Big, scary monsters aren't so scary once you have stared down cancer.
Maddex, 5, was diagnosed with leukemia last year. Many, many visits to the hospital later, Maddex is now stable as he continues his treatments.
As he lived through his diagnosis and treatments, he began watching classic Godzilla movies with his grandfather and father. All three share a passion for the pop culture icon that grew out of Japanese film.
When a nurse referred Maddex to Make-A-Wish Illinois for a wish, he decided to bring his passion to life and wished to be Godzilla in a movie. Turning to Chicago’s robust film and entertainment community, Make-A-Wish Illinois set about planning this most unusual wish.
Enter creative director Jonathan Becker of Becker Films, with over 15 years of experience working in the Chicago and Los Angeles commercial film business. Jonathan quickly enrolled the help of a number of colleagues from the Midwest to the west coast, including producer Mo Wagdy of miniGorilla Productions, and the team was up-and-running. Working closely with the team at Make-A-Wish Illinois, meetings were held, ideas were exchanged, and pretty soon a story developed with the perfect role for Maddex to live out his dream.
An 800-foot beast developed from the mind of our 3½ foot hero Maddex and his love of Godzilla. Through lots of movie magic, director Jonathan and his local producer Mo Wagdy have tapped their connections to building their own volunteer army. From actors to art department, costumes to visual effects, and using dollies, boats and even helicopters, the two are enlisting favors from the film community and beyond to make Maddex's dream come true. And through these efforts, Jonathan and his team are bringing big-budget Hollywood action movie production values to the Midwest...and producing them on a dime.
Recently, hundreds of hours have been put forth by over one hundred volunteers through Make-A-Wish and within the Chicago film community to help grant Maddex’s wish. The production filmed throughout the City of Chicago – at Maddex’s home, on historic LaSalle Street in the Loop, and on a sound stage where a 1:200 scale model of Grant Park was created. Special guests who have made cameo appearances in the film include Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Benny the Bull of the Chicago Bulls.
“It was definitely the happiest we’ve seen him,” Maddex’s father Tony told the Chicago Tribune.
Through the days of filming, Maddex was energetic and animated, his spirits buoyed despite the treatment he continues. Filming is now wrapped and the project is in post-production with a premiere tentatively scheduled for late August, where Maddex will proudly walk the red carpet.