EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has acquired screen rights to the book Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip To Heaven And Back, written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. Joe Roth will produce with T.D. Jakes.
Burpo is a small town Nebraska pastor whose four-year old son, Colton, nearly died during an emergency appendectomy operation. As he recovered, Colton began telling his family that he went to Heaven, actually looking down at the doctors operating on him and his family praying in the waiting room. And he slowly began telling them details about his miscarried sister, and his long-dead grandfather, none of which he should have known about. He then revealed to his family what it was like during his visit in Heaven, before he was sent back to his family. He’s now 11.
Roth produced Alice in Wonderland and has the Sam Raimi-directed Oz: The Great and Powerful and Snow White and the Huntsman on the launch pad. While some might look at the contents of this book and think Roth has another fairy tale on his hands, Heaven Is For Real has caught on as affirming story with a faith-based crowd. Movie interest was high before the Burpo family entrusted the tale to producers and an exec with a track record of devotion to the Man Upstairs. Jakes is himself a Texas-based pastor, who produced and played a pastor in Jumping the Broom, which Sony Pictures … Read More »
The last thing higher-ups from major studios want from their creative executives is for them to go public with their experiences in the trenches. The notable exception is DeVon Franklin, a Sony Pictures Entertainment exec who is writing a book about his journey that will be published next year by Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books. The title, Produced By Faith: Navigating the Road to Success Without Compromising Your True Self, reveals that Franklin isn’t your average Hollywood executive. He’s leading a double life. Aside from his work as Sony overseeing such movies as The Pursuit of Happyness, the remake of The Karate Kid and Hancock, the 32-year old Franklin is also a Christian minister and motivational speaker who has been preaching the word of God since he was 16 years old. His book is designed to show readers how to honor their faith and still succeed in their careers.
Franklin is doing just that in Hollywood. It’s not a coincidence that he gravitates to spiritually uplifting movie projects. Had he been given the script to an R-rated movie like The Hangover, he would likely have passed it to a colleague even though he thought the movie was quite funny. He also has managed to succeed in Hollywood while preaching at least one weekend a month at Wings of Love Maranatha Ministries in Oakland, where he’s an ordained Elder. He also observes the Sabbath — it’s in the 10 Commandments and Jesus … Read More »