AnnaSophia Robb to Play One-Armed Surfer Bethany Hamilton
by Ethan Anderton
February 4, 2010
With the exception of Point Break and Surf Ninjas (that's right, I admit it) most of the truly great surfing films come in the form of documentaries like The Endless Summer and Step Into Liquid. And while Surf's Up is certainly a fine tribute to the sport, the fact that it's animated knocks it down from being a real surfing flick in the rules that I just made up. But now we're going to be riding some serious waves as Variety reports AnnaSophia Robb (Race to Witch Mountain) will star in Soul Surfer, a biopic about Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer, who has prevailed in competitions despite losing an arm in a shark attack at age 13.
Joining Robb in the Sean McNamara-directed (of Bratz: The Movie previously) surfing flick is Dennis Quaid (oddly enough not as the surfboard) as well as Helen Hunt as Hamilton's parents. Additionally, and making her feature film debut, country singer Carrie Underwood will play a church youth leader. Based on Hamilton's autobiography of the same name (pick it up on Amazon), the film will chronicle the struggles she faced adapting to her missing appendage. Since surfing is about balance, and the arms play an integral role in maintaining that balance on the board, I can only imagine how hard it was not giving up.
Robb will probably have to work very hard during surfing lessons to become an expert, but I wonder if she'll have her arm taped behind her back (which could be dangerous) to be removed digitally after, or if it will all be done with special effects and/or a prosthetic. It's very possible that a stunt surfer will do most of the more difficult surfing sequences (maybe even Hamilton herself), but I can't imagine an actor just letting it go that easily. Either way, this is a very interesting movie to look forward to. What do you guys think?