The parents of a 12-year-old-girl who inspired the Charlotte community almost 10 years ago are getting closer to turning her story into a major movie.
But there’s one last big hurdle, and they’re again looking to the community.
Hope Stout was just 12 and battling bone cancer in 2003 when the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked her what she wanted.
“My wish is for all the other kids to have their wish granted as soon as possible,” she told them.
There were 155 kids in the Charlotte area, so there were 155 wishes.
“Please help, it would mean so much to me and everyone else,” she pleaded.
Charlotte made it happen. The month after Hope died, the community raised more than $1 million at a gala in her honor.
“This community came together in a way I’ve never seen before,” said Hope’s dad, Stuart. “We laid everything down, and it was all about this little girl, and it happened when the Panthers were going to the Super Bowl. It was just a purely magical time.”
The story was magical enough that it caught the attention of Hollywood.
“Really after the book – ‘Hope’s Wish: How One Girl’s Dream Made Others’ Come True’ – came out is when Hollywood said, ‘Hey, this is a really good story; we need to make this into a film.’ ”
It would be one more of Hope’s wishes coming true.
“Ever since she was little, she wanted to be a movie star,” Hope’s mom, Shelby, told WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner.
In 2010, Hope’s parents teamed up with Academy Award-winning writers, and they’ve been trying to raise the money to make the movie ever since. They need just a little bit more, and they once again turned to Hope for inspiration.
“The more we thought about it, we thought this is exactly how Hope raised the million dollars – through a whole lot of people giving a little bit,” said Stuart Stout.
The project is on Kickstarter, a website that helps fund the arts through donations. Learn more about the campaign by going to www.kickstarter.com and typing “Hope Stout” into the search field.
“Hope said in her original wish … and she said this, ‘It didn’t matter of you gave $5 or $5,000; know you made a difference.’”
People can make a wish come true.
“That was Hope’s dream, and whether she’s here or in heaven, we’re gonna make this happen.”
The Stouts say they expect a first draft of the screenplay in the next few weeks.