Mark Wahlberg’s Joe Bell gets an Oscar-friendly recut and new release date

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Mark Wahlberg is hoping to enter the already crowded awards season with his upcoming film, Joe Bell. The Wrap reports the film has undergone some changes to feel more Oscar-friendly, including a name change from Good Joe Bell to just Joe Bell.

Based on a true story, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s new film stars Wahlberg as Joe Bell, a working-class father who embarks on a cross country walk across the United States to educate about the effects of bullying after his gay teen son Jadin was tormented in high school. The film stars Connie Britton and Reid Miller, with a script penned by Brokeback Mountain writers Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry.

Joe Bell entered the fall film festival circuit with hopes of being an awards season contender but met with mixed reviews. Many reviews noted that this version handled the very delicate issue clumsily, but did see praise for Wahlberg’s young co-star Reid Miller.

Solstice Studios acquired the film for $20 million out of the Toronto Film Festival and was behind the film’s new title and the reported re-edit. Dianne Warren has also been brought on to write a new original end title song.

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Joe Bell opens on February 19th, 2021.