Mark Wahlberg stars in 'Joe Bell,' a true story of a father's mission to encourage acceptance

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES -- Mark Wahlberg is the star and one of the producers of the new movie, "Joe Bell." It's based on a tragic true story involving bullying, and one father's determination to make a difference for others.

Wahlberg plays the title role in "Joe Bell," starring as a man who decides to walk across the country in his late son's honor, stopping wherever he's welcome to talk about the sometimes deadly consequences of bullying.

"He wanted to talk to every other Joe Bell of the world who, if they hadn't been affected by something like this personally, it would not be something that would be on their radar, right?" said Wahlberg. "He really wanted to make a difference and prevent this from happening to somebody else."

The film looks back on the teen's unbearable struggles.

Reid Miller co-stars in the film.

"I really related to the experience because I grew up in a small town where no one understood me," said Miller. "I had a different experience. But I get it. I know what it's like to feel alone, to feel isolated. There are people who are hurting in silence who shouldn't feel the need to hurt in silence, who should know that they will always be loved, and I hope that this movie shows them that."

"The only thing that is going to bring people together, especially in these times with so much divide, is love and support and understanding," said Wahlberg. "So we want to continue to spread that message."

Mark calls his movie son a "discovery" who gives a beautiful performance.

"He reminded me so much of both of my sons in so many different ways. And I just connected with him emotionally like that right away. And when we read, I was brought to tears," said Wahlberg.

"Joe Bell" was written by the same team who wrote "Brokeback Mountain." It's rated "R" and will be in theaters Friday.

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