Reid Miller plays alongside Mark Wahlberg in Joe Bellwhich hits theaters on July 23rd. Based on the tragic story behind the death of Jadin Bell, Miller shows a movie theft performance as a deceased teenager who was bullied at school for being gay.
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“Joe Bell tells the intimate and emotional true story of an Oregon father who pays tribute to his teenage gay son Jadin and goes on a self-reflective stroll through America to share his heart with the heartland citizens of the real and terrifying costs of bullying. “
ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke with Joe Bell Star Reid Miller on the inclusion of Jadin Bell in his performance, his relationship with Mark Wahlberg and the message of the film.
Tyler Treese: Reid, this is really just a phenomenal performance of yours. What preparation did you make to bring this character to life on screen? Did you talk to someone who knew Jadin? How did you portray the character?
Reid Miller: It was really important for me to talk to the family. Talking to his mother, talking to his brothers and that really helped me a lot to get a better understanding of who he was and what was so amazing to me. What I learned about him was how kind he was, even to the people who hated him, who didn’t understand him. He was still loving and kind, and that was so influential to me, including as a person. So he talked to his family and and to everyone who knew him, and watched home videos of him, heard his voice and and and heard the music he heard. It all gave me a really good look at certain things about him that helped me with my performance.
There are some really nice scenes at the beginning of the movie where you go with Mark’s character Joe and people who may not be familiar with the real story, they don’t really know that Jadin died. Can you talk about that experience of walking with Mark in these scenes and having that adored version of that relationship that never really reached that part when they were both living sadly?
Yes. You know, that was kind of heartbreaking about having this wonderful dream relationship with his son, but it’s too late. I think the nice thing about these scenes is that Mark learns more about his son just by remembering his son and the light that Jadin was and how kind he was. I mean, it’s even reflected in these scenes. I feel like this experience of just walking around and talking to Mark and getting to know him and him, getting to know me and us, having such good chemistry and being very close really made those scenes even tougher. And I think these scenes are so emotional and difficult for me after I shoot them because I know what is really going on.
You talk about this connection with Mark on set and leave with him. As a more seasoned actor, has he given you any advice?
Oh yeah. Lots of advice. And mostly it was easy, I think the best advice he gave me was to keep going, which sounds so easy. But in context he said it was a personal matter, but in context he said it was very important to me. He was always there for me, always gave me a lot of great advice and was just a kind of father figure in this industry.
What do you really hope people will take away from this movie?
I hope that people go into this film and go out again somehow different. I hope people who are responsible for such things, who are bullies or who just don’t want to understand, may get a new desire to understand, or maybe people who are not even aware of their behavior may be made aware of their behavior. But I also think on the other hand, I hope that through this film people will learn to forgive and give people the opportunity to change because we cannot have change unless they are even given the opportunity to do so . So I think it’s a one-way street.