Biloxi resident Gary Wayne Loper said he had always been a fan of television and films. When he was contemplating the next move in his life, the former Harrison County Sheriff’s Office employee said he decided to make the jump into show business and realize his dream of becoming an actor.
After landing a role as an extra in “Free State of Jones,” Loper can now be seen in Jordan Peele’s thriller “Get Out,” which opened to mass critical acclaim. The film, which was shot in Fairhope, Alabama, is a mixture of comedy and horror centered on a story about a black man (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting his white girlfriend’s parents.
“I started doing background work in 2015,” Loper said, “and the first agent I was able to work with was Suzanne Massingill out of Mobile. She’s the one who had the casting call for the film.”
Loper said he decided to go to the casting call and he brought along a special friend, his almost 80-year-old father-in-law, Lory Tom Thompson Sr., also of Biloxi.
“A couple of days after the audition, we were contacted and told Peele had reviewed the audition and he loved that it was a father-in-law and his son-in-law team, so Dad (Thompson) was hired as Mr. Deets and I was the chauffeur-bodyguard for Stephen Root,” Loper said.
Loper said he spent two weeks working on the film under Peele’s direction.
“I’ve watched a lot of Jordan Peele’s shows and he was very nice and soft-spoken on set,” he said. “He was very interactive with his cast — he walked around and talked to everyone.”
Working with Dad
One of the best things about the filming of “Get Out,” Loper said, was filming it with Thompson, whom he and his wife moved to Biloxi in 2009 to live with after his Thompson’s of 42 years died in 2008.
“After I started acting, I was gone all of the time and he was at home dealing with depression,” he said. “One day, he asked me if they ever needed any old people in films and I told him, ‘Yes,’ so we sat down and built him a profile and got him hooked up with some casting agents. His first film was ‘Magnificent Seven’ — he had more of a role than I did.”
“It’s been great to get him out of the house and get him networking with people — he’ll be 80 on March 25,” Loper said. “I love getting to spend time with him — he actually has a principal role in ‘Starbright’ and he got his Screen Actors Guild card before I did.”
Loper said he recently went to see “Get Out.”
“We went to a midnight showing and there was a packed house,” he said. “We actually enjoyed it — it was really funny and then it had some edge-of-your-seat moments. The last part of the movie was straight-up a horror movie.”
With “Get Out” under his belt, Loper said he has several projects on the horizon.
“I’ll probably do some work on Season 2 of ‘Preacher’ and I auditioned for Season 2 of ‘Stranger Things.’ Hopefully I’ll stay on their radar.”