For a more up-to-date interview with Paul Greene, check out my most recent interview with him!
If you’re like me, you probably have some favorite leading men when it comes to Hallmark films. While I tend to like all the good-looking, robust gentlemen the network is inclined to select for their products, sometimes there are those that have that extra star quality. And what makes it even more pleasant is that most of the time, these special guys don’t even realize how special they are. In other words, they don’t let it go to their heads. Well, it just so happens that one of those actors, in my opinion, is Paul Greene. It seems that whenever his name is mentioned in Hallmark circles, sharp intakes of breath are heard from the women, and the men probably roll their eyes because they figure they will never quite measure up to his caliber. Recently, this paramount of masculinity (okay, he may not agree, but I bet the women will) chatted with me about all things Hallmark, and as you will see, Paul is oh so much more than just another pretty face or a talented actor (which is why I admire him so greatly), but he is easy on the eyes. You might call him the whole package.
(First of all, he wanted to know who I was–yes, he did! And he listened to me “waffle on” about who I was, what I did, my many accomplishments, etc. And even my daughter–his son is about the same age she is. And I also mentioned my reviews, the Hallmark Facebook groups, and he was quite intrigued by all. See why I said he was so genuine?)
RH: What inspired you to become an actor?
PG: I grew up on a farm in Alberta, and when I was maybe fourteen, I saw a movie that inspired me a lot called Bloodsport with Jean-Claude Van Damme. I also saw Purple Rain around that same time. Those two films and Chariots of Fire were the first films I ever saw. It was Bloodsport that gave me this recurring dream with Jean-Claude Van Damme. So I stopped eating sugars and started doing martial arts and working out. And as soon as I got my license at the age of sixteen, I drove myself to acting classes in Edmonton. And then I got the acting bug, and it was in my dreams that I was on set. Maybe that sounds crazy. But that’s what got me started.
Then when I was eighteen, in college, somebody picked me up for modeling, and I traveled to Europe and Asia for about five years and ended up in New York. And in New York, I studied with some of the greatest acting coaches there are. And I knew I wanted to act, but modeling was giving me an incredible income, and it was really hard for me to switch. I was so young–I was in my twenties. I was doing a lot of commericals and I became a SAG member in 1995, I think. But I always wanted to come out to LA, and it took me having a son to make those dreams happen. When my son, Oliver, was six months, I decided to pack up the family and move out to LA. I really started acting at the age of thirty. That was when I I intentionally quit modeling, threw all my chips into one pot, and went for it. And it paid off pretty quick.
I got a show with Tatum O’Neal called Wicked Games. That was really a big break for me. That was on Fox, and I did forty-two episodes of that. That was what really got me started. And then I got a spot on Wedding Bells, whose creator, David E. Kelley, is the same guy who wrote Boston Public, Ally McBeal, Doogie Howser, and many more hits. He’s somebody who gave me a nice break in this business, for sure. And for ten years, I was here in LA, having my crack at different things. And slowly, but surely getting bigger and better parts. Sofia Coppola put me in her movie, Somewhere, which helped a lot. And then I did a series in Canada called Bitten. And the producers and executives at Hallmark–one of them in particular–saw me and offered me my first Hallmark movie a year ago, A Perfect Wedding with Danica McKellar. Danica is awesome. Great chemistry.
You are extremely popular in the Hallmark circles. When I said I was interviewing you, people didn’t always have questions. Some people kind of freaked out, I guess you’d say. They were so excited. I heard a lot of, “Oh, he’s my favorite!”
That’s nice. That’s really nice to hear.
Then I’ve got some really close friends on twitter, and there are those in that group who call you their “cougar crush.”
That’s funny. That’s really sweet. I love these Hallmark movies. They’re super fun to do. Super fast, too. We do them in three weeks.
Many people asked about what it was like working with your co-stars on A Christmas Detour.
It was incredible. They were all amazing. Candace [Cameron Bure] was really, really fun and really high energy. A lot of these girls have been in the business since they were little, including Danica, Candace, and Erika, too. Amazing actors. We had such a great time, and both of those films I enjoyed so much. A Christmas Detour was directed by Ron Oliver, and he did some of the writing, too. He is one of my favorites. He’s a big film noir buff, and he introduced me to the Cary Grant movies and bought me about ten of them for my birthday to watch. He also helped me kinda carve out a little bit who my character was for these films–at least the acting style of the older more classic film noir stuff. It was really fun to work with him. He’s a special friend, too.
But Candace was amazing. She really was. She’s super humble and funny. All we did was laugh for three weeks. And a really deep person, too. We would talk about a lot of spiritual things, but also a lot of trivial, fun things. She married a hockey player. I grew up playing hockey. Barbara Niven and I instantly clicked. She was oh so sweet. I only worked with her a few days because our characters only crossed paths in the movie one or two days. The end scene with the dinner where Paige decided to leave Jack and come to me. But we meet at these Hallmark galas every year–a big gala dinner for the media. And we hang out at those because she’s always in something for Hallmark.
The whole Hallmark family–Erin Krakow, Lori Loughlin, Andie MacDowell–who was a big hero of mine. When I was growing up, I thought she was such a great actress, and I loved her in Groundhog Day. Hallmark has attracted some pretty amazing talent. To be in that family is very comforting and very humbling. Just to have a network and a studio get behind you and continue to fit you in where they think you can fit. You know, they keep trying to put me in things. It’s pretty awesome.
Barbara Niven, actress, co-star Christmas Detour
“I want to say that I think he’s this generation’s Robert Redford. He’s a really good actor, but he is so dang cute and so nice, too. So every time I see him, he always gives me a big, old hug. And, of course, I have him call me ‘mom.'”
That’s what we’ve noticed. You’re quickly becoming a Hallmark favorite leading man, and they continue to cast you opposite these Hallmark leading actresses. It’s awesome for you and awesome for us, because we get to see you.
And you know, the parts are really generous to the man. I mean, I’m working every day–almost every scene. And even though they’re female-driven, they are very demanding in a good way in terms of scene work. It’s a supporting role, but it’s definitely an ensemble. Like we’re rolling together in every scene, and really supporting the story together, you know? It’s been a really great experience as an actor to do movies with these powerful women.
In Anything For Love, your character was somewhat dishonest, and the question came up–was that difficult for you to play a character who was perceived as dishonest?
Well, I wasn’t dishonest because my friend changed my profile without my knowing. I withheld information in real script time for about a day and a half. It was torturing him. She knew earlier, but she intentionally changed hers from an executive to an assistant. You know, I didn’t wrestle with it too much at all ’cause I kept looking for these opportunities to tell the truth. The lesson there is not to try to pretend that you’re something you’re not. As it turned out, me being a nurse instead of a doctor didn’t really matter to her. I didn’t really struggle with the character. It’s acting. We pretend to be things all the time. Pretending to be someone who doesn’t come out with the truth for a day and a half is not too big of a stretch. It’s not like I’m playing a serial killer or something. (laughs)
(Ok–I completely missed that joke. I was far too busy watching the time trying to make sure I didn’t go over our agreed-upon time. So my apologies to Paul for allowing that joke to fall flat because when I played this back, I admit, I howled!)
You just finished filming A Wish For Christmas. What can you tell us about that experience?
What I loved about A Wish For Christmas is it’s a little bit like Liar, Liar, where Lacey’s [Chabert} character gets a wish granted to her in the movie. And her wish is that she be able to speak her mind. Kind of like Liar, Liar, like she has to tell the truth. It’s really funny, but it’s really a deep, heartfelt movie. I mean, Christmas Detour was more broad with the comedy. Lacey was seven months pregnant during this whole filming, We got to work around her belly, and she was such a trouper. The amount of hours we put in some days were fifteen or sixteen hours, and she was carrying a child, and her ability to work through the lines was amazing. We did night shoots, too where we started at seven at night and ended at six or seven in the morning. And she never complained and was concerned about other people working too hard. She was incredible. I mean, my experience with these girls–all four of them in this last year–has been so beyond what you would expect in terms of class and grace. I mean they set the bar so high in the way these women claimed no self-entitlement and had no ego. They were just there to tell a story and to make sure everybody has a great time. Lacey was incredible to work with. And she and I had so many words to exchange. It’s a conversation-heavy movie where we’re talking a lot, and there were days we would have eight or nine pages to memorize–to work on together. Lacey just pushed through it. She got a cold, and she kicked her cold in like a day. She’s just incredible. It was a great experience. Our director, Christie Will, was a good friend of Lacey’s. To have a woman director and make sure that she was taken care of with her pregnancy, since she was a mom as well, made it a really great situation.
Some asked about working with Andrea Brooks (shoutout to the Hearties).
Oh my gosh, she’s Hi-Lar-I-Ous! She’s got so much natural comedy timing and so much energy. She was great as a person too. We hung out a lot. We shared about six or seven days on the set. Ended up getting to know each other quite well. Did a periscope together. My son and my mom came to visit on the set in the middle of the shoot. My mom’s been on every movie I’ve shot there, and my mom’s been in a movie as an extra in one scene. In this airplane scene–it’s great. She’s in the airplane, right behind me, so she’ll be in the movie.
Andrea Brooks, actress, co-star A Wish For Christmas
I am aware of the fact that there is a charity you are very passionate about. Could you tell us about that, please?
I’m so glad you’re bringing that up because I’ve been putting together an art show to raise funds for ALS, and it’s on June 15th here in LA at the Santa Monica airport. And it’s an open event, and all proceeds go to ALS.net. They’re a nonprofit that dedicates one hundred percent to finding a cure for ALS. The reason I’m so committed to this is my father passed from ALS three years ago. And it’s something I’m very committed to–being a part of a solution. And I started on my own six months ago doing the show, and since then, my team is twenty strong, and we have over a hundred thousand dollars worth of art that’s been donated. And some of it is going to be auctioned online, but a lot of it will be sold at this event. Some of the art is affordable around $250-$500, and there’s some more expensive pieces. Many celebrities are going to be at the event. A lot of Hallmark people–Linda Gray, Danica McKellar, Candace Cameron Bure is going to try to come. We are also connected with the ice bucket challenge–they’re on our host committee as well. Shepard Fairey, who’s a huge street artist–he’s donated a bucket. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner–it’s going to be an amazing event. ArtistsLendsupport.org page has places for people to donate there. It’s nice to have some sort of a platform to do some good and make a difference rather than just have things be for yourself.
Did I not tell you how exceptional this man is? After all, this guy not only permitted me double the original allotted interview time, but he was insatiably curious about the Hallmark Facebook fan groups I mentioned. He was charmed by the fan reception, and his endearing comments about his co-stars demonstrated exactly what sort of person he is–the “real deal.” Furthermore, once he began to speak about ALS, you should have heard the passion in his voice. For him, this is something that resonates on such a profound level (rightly so), and because of his impassioned plea on this issue, I mentioned that I had donated (and I told him he had thanked me previously for that donation–something I shall always remember). I know I often state that this actor or that actor is a rare breed in this business, but what sets Paul apart is that he has not allowed success and virtual stardom change who he is. His star has skyrocketed over the last year, and some would permit arrogance or aloofness to permeate who they are or how they choose to act. Not so with Paul. He is the same person who came out to pursue that dream many years ago, and any alterations that have occurred have only been for the better. Please consider checking out the event he mentioned on Wednesday, June 15, if you are in the area, but if not, consider checking out how you can help this charity online. As, I’m sure he would tell you, every donation makes a difference and brings us that much closer to the eradication of this horrendous disease!
Check out the event:
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