Ron and Don Gregory never imagined themselves movie stars in their 60s.
But 14 years ago, the 69-year-old Graves County twins met Nashville songwriter Royal Wade Kimes on a trail ride, and now they have starred in some of his short films and music videos. Kimes,who was then working on Music Row, is known as "The Gentleman Outlaw." He has worked with several country recording artists, including Diamond Rio, Gene Watson and Garth Brooks, with whom he recorded the duet "Night Birds." Kimes and Brooks also co-wrote the song "We Bury the Hatchet," which sold 17 million copies.
More recently, Kimes has become involved in the writing, directing and production of short movies for television.
The latest, "Bittersweet," premiered last weekend at the King Opera House in Van Buren, Arkansas, before an estimated 250 to 300 people. The Gregory twins drove the eight hours there to be on hand to walk the red carpet.
"Bittersweet" is unique in that it is entirely set to music, with 10 songs over the course of an hour. The movie, set in the 1880s, is about brothers who begin to fall for the same woman. Don Gregory co-stars with Kimes in the film, and Ron is a supporting actor. Both play U.S. marshals.
"It's all set to music," said Ron Gregory, who lives in Farmington. "It's almost like the old-time silent films and yet the music and the story tell you what is going on. It's unique, and it flows together so well."
With the words encapsulated in the music, the actors don't have to carry the dialogue, although a narrator does provide some transitions.
"I"m just proud of the whole thing," said Don Gregory, who lives east of Mayfield. "I think it all works good."
The cast and crew shot the film over three days in October 2017 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and on a ranch in Oklahoma. Since then, it has been in extensive post-production.
Kimes is marketing the movie to television, although "Bittersweet" is already available for purchase as a DVD/soundtrack CD combo at SelectOHits.com.
He described the film as having an audience-grabbing story line embracing family struggles and life-changing events. "The film delivers rough-and-tumble action, heart-tugging moments, and an ending with a you-won't-see-it-coming twist," said Kimes, who also is known for his 2012 30-minute short film/extended music video "Dixie Burns," in which the Gregorys also acted.
Additionally, Kimes owns the Pro Cowboy Country Artists Association. He focuses on Western-style music, often called cowboy music because of its association with cowboys and the rodeo circuit.
Ron Gregory's first novel, "Deacon Makes Four," won Gregory the association's Novelist of the Year award in 2017, under his pen name, R.D. Gregory. He accepted the award on national television when RFD-TV's "Cowboy Channel," channel 232 for Dish Network subscribers, aired the awards show that November.
He hopes his association with Kimes this time will also help to sell his recently published novel, "Freedom Rides," released last fall by Irongate Books, an independent publishing house. The book is available on Amazon.com, at BarnesandNoble.com or through Gregory.