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February 18, 2011

Producer Wanted to Cut Bible from 'Soul Surfer'

But after Bethany Hamilton's family complained, the Word made it to the final cut

The Hollywood Reporter notes that a producer had requested that the words "Holy Bible” be digitally removed from the cover of the book in a scene of Soul Surfer, the upcoming film depicting the journey of surfer Bethany Hamilton. Hamilton lost her left arm to a shark attack at the age of 13, but has since come back -- through perseverance and her Christian faith -- to become one of the world's greatest surfers. The entire Hamilton family is strong in their Christian faith.

According to THR, "When religious leaders were shown an early version of the Sony movie, set for release in April, the words “Holy Bible” had been digitally removed from the cover of the book in a scene depicting [Tom] Hamilton reading in a hospital where his daughter was fighting for her life. Hamilton says producer David Zelon, an executive at Mandalay Pictures, had lobbied to tone down the film’s Christianity in an effort to broaden its appeal to non-Christian audiences. But the Hamilton family objected, and when they attended a subsequent screening, they were pleasantly surprised with what they saw.

"I could see the words bright and clear," Hamilton told THR. “I looked at my wife and whispered, ‘Thank you God, they put it back.’ ”

Fox News reported that Tom Hamilton and the production team "didn’t always see eye-to-eye," but that he's pleased with the end result.

“This is the first movie I’ve ever been involved in, and what really counts is what ends up on the screen,” Hamilton told FOX411. “And we are absolutely thrilled with the way the film turned out, and the wonderful way it portrays Bethany’s and our family’s story and faith."