Connie Britton Says 'Good Joe Bell' Can Teach 'How to Be Better Allies' (Video)

Connie Britton Says 'Good Joe Bell' Can Teach 'How to Be Better Allies' (Video)

09/15/2020

Toronto Film Festival 2020: “It was a wonderful opportunity to honor that family and also LGBTQ youth around the world,” actress says 

Connie Britton said her new film “Good Joe Bell” is not just a story about an LGBTQ family but an opportunity for others to learn how to be better allies to their kids and loved ones.

“Good Joe Bell” is the story of a father played by Mark Wahlberg who takes a walk across the country to educate others about the impacts bullying had on his gay son, played by Reid Miller. And because Britton was lucky enough to be able to speak with the woman she’s portraying, the real life mother and wife of the film’s subjects, she began to appreciate the complexities of being a gay kid in a small town.

“It felt like such an amazing opportunity and also an amazing responsibility to do justice not only to her story and to their stories but to give a very accessible representation of what it is to be a young kid who is LGBTQ and be in a small town, in this case in the United States with a community who doesn’t understand, with a family who doesn’t quite understand, but there are so many complexities to that,” Britton told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman as part of the TIFF Virtual Studio. “We can all learn more about ourselves and how to be better allies, and it’s really a journey to understanding.”

Miller, who plays her son in the film, said he could relate to his character Jadin because he too felt like an outsider in his own school growing up.

“I grew up in a few small towns that were very sports oriented, I don’t know if you can tell but I am very much not an athlete, and I was always interested in things that didn’t interest them, specifically the arts, filmmaking, and being creative in general wasn’t really their forté,” Miller said. “To them I was very weird. So I understood growing up in a place where you felt alone, in a way like you didn’t belong.”

Miller said that he had to recognize he wasn’t just playing a character but a real person, and he put all of his own experiences into the role.

“I’m not playing a character, I’m playing a person, a person who lived and breathed and suffered. But because of that he was also a very strong person,” Miller added. “He is a very outward person, not afraid to show who he is, and I loved that. I loved showing that side of him, because he was a good kid who wanted to be himself and was in a very unfortunate situation I think. So for me, having known what it feels like to be alone and to deal with that sort of loneliness, it definitely helped me prepare for the role.”

“Good Joe Bell” is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green from a script by Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana, and he said reading the script “absolutely broke my heart.” He eventually got to meet with Wahlberg and became determined to be a part of the film in whatever way he could.

“As a parent myself, it’s something we all ask ourselves, how to be a better parent, be a better ally, how to be more active in our kid’s life. And I asked myself, if I could have one more conversation with my father if he was still here, what are the things we could still say, or all the difficult things we could never say while he was still here.”

Check out TheWrap’s interview with Green, Britton, Miller and Ossana above.

10 Buzziest Movies for Sale in Toronto, From Idris Elba's 'Concrete Cowboy' to Mark Wahlberg's 'Good Joe Bell' (Photos)

  • What the Cannes virtual marketplace proved earlier this year is that even without the in-person meetings, the red carpet galas and all the press hype, there’s still room for a lucrative sales market surrounding these virtual events. While that’s true of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the hybrid physical and virtual fest is operating on a slimmed-down lineup of movies. And with Oscar eligibility requirements pushed back to 2021, there isn’t the same need for all of these movies to make a splash. That said, we are looking forward to quite a bit at this year’s TIFF, and so are buyers.

  • “Bruised” 

    Halle Berry takes a beating as a washed-up MMA fighter looking to make her redemption fight in “Bruised,” which is also Berry’s directorial debut. The film is set in New Jersey and explores her fight to get back into shape and win back her child. It also stars Adan Canto and Sheila Atim.

    Romulus Entertainment/Thunder Road Pictures

  • “Concrete Cowboy” 

    Idris Elba and “Stranger Things'” Caleb McLaughlin play father and son in this family drama from Ricky Staub that draws on the history of Black cowboys in its adaptation of a novel by Greg Neri. McLaughlin is a troubled teen who is sent to live with his quiet, absentee father and is taught to work at his father’s stables. Jharrel Jerome, Byron Bowers, Lorraine Toussaint and Clifford “Method Man” Smith also co-star.

    Lee Daniels Entertainment/Tucker Tooley Entertainment

  • “Good Joe Bell” 

    Mark Wahlberg is getting early hype for his performance based on a true story of a father who takes a cross-country trip to honor his son and educate people about the dangers of bullying. The movie flashes back to show Wahlberg’s conflicted and grudging relationship with his son’s homosexuality and how he grows, even as it becomes too late. “Monsters and Men” director Reinaldo Marcus Green directs the film from the writers of “Brokeback Mountain.”

    Endeavor Content

  • “I Care a Lot” 

    Rosamund Pike, Eiza González, Dianne West and Peter Dinklage star in this thriller about two women who use loopholes in the legal system to defraud elderly retirees of their family fortunes, only for them to end up angering a crime lord with their latest mark. J Blakeson wrote and directed the film.

    Black Bear Pictures

  • “MLK/FBI” 

    This documentary from Oscar nominee Sam Pollard is based on recently unclassified FBI documents and examines the surveillance and harassment the FBI used against Martin Luther King Jr. over years, including how J. Edgar Hoover hoped to discredit him and break his spirit. The film includes a discussion of how filmmaking and historians should use official materials from the FBI and other sources and how those sources color history.

    Field of Vision

  • “New Order” 

    Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco’s film first played Venice and is a drama set amid a violent protest in Mexico City. The film draws on sociopolitical themes and the class divide to show how the wealthy unwittingly empower an encroaching military rule in their attempt to keep power.  

    The Match Factory

  • “Penguin Bloom” 

    Naomi Watts is said to give a stellar performance in this true story based on the life of Sam Bloom, a woman who suffered a traumatic accident who finds an inspiring road to recovery after befriending a magpie bird as her companion. Glendyn Ivin directs the film that also stars Andrew Lincoln, Jacki Weaver and Rachel House.

    Getty Images

  • “Pieces of a Woman” 

    Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó directs Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby in this film inspired by ’70s character dramas about a couple expecting a child who winds up grieving over a tragedy in two different ways. Kirby steals the show, but the film also includes a stand-out moment from Ellen Burstyn as Kirby’s mother.

    BRON Studios

  • “Shadow in the Cloud” 

    As part of the Midnight Madness section, Chloe Grace Moretz in “Shadow in the Cloud” is like “Alien” on a WWII bomber. Moretz is a fighter pilot on a mission to carry a piece of classified information and is sequestered from her sexist male counterparts but soon discovers a mysterious presence that threatens the safety of everyone aboard. Roseanne Liang directs the film.

    Four Knights Films

  • “The Water Man” 

    Another actor making their directorial debut, David Oyelowo’s “The Water Man” is a mythical family film with an homage to the family movies of the 1980s. It’s the story of a man who looks for a mystical creature with the secret to everlasting life in an effort to rescue his ailing mother. Oprah Winfrey executive produces the film that stars Oyelowo alongside Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis, Amiah Miller, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello.

    Photo Credit Karen Ballard

  • There are still some other movies playing as part of the festival that already have homes, including Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” at Searchlight, Regina King’s “One Night in Miami” at Amazon, the Kate Winslet-Saoirse Ronan drama “Ammonite” (pictured) at Neon, and Dawn Porter’s documentary “The Way I See It” at Focus Features. Amazon Studios also recently acquired director Matthew Heineman’s “The Boy From Medellín” about musician J Balvin.

    Neon

TIFF 2020: “Pieces of a Woman,” “The Water Man,” “I Care A Lot” and more are getting attention from buyers

What the Cannes virtual marketplace proved earlier this year is that even without the in-person meetings, the red carpet galas and all the press hype, there’s still room for a lucrative sales market surrounding these virtual events. While that’s true of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the hybrid physical and virtual fest is operating on a slimmed-down lineup of movies. And with Oscar eligibility requirements pushed back to 2021, there isn’t the same need for all of these movies to make a splash. That said, we are looking forward to quite a bit at this year’s TIFF, and so are buyers.

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