David Davoli is enjoying another reward of years of work on a TV miniseries. In a few short hours, Davoli, who grew up on Onondaga Hill, will go from basking in the Los Angeles sun to soaking up the scene at the party for “Bags of Bones,” a four-hour miniseries based on the 1998 book by Stephen King.
A party was held Thursday night at the Los Angeles restaurant, Fig & Olive, and a private screening took place Friday on the Sony Pictures Entertainment movie lot. A bigger audience can watch the two-part miniseries from 9 to 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday on cable TV’s A&E Network. Or all four hours of “Bags of Bones”can be viewed from 7 to 11 p.m. Monday.
The story from horror master King is about a writer who is mourning his pregnant wife’s sudden death, has disturbing dreams, sees ghosts and encounters strange villagers. It stars Pierce Brosnan.
Davoli, a lawyer, was co-executive producer on the project. He was involved in the legal work of acquiring the book from King, hiring a screenwriter, finding a distributor and securing financing ($15 million for “Bags”).
This earned him an invite last fall to visit the set in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for two weeks. Davoli says visiting producers are treated quite well.
“You get to have a little bit of the fruits of your labor,” says Davoli during a phone interview.
It was well deserved, says Davoli, after lengthy efforts in shopping the project, originally pitched as a feature film before he and his partners shifted to a television production.
“We were all in the foxhole for four years,” he says.
Davoli corrects the impression of film production. Filming is the smallest part of the process, he says. Davoli points out the “Bags of Bones” 40-day film shoot was four years in the making.
But the filming does have its appeal.
“It’s the most glamorous part,” says Davoli. “That’s why we all do it. That’s the fun part.”
Davoli got his first taste of big-time show biz a year after graduating from St. Bonaventure as a journalism and mass communications major. In spring 1994, he mailed separate letters to the Baldwin brothers — Alec, Daniel, Stephen and Billy — seeking guidance about the movie business, but not a job. His late father, the lawyer Joseph F. Davoli Sr., knew the Baldwin’s mother and sisters who live in the area.
“The next thing that happened I got a call from Alec,” Davoli recalls. The actor offered him a job as his personal assistant.
“That was not a very difficult decision to make,” says Davoli, who is now 40 years old.
Shortly after accepting the job, Davoli flew to New Orleans and lived in a hotel on Bourbon Street for four months while Baldwin filmed “Heaven’s Prisoner.”
Davoli says the death of his father in 1995 caused him to do some soul searching. He decided to follow in his father’s legal footsteps and attended law school. Davoli, who says he always has had “an artistic soul,” combined the world of entertainment with his legal practice. In 2008, he set up a “boutique New-York based entertainment law firm,” according to the firm’s website.
The lawyer is not the only Davoli in the entertainment industry. Of the four Davoli brothers and only sister, two are performers. Older brother Joe is a fiddler. Younger brother Andrew is an actor who was Dino Zerilli in several episodes of “The Sopranos” in 2001.
Davoli also has appeared before Central New York audiences, in student productions at Manlius Pebble Hill and Westhill High School and in Syracuse Stage performances. He played in the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra. As a French horn player, he attended St. Bonaventure on a partial scholarship.
With “Bag of Bones” completed, Davoli jumps into a project with another set of brothers, the directors Tony and Ridley Scott. This, however, will not keep him from coming home to his mother, Joan Davoli, for the holidays.