE.

COMING UP, GORDON WILL BE

BACK WITH MORE "700 CLUB

INTERACTIVE," RIGHT AFTER

THIS.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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