Mark Wahlberg says new film ‘Joe Bell’ is important for parents


Actor Mark Wahlberg is getting a lot of Oscar-buzz for his role in new film Joe Bell. 

The film is based on the true story of a father who set off to walk across America talking about the need for acceptance and embracing of LGBTI youth following the tragic death of his teenage son, Jaiden.

Appearing on Good Morning America Wahlberg said the film had an important message for parents.

“When I read the script I realised, Oh my God, as a parent it was important for me to be a part of this, to kind of figure out how to listen to my children, to make sure they were heard and seen.” Wahlberg said.

The actor shared that he met with the Bell family ahead of filming to make sure they understood his commitment to telling their story with sensitivity and respect. Meeting the family also allowed Wahlberg to get a deeper understanding of the real life man he was portraying.

“When Jaiden wanted to come out and be who he was, Joe was terrified by that and felt like that was not a good idea. He didn’t want to allow his son to be who he was, and celebrate him for his bravery.” Wahlberg said.

“He didn’t get the support at home, and when Joe realised he was as responsible as the kids who were bullying him at school, it was devastating for him, and it really paralyzed him for sometime, and then he got up and decided he was going to try and do whatever he could to at least raise awareness and prevent other people from experiencing the same tragedy.”

Take a look at the trailer. 

The script for the film was written by Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana, who previously penned the script for Brokeback Mountain.  The film is one of the final projects from McMurty who passed away earlier this year.

Appearing alongside Mark Wahlberg is Connie Britton, Gary Sinise and Lost in Space actor Maxwell Jenkins. Newcomer Reid Miller plays Bell’s son Jaiden.

Support for parents and friends

Community group PFLAG – Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (and everyone else) is a great support service for parents. Find out more about them at our community groups page.

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGED: 9364 6909 / / [email protected]
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 /

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 /

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