According to Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Hail is ninety percent based on the stories by the former prisoner Daniel P. Jones. They are memories of his own violent past; or anecdotes about friends, acquaintances and cellmates. Courtin-Wilson met Jones on the day he was released from prison and was immediately gripped by his fierceness and presence, which is also the focus in the alternately heartless and intensely tender Hail.
The other ten percent of the screenplay is the adhesive for the story and focuses on the relationship between Daniel ('Danny') and Leanne, strikingly candidly played by Jones's own wife. Fresh from jail, Danny does what he can to build up a normal life, but the violence inside him has to come out sooner or later. Courtin-Wilson mixes the raw-realistic scenes of their lives with poetic and enigmatic intermezzos, accompanied by an alienating, eclectic soundtrack.