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'Soul Surfer' meant to be inspirational film

March 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Halloween night of 2003, Bethany Hamilton lived through a real-life horror story. A shark took off her left arm. Now, her story is the subject of the new movie, "Soul Surfer," which premiered on Wednesday.

"I can confidently say I am proud of it and I love the way that my life is portrayed," said Hamilton.

Hamilton is now a statuesque, 21-year-old professional surfer. At 13, she was attacked by a shark in the waters off Kauai in her home state of Hawaii.

"It was a scary thing having Hollywood come and take this true story. And you never know if they're going to butcher it or if it's going to turn out good," said Hamilton. "Having my family and I a part of the filmmaking process, I think, really enhanced the truthfulness of it. And, yeah, I'm stoked."

Dennis Quaid plays Hamilton's father. Helen hunt, who plays her mom, loved making this movie.

"I haven't been in another movie where you leave the set and go surfing. And you're in the most beautiful place on earth telling a beautiful story," said Hunt.

AnnaSophia Robb plays Hamilton in the film, at least most of the time.

"By the end of the movie, you're coming out and you're going, 'I can do anything,'" said Robb. "Bethany did all of the one-armed surfing. So all of the stuff you see with her on the big waves doing all those tricks-- it's her!"

Making her film debut in "Soul Surfer," singer Carrie Underwood plays one of Hamilton's friends.

"I had to be part of this story," said Underwood. "I always said that if the right thing came along then I would love to be a part of it and this was the right thing."

If you're worried about witnessing the film version of the shark attack, director Sean McNamara said it's a quick moment in the movie.

"I didn't want this to be a shark movie. I wanted this to be an inspirational getting back on the board moment, so that's a very small part," said McNamara.

"Soul Surfer" is rated PG, and it'll be in theaters April 8.