Winnipeg actress Lane Styles (right) with Kelly Reilly (left) and Greg Kinnear (centre) in a scene from Heaven is for Real. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures

Winnipeg child actor reflects on her role in Heaven is for Real

WINNIPEG, MB—“Really exciting”—that’s how actor Lane Styles describes being cast in Heaven is for Real.

The movie, based Todd Burpo’s popular book by the same name, tells the real-life story of a young boy’s experience going to heaven while unconscious during emergency surgery, was filmed in and around Winnipeg last summer. Greg Kinnear portrays the boy’s father, and Styles was cast as Kinnear’s daughter.

“I like working on movies and getting to hang around the cast and crew and getting to know them,” says Lane, an eight-year-old Grade 4 student at Linden Christian School. “I like memorizing lines…and getting into a different character than you really are.”

Lane’s parents enrolled her in acting classes when she was five years old.

“She started watching all the Harry Potter movies when she was four or five, and would memorize lines and recite them in a perfect English accent,” says Lane’s mother, Debbie. “We sort of thought this was odd, so that’s why we put her into acting classes.”

After the three-month class, Lane’s instructor recommended her for some auditions. Heaven is for Real is Lane’s fourth film and largest role to date.

The film has grossed almost $56 million worldwide since it opened in theatres in April.

“She’s tough and she cares about her brother,” Lane says of the character she portrays in the film. “She’s a really nice girl and I think she’s a good part to play.”

Debbie is happy her daughter got to be in a faith-based film.

“It was pretty exciting knowing what a really cool message (the movie has),” she says.

Lane now has two agents representing her—one in Vancouver and one in Toronto—and is auditioning for more roles.

Debbie says she and her husband never intended to launch a film career for their daughter when they first put her in acting classes, but are pursuing it because Lane continues to enjoy it.

“She really likes doing the auditions,” Debbie says. “It’s fun, and hopefully she’ll get another experience like Heaven is for Real.”

Winnipeg actress Lane Styles (left) with Kelly Reilly (centre) and Connor Corum (right) in a scene from Heaven is for Real. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures
Winnipeg actress Lane Styles (left) with Kelly Reilly (centre) and Connor Corum (right) in a scene from Heaven is for Real. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures

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About the author


Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.