‘Friday Night Lights’ Actor Stars in ‘Joe Bell’ Film With Mark Wahlberg

by Suzanne Halliburton

Connie Britton, who starred in Friday Night Lights, is promoting her newest film.

And that’s why Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights would love for you to check out Joe Bell. Britton tweeted: “So excited it’s opening day for #JoeBellMovie!”

Britton plays Lola Bell, the wife of Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg) and mother of 15-year-old Jadin. The movie is about a real-life father and family’s tribute to teen-aged son Jadin, who committed suicide. Jadin was bullied in high school because he was gay. He died in 2015. And the movie shows Joe Bell set off on a cross-country trek between his home in La Grande, Oregon and New York City.

Along the way, Joe Bell runs into a Colorado police officer played by Gary Sinise. The cop tells Bell that his son also is gay and lets Bell spend the night at his home.

Friday Night Lights Star Talked Up Movie at its Premiere

The movie made its official premiere last September at the Toronto Film Festival. Back then, the movie went by Good Joe Bell. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the movie’s release was pushed to this summer. Britton, the beloved star of Friday Night Lights, talked her character and the movie.

“It felt like such an amazing opportunity,” Britton told The Wrap. “And (it’s) 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, (it’s) 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.

“We can all learn more about ourselves and how to be better allies,” she said. “And it’s really a journey to understanding.”

The late Larry McMurtry and Dianna Ossana wrote the Joe Bell screenplay. The pair won an Academy Award for their collaboration for Brokeback Mountain. And McMurty, who died at age 84 this past March, wrote Lonesome Dove and Terms of Endearment.

Meanwhile, Netflix announced this week that it was putting Friday Night Lights back in its rotation starting Aug. 1. Kyle Chandler, as Coach Taylor, and Britton, as his wife, Tami, appeared in all episodes of the series, which ran from 2006-11. The action took place in the fictional Texas town of Dillon. Chandler, as Taylor, was the school’s football coach. Tami was the high school’s guidance counselor and then it’s principal.

Britton said she thinks Friday Night Lights will come together for a reunion. But she told Entertainment Tonight last year she doesn’t see a reboot in the show’s future. The show was based on a movie of the same name. A book, which told the real story of the 1988 season of Odessa Permian (Texas), inspired the movie and the TV series.

“I heard inklings a few years ago that they were gonna make another Friday Night Lights,” Britton said. “If they were to do it again, with a whole different  iteration of it, I think it would be sort of odd.”

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)