Jake Owen will soon make his acting debut! The "Down to the Honkytonk" singer will star in the movie, The Friend, opposite Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson and Jason Segal. The movie, based on a true story about a man, Matthew Teague, who relied on his best friend after his wife becomes terminally ill, seemed like a perfect starting project for Owen because of how much the story resonated with him.
"It's real life. I've got a friend right now who's actually on my [Good Company] podcast," Owen said on the All Our Favorite People podcast. "Ted and Jocelyn, they're on my podcast. It's the last one I did before taking a little sabbatical. Jocelyn found out she was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks after finding out she was pregnant, and she's healthy now. But she's still battling a lot of stuff, and that's just a tough road to go down. My purpose in telling that story is that those types of things are all around us. This life is so real, in moments where we all try to make it not feel that way."
The Friend is based on an essay Teague wrote, published in Esquire, about not only the loss of his wife, but the strength of his friend, who left his entire life to help Teague. The essay had a profound impact on Owen.
"When I read the article that Matt wrote about his wife Nicole and her battle with cancer, and how his friend came to town to help him out – that's what the whole gist of that story is," Owen said. "And that's what this movie was based upon, a true story. It's tough to read, and it's tough to kind of process some of that stuff, but it's also beautiful, the way that people's friendships can be, and how much that can lift you up in your darkest moments.
"I just felt very close to that story when I read it," he continued. "How we all wish that we are that friend that, even when you're not around, that those people reference you in that way, and how much you mean to them. I can only hope I'm that friend to someone, if not multiple people. So, that was special to me ... To know that you can be a part of one that is someone's real story is also kind of really strong. And so I accepted the role as a friend of the friend in the movie, and it's been pretty intense. I'm learning a lot, for sure, 'cause it's not like singing songs."
Owen has a small part in The Friend, but the role has stretched him and challenged him in some monumental ways.
"I've done some smaller acting parts in some of these movie videos, but they shoot those in a day," explained the singer. "This stuff, you really feel kind of like, 'All right, am I in someone's way here? Because there's so many people doing so many things on a major motion picture and they don't care. I don't mean this negatively towards them, but they don't know nor really care ... They're not like, 'Give that guy a little credit, he's never done this before.' They expect everyone to know what they're doing, right?
"And thankfully the director has been so sweet to me, and all the actor and actresses have really been helpful to me," he added. "So I've felt really comfortable."
Owen was inspired to take on the challenge in part by his own daughter, 6-year-old Olive, and the way she tackles life.
"It's like watching my little girl," Owen said. "I remember when she was learning to ride her bike, she didn't wanna take the training wheels off, 'cause it was comfortable to have those there. she could fall back to that. But when you take them off, if you fall, you fall, right? But she didn't fall, she rode. And that feeling that I saw on her face, that she got by riding was so fulfilling. That's how it is now. Just take the training wheels off and go for it. And that's when you know if you can do it or not."0comments
A release date for The Friend has yet to be announced. Owen's Greetings From...Jake album will be out on March 29.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Terry Wyatt