Solstice Studios will release a new cut of Mark Wahlberg’s latest film under the new title Joe Bell on February 19, 2021, timed to this year’s delayed awards season. The company acquired the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Based on an inspiring true story, the film (which was previously titled Good Joe Bell) stars Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg as the title character in what has been described as a career best performance from the acclaimed actor, who also serves as a producer. The movie is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men and the forthcoming King Richard) from an original screenplay by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, the Academy Award winning writing team from Brokeback Mountain. It also features notable performances from Connie Britton, Gary Sinise and newcomer Reid Miller, who received accolades after the film’s festival debut.
With a timely message about tolerance, unity and embracing our differences, Joe Bell is based on the powerful true story of a small town, working class father (Wahlberg) who embarks on a solo walk across the United States to crusade against bullying after his gay teenage son, Jadin (Miller) is tormented in high school. Joe makes his way along the breathtaking expanse heading from Oregon to New York City, delivering a simple message of tolerance from a father’s perspective, hoping to reach those who may be open to hearing it from someone like themselves. Confronting many hardships, Joe ultimately shows us all that you can make a difference if you just take it one step at a time.
“The version of the film that was screened at Toronto was very promising, and after working with the filmmakers and Mark Wahlberg on a revised cut, we feel it has now reached its full potential” said Mark Gill, President and CEO of Solstice Studios. “Thanks to a lot of hard work as well as the addition of a new original end title song from legendary songwriter Diane Warren, we believe this film now has newfound power and emotional potency that substantially elevates its very important message. We are grateful to the filmmakers and cast for bringing us the opportunity to carry on the work Joe Bell started.”
Mark Wahlberg added, “This is a story that is very important to me personally. Joe Bell is a man who didn’t understand certain things about the world until he was faced with them in his own life — as a father. As a parent myself, I know how much fatherhood can change a man. This is a story told from a very personal point of view, from the heart of a man who walked from town to town to reach families just like his, delivering a message of tolerance to people who often didn’t want to hear it at first. It shows us how a series of small steps can add up and make a big difference for the people in this country who need to know they are loved and accepted.”
The producers on Joe Bell are Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker, Eva Maria Daniels, Cary Fukunaga, Ryan Ahrens, Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson. Executive producers are Jill Ahrens, Ben Renzo, Derrick Brooks, Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis, Terry Dougas, Jean-Luc De Fanti, Jake Gyllenhaal, Diana Ossana, Larry McMurtry, Peter Pastorelli, and Uwe R. Feuersenger. The movie is a co-production between Argent Pictures, Endeavor Content, Hercules Film Fund, Rhea Films, Stay Gold Features, Nine Stories Productions, VisionChaos, Parliament of Owls and Wahlberg/Levinson.
Joe Bell is the second theatrical release for Solstice Studios following the successful August 21st bow of the Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged, which had a much heralded release as the first new film to open wide in theaters after an almost 5-month shutdown due to the Coronavirus.