Think of one of your favorite Hallmark movies, and chances are Paul Greene stars in it. From a young age, Paul knew he wanted to become an actor. However, his big break in acting didn’t come until he moved to L.A. at thirty-years-old. There he received his first big role in the TV series Wicked Wicked Games. From there he starred in several other TV series, but more recently has become a familiar face and loved by many in the Hallmark family. Starring in movies such as Anything for Love, A Christmas Detour, and Campfire Kiss, alongside some of Hallmark’s favorite leading ladies, his most recent role has been on When Calls the Heart. I got the opportunity to speak with Paul about his journey that led him to become an actor, his charity work, and future projects he is working on.
I know you can’t say much about your role as Carson. Instead, what was your experience like joining the cast of When Calls the Heart and getting to play this character?
Paul: Well, the producer that does When Calls the Heart also did some of my other movies. I also worked with Andrea [Brooks], who plays Nurse Carter. She was in a film that I did with Lacey Chabert called A Wish for Christmas. So I worked with her and she said, “you have to come work on When Calls the Heart.” I had heard of it because my girlfriend and my mom were watching it over Christmas. I also knew that Janette Oke is from the same little town in Alberta, Canada called Champion, which is where my grandma and grandpa are from. And she actually knew them! So when they offered it to me they also ran the other role by me that Niall Matter is playing, Shane Cantrell. They had me look at both roles and I really liked the role of Carson. I really resonated with him and the journey he goes on. I wish I could share more with you, but it will start coming up really soon!
Then just working with the cast like Erin, Jack, Lori, Daniel and everybody, how warm they all welcomed me was unbelievable. It was like family. It’s also because I am in the Hallmark family and I see them at our press events. The hair and makeup and the whole team were actually in the last movie I did with Danica [McKellar], Campfire Kiss. So a lot of the time, when we’re lucky enough, we get to work with the same people over and over again. So when you get to work with your family when you’re away from your family, it makes being away a lot easier. They were absolutely amazing, the whole team! And the writers are great. I’ve had many meetings with the writers to discuss Carson’s future and give my input. That’s what I really love about them, is that they actually care about what we think.
And what was it like going into a period piece?
Paul: I like to listen to music from that time, but finding music from that time was so hard. There’s not much music from then and it’s the weirdest thing. You realize that not even 100 years ago their music was so limited. You can kind of hear familiar sounds as to where our music, maybe has come from. Doing the research also helps. For example, when Carson says he worked the chuck wagons for the railroad. Looking back at what chuck wagons were, they were the food trucks of that time. So looking back to see what that looked like and how the kitchen was set-up on a chuck wagon is fun! Playing a period piece is a whole different thing. You get to look at the history and see how things used to be, and I really like that! And it’s great getting to create the whole history and backstory for Carson.
I know you have also modeled, and it wasn’t until later in life that you fully committed to acting. So what made you leave modeling and pursue acting full time?
Paul: I did start acting twenty years ago. I was in theater. Then I went to a school for film and television when I was sixteen in Edmonton, Alberta. When I started modeling at eighteen, I got right into doing TV commercials. Then I ended up living in New York for ten years and studying with some really great teachers there. So I was acting, but I wasn’t auditioning for film or television, only commercials. By the time I got to L.A. I had done close to 100 commercials. So I was ready and that’s why I left New York. I left at the top of my career. I had dozens of clients that had me on hold for work and I had to cancel. I just left with my wife at the time and my son, Oliver, who was only six months old. At thirty years old, I was like “if I don’t go to L.A. now it’s never going to happen.” So I just stopped everything. I left my very, very secure job. I had a good career in modeling. I worked with the big clients, but I left all that money and started with no credits and nothing on my resume at all. I just dove deep into acting classes and started going to auditions. Thankfully, I had a really good team that got me out a lot. And I had a couple of really big breaks in the beginning that made all the difference.
Since I was really young I knew I wanted to do it. I had dreams on the farm where I would wake up inside a fight movie acting. I was so affected by this one martial arts movie that I stopped eating sugar and started martial arts. As soon as I got my car I drove myself to acting school at sixteen. And then the modeling thing was just like a ten year journey around the world. I lived in probably twelve countries and met some of the most amazing people. I learned how to cook, languages, picked up the guitar. It was hard to get out of it because it was a very secure job. And then to go start something that 1% of the world can succeed at took everything. It took a great deal of belief in myself and faith.
That actually leads me into my next question. I watched the AfterBuzz show, and you sang your song “Place in my Heart” and you talked about your faith. You mentioned that for ten years you sort of lived like a monk. That really stood out to me. So did you grow up in a religious family or is your faith something you found later in life?
Paul: That’s awesome! I grew up with it very strong, but I rebelled against it. I grew up in a conservative and then they went sort of Pentecostal, like a Protestant, Pentecostal, Christian. I sort of went in and out my whole life. In my young teens at bible camps I would be very into it, and then at school, I would be like this is stupid. When I was eighteen, right when I started modeling, I met a Christian girl who taught me how to sing and play guitar. She bought me a bible that meant a lot to me. So my whole journey in modeling I was living like a monk. I wasn’t partying, I was celibate, and I was just living with Christian families in whatever city that I was in. I wouldn’t live in the model apartments and it was really interesting. Instead of partying my life away, I was able to do the exact opposite. So what I mean by living like a monk was that I was in the world, but I was doing nothing worldly. I didn’t know anything about pop culture, no drugs, nothing. All of my focus was studying my bible, writing songs on my guitar, and investing in my money. If I didn’t have a good relationship with God and I was modeling, there’s a good chance I would’ve partied or not been focused on building the foundations of the life I have now. It was an amazing time of my life. It was my path. There was so much richness in that experience, living with these families in different parts of the world and learning their culture. Rather than just being in the same model apartment and having life just be about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was a really interesting time. Of course I still have a relationship with God, it has just changed over time as I change and the environment around me changes. My exposure to the world has changed my perspective on how big God is.
I am aware that you do a lot of charity work, specifically with ALS. Do you have any events coming up or any work that you would like to share?
Paul: I love your questions! You’re hitting all the important things. I took a course through Landmark Education called SELP, which is the self expression leadership program. Inside of that they teach you how to design and build your own not-for-profit community event that raises money or awareness towards your cause. I would have never had the discipline or structure on how to build that on my own, so I was really grateful for that course. I learned a lot from them. And for that event, Hallmark was actually my key sponsor and we raised $100,000 in two hours at the live auction that night. So that event was last year, and my brother is doing an event in the next few months. I am not exactly sure the date, but we’re going to work together on that. People can follow my Twitter or Instagram and I’ll be posting a lot about the next event. And being committed to making a difference so that other people don’t have to lose their dad the way I did. It’s a really tough journey seeing what ALS is.
There’s also the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition in L.A., which is a soup kitchen for the homeless. Over the years there have been times where I’ve been much more involved. Recently I haven’t gone as much, but everyday you can go there and feed the homeless. Friday used to be the day where my son would come to the kitchen, he was around 8 or 9-years-old, and he was chopping vegetables and I was usually in charge of the soup. It was a really important thing for my son to experience. Seeing these people deeply troubled with drugs or violence or whatever it was, and he got to look them all in the eye and serve them. It was incredible. For anyone reading who hasn’t done volunteer work, if you want to be happy, go donate your time. Go serve the homeless or go to a retirement home and read a book to the loneliest person there. You get this energy where you’re like “wow, I am actually helping be part of the solution!”
You recently released the trailer to your new movie, Sweet Home Carolina, which many of us are looking forward to. Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Paul: Sweet Home Carolina is an independent film with Heather McComb. She was in Party of Five back in the day with Lacey Chabert when they were kids. She has done a ton of Lifetime movies. She’s a really strong, dramatic actor. This film might have been the tiniest bit too heavy for Hallmark. I am not sure where this movie will end up, but it’s good! Probably Netflix. MarVista Films produced it and MarVista has done other Hallmark movies. So it will get out and be seen. I love the name and the story is great! It’s romantic “dramady.” There are light moments, but it’s not as lighthearted as Hallmark. Hopefully it will be on Netflix, which seems to be the new cinema where everyone can see everything.
Music is obviously also a big part of your life. Do you have any plans to pursue more with your music?
Paul: My plan is to get most of the songs I’ve written, plus a bunch of covers, filmed in an interesting way and put them on YouTube. That way they can generate an audience through that, because the old way through iTunes or CD’s doesn’t exist really. I have an old album that I might put up on iTunes just for fun. It’s just my original songs. It’s a good album! It’s from fifteen years ago, so it’s a different style, but a couple of the songs I really like! So if I do that I will tweet and share it, but I am just going to continue to put stuff up on YouTube that I like. Sometimes I just hear a song and want to do it my way, and I’ll put that on YouTube too. In the future, I’d love to write and compose. I just continue to work and play my piano and my guitar when I can, and write new songs and put them on YouTube. That seems to be the most effective place to point people to through social media.
Finally, any other projects that you are working on that you can talk about?
Paul: Yes! My girlfriend and I are working on a couple side projects that are in the works. One is called Stay With Me. It’s more of a comedy. My girlfriend is a great writer. In this business, you kind of have to make your own. And now with even simple cameras, like the iPhone 7 Plus, you can shoot your own movie. It’s crazy! So we’re working on stuff together and auditioning together. We have a studio in our place where we film each other and submit ourselves for projects. Fortunately, I am with someone who has a really strong work ethic and knows about the business. So we are working on a couple things. Plus, every week there’s a new movie that I just read for that I am waiting to hear about. So it’s an exciting business! The phone rings and things can change pretty quickly in this business.
I’ve always been a fan of Paul’s, so when he agreed to do an interview with me I was completely in shock and excited. I was very nervous going into it, but immediately he made me feel comfortable and at ease. I was so surprised when he actually wanted to know more about who I was. It was truly such a pleasure getting to speak with Paul. Hearing him talk about his life and passions was so incredibly inspiring. The amount of hard work and love he puts behind everything he does is something to be admired. You can hear it in his voice and see it in his smile, that he wholeheartedly loves life. He radiates positivity! After the time I spent talking to him, I felt like I had learned so much about life and gained a wealth of knowledge. For being such a successful actor, Paul is extremely humble and down-to-earth. He has not let the fame get to his head whatsoever, which is so refreshing to see. At times there’s just something different about a person that separates them from the rest. It’s something within the person that is hard to explain, but whatever it is, Paul has it. He is one of a kind! Make sure to follow Paul on all his social media accounts to stay up-to-date with everything he is doing!