Powered by naturalistic, unadorned performances and nuanced filmmaking, Little Men centers on Jake (Theo Taplitz), a 13-year-old who moves from Manhattan to Brooklyn with his parents (Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle) after his grandfather’s passing. Jake’s introspective nature (he’s budding artist) leads to very few friends. His fate takes a turn for the better after he befriends Tony (Michael Barbieri), the gregarious son of a dressmaker (Paulina Garcia) who owns a shop downstairs from Jake’s residence.
Signs are supposedly everywhere, but sometimes we need a few life events to push us in certain directions. If our antennas are just tuned into to the right moment, and we will pick up certain signals which could send us off into an entirely different and unexpected direction.
For Thomas Haden Church, taking part in Heaven is for Real was partly inspired by his own conversations with ambitious filmmaker Randall Wallace, whose directing credits include We Were Soldiers and The Man in the Iron Mask. A bit of synchronicity also played into his decision, as he had never seen the actual book that the script was based on until he visited the home of a recently departed friend.
The book was laying on the coffee table, and after his friend’s wife told Church that it helped her through her tough times, the actor came to a decision.
“This is either one of those ‘whatever’ and walk away moments, because I am a bit of a skeptical guy,” said Church, who visited the house just a half hour after talking to Wallace on the phone. “I’ve worked in the industry for 25 years. But then I thought maybe this is that other moment where this family, faith-based message film is the right thing that I should do right now.”
For Thomas Haden Church, it was an inspired choice in taking the role of Jay Wilkins, Todd Burpo’s friend and fellow congregation member, in Heaven is for Real.
During our interview with the Texas based actor, he talked about how his current thoughts on heaven. It’s a long clip, but it’s definitely a memorable one. Check it out below:
Heaven is for Real is now playing nationwide.
Oscar nominee and Emmy Award winning actor Greg Kinnear stars in “Heaven is for Real” as Todd Burpo, a small town pastor whose faith is shaken after his son Colton (Connor Corum) claims to have visited heaven. The story, based on Todd Burpo’s bestselling novel of the same name, is under reliable hands with Randall Wallace as the director. Wallace, best known as the screenwriter behind “Braveheart,” also directed the films “The Man in the Iron Mask” and “We Were Soldiers.”
Although the story contains religious overtones, “Heaven is for Real” is also an evocative look at Burpo’s profound relationship with Colton. Does he believe his son and risk criticism from his congregation (which includes fine work from Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church) or does he explain the visions as mere illusions?
Stories of holding onto as well as questioning one’s faith, whether it’s spiritual or of a secular nature, is a universal struggle. “I guess it could have just been a role,” said Kinnear, who previously worked with Wallace on We Were Soldiers. “Randy doesn’t tend to make movies like that. We Were Soldiers had a big impact on me, and I would say the same for this movie.”
Click on the media bar to hear Greg Kinnear explain why “Heaven Is For Real” is a story that just doesn’t focus on heaven.
“Heaven Is For Real,” which also stars Kelly Reilly as Todd’s wife Sonja Burpo, is now playing nationwide.
Randall Wallace, the screenwriter behind “Braveheart” and the director behind the epics “The Man in the Iron Mask,” “We Were Soldiers,” and “Secretariat,” has painted on a wide narrative canvas throughout his career. Most of Wallace’s protagonists had an expansive (or at the least, determined) vision of how to achieve their seemingly insurmountable goals. Even with their hard earned victories, these heroes are understandably tied to the binds and unconditional love of family and country.
It’s Wallace’s unabashed humanity and sentiment which has me interested in “Heaven is For Real,” a movie based on a nonfiction book penned by Todd Burpo. Played in the movie by “Rake” actor Greg Kinnear, Burpo is initially skeptical about his 4-year-old son’s (Connor Corum) claim that he actually visited heaven during his near death experience. The child also claims he’s seen his great grandfather, the sister that was never born, and the pearly gates itself.
The film, which comes out April 16, undeniably has a Christian bent and with Easter just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reach such a spiritual film. Though I’m a practicing Catholic, my main interest behind “Heaven is for Real” lies in Wallace’s storytelling. The filmmaker, who’s also a novelist, is extremely picky over which projects he directs, so hopefully his magic touch isn’t lost on “Heaven is for Real.”
Whether one is secular or lives a faith filled existence, movies are movies. I just want “Heaven is for Real” to grab my attention and, when no one is looking, get me a bit misty eyed. Check out the trailer, and feel free to post your comments below!
Premiering tonight, Rake centers on a criminal defense attorney (Greg Kinnear) who lives to the beat of his own drum, much to the chagrin of his ex-wife (Miranda Otto), a call girl (Bojana Novakovic) he’s enamored with, and his frustrated assistant (Tara Summers). The show is based on Peter Duncan’s hit Australian series, which featured Richard Roxburgh in the lead role.
“I was intrigued immediately when I saw the show (and) the mess of that guy,” said Kinnear. “That absolute lack of need for approval is a hugely attractive thing, especially if you’re an actor. Getting to play a guy who really isn’t interested what you think is really cool element for me.”
In the clip below, Peter Duncan talks about the creative genesis behind the original Rake: