Veteran actor and Mississippi native Gary Grubbs moved to Los Angeles in 1977 to pursue a writing career. He soon found himself on an open call as an actor. That was 30 years and 200 parts ago.
In the last few years, he has written and sold two pilot scripts to CBS, two screenplays and his play, As the Crow Flies, received a world premiere and critical acclaim.
Gary, a native of Prentiss, and his wife, Glenda, a Richton native and former Miss Mississippi, currently live in the Hattiesburg area as Gary continues his acting roles in movies across the south in addition to maintaining a part-time residence in Los Angeles where he continues his writing. They have a daughter, Molly, who is employed at Team One Advertising in Los Angeles, and their son, Logan, is a graduate student at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Gary had fascinating answers to questions about his career in the movies.
Q: How many movies do you have coming out in 2008?
A: It looks like a bunch. The movie Deal with Burt Reynolds is coming out any day now in select theatres and on the Internet.
Major Movie Star with Jessica Simpson is coming out this summer. It is basically a remake of Private Benjamin. I play the base commander who doesnít want her out of the service because it's great P.R., even though her presence there is causing all kinds of chaos.
Q: What was it like working with Jessica Simpson?
A: The whole thing with Jessica was trying to hide her. Keeping the press away in Shreveport, Louisiana, was fairly easy to do since we were on a gated military base. If you didnít have a pass, you couldnít get in.
Jessica was easy to work with, very professional, sweet and not a prima donna. In fact, it was interesting because she asked for advice hoping to improve her role.
In the Electric Mist with Tommy Lee Jones and Mary Steenburgen is due out this fall. I am in an independent movie filmed in Georgia called Good Intentions that is looking for a distributor. My Momís New Boyfriend starring Antonio Banderas, Meg Ryan, and Colin Hanks (Tom Hanks' son) is due out this year as well.
When movies are booked in the theatres, it is like scheduling a football game. They look at available dates, best time slots and what the competition might be. All of these factors determine when a movie is released.
Q: Were there any unusual occurrences in any of these movies?
A: Iíll tell you something unusual. Tommy Lee Jones and I did a scene for In the Electric Mist in an old building that had been turned into the sheriffís office. I played the sheriff. We walked by this man on the way to the dressing rooms who tried to talk to Tommy Lee. Tommy Lee can give you a look like, ďDonít talk to me or Iíll knock you crazy," which was the look he gave this man. When we went a few more steps he looked at me and said, "That guy is crazy." I said, "I think he just wanted to talk to you." He said, "No, heís crazy. I could see it in his eyes. Iím telling you something is wrong with that guy." I replied, "Okay, if you say so."
A few minutes after returning to our dressing rooms, we heard a gunshot. The police shot the man in the parking lot. He didnít have anything to do with the movie. They had a warrant and had tried to arrest him earlier but this time he had a gun.
Since we were performing the sheriff and deputy roles, all of a sudden we felt like it was really happening. I guess Tommy Lee was right, he really could see it in his eyes.
For more information about Gary Grubbs you may go to www.imdb.com. Hollywood South is a syndicated column.
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