*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
Quaden Bayles, an eleven-year-old Indigenous boy from Australia who had been bullied for his dwarfism—called achondroplasia—was cast in an upcoming Mad Max film alongside Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke.
Oscar-winning director George Miller cast the boy in a small role in Furiosa, the prequel to 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road.
The filmmaker was heartbroken after watching a viral video of Balyes crying and wishing to take his own life due to bullying.
Miller—who already cast Bayles in his next film Three Thousand Years alongside Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton—told the Sydney Morning Herald :
"It was good for us and it was good for him."
"And he did such a good job that he's got a small role in Furiosa."
In 2020, Bayles' mother Yarraka Bayles posted the clip of her son crying.
It showed a then 9-year-old Quaden sobbing in the backseat of her car and asking for a knife to kill himself. The video was live streamed on Facebook to show how much being tormented for his dwarfism was affecting her son.
Yarraka Bayles said:
"This is what bullying does."
She pleaded with viewers:
"Can you please educate your children, your families, your friends?"
Millions of social media users supported Bayles and sent messages of love–including celebrities like Hugh Jackman who told Bayles in a special video message:
"Quaden, you are stronger than you know, mate. Everyone, let's just please be kind to each other."
"Bullying is not OK, period."
Comedian Brad Williams also showed support by setting up a GoFundMe page for Bayles and raised half a million dollars.
Williams used part of the money to send Bayles and his mother to Disneyland in Anaheim, California and donated the rest to anti-bullying charities.
On the campaign's page, Williams wrote:
"This isn't just for Quaden, this is for anyone who has been bullied in their lives and told they weren't good enough."
"Let's show Quaden and others that there is good in the world and they are worthy of it."
The National Rugby League's Indigenous All-Stars team also sent Bayles some love.
Indigenous All-Stars fullback Latrell Mitchell said:
"Just want to wish you all the best brother. We know you're going through a hard time right now but the boys are here, we've got your back."
"We're here to support you, bud."
It's wonderful to see good things continue to come Quaden Bayles way.
Who knows, maybe a life in Hollywood is in his future.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/