Heaven is for Real tells the dramatic story of Colton Burpo’s journey from life to death and back again. Along the way, he visited heaven. Even though he was a young child during the astounding event, the details he recalled, the people he met, the things he saw left no room for doubt that, yes, Heaven is real. And yes, he went there.
When Colton’s father, Todd, came to terms with this miracle, he began to write. Heaven is for Real instantly shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. This April, the story comes to life on the big screen. heave, the movie, opens in theaters on April 16, starring Greg Kinnear. CCM was able to ask Todd Burpo some questions about the process of film-making and what he hopes this movie can offer to others.
CCM: What a whirlwind you have been on the last few years. What has that adjustment looked like for your family?
We’ve had some dramatic changes and we have adjusted. We’ve come to a new normal. My nine-year-old can get you through any airport! We do say no to many events. We’re still committed to watching the kids play sports. Colton is in show choir. Music is his thing! We try to keep things as normal as possible…a new normal.
CCM: How did the movie come about? Was it something you pursued?
I never dreamed I would write a book, not to mention participate in a movie. We never wanted to discourage our son for telling our truth or standing up. We knew we would support him and his truth. His details were so specific, he had to have a legitimate experience.
Initially, funerals were a big platform to talk about the hope of heaven. Gradually, God built a framework of people around us. We didn’t pursue them. God showed us that He wanted us to do this.
Once the book was on the New York Times bestseller list, lots of producers and production companies asked if they could make a movie. I was very reluctant. But God brought the right people along. Some of the actors don’t share our viewpoint of faith, but were still willing to tell Colton’s story in truth. We want to let God be God in people’s lives. Only God can do something like this…
CCM: Obviously, people know Colton’s story; but you also identify with parents whose child did not survive. Has this journey brought healing to you?
A lot of people forget that we’ve lost a child and saved a child. This is easier to talk about because God saved him. But we lost a child as well. Colton met his sister in heaven. There is a peace that passes all understanding to know, through our son, that she is at peace and knows that we are too. Peace is a powerful thing. It gives us hope.