Rose State Student on the big screen

Big things come out of Little Axe, Okla. Tony Gregory, for example, has made his way from the small town, to Rose State College and now to the big screen. "They already think I'm a movie star, but I'm far from it," Gregory jokingly said about people in his hometown. Well, his hand prints may not have made their way to any sidewalks just yet, but all in good time. There are many acts to this story.

It was a few things that lead him to Rose. The small class sizes contributed, so did the proximity to his hometown and seeing how everyone on campus seemed to feel at home certainly didn't hurt. Though it might have been the drama department that had the greatest influence.

Gregory is pursuing a mass communications degree, but still wants to pursue acting. With the movie auditions and other obligations, he thought there would be no way to meet the rigorous standards of a full-time drama student. Yet at Rose, he said, he can audition for campus productions without being an actual drama student.

One of the most recent obligations just finished up. The film "Pearl" recently wrapped and Gregory played the role of Arthur, a pretty big part he says.

Produced by the Chickasaw nation, the picture follows the life a girl named Pearl Carter Scott, an aviation enthusiast who lived in the 1920s in Oklahoma. She learned to fly when she was just 14-years-old, and it's said that she was one of only three people to ever pilot Wiley Post's plane, "Winnie Mae."

In the full-length-feature, Gregory's character is Pearl's brother-in-law. The local actor said some of the part's significance comes from the negative feelings Pearl has for her sister's relationship. Overtime though her sister's love affects her, causing the young aviator to change from her tom boy ways and look for love herself.

The filming of the movie took place in various settings across Oklahoma. Overall, it took about a month to shoot, Gregory said, seven days of which he was in front of the camera.

It's not his first gig. This thespian has had other work, including movies and commercials, not to mention a list of auditions due to the difficulty of breaking into the business. "My philosophy is once you audition, forget about it. In this, you get rejected so many times," Gregory said.

While others may believe that an exodus from the Sooner State is necessary for a silver-screen life, Gregory maintains that there is work here locally. Also, a short drive to Dallas yields plenty of commercial possibilities.

Even though "Pearl" has finished shooting, there's still post-production work to be done on the film. Gregory said he predicts it to be ready for release some time next fall. It's not yet known what kind of release it will have, but it could possibly play in some select theaters in the state.

In addition to acting, Gregory also throws his hat into the ring with some country music singing. He and his girlfriend Emily Northcutt will be performing at Sac and Fox Casino in Shawnee on Nov. 29.