Travis Kelce Makes Unexpected Leap to the Big Screen with Surprising Success: Critics Applaud His Debut Film Premiere!

Audience Awards SXSW Panels; Travis Kelce

NFL Super Bowl winner and Taylor Swift boyfriend Travis Kelce made headlines plenty this year for his on the field play and his romance with the international pop star. But he also took the time to get into the film business by becoming executive producer on his first film.

“My Dead Friend Zoe,” a film that follows an Afghanistan veteran as she comes to terms with the death of her best friend from the Army, premiered at SXSW on Saturday afternoon. And the dark comedy had the screening audience—including the festival’s film director—in tears by the end of it.

Kelce’s entrance into the film industry is directed by veteran Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, who co-wrote the film about his own experience in the military and two of his platoon-mates who sadly died by suicide. Although the subject matter is difficult, the film uses offbeat humor to ease some of the tension.

The film stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Natalie Morales, Ed Harris, and Morgan Freeman. Martin-Green plays Merit, a veteran who is desperately trying to ignore her grief, which is personified by her dead Army best friend Zoe, who is played by Morales. As Merit struggles to cope, she learns her grandfather, played by Harris, has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Freeman is a group counselor who pressures Merit to open up to others.


Some fans outside the Paramount Theatre where the event was taking place hoped to catch a glimpse of one of the stars, but Harris, Freeman, and Kelce were not in attendance. One fan said she was most interested in seeing Freeman out of the entire cast. Kelce, she said, “I see him on TV all the time.”


During the Q&A session at the end of the screening, Hausmann-Stokes said he got his inspiration to pursue film in the Army. One of his superiors learned that he was secretly crafting films of his training sessions and sensed he was meant for film school instead of another deployment to the Middle East.

“I saluted him, and ever since that day I’ve worked to follow that mission” of telling soldier stories to a wider audience,” Hausmann-Stokes told the audience.


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