The cute, 5-year-old boy made charming the world his mission and battling imaginary bad guys his “wish.” Now, Julia Roberts plans to bring the story of the “BatKid” to life on the big screen.
Roberts is set to produce and star in a movie based on the real-life Batkid story, according to an announcement Friday. The pint-sized superhero, nee Miles Scott, captured headlines and hearts worldwide on Nov. 15, 2013, when he took to the streets of San Francisco as a mini version of his favorite superhero battling “missions” throughout the city. A leukemia patient, the child had a wish to become his idol, Batman, and solve crimes as a heroic caped crusader in his city. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and efforts of 25,000 volunteers, including the Mayor, San Francisco morphed into Gotham City and BatKid was the city’s heralded hero.
Scott’s activities that day were broadcast worldwide, heralded by President Obama, and led to a flood of interest and donations for Make-a-Wish Foundation. The feel-good phenomenon went viral with over 2 billion social media users posting pictures, videos and tweets about the event. Scott’s hero antics that day as BatKid may have involved staged service to his city. However, he brought smiles, hope and funding for other children with life-threatening medical conditions.
A documentary was developed about the Make-a-Wish Foundation’s project to turn downtown San Francisco into Gotham for a kindergarten-age superhero. The film, Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World, will be premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival in Utah on Jan. 24. It is that documentary that Roberts plans to remake into a feature film.
“It’s thrilling to me that Ms. Roberts and her team watched our film and were so moved by (the documentary) that they want to dedicate their time and creative capital to make sure the widest audience possible will know and love Miles’ story,” commented the documentary film’s director, Dana Nachman, “And the spirit of this intimate special event that went global, as much as we do.”
Roberts plans to star in the film, which will follow the citywide spectacle created for and resulting celebration for the little boy, who is doing well today with his leukemia in remission. The actress will also produce the movie alongside Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill through her Red Om Films production company. Nachman will serve as executive producer on the feature film version of his Batkid Begins documentary.
Red Om Films has produced several successful pictures for big and small screen, many of which did not star Roberts. These include the four movies made based on the popular American Girl dolls and books, such as Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, which starred Abigail Breslin. (Others featured Shailene Woodley and Anna Sophia Robb.) Red Om (a reverse of Roberts’ husband’s last name Moder) produced Eat Pray Love and Mona Lisa Smile, both of which starred Julia Roberts., as will her effort to bring the BatKid to life on the multiplex screen in the future.
By Dyanne Weiss