A tough, gritty New York cop gets crosswise with the mob and his superiors and leaves the Big Apple, ending up in Fort Worth.
“Jimmy O’Neill leaves New York,” said Dennis O’Neill, director, writer and actor in the proposed television series “Bail Out.” “He lost his girl, is having problems with the (police) department and hits a mob guy who is on the city council.”
Thus is the premise of “Bail Out,” a production of O’Neill, that was filmed with people from Mineral Wells, Millsap, Fort Worth and members of the acting class he teaches in Fort Worth.
“Originally we did a class project – it just took off from there,” O’Neill said, noting that it wasn’t long until it became a serious project.
“We had 22 people involved, it came down to five of us,” he added.
Those five are Pattie Walters Hart, a producer from Cool and daughter-in-law of Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Bobby Hart; Dana Brumley, producer; Julie Hutt, assistant director; David Pinkston, direction of photography; and O’Neill, the primary writer, director and star of the series.
He said they had the character and the story, but it would change numerous times.
“I really didn’t know where I wanted the character to go,” he said of the initial development of the story.
But as his team put together more and more ideas, he began to see an outline for the program.
As the main character developed, played by O’Neill, it became more and more like someone he knew – O’Neill’s brother, Jimmy, who died four years ago.
“No one on the team knows my family,” he said.
The trailer for the show has humor and action with real people.
“Some of the things in ‘Bail Out’ really happened,” O’Neill said.
He reflected that, when he first arrived in Texas, he went to a grocery store where the clerk asked, “How y’all doin’?”
“Why?” he said he answered, cautious because no one in New York ever asked such a question unless they were looking to create a problem.
“‘Just thought I’d ask,’” he said the clerk answered.
“I was really suspicious, I really didn’t get it,” O’Neill added.
“One thing we all agreed on, we didn’t want him coming from New York not liking Texas,” Hart said of the character. “We wanted him to fall in love with Texas.”
Of the people portrayed, there are no exaggerated drawls or mannerisms.
“We wanted them to be just the way they are,” she said.
Locally, Judge Bobby Hart plays – a judge. The trailer has him in his courtroom in the Poston Building in Mineral Wells. There were also scenes shot at the Mineral Wells Police Department, Holiday Inn Express, Nancy’s Italian Texan Grill and locations in Cool and Millsap.
Other local talent included Lucas Mitchell and Doug Hart, son of Bobby Hart.
Co-starring with O’Neill is Terry Kiser, perhaps best known for his role as the deceased Bernie in the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
The music for the show, “Southern Lullaby,” was written by Caleb Williams and performed by his band, Noltey. Williams, who graduated from Santo, is a cousin of Pattie Hart.
“What we needed was a song,” said O’Neill, adding that Hart suggested her cousin who he thought was someone who just thought they could sing.
“She lent me his CD,” he continued. “Two weeks later I listened to the CD. ‘Oh my gosh, she really has a cousin who sings.’”
Hart said she called Williams and explained in a few words what they were looking for – something that was closer to talk, but not, and not rap.
Two weeks later she brought the recording, “Southern Lullaby.”
“She just came to the school with the CD,” said O’Neill. “When I played it, I could not have written a better song.”
O’Neill and Hart continue to try to market it as either a TV series or made-for-television movie.
“We have a possible investor,” he said. “He wants to help us raise money for a movie or six episodes. We’re pitching it everyday.”
And part of that sales pitch is showing the trailer whenever possible. O’Neill said it will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 14, at Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St., in Fort Worth. In addition, “Bail Out” has Facebook and YouTube sites.
The series tag line, “Everybody has a story,” certainly applies, both to the proposed series and the people making it a reality.