So, Heaven Is For Real, a fake book about a kid named Colton Burpo’s drug-induced heaven hallucination and his preacherman father’s capitalization on it, is going to be made into a movie. Hooray! Also, and this is my first question about this movie, huh? This sounds like a bad idea. All I can think of when I think about a whole movie based on one tiny child’s brief sojourn to heaven is some wacky, What Dreams May Come-inspired psychedelic heaven-scape. Apparently, though, Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes saw something more in it, like millions of bucks! From Deadline New York.
Roth tells me he became curious after seeing the book on The New York Times Bestseller Lists about six weeks ago. It reminded him of The Sixth Sense, which he made while running Disney, and he was surprised that nobody in Hollywood had called before he did. This was when the book was moving from a religious imprint to mainstream, and Roth really got in on the ground floor. The book has sold about 4.5 million copies, Roth said, and could do 10 million before the year is out. He’ll meet soon with the Burpo family, and doesn’t really see the movie as something that is limited to a faith-based audience.
So, sure, whatever, a dude saw the name of a book on a list and then decided to fork over a ton of cash to make a movie of that book, presumably before even reading it. That all makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that they haven’t already cast the part of Colton Burpo. So question two is: Who’s going to play Colton Burpo???
My top choices:
Jonathan Lipnicki circa 1996
Haley Joel Osment circa 1997
Elijah Wood circa 1994
(If anyone can think of any child actors that hit puberty after the release of the original What Dreams May Come [1998, in case you don’t have WDMC’s IMDB page memorized like I do], I could really use your help.)
But what is really, really, really bothering me about this whole thing (besides the obvious duping of people’s legitimate fears about the afterlife and one specific father’s exploitation of his son) is that there isn’t already a witty tag line for the movie poster! So my third and final question is this: What should the tag line for Heaven Is For Real: The Movie be?
He Was Dead, But Then He Was Alive The Whole Time
There’s Something Wrong With Colton Burpo’s Dad (He’s An Asshole)
Remember What Dreams May Come? Robin Williams Isn’t In This Movie
But I think y’all can do even better than that. There are seriously so many mysteries involved in this, just maybe not the ones they intended. Let’s get down to the real truth. (Thanks for the tip, Maria!)