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The True Story That Inspired Ordinary Angels

February 8th, 2024The True Story That Inspired Ordinary Angels

ORDINARY ANGELS opens February 23

Miracles can happen. The proof is in the regular, everyday people who make them happen – either through something as simple and effortless as flashing a smile that inadvertently makes a stranger’s day just a little bit better, or by an act of kindness on a much grander and more life-changing scale. A new film called ORDINARY ANGELS is based on a true story that perfectly represents the latter.

This drama, which is due to open in AMC Theatres on Friday, February 23, comes from director Jon Gunn, who is also an executive producer on recent inspirational gems such as AMERICAN UNDERDOG and JESUS REVOLUTION. It stars a talented cast led by two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson, who is best known from movies like the live-action TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES reboot series and FAST X, and as the title role of Amazon Prime’s “Reacher.” Before you check out ORDINARY ANGELS for yourself, take a closer look at the true story that inspired the film below.

A Woman Answers A Call For Help

ORDINARY ANGELS is based on a 2023 memoir of the same name by Sharon Stevens Evans, whom Swank portrays in the film. In the book, she recalls how, while working as a hairdresser to support her children in the early 1990s, she came across a newspaper article in Louisville’s Courier Journal that introduced her to the story of a man named Ed Schmitt, who is the basis of Ritchson’s role in the film. The fellow Kentuckian had recently lost his wife to a respiratory illness and was now single-handedly raising two daughters – 5-year-old Ashley and 3-year-old Michelle – both of whom were stricken with a severe affliction of the liver called biliary atresia.

As detailed in a Courier Journal feature from October 2023, learning this story inspired Evans to step in and try to help the Schmitts with their harrowing situation in any way she could. She began working to raise money in an effort to pay off the family’s overwhelming medical bills and started to grow close to them over time. These acts would only prove to be the beginning of how far she was willing to go to help them.

The Snowstorm

The moment that made the Schmitts’ story the stuff of legend took place on a day in 1994, on which the family received a call that a donor had been found for Michelle’s much-needed liver transplant in Omaha, Nebraska. The original plan, as organized by Sharon, was to drive the ailing toddler to a nearby airport and travel to the hospital by a private jet, but a torrential blizzard had made the roads in Louisville impossible to drive through. With only so much time before Michelle’s needed organ would be unusable for transplant, Sharon put out a call for help.

As another Courier Journal article from 2016 recalls, a Christian church not far from the Schmitts’ house had an empty parking lot large enough to land a helicopter that would be able to take Michelle to Omaha. However, in order for the aircraft to land safely, 100 square feet of snow would need to be cleared out of the way. Sharon then called a local radio station asking them to put out the message that help was needed to ensure the helicopter’s safe landing space in order to bring this girl to the hospital and save her life. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle that you will have to see to believe when ORDINARY ANGELS comes out.

Watch The Trailer

Now that you know the gist of the story of Sharon Stevens Evans’ efforts to help Ed Schmitt and his daughters, take a peek at how their story will be dramatized for the big screen in ORDINARY ANGELS. See how Swank, Ritchson, and company pull off their performances in official trailer for the drama below:

The first full-length teaser for the film starts off introducing Sharon Stevens Evans as a self-described “alcoholic with a splitting headache” who is searching for a sense of purpose. This leads her to discover the Schmitt Family and offer to help quell their hardships – an arrangement that Ed does not seem too keen on at first, until he eventually warms to her, leading her to grow closer to the family. The final moments of the promo and tease the plan to get young Michelle to Omaha and the incredible circumstances the moment involved.

If there is one story hitting the big screen in 2024 that has the best chance of making you ponder over the existence of miracles, it will surely be the story that inspired ORDINARY ANGELS. Witness the unbelievable details for yourself when the drama comes to an AMC Theatres location near you!

ORDINARY ANGELS opens February 23

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