I made my own Bond film, says Corkman

It took him two years to complete, and the pandemic didn’t help, but Corkman Jerry O’Mullane tells NICOLA DEPUIS how he created his own version of a 007 movie, with mental health as a central theme
I made my own Bond film, says Corkman

SHAKEN AND STIRRED: A scene from the film Bond Delusion. It has its premiere in Cork city this week

THE last James Bond movie cost a cool quarter of billion dollars to make. But a Corkman has managed to produce his own version of a 007 film on a shoestring.

“There was no film crew, just Noelle Clarke and I,” says Ballinlough-born Jerry O’Mullane, about his first feature-length movie, Bond Delusion.

“We didn’t have all the pro gear. We didn’t have a sound or lighting guy who knew what they were doing. 

"The movie had no budget, and we just had to learn everything as we made the film.”

Part of this learning curve involved Jerry finding a way to edit 500GB of HD footage into a coherent finished product, despite the fact that many of the story’s pivotal scenes were never filmed.

“Due to the pandemic, we couldn’t finish the movie,” explains Jerry. 

“We couldn’t shoot the last five minutes, and a lot of crucial shots we needed to go back and do were never shot.”

In the end, it took him two years to edit and complete the movie, using only the footage he had.

Finally, Bond Delusion is ready for its premiere, on February 23, upstairs in Clancys on Princes Street in Cork city. It tells the tale of a man with a mental illness who is hearing voices. Jerry plays the main man, Paddy, who thinks he is James Bond.

Jerry is used to improvising in his chosen craft. After treading the boards of Cork’s amateur theatre scene for a few years in his twenties, he joined comedy improv group Bad Ass Clowns, before teaming up with the Choke Comedy improv troupe in Limerick.

At the age of 40, he enrolled in the Advanced Certificate in TV & Film Production at Kinsale College. It was here that he made his first short films, and a documentary for mental health organisation Shine called Leaves Of Change.

This was a project close to Jerry’s heart as he has struggled over time with his own mental health.

“I’m recovered about 17 years from bipolar disorder, so as you can imagine, I certainly take mental health issues seriously,” says Jerry, who believes the content of Bond Delusion isn’t offensive to people who’ve had issues with their own mental health.

“I think the film walks the line without making any offence,” he adds.

In 2019, Jerry met actress Noelle Clarke. They hit it off and formed the film company JN Productions. That same year, their short film Without You won Best Of Fest at the Beara Film Festival.

Eager to write a screenplay for their new production company, Jerry soon found himself with major writer’s block before he even started.

‘I had never written a script before, not even for a short film. I couldn’t get going as I was too self-critical,” says Jerry. 

“So I gave myself the challenge to write a five minute short.” 

That short would, in time, become Bond Delusion.

“The idea came as they tend to do with me - completely out of thin air, fully formed.”

Bond Delusion is about a man with a mental illness who is hearing voices. He escapes from a psychiatric facility with the aid of his three stuffed toys – a monkey, and two rabbits - and is pursued by his wife and daughter who want to bring him back to the hospital.

“My character, Paddy, who thinks he’s Bond, also thinks his wife and daughter are Russian spies. He thinks the toys, who can all talk, are M and Q from the Bond movies, and a Spanish secret agent called Sanchez.

“I do the voices of all the toys’, adds Jerry, who can speak Spanish after a decade of online learning.

“M fancies Bond and is constantly cracking on to him, so I have great fun with her character.”

The twist in the movie is that Paddy’s life takes a very James Bond-like turn when he gets entangled with a criminal gang.

One of these Bond villains is played by Cork actor Sean Ahern. Other actors involved include Ellen Quirke, Mike O Neil, Mary Barry Donnealan, Eugene O’Sullivan, Adam Clarke, Cormac Brenock, Johnny Bracket and Alan Finnerty.

“They were experienced, and gave great performances,” says Jerry. 

“One of my friends, Merlin Goss, plays a baddie called Nightshade in the movie. He hadn’t acted in film before, but is a total natural.”

The film even has its own original soundtrack, with songs by Jerry, and an originally commissioned Bond theme, No Hero, by Cork musician, Jason Driscoll.

Jerry is keen to emphasise that Bond Delusion is not a professional quality movie, shot by professionals, and that’s what he’s most proud of:

“It’s a super ambitious B Movie shot by two actors who said, we will just try to do everything ourselves, and see what happens.

“You don’t need Hollywood production levels to make a fun feature length movie and you don’t even need a budget. I want to inspire others to do what we did. Actors should learn to edit and use cameras and lights, and get out there and make their own films.”

Bond Delusion will premiere on Wednesday, February 23, upstairs in Clancys, Princes Street. To arrange tickets, contact Jerry at jerryomullane@gmail.com

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