This was a popular movie that teachers would show on long field trips or during Friday afternoon class time (when the teachers were lazy and would show family friendly VHS tapes). “A young boy with stunted growth is convinced that God has a great purpose for him.” Who doesn’t think God has a great purpose for him? Also, I totally forgot Jim Carey had a cameo in this.
Simon Birch was based on the novel “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving. Irving hated the idea of his book being turned into a film, so when he sold the screen rights he put in the condition that it not be released under the same name as his book. He also provided the name Simon Birch for the producers to use in place of Owen Meany.
Simon was a loveable character. His high pitched voice and little frame made him one of those characters that made you say “awwwwwwww.” The actor playing Simon, Ian Michael Smith, was only 10 years old during the making of the film. Ian suffers from Morquio Syndrome, also known as MPSIVA. It affects the skeletal structure causing dwarfism. His full height is three feet, 1 inch tall. His acting career never took off, and perhaps he never wanted one. He’s a recent graduate of MIT and Gallaudet University.
Here is little Simon Birch now: