Selma native’s film to be shown at Cannes Film Festival

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

The picture is a crime thriller that tells the story of an FBI agent who is tracking a serial killer with the help of three of his would-be victims.

Sitting down on what he described as “a balmy day in L.A.,” Gayle said Selma stays with him even in “the big town.”

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“I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else,” Gayle said. “When I was growing up, we rode bikes everywhere. I loved it. My best friend that I grew up with, I’m still friends with. He lives on one end of the country, and I live on the other.”

Gayle graduated from Selma High School in 1980 and attended the University of Montevallo briefly to study theatre before heading out to Hollywood.

“Selma is a funny little town because I can’t tell you how many people I have come in contact with that have been to Selma, have lived in Selma, or have friends and family who have been to Selma or lived in Selma,” Gayle said. “And for a town the size of Selma, that’s pretty significant.”

Gayle’s father, Thomas Gill Gayle III, said Gayle was a hard worker who attended St. Paul’s Episcopal Church growing up. Gayle said his wife, Betty Harrin, had a lot of influence on their son’s career.

“I’m not trying to brag, but I’m his father, and I can tell you I have a lot of respect for that man,” Gayle said. “I’m very, very proud of him.”

Gayle comes home to visit about once a year, and as many Southerners in Los Angeles do, he makes sure he stays in touch with his roots.

“For me, it’s very simple,” Gayle said. “I’m an actor, and I play real people. I’m not a ‘movie star.’ I play small-town people, and I don’t forget who I am or where I came from. This country is mostly small towns, and even though I live in a big town now, I know there are many people in small towns just trying to make a decent life for themselves and their families. I hope I don’t lose sight of what that is.”

“Surveillance” opens internationally July 18, and its release date in the U.S. is schedule for this fall.