Christy Beam wrote the book Miracles From Heaven which is now a Major Motion Picture starring Jennifer Garner in the role of Christy Beam. TriStar Pictures releases Miracles From Heaven on March 16th, 2016 in select theaters.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What questions did Jennifer Garner as you when you met her?
Christy Beam: The thing that was so wonderful is that she had read my book. She had read it 4 times cover-to-cover, highlighted and underlined it. She had done a lot of homework, so she asked me really great questions about my personality and quirks, how I drink my coffee to how I wake up my girls in the morning.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How open were you to changes from the book?
CB: At first, I wasn't very open to changes at all because it happened a certain a way in my life and it's concrete in a certain way, so that was just not how my brain processed it. But then, I began to understand that it wasn't a documentary and that it was different, and began to understand about dramatic licenses. I also began to understand that their goal was to reach a broader audience to be able to be able to share it in a way so that it resonates with all people, not just people who believe and live like I live. Randy Brown emailed me and asked me questions. My input mattered [to the filmmakers], so it was a really good relationship.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did the process of writing the story of you and your daughter affect you emotionally?
CB: As I began to write, I realized that it was cathartic. It was healing. There was so much more that came out of it, but at first when I was working on it, it was just for healing.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Where within the spectrum of optimism and pessimism did you find yourself throughout the journey with your daughter?
CB: I was optimistic that they would find what was wrong with Annabel and that they would and could help her. But I became pessimistic when I met with one doctor after another doctor with discouraging nonchalant diagnoses. My whole heart was optimistic about the result, but I began to feel pessimistic about the doctors we were meeting. And then, it progressed and Annabel was so sick and there is no cure. We were told that there was no cure, and she was struggling. I don't know if I was ever completely pessimistic, but I never ever accepted that that was it. I knew that God had more in store for her.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think is the purpose of struggle in one's life? Would you want a life without any struggles at all?
CB: I would absolute not want that. I would not want to forgo struggle because I feel like we learn so much about ourselves and God when we do go through struggle. It's not easy, and it's awful, but we grow during that time. And it's also an opportunity to learn but if you go through something that you struggle and learn nothing, but what was it all for? I feel like we learn things when we're stretched and go struggle and improve our character, judgement and relationship with other people. It should happen because, otherwise, how would we stretch ourselves? How would we be the best person that we can be? I feel like that is the purpose to struggles. They make us all that we can be.
NYC MOVIE GURU: When Annabel questioned you about what's going on with her during her struggles, how challenging was it to be completely honest with her without sugar-coating anything?
CB: I was always very honest with Annabel. I never ever painted an unrealistic picture to her of what was happening or going to happen. She needed that and wanted that and respected that. She said to me, "Why am I like this and not my sister?" I felt like if I made something up, Annabel would know right away. She would quickly know if I was faking it. I felt like she needed to hear honesty from me because I had all the answers then why couldn't I just take everything and make it better?
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think it's difficult to find and express one's spirituality within this materialistic world?
CB: I think so because we busy ourselves with stuff that have no substance. Religion and spirituality should define who we are. It should help us the person that we need to be. But I feel like it gets lost in materialistic things when you always want them. I wish that everybody would just take a deep breath and just be at peace and be still while knowing that wherever you are in your own spirituality---whatever you believe---you exhale that. We should just be.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Are there any stories that your book reminds you of?
CB: When it came to Annabel's struggle, I referred to the Book of Job so many times. In no way am I saying that our story is equal to Job's, but it's easy to compare because there were some really, really dark and awful times, and lots of questions were posed to us even by friends that we knew very well. In the end, God was still ultimately God, and we were still faithful.