Remember when Carrie Underwood made her big-screen movie debut?

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HitFix/YouTube

Six years after winning the fourth season of american idolCarrie Underwood made her big screen debut in the film soul surfer.

soul surfer is a biographical film that tells the story of Bethany Hamilton, the award-winning surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Hamilton surfs along Tunnels Beach in Kauai, Hawaii, with her best friend, friends father and brother. Bethany was lying on her surfboard when a 14ft tiger shark bit her left arm, just below her shoulder.

Her friends helped her ashore and put on a tourniquet to minimize blood loss as Hamilton was taken to a local hospital. But, by the time Bethany arrived at the hospital, she had lost 60% of her blood. In what can only be considered a providential event, her father was already in hospital awaiting scheduled knee surgery. Bethany took her father’s place in the operating room where doctors saved his life.

Bethany Hamilton and Sarah Hill after the shark attack
Bethany Hamilton in hospital after shark attack. Photo via bethanyhamilton.com

Hamilton not only survived the 2003 attack, she started surfing again a month later. Bethany, who was just 13 when the crash happened, wrote a book about her experience in 2004 titled Soul Surfer: A true story of faith, family and the fight to get back on the board.

Hamilton’s book was adapted into film soul surferand detailed the shark attack as well as the surfer’s reliance on her faith for her recovery.

Promotional poster for Soul Surfer
Soul surfer/Facebook

Carrie Underwood has been cast as youth pastor Sarah Hill. Hill is credited with helping Bethany recover.

“My brother Noah called Sarah, and she left her job and rushed to the hospital to be with my family. Sarah shared a scripture with us that day that really carried us through and we helped see the big picture,” Bethany wrote of Sarah. “Fast forward to being home and adjusting to life with one arm. Sarah was the one my mom called when she noticed I was feeling down. Sarah would come talk to me, read the Bible with me, or take me on adventures.

Hill’s portrayal by Carrie Underwood in soul surfer was a small but important role. It was also a role that Underwood said was important in telling Bethany Hamilton’s story.

“I’m happy with myself for the role and for the film,” Underwood said ahead of the film’s premiere. “Am I going to win an Oscar? No. It was so much fun and the important thing is to get the story out there.

Fresh out of her american idol victory, Carrie Underwood offered him movie roles. But, she turned them all down until the opportunity to be part of soul surfer came with.

“I’m very busy with music and that’s what I like, that’s what I know. But you know it was special. It didn’t fit my schedule at all, but we found time for it,” Carrie said. “It was so special.”

Soul Surfer also played Dennis Quaid as Bethany’s father Tom, Helen Hunt as her mother Cheri, Anna Sophia Robb as Bethany and Kevin Sorbo, Craig T. Nelson and others in supporting roles.

Watch an excerpt from Carrie Underwood in his big screen debut below.

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