Gary Poulter might have died unlamented and unknown to any but those that might have had to identify the body since the man did pass away after completing a role that will keep him around as a decent memory for a lot of people that had the opportunity to work with him for a single movie. It’s fair to say that a lot of people might feel a certain way about Poulter’s casting for the role of Wade in the movie Joe with Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan since despite the fact that Gary wasn’t as violent or off the wall as his character, he did come from a pretty hopeless situation, since during his younger years he was dishonorably discharged from the military, suffered through years of substance abuse, and was more or less kind of a lost cause as he’d been living on the streets of Austin for quite some time. But for the movie, the director wanted to find someone that wasn’t an actor and was more seasoned and could fit the part of Wade in a much more convincing manner. That was bound to provide a rough time for the people that had to go out looking, but apparently, something was seen in Gary that couldn’t be ignored, and he was hired on after completing the audition process. Initially, he did audition for a smaller role, but when a more pivotal role was offered to him, Gary took it, even with the knowledge that it would mean more work, less play, and that he would have to be on the level far more often since he would be required to be lucid and reliable. And as you might have guessed, Gary did it.
It’s fair to say that everyone has that defining moment in their life that can be used to show people that they can be worth something. For all that went wrong in Gary’s life he kind of made up for at least some of it when he took on the role of Wade. The character was nothing less than despicable since he beat his son, played by Sheridan, for his wages after washing out at the same job, he pimped out his own daughter for booze, and he beat a homeless man to death for the last bit of his booze. That’s how truly detestable this character was since he would gladly sell out his own kids for the next drink, and then find someone else to sell out for the one that came after that. It’s not entirely polite to speak ill of the deceased, but Gary’s life didn’t end on a high note unfortunately as he was found not too long after the movie released, face-down in three feet of water. No one really knows if he had a seizure, as he’d been treated for alcohol-induced seizures not long before his passing, or if he simply passed out and couldn’t wake up in time. But the tragedy of his demise was a definite low note, though it still wasn’t quite as bad as his life had been since there were plenty of details given not long after he was found. The one thing that can be said about Gary is that he did manage to do something great with his life before that final bow, and it’s a hope that whatever he did earn either went to making his life comfortable for what remained or went to the family that he apparently left behind. It feels a bit unfair to put it this way, but the tale of Gary Poulter is one that feels as though it’s been written in a manner not to offend but to inform.
For the duration of the movie though he was able to pull it together and work just as hard as anyone on the set and it was said that he left Nicolas Cage, a veteran actor, in awe of his work ethic and his ability to put such raw emotion into the story. It’s saddening to think that he didn’t get to fully enjoy the fruits of his labors, but alcoholism is a horrible thing to endure since not only does it wreck a great number of relationships and drive people away at one point or another, but it takes a heavy toll on the body no matter how high a person’s tolerance might grow. After a while, a person’s body simply can’t take the strain that alcohol can put on it any longer, and coupled with the fact that he was homeless and probably not in the greatest of health after so long it does feel as though Gary might have been living on borrowed time for a while. But the hope is that while he was filming the movie that he would have been receiving some type of treatment if only to keep him on the level, as was desired.
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