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'Batkid Begins' Director on How Motherhood Influences Her Job

In the documentary "Batkid Begins," which chronicles the day San Francisco became Gotham City to support a 5-year-old boy's Make-A-Wish request, there's a particular moment that every mom can relate to.

Halfway through his daylong adventure, Miles Scott, the little boy who inspired this day, wants to call it quits. He's tired. There are 2 billion people following his every move—on the streets and on social media combined—and he's had enough.

"Batkid Begins" director Dana Nachman knows all about kids. After all, she has three of her own—two daughters, ages 5 and 9, and an 8-year-old son. That experience, she says, came into play during the filming.

"I think it really meant a lot to [Miles' mom] Natalie that I'm a mom in the telling of the story," Nachman tells mom.me. "And I think we relate to each other so much more on a mom level than we do on the filmmaker-subject level."

Nachman also talks to us about how motherhood influences her work, how her kids got involved and the feature adaptation of the film that Julia Roberts is producing.

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At what point were you like, "I have to make this movie"?

I heard about it, actually, after the fact. It was crazy. I missed the entire thing. I was working on another project that week, and I totally wasn't on social media, didn't look at the news—and I missed it. But I have three little kids, and I was looking for something to do. They were kind of begging me to do something that they would like, and then when I saw it, I thought, 'That would have been so perfect.'

The next week, a friend I used to job-share with at NBC called, and we talked about what we were working on, and she said, 'I'm trying to get an interview with the Batkid,' and I was like, 'That would have been such a great documentary.' And she was like, 'When I hang up, I'm going to call Make-A-Wish. Do you want me to see if we can get a meeting?' She called back five minutes later and said, 'So I can't get an interview with him, but [the Make-A-Wish Foundation] wants to meet with us.'

So we went to their office the next day, and we just totally hit it off. And so it was a really lucky, good-timing situation.

Your kids are the perfect ages for this film.

They're so into it. My son is in the middle, and he is now really good friends with Miles. You might have seen him running around with Miles. There's always a random kid. That's my son, Charlie.

How did being a mom yourself influence your take on this film?

I think it now influences everything I do. I think mostly in the choice to make it. I don't even know if I would have been attracted to [the Batkid story] before I was a mom, necessarily.

I was (also) looking for something that I could include my kids in. My last film was about toxic chemicals in all of our products ("The Human Experiment"). After that movie, I realized that every project I do, I want to have an impact on my kids. But for them, when I do something dark and depressing, like toxic chemicals causing cancer, that's not necessarily fun for them. This one, I wanted to do it with them. They came with me on shoots, and my daughter who's 9 was really into helping me pick music. And I thought it was a really great way to incorporate them.

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Was there anything that Miles' parents (Nick and Natalie) said no to, when it came to making the film?

No, never like that. But I know them well now, and I know they're not comfortable in the limelight. This thing was thrust upon them. They really want a private life, and I would never push them. If anything, I was overly cautious with them.

What did Miles think about the film?

He loved it. I sent them a link a week before it premiered. They watched it, and I was totally stressing while they were watching it. And finally, after I thought it would be over—I was counting the minutes—I texted them, and they were like, 'We can't text. We're in the middle of watching it. We love it.'

Julia Roberts is involved with the feature version of the film. Did you have any mom-to-mom conversation with her about the movie or about Miles?

I have not yet, but I hope to. I talked to her sister, who's her producing partner, and other people on her producing team. But my take on it was she related to it very much from that perspective and also from the perspective of (Make-A-Wish CEO) Patricia (Wilson) being this unsung hero in the whole thing.

Image via Getty Images

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