Love story for ‘Idol’s’ Chris Medina, Juliana Ramos to make its way to the big screen
By Natasha Wasinski March 15, 2013 4:16PM
Chris Medina, shown during a performance at St. Laurence High School in Burbank in 2011, said he is thrilled that a movie about his fiancee, Juliana Ramos, may finally come to fruition. | Gary Middendorf ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 17, 2013 6:08AM
The past four years for 29-year-old, former “American Idol” contestant Chris Medina have all the markings of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Life changed when his high-school sweetheart and fiancee, Juliana Ramos, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident two months shy of their 2009 winter wedding date.
Medina stepped up as her caretaker while also aggressively pursuing music, something his “angel,” Juli, had always wanted for him.
A celebrated yet ultimately unsuccessful bid on Season 10 of the hit vocal-contest reality show introduced the couple to the world — and launched the Oak Forest resident’s career.
But there’s more to this story than tragic romance, Medina maintains. Rather, it’s the reality of his and Ramos’ life together — the struggle, passion, and perseverance — that strikes a chord in hearts everywhere.
“Life isn’t beautiful all the time. Love isn’t easy,” he said. “I think people on a day-to-day basis, although happy, have this struggle. There’s a hope that things get better.”
Now, with the backing of a Beverly Hills-based entertainment group, Medina is bringing that story of hope to the big screen.
Earlier this week, Medina signed a contract with MCS41 to turn his and Ramos’ story into a feature film. Slated for release in the fall of 2014, the film is based on a book by Ramos’ mother, Janet Spencer Barnes, who documented her daughter’s recovery through blog postings and hand-written letters.
Medina is spearheading production of the movie’s soundtrack and expects to promote its release via a 45-market music tour with other artists as early as next winter. The tour would culminate with a concert on Hollywood Boulevard before the movie’s premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, according to reports. Ramos is to receive an undisclosed amount of the proceeds to assist in her continued care.
Though they had been approached numerous times before with offers to make a movie, this time felt different, Medina said.
When independent theatrical distributor James Schramm of MCS41 learned about Ramos’ accident and road to recovery, he felt inspired as well as connected: A motorcycle accident two decades ago left Schramm wheelchair-bound. He defied doctors’ expectations and today is fully mobile.
Schramm kept after Medina for a year and said that now, with his blessing, is roping in the best of what Hollywood has to offer to create an action-packed, dramatic tearjerker about the love of a man’s word. He said filming will take place in Los Angeles and Chicago.
While the film’s script should be finalized by the end of the month, Medina and Ramos write theirs day by day.
Marriage may be in the cards but a wedding is no longer the goal, Medina said. For now their focus lies on keeping their family intact and continuing to overcome the odds.
“It’s not about walking into a sunset,” Medina said. “It’s about getting up, and walking a path, and persevering.”
Natasha Wasinski is a local free-lance writer.