Dennis Quaid promotes DVD release of 'Soul Surfer'

Wed, Aug 3

The movie "Soul Surfer," which came out in theatres in April, is about the life of surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack at the age of 13. The title of the movie is a '60s term for someone who surfs for pleasure, but it has a double meaning as a reference to Hamilton's Christian faith, which helped her recover.

The budget for the movie, starring AnnaSophia Robb as Hamilton and Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents, was about $18 million, and it has grossed more than $40 million. This week, the movie came out on DVD, and Quaid is still out promoting.

"This is a special movie to me and I want as many people to watch it as possible," said Quaid, who has starred in more than 60 movies, including "Wyatt Earp" and "Great Balls of Fire." "I was touched by the story. That's why I wanted to do it."

Quaid remembers getting emotional watching Hamilton on the "Today" show in December 2009 talking about how she survived the shark attack of Oct. 31, 2003. Hamilton was lying sideways on her surfboard with her left arm dangling when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her. She lost 60 percent of her blood.

"She was so positive in the face of this tragedy that happened to her, that it just turned into a bump in the road," Quaid said. "I was just a mess sitting there watching it."

Five days later, Quaid was offered the role as Hamilton's father in the movie. "It was like fate," he said.

Quaid is no stranger to children in crisis: In 2007, his newborn fraternal twins were given 1,000 times the normal dose of heparin, a blood thinner, in a hospital. Today, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace are OK, and Quaid believes divine intervention played a part.

"I really do believe the power of prayer is what saved them," said Quaid, who has been married to Kimberly Buffington since 2004. "So working on the movie definitely hit home with what happened to our twins."