TODAY   |  April 15, 2014

Boy, 14, ‘still remembers’ trip to heaven

Fourteen-year-old Colton Burpo and his parents say the boy visited heaven after suffering a burst appendix 10 years ago, an account which became a book and now has been adapted into a film. Colton tells Kathie Lee and Hoda that he hasn’t had any dreams about the experience, but still remembers what he saw.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a real life family from the small town in nebraska who inspired best-selling book "heaven is for real". the story is about a 4-year-old boy's near death experience and what he describes as a trip to heaven.

>> todd, sonya and colton burpo's incredible story which todd co-wrote and is a best-seller four years later has captivated readers all around the world and now with that story is heading to the big screen . take a look.

>> tell me about the hospital. how do you feel about that? does that scare you?

>> no. that's where angels sing to me.

>> the angels sang to you?

>> yes.

>> when?

>> during the operation when mom was in one room, talking on the phone, and you were in another room yelling at god.

>> oh, my god.

>> it is an incredible book, millions of people have read it. and the movie i think turned out really, really well. a hard story to tell. welcome. how do you feel about the movie?

>> we're thrilled. i think the biggest thing for us was the integrity of the story, and it kept their word to do that. not only that, the quality. when you see greg kinnear and this little boy conner, you're going to see the best representation of what i saw 11 years ago.

>> and when you met him, did you look at him and think that kid could play me?

>> well, what some people don't understand, i have plenty of people pretending to be me. i have some of my friends pretending to be me to pick up girls so i'm pretty used to it, but he's by far the best.

>> the chicks are out there, huh?

>> apparently.

>> look at the --

>> i thought it was inspired because i'm telling you, we met you -- we met you how many years ago?

>> four.

>> four. you're how old now?

>> 14.

>> looking at you now, and how you've grown, you totally freaked us out when you walked in the room. do you remember clearly, vividly, all the things that happened to you when you were a little boy ?

>> well, my hospital experience and all the events leading up to not really. but with heaven, i still remember a lot of what i saw.

>> do you still dream about it at times and does it recur in any way in your life?

>> no. i only have the one memory, no visions, no dreams.

>> that's so fascinating.

>> so what was your take on the film and how you were portrayed and how the movie played out?

>> i think they did a very good job of showing us as a real family, a pastor's family. we do struggle. we fight. we kiss. we make up. and it just showed us in a very positive light.

>> that's a tough story to tell. you're afraid it is going to come off cheesy if you really try to show how gorgeous heaven is. it is indescribable, right? so how did you feel they dealt with those kinds of --

>> i think when it comes to real life , especially the scene where greg and kelly are fighting with each other in the kitchen, they know us pretty good, but, you know, i think the one scene about heaven, that's colton 's saying about the movie, he's like, you know, i know they did the best job they can, but heaven is so much better than that. that's good news for all of us. when you see -- you're going to see a good depiction, but for you it watch the movie and realize it is so much better, what a great thing to walk out and know that.

>> were you on the set at all?

>> a little bit. i went -- we went for two days, colton was there once. but probably --

>> to watch people playing you.

>> the thing was all the conversations with randall wallace ahead of time, that really made the movie-making process go smooth.

>> congrats again.

>> opens -- all go is have the burpos on and congratulate them. it opens nationwide tomorrow for the holiday weekend