When Paradise became hell: The story of the Camp Fire in Northern California
The events of the horrific 2018 Camp Fire may hit theaters in the near future, in the form of a dramatized biopic.
Director Matthew Heineman announced Tuesday on Twitter that he is set to write and direct a feature film based on California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire. Tentatively titled “Paradise,” the film will focus on the “amazing true-story of a mother’s courageous fight for survival after giving birth during the 2018 California.”
The real-life story is that of Heather Roebuck, whose long Facebook post chronicling her experience of fighting for her life after giving birth via C-section at Paradise’s Feather River Hospital spread virally on the social media platform, shared tens of thousands of times. The hospital was severely damaged by the Camp Fire and remains shut down.
The rights to Roebuck’s story were acquired by Focus Features, which is adapting her story into a survival drama film, according to stories by the Hollywood Reporter and IndieWire that Heineman shared on his Twitter page.
The planned film is set to tell the story of Roebuck’s journey to reunite with loved ones as she, her family and a group of EMTs became trapped by the devastating wildfire, according to the Reporter.
Heineman has a background in directing documentaries, but made his narrative debut last year directing “A Private War,” a critically acclaimed biopic starring Rosamund Pike journalist as Marie Colvin, who was slain in 2012.
Reception to the announcement of the “Paradise” project has not been totally positive. In a handful of comments on the Reporter’s Twitter and Facebook pages, some users seemed bothered that a feature film is already being conceived within months of the tragedy.
“That didn’t take long,” one user wrote. Another wrote that it was “too soon,” and a third simply commented, “Unneeded.”
The Camp Fire killed 85 people in Butte County and destroyed thousands of homes, effectively leveling the town of Paradise.
Actor-director Ron Howard in January confirmed he is leading efforts on a documentary about the Camp Fire, for National Geographic Documentary Films, after he had been seen with camera crews touring the charred ruins of Paradise in December.