Solstice Studios sets Mark Wahlberg-led Joe Bell for awards season release
It’s been nearly a decade since Mark Wahlberg last saw Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his work in the sports drama The Fighter, but Solstice Studios believes it’s his time again as they have set his upcoming biographical drama Joe Bell for an awards season release of February 19, 2021, according to Variety.
Joe Bell, previously titled Meet Joe Bell, tells the true story of Oregonian father Joe Bell (Wahlberg) who sets out on a walk across America to raise awareness for bullying after his 15-year-old son, Jadin (Reid Miller), commits suicide after being subjected to torment by his peers for being gay. Following its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, where it received generally mixed reviews from critics though praise was showered onto Miller’s performance, Solstice acquired the rights to the film for $20 million, with the studio working with the filmmakers and Wahlberg to develop a new cut of the film.
“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,” Mark Gill, President and CEO of Solstice Studios, said in a statement. “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.”
The film hails from Academy-Award winning Brokeback Mountain screenwriters Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, with Reinaldo Marcus Green (King Richard) in the director’s chair; and will be produced by Daniela Taplin Lundberg (Honey Boy) of Stay Gold, Riva Marker and Jake Gyllenhaal of Nine Stories, Eva Maria Daniels of Vision Chaos, Cary Fukunaga of Parliament of Owls, Ryan Ahrens of Argent Pictures (Hacksaw Ridge), Wahlberg, and Stephen Levinson. Argent Pictures and Hercules Film are co-financing the film.
“This is a story that is very important to me personally,” Wahlberg said in a statement. “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.”
Jill Ahrens, Ben Renzo, Tony Parker, Derick Brooks, Michael Finley, and Drew Brees are executive producing for Argent Pictures. Good Joe Bell will also be executive produced by Ossan McMurtry along with Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis, Terry Dougas and Jean-Luc De Fanti for Hercules and Rhea Films.
Joe Bell is set to hit theaters on February 19, 2021.