AnnaSophia Robb played the starring role of Bethany Hamilton in 2011’s Soul Surfer. The Denver-born actress was just 16-years-old during early 2010, when the film was shot on location in Hawaii and Tahiti.
Soul Surfer is based on a 2004 autobiography written by the real-life Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack but still returned to the sport. Bethany apparently recommended Robb for the role, because despite being very young at the start of production, Robb was already an accomplished actress when she shot Soul Surfer.
Robb’s Other Roles
In 2005, AnnaSophia played Violet Beauregard, a gum-chewing, self-obsessed golden ticket winner from Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The film was not as well-received as the 1971 original and is remembered by some as a flop, but it grossed over $200 million in the United States and close to $500 million worldwide, far surpassing its estimated $150 million budget.
It also served as a launching pad for the young Robb, who was just 11 when the film hit cinemas. 2005 was also the year that Robb featured in Because of Winn-Dixie, prior to which her only appearances were in a TV movie (An American Girl Holiday), and a brief appearance in Drake & Josh.
Two years later, Robb assumed more of a central role in Bridge to Terabithia, earning a Critics Choice Award nomination for “Best Young Actress” in the process.
Roles in The Reaping, Have Dreams, Will Travel, and Sleepwalking followed, putting the young actress on screen alongside the likes of Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Jeff Daniels, and even a very young Elle Fanning.
A couple of action films followed and then came Soul Surfer, a film that earned her a nomination at the MovieGuide Awards and the Teen Choice Awards.
In the years since, AnnaSophia Robb seems to be moving away from movies and into TV. In 2013, she starred as Carrie Bradshaw in The Carrie Diaries and won the “Superstar of Tomorrow” award at the Young Hollywood Awards.
She played Lacy in The Act, Alice Green in Mercy Street, and Young Elena in 2020’s Little Fires Everywhere.
As depicted in the film Soul Surfer, Bethany Hamilton returned to her board just 1 month after the attack and taught herself to surf with one arm.
Her career continued long after the attack and in addition to her surfing accolades, which include multiple top 3 finishers in the USA and Australia and the honor of becoming the first woman to compete in the Rip Curl Cup, she has launched numerous outreach programs, published several books, and appeared in many TV programs.