Lakeland police sergeant talks about his role in newly Oscar-nominated film

A local police sergeant is in an Oscar-nominated film, shot in Florida.

Sgt. Gary Gross of the Lakeland Police Department can still remember his lines in the critically-acclaimed Indie film, “The Florida Project.”

“It’s a scene with DCF and we are interacting with a mother,” said Sgt. Gross. “And she is just totally upset as a mother would be. But it's my job to keep the peace."

He is only in the movie for a little less than three minutes, but nonetheless, part of a crucial scene where real-life, law enforcement expertise was valuable.

The film stars William DaFoe, nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the movie centered around a six-year-old girl being raised in a cheap motel outside of Orlando.

Ironically, Sgt. Gross’ movie career started as a Technical Advisor for an old friend. His 30 years in law enforcement serve him well in that role. He says in the first movie, he was teaching the star of the film how police officers hold a gun and a flash light, the right way, when entering a dark house.

He has worked on around 30 film and TV projects to date and hopes his film career will continue even after retirement from the force.

Sgt. Gross’ full-time gig is Public Information Officer with the department until he plans to retire in March.

“The Florida Project” is playing in theaters now.

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