|Batman Lewis Crow and Batman Kye Sapp with a subdued Joker, played by actor Michael Sylvester, outside Worthington National Bank in Arlington. Photo courtesy Legends of the Knight.|
|Filmaker Brett Culp|
|Kye Sapp and adult Batman, volunteer Lewis Crow of Arlington. Photo courtesy a Wish with Wings|
When trouble strikes, you call Batman. That’s what Arlington Police and Fire did in April 2012. They even made a movie of it, little realizing that it was going to become part of a major motion picture.
The Batman they called was 7-year-old Kye Sapp, who had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. He dreamed of being in a Batman movie, and his wish became reality through a Wish with Wings, a local non-profit that grants wishes for children facing serious illness. He spent the day fighting the Joker, played by actor Michael Sylvester, and the Riddler, played by actor Cooper Wiseman. The video posted by the Arlington Police Department has drawn more than 265,000 views.
The response to Kye’s wish from Arlington Police and Fire was amazing, said a Wish with Wings Executive Director Judy Youngs. “They put together an entire team of people to facilitate and help plan this. They wrote the script. They set it all up,” she said. Lisa Parisot of Reel Reflections Media taped the event, and Worthington National Bank provided the scene for the “robbery.”
Filmmaker Brett Culp also had a dream. He dreamed of making a movie about people who have overcome obstacles and given to their communities because of their love of Batman.
“Kye’s Batman adventure with a Wish with Wings really inspired me,” Culp said. “I loved how it expressed the spirit of Batman working in Kye’s life as he fought through treatment for leukemia. But, on a broader level, Kye’s adventure expressed the heroic spirit of … your community. It was a clear demonstration that all of us have the ability to be heroes in our own lives, in our families and in our communities.”
Culp’s crowd-source financed Legends of the Knight is in release now and being shown in theaters around the country. Kye’s adventure and the people who made it happen are among the stories featured in the documentary.
A Wish with Wings presented the movie to an invitation-only Fort Worth premiere, April 24, at the Kimbell Art Museum Piano Pavilion. Sewell Lexus and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House underwrote the event.
Kye has completed his chemotherapy now and said the event was planned as a friend-raiser, not a fundraiser. “We really wanted to make this a celebration of his life, and the fact that he, just like Batman, has overcome his obstacles by believing that he could do it,” Youngs said.
Kye and his mother, Tina, also were at the premiere showing of Legends of the Knight in Tampa.
A Wish with Wings has served more than 1,200 children since it was founded in 1982. Parents and children apply, and the agency fulfills as many wishes as it can. “We are a local organization,” said Youngs. “We serve children here in this community as well as across the state of Texas, but primarily right here in Fort Worth and Dallas and the metropolitan area.” Many learn of the program by word of mouth among the tightly knit families dealing with similar illnesses.
That’s how Tina Sapp heard of it. Sapp says that she’s excited that her son’s testimony is being shared widely, because that has been a major part of their lives. She was Batwoman for the Arlington wish day. “I’ve always enjoyed dressing up,” Sapp said. “My other two children also dressed up. My daughter was Batgirl, and my other son was Robin.”
But it’s not so much about being in a movie. “The message behind the movie is really what I’m hopeful for. The message is about people overcoming obstacles through the legend of Batman,” she said. “It’s the wish that keeps on giving. It is a beautiful feeling that is going to reach so many people and bring life back into places where there has been heartache and brokenness.”
As for Kye, “It was sort of fun being Batman for the day.” He liked Tampa and thought it was a good place for the initial premiere of Legends of the Knight.
Kye repeated for us what he also told Brett Culp when asked how Batman would react to having cancer: “He would fight.”
Just like Kye did.
To view the Arlington Police and Fire video of Kye Sapp’s day as Batman, go here: tinyurl.com/Batman-Arlington
For more on Legends of the Knight, go here: wearebatman.com