‘A Private War’ Director Matthew Heineman To Helm Wildfire Drama ‘Paradise’ | Film News


Focus Features has tapped A Private War director Matthew Heineman to helm a film about the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. The drama is titled Paradise.


The film will focus on Heather Roebuck, who gave birth via C-section minutes before her hospital was engulfed by flames. Powerless to move her legs, and separated from her newborn and fiancé, she embarked on a harrowing journey through the town with the aid of a group of EMTs and other emergency personnel.


The group attempted to reunite Roebuck with her family, but soon found themselves fighting for their lives. In a cruel ironic twist, the fire went on to destroy the small town of Paradise, California. Roebuck lived to tell the tale, and her story went viral. Focus Features quickly optioned her life rights and set about developing the film. Heineman said of the project:


“For me, the film examines the human connections ordinary people make in extraordinary circumstances. Heather’s journey of inner strength in the face of unparalleled and unexpected adversity is one of the most exciting and visceral stories that I’ve ever encountered”.


Heineman earned an Oscar nomination for his 2015 documentary Cartel Land, before directing A Private WarRosamund Pike‘s superb turn as war photographer Marie Colvin was a towering performance, and whoever plays Roebuck may look to that as proof of what Heineman can bring out of his actors.


Although the Camp Fire is still fresh in the mind, Hollywood moves fast. Roebuck’s incredible story of survival deserves to be told, and hopefully Heineman can do it justice. His documentary experience should serve him well.



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