In 2005, Paul Greene’s passion for acting brought him to Los Angeles. After studying in New York at Stella Adler, Uta Hagen’s HB Studios, and Susan Batson’s Black Nexxus, Paul’s commitment to developing his craft continued in Los Angeles at Improv Olympic West and the Actor’s Circle Theater and in work with, Nicoli Guzov, and Sandy Marshal. Paul has starred in Do No Harm with Lauren Holly, and appeared in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere.
His television experience reveals a broad range of characters and considerable versatility including 42 episodes on Fox’s Wicked Wicked Games as Oscar-winning Tatum O’Neal’s love interest, and appearances on Freddie, CSI NY, Shark, My Own Worst Enemy, The Wedding Bells, NCIS, Harry’s Law, The Client List, The Newsroom, Bitten, CSI and most recently, The Girlfriends Guide To Divorce on Bravo.
Paul is an avid pilot, accomplished musician and singer and photographer. Paul has recorded two albums. He was recently featured in, and helped film a documentary following 5 riders on motorcycles through the Himalayas from north India to the Tibetan plateau called The Highest Path.
He lives in Los Angeles with his son, Oliver. Paul shares his story about being a father, co-parenting and keeping love as front and center.
Art Eddy: You are starring in Campfire Kiss with Danica McKellar. You have worked with her before. Tell me about the film and you getting to work with Danica again.
Paul Greene: Danica is amazing. Most people know her from being Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years and grew up with her on television as did I. I grew up in a really small part of Canada. We didn’t have that channel, but I had learned about The Wonder Years. She is an incredible actress and human being. She is a mathematician. She is super unique and super smart. She is really, really fun to work with.
To have the opportunity to work with a leading lady twice in a career is not as common as you think. It does happen, but we had some convincing to do to let the network allow us to work together. As soon as we wrapped Perfect Match that we did two years ago which was our first Hallmark film we did together we said let’s make this happen again.
So eighteen months later we were chatting about doing another one. We convinced the network to let us work together again. It turned out really well. I am really proud of the film. It is different than most Hallmark movies because it is a camping movie. It is set out all in the snow. It was unseasonably freezing temperatures in Vancouver when we were filming. Working with her was serendipitous. We are good friends. We have lunch every couple months. We get together and reconnect about life and parenthood. She also has a son. Her son is a lot younger than mine. We share nutrition tips, parenting tips and all the things that we are excited about in our lives. It was an incredible pleasure to work with her.
AE: You also star in the Hallmark series When Calls The Heart. Tell me about your role on that series.
PG: There is so much serendipity with this show and this series. Janette Oke, the author is from a little town in Southern Alberta where my grandma and grandpa are from. I met Janette at this fan reunion. It was where five hundred Hearties flew in from all over the world for this panel to ask us questions and saw a sneak peek of the Christmas movie and things like that.
When Janette, the author of this book, When Calls The Heart she has written many books. At this event I said I heard you are from Champion. She knew my grandpa by name. It is really incredible to see how small and beautiful the world is. Even some of my aunts had Janette in their home. She was part of some Christian women circle with her books. It is a really neat connection to her.
My character, Carson isn’t in the original books. They definitely strayed off from the book. It was a small book, but it gave them the environment and the feeling of this story. We are in Season 4 and my character comes in early in this season. We are on episode seven right now. My character is starting to find his way in this town. He is a mysterious wanderer just getting here and nobody knows what I am up to.
Anyone entering this small frontier town everyone is very suspect of and protective of their little town. The railroad has just come in. There is a lot happening. Jack has just gone off to war. It is a pretty incredible time on the show. I am helping out Lori Loughlin’s character. I am helping her out at the café. There are a couple of big episodes coming where it reveals a lot more of my character’s past. I can’t share, but it is exciting. I have to give a shout to these writers. They really know what they are doing. To be on the side of that and you get to be part of that great writing is always just exciting.
AE: Was there one moment or film or TV Show that got you interested in acting and how did you start pursuing your career as an actor?
PG: Yeah, it is not your usual thing. I grew up on a farm. There were lots of chores, responsibilities and hard work. Somehow I ended up at my neighbor’s house without my parents knowing watching a movie. I wasn’t really allowed to watch things that weren’t really Christian. I grew up really strictly Christian.
Somehow I saw one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s movies, Bloodsport. It is a martial arts movie. When I saw that movie I got so inspired. I stopped eating sugar that day. I started learning martial arts. I did a thousand crunches a night. I was committed to having my body look like Jean-Claude Van Damme. I kept on dreaming that I was fighting in the movie. Not a real fight, but they would yell cut and I would wake up from my dream. It kept happening. I found a school in Edmonton. The day I got my car I started driving myself up there for acting lessons. I was 16. That was what got me the bug where I was like okay I want to do this.
AE: When you get a new role how do you prep for that role? Is each one different based on the character you are going to play?
PG: I end up playing the romantic comedy lead. That has been my genre. Most of the roles that I audition for is the main guy who gets the girl. What I find that really helps me is I ask how am I similar to this character and how am I different from this character?
I become so familiar with the material that I have everyone’s lines memorized. Anthony Hopkins inspired me. He reads his scripts over one hundred times. Doing that much work and knowing the story really, really well allows you to be relaxed. Be so prepared that you are just so comfortable and you can take the day any way you want and you are not in any form of stress. You are just there. You are serving the bigger story.
I am a big fan of Joseph Campbell, who wrote a book called The Hero’s Journey. He is the reason Star Wars exists. He was a good friend of George Lucas. His way of storytelling, The Hero’s Journey was a way to create Star Wars. Reading and loving Joseph Campbell I am always looking for that bigger story that is dying to be told. As an actor finding that thread is the excitement and the adventure.
That is some of the preparation work that I do. Sometimes I will write an entire backstory of the character and what happened to my character before. I put music on during that time and just get lost in it. That is the fun part. It is a little bit of work, but once you get lost in it there is a lot of imagination and joy. If you can focus and not have all the daily responsibilities and stresses of life get in the way you can really play like a child with your imagination. That is the fun part for me.
PG: It was planned. I had been with his mom for close to about four to five years. I got married super young. Well, I mean young for this time. She was 19 and I was 23 turning 24 at that time. I was ready. I was super excited. I had a very good role model. My dad was incredible to me. He worked a lot. When he was around he was incredible to me. When he was gone I missed him like crazy. That was a big gap to fill. My dad worked in the oil field in Alberta, Canada. When he was around he was a really good example.
I had read five or six books before my son was born. Books like Baby Wise and To Raise Up A Child. I read What To Expect When You Are Expecting. I was like this is not the book for me. It was the worst book for me. It was all fear and horrifying. Baby Wise is the book I give to every dad who is expecting a child. You may not agree with all of this, but this book will save your marriage, your relationship and your sex life. Take from it what you want. Baby Wise has some controversial things because you let the baby cry a little bit. I don’t remember it being hard. I don’t remember those first few days, months or year being hard because we had such a strict schedule with him. It just worked so perfectly for him.
AE: What are some of the core values you look to instill in your son as he grows up?
PG: Some core values. Wow. From the very first day of him being in our family we taught him that he is part of a team. The world doesn’t revolve around him. He is not a prince. He is not a king. We don’t serve him. (Both laugh.)
In America it is much different then Europe. In Europe they are very much part of the team. They take the kids with them. The kids are out with them at dinner around midnight. In America it seems from my experience and it is generalizing, but when there is a child everything stops. Relationships stop. People stop taking care of their health. They stop engaging in things that they love to do. They get bitter because they stop living their purpose, dreams and their passions.
Very early we taught him that. Part of it was the schedule. He is part of the team. When he was an infant we would never give him that thing that he was fussing for. We would distract him and find another way to get him what he needed. The core values started with that foundation of being part of a system and this team. We love him. We want him to thrive, but not at the risk of the whole thing falling apart. I think he got that through different ways.
As he is growing up he has just got this kindness. Oliver has this sense of responsibility where he really contributes to making the experience that other people are having great. I would love to take credit for that, but honestly my son just came in on that. To be honest I have learned more about his core values and applied them to my life. He has actually taught me so much about being an incredible human being. That is just who he is. I almost have to get out of the way and not try to impose values, beliefs and the things that I had learned from my parents. I am just present with him and pay attention to him to find out what he really needs.
He is close to God. He has so much more to teach me it feels like in this life more than I have to teach him especially around God. He is so pure of heart. He has no fear and no shame. He has no guilt around that relationship with God. I have been very careful not to impose too much of what I learned from my parents, but to be on more of a discovery with him on who God is and how do you show up in the world.
PG: I am committed to his mom even though we are not together. We have been divorced for two years and separated for seven. We were married for almost sixteen years. I am committed to her life being great. I vowed when we were married to love her until death do us part. My vow wasn’t to stay under the same house. It was to love her. That is what I am committed to. I am committed to her life being great as a mom, as a friend and as somebody that I love. Not romantically, but for someone who is in my life. She thankfully is committed to the same thing.
It takes two people to be focused in that way. Whatever she needs for her schedule for her life to be great I am flexible. She is the same with me. That said we usually do a week on and then a week off. We are both artists and actors and we are all over the world. We just make it work. It also takes away the need to be right and take a step back and put somebody else first. That has been the key for us in co-parenting. We are committed to not just having our son’s life work, but each other’s life work. If that means some sacrifice sometimes then so be it.
It comes back down the road when something comes up. We take care of the family that way even though we are not under the same roof. We are committed to that goal of having our family thrive. There is no room for being right and the other one wrong or holding grudges. It is just finding ways to just let go.
Life of Dad Quick Five
AE: Do you guys have a favorite family movie that you all love to watch together?
PG: He loved Rogue One. He loves it. Also Home Alone. He has seen that one about a hundred times.
AE: Do you guys have a favorite song that you all like to sing to or dance to as a family?
PG: Sometimes when he is going to sleep I will bring my guitar into his room. I would play for just the sake of it because I played it since was born was the House At Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins. I used to play that all the time when he was falling asleep. Now that he is older that song has a time limit now. (Both laugh.)
AE: Describe the perfect family vacation.
PG: Oh that is easy. The perfect family vacation would be in the camper. I have a RV. It is a 1996 Winnebago. On one side would be a sand dune where we could do crazy jumps, but on the other side of the camper would be this beautiful crystal, clear lake that we could swim in. We would go play in the heat of the desert dunes and then swim in the cold lake and then make amazing food by the fire. That would last about two weeks. It would have my amazing girlfriend, Katie, my son and his good friend Isiah and Isiah’s mom and dad. They are so fun to go camping with.
AE: You are a pilot and you are into photography. What is the next destination that you would like to fly to and take pictures of?
PG: That is a really good question. There are fourteen pilots in my family. I grew up and at 10 years old I was flying my dad’s plane. He would let me fly in the right seat. If I could fly anywhere I would go to Europe and touch down in Greenland. I would want to cross the Atlantic.
AE: Is there one actor or director that you would love to work with on your next project?
PG: I really love what (Alejandro González) Iñárritu is doing. I love his work as a director. I love Birdman. I love that style. And to be in one of Alejandro Iñárritu’s movies like The Revenant. He is just unstoppable. He is one of my favorite storytellers. To work with Alejandro Iñárritu would be something for me.
For actors, Anthony Hopkins. I study his work. I watch him work on Westworld. There is a video essay writer on YouTube called Nerd Writer. He breaks down some acting. It is really cool. You should check it out. There is this one on Westworld with Anthony Hopkins. It is such a fun essay to watch. So probably Anthony Hopkins. It sounds cliché, but I am just fascinated with him.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulgreenemedia