STAR-BULLETIN / MARCH 2004
Bethany Hamilton gives a thumbs-up after catching some waves at a surfing competition at the Turtle Bay Hilton. A movie is being planned about Hamilton, who lost her left arm in a shark attack last year.
Bethanys true story
heads for big screen
Hollywood producers are
certain that her comeback
story will make good cinema
Shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton will be the subject of a feature motion picture described by its Hollywood producer as "'Blue Crush' meets 'Rocky.'"
Romano/Shane Productions of Los Angeles has bought the film rights for the Kauai teen's upcoming nonfiction book, "Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board."
"This is a little girl whose life could have been fully destroyed, but she seized the moment and turned it around in a positive light," said producer Michel Shane. "Bethany is a shining light with a great, compelling story of overcoming adversity."
Hamilton, of Princeville, lost her left arm in a tiger shark attack on Oct. 31 while surfing at Tunnels Beach. Since the attack, she has been deluged by media, television appearances and awards ceremonies.
Shane and partner Anthony Romano were executive producers in this summer's hit movie "I, Robot," starring Will Smith, and 2002's "Catch Me if You Can," with Tom Hanks and Leonardo DeCaprio.
Next month, MTV Books will publish Hamilton's book, which describes how she recovered from the loss of her left arm to return to surfing.
Romano/Shane Productions paid Hamilton an undisclosed amount for the film rights. Shane, Romano and Roy Hofstetter, Hamilton's representative, will produce the project with financier Hand Picked Films.
Shane and Romano have been watching Hamilton's notoriety rise since April, then they read the book's galleys, Shane said. The producers have put the production on the "fast track" and are talking to screenwriters about the project, he said.
"If everything goes according to plan, we'll be in production early next year in Hawaii," said Shane, who was not sure if filming would be done on Oahu or Kauai.
There is no film title, or actors being considered to portray Hamilton, until producers have a script in hand, Shane said.
"At end of the day, it's all about the script," he said. "The story will drive everything else. The story will speak to our audience, which is that same group as Bethany, 12- to 25-year-old MTV kids."
Hamilton will be a consultant on the film and might do some of her own surfing in the movie, Shane said.