Sony Pictures talent search for boy to play lead role in ‘Heaven is for Real’

Heaven is for Real Talent Search

“Heaven is for Real” will shoot from June 10 through August 10, 2013.
AB Media Publishing, LLC

Roth Films/Real Heaven, Inc. in association with Wheelhouse Entertainment are in pre-production on the Sony Pictures true-story feature film “Heaven is for Real” based on the New York Times best-selling book written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. The book has over 7 million copies in print, and has sold over 1 million eBooks. Casting directors across the United States and Canada are conducting a massive talent search for a 6-8 year old boy to play the role of Colton Burpo. They are considering new talent with no experience or training required. One of the film’s casting directors, Jim Heber, has stated that “a role like this typically requires a search all over North America”. Filming will take place this summer in Canada.

“Heaven is for Real” tells the true story of Todd and Sonja Burpo’s son Colton, who during emergency appendectomy surgery, slips from consciousness and passes into heaven. He narrowly survives. Several months later while passing by the same hospital that saved him, Colton begins talking about his experiences during surgery and making a trip to heaven. The family didn’t know what to believe, but soon the evidence was clear. Colton spoke of such things as his his miscarried sister, his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, and describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. These were things he could not have known about because he was never told about them. He has descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read. “Heaven is for Real” offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, as told by an amazing little miracle boy.

Starring in “Heaven is for Real” is Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear playing the role of Colton’s father Todd Burpo, who told his son’s story in the novel, often in Colten’s own words. Todd Burpo is the pastor of a small Wesleyan church in Imperial, Nebraska and also coaches wrestling and is a volunteer fireman. Greg Kinnear recently completed the film “The English Teacher” also starring Lily Collins and and Julianne Moore. He is currently shooting “Anchorman: The Legend Continues”. Starring as Todd Burpo’s wife Sonja is two-time British Independent Film Awards nominee Kelly Reilly. Sonja Burpo is a busy pastor’s wife and mom to Colton, his older sister Cassie, and younger brother Colby. Kelly Reilly is a major star of the London stage, and also starred opposite Denzel Washington in the Robert Zemeckis film “Flight” among many other films and TV shows.

Directing “Heaven is for Real” is the Academy Award nominated Wheelhouse Entertainment executive Randall Wallace from an adapted screenplay written by Chris Parker. Wallace, who is also a New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, has written screenplays for such epic films as “Braveheart” starring Mel Gibson; “The Man in the Iron Mask” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, John Malkovich, and Jeremy Irons; and “Pearl Harbor” starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale, and Jennifer Garner. Wallace also directed the films “We Were Soldiers” and “Secretariat,” and is lined up to pen the script for Walt Disney Pictures “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo” to film in New South Wales, Australia.

Primetime Emmy Award nominee Joe Roth will produce “Heaven is for Real” under the banner of his production company Roth Films. Roth has produced the films “Alice in Wonderland,” “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and “Maleficent” among others. He is currently producing the Walk Disney Pictures film “Million Dollar Arm” being shot in Atlanta. T.D. Jakes, the chief pastor of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational American megachurch in Dallas, will also serve a producer on the film. Bishop Jakes produced and played a pastor in Sony Pictures “Jumping the Broom”, and produced the Sony film “Sparkle”. Sony Pictures executive DeVon Franklin, also a Christian minister, is responsible for bringing “Heaven is for Real” to the studio. Real Heaven Inc., which is owned by Sony, is the studios’s production company behind the film. Sue Baden-Powell will executive produce.

“Heaven is for Real” United States and Canada Talent Search

Casting directors across the U.S. and Canada are seeking the following:

[COLTON BURPO] Male 6-8 years of age, able to portray a 4-5 year old boy. Caucasian. Blond hair and “otherworldly” blue eyes. Possessed of an open, honest face, he’s innocent yet perceptive, with a lovely singing voice. Although terrified when he’s taken in for surgery, he emerges as a calm, comfortable, self assured little boy who casually offers up his observations of Heaven.

Note: A parent or legal guardian must be available to accompany the child in Canada for the duration of the shoot from June 10, 2013 through August 10, 2013.

If you want your child to be considered, submit a recent color picture (does NOT have to be a professional photo) and contact information including the name and birthdate of the child, parent or guardian names and phone numbers. Email your submission (or send hardcopy if no email address is listed) to one of the following casting directors who are closest to your location:

Los Angeles:

Tineka Becker
Sheila Jaffe Casting
6671 Sunset Blvd.
Building 1509
Suite 104
Los Angeles, CA 90028

New York:

Stephanie Holbrook
419 Lafayette Street
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003


Claire Simon Casting
1512 N. Fremont Street
Suite 204
Chicago, IL 60622

Salt Lake City:

Jeff Johnson Casting
2150 South Main Street
Suite 102
Salt Lake City, UT 84115


Martina Smyth
Candice Elzinga
304-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2M1


Jim Heber Casting
P.O.Box 1907
Wpg, MB R3C 3R2

Minors and foreign talent must be legally eligible to work in Canada.

The 2013 Actors Resource Guide eBook for Canada comes with free quarterly updates and includes the following information and documents for adults, minors, and foreign talent who would like to work as an actor or extra on film and television productions in the country:

• Guide to Child Labour Laws in Canada
• Canadian Work Permit Information Sheet for Foreigners
• Canadian Application for Temporary Resident VISA
• Child Labor Guidelines
• Work Permit Application for Foreigners
• Newcomers Guide
• Temporary Foreign Workers Factsheet
• Employment of Young People in the Entertainment Industry
• Trust Funds for Children working in the Entertainment Industry
• Using Groups for Background

In addition to the following Vancouver Actors Resources:

• Audition Tips
• How To Make an Audition Video
• Casting Directors List
• Talent Agent Information
• Talent Agents List
• Extras Agents List
• Acting Schools and Coaches List
• Headshot Photographers List
• Actors Unions
• Sample Actors Resume
• Sample Beginning Actors Resume
• Sample Cover Letters
• Entertainment Industry Terminology
• Miscellaneous Vancouver Resources
• PDF Users Guides

The 2013 Actors Resource Guide eBooks are available here.

Extras Casting (extras casting will not begin until June. Please do not contact the following until further notice.)


Kari Rieger
Kari Casting
PO Box 68043
RPO Osborne Village
Winnipeg, MB R3L 2V9

Production Companies:

Do NOT send photos and resumes to the production companies, as they will most likely end up being thrown away. They do not cast the films, rather they hire casting directors who sort through the thousands of submissions.

Roth Films/Real Heaven, Inc.
2900 West Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Wheelhouse Entertainment
15464 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232


Joe Roth
T.D. Jakes
Sue Baden-Powell

Director: Randall Wallace


Greg Kinnear – Todd Burpo
Kelly Reilly – Sonja Burpo
To Be Cast – Colton Burpo


Based on the true story about a young boy who nearly dies from a ruptured appendix but survives and tells his parents he went to Heaven during the surgery.


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