Ashland native Terry appears in "The Help"

By Joyce Brock/Southern Advocate

Ashland native, Tavis Terry, recently made his debut appearance on the big screen. Terry performed as an extra in the movie “The Help,” which is currently showing in theaters nation-wide.

The Dreamworks/Touchstone Pictures film was directed by Tate Taylor and is an adaptation of the novel by Kathryn Stockett. Set amidst the civil rights movement in Mississippi, the movie follows the events that occur when ‘Skeeter’, played by Emma Stone, returns to Jackson after completing her education at the University of Mississippi. ‘Skeeter’ is an aspiring writer, who is inspired to write a book from the perspective of the black maids who work in the homes of affluent whites in the city. She develops an unlikely friendship with maids Abilene Clark, played by Viola Davis, and Minny Jackson, played by Octavia Spencer.

As the film follows the friendships of the three, as well as a number of other relationships, the viewer is exposed to a range of emotions. Comedy, suspense, drama and more combine throughout the film. It is in one of these emotional scenes that Terry is involved. In an uplifting scene, set in a church, Terry is among a celebrating church congregation. He is shown several times, smiling and clapping, near the principal characters.

When asked how he felt when he first saw himself on screen, Terry laughed, “It felt great. Really great.”

He saw the movie with his wife on the day it was released. Saturday, he attended with a group of family members.

“I’ve always dreamed of becoming a movie star, and I’m thankful that I’ve made a huge step at achieving my goal,” he had said earlier.

Terry was inspired to pursue a career in the film industry as a kid. A self-described class clown, he related that friends and family members often told him, “You could be in movies!” Since childhood, he’s watched actors like Jamie Foxx and Will Smith and wanted to be like them. His dream role would be the lead in a comedy.

It is a dream he is working towards. He’s taken an acting workshop in Memphis, is preparing a professional portfolio and is seeking agency representation. Previously, Terry has been seen in the MTV Series “$5 Cover” produced by Craig Brewer. The project was filmed in Memphis, Tenn. and Terry and cousin Marvin Jones appeared in a party scene. He also appeared in “Losers Take All,” which should be released later this season, with his cousin Wesley Terry.

Terry landed his role in “The Help” after finding information about the film on the Mississippi Film Commission website. He submitted his information and received a call from the casting director. Terry spent two days in Greenwood, where most of the movie was filmed. On the first day, he was fitted for costume. On the second day, he participated in filming.

“I never thought I would get a chance to appear on a big movie like this, but I did!” he beamed.

He described various aspects of his involvement that he was excited about. He was able to witness how the filming process works and meet a lot of people. He was excited to meet not only famous industry professionals, but others from around the state.

“I had a chance to meet some of the best actors/actresses in the business. The entire cast and crew were tremendous,” he related.
“I’d like to thank my entire family and friends for supporting me. Also, thanks to all of Benton county and surrounding areas for the support! A special thanks to Glossie Terry and [the Southern Advocate] for giving me a chance to share my experience with others,” he said.

Terry is a 2001 graduate of Ashland High School, where he was involved in extra-curricular activities including basketball and track. He resides in Memphis, Tenn. with his wife Gheri and daughter Adisyn. He’s employed as an IT Support Technician at GTX Pharmaceuticals.

Terry is the son of Jessie and Alberta Terry, and has one brother – Jawaun Terry. He is the grandson of John and Marie Terry and Walter and Mamie Hampton.