Hallmark Channel’s latest June Weddings film “The Last Bridesmaid” celebrates the long honored tradition of women who stand with their closest friends to celebrate on the day of their wedding, and how videographers now play a vital role in capturing the magic of that special day. In the film, wonderfully written by Nina Weinman, Paul fully embodies his character Kyle and manages effortlessly to convey how Kyle is at a pivotal crossroad in his life, when a potential new great love enters his life. In an exclusive interview, Paul talks what how about how this role is truly a dream come true for him and how his career has led to this incredible opportunity where a role that was written for him actually came to life on screen.
What was the initial draw for you to work on this particular project and why you liked the character of Kyle?
PAUL: The initial draw for me is that I love Hallmark projects and I’d have a hard time saying “no” to anything that they send my way. I had also become good friends with the writer, Nina Weinman, and I had met Rachel Boston ten years ago to screen test in Los Angeles. So I knew it was going to be a good script and I knew it was going to be a fun group of people to work with. So it kind of made it impossible to say “no” to. Then in terms of the character, when Nina wrote this script, she told me that she had kind of written it with my voice in mind. So the character, for me, was pretty relatable because I’m a guy who has a job that he was kind of plugging away at and wasn’t terribly giddy about. So if you asked about it, Kyle wasn’t feeling creatively fulfilled and how he finally got a day-job, something that sort of pays the bills and ultimately serves to support his true passions, documentary filmmaking. In my case, I was a carpenter and wanted to be an actor. But, for Kyle, he films wedding videos, which he’s not terribly enthralled by, but recognizes that it’s the only way for him to pursue his true passion. So there’s a lot of similarities between Kyle and I. He had a good sense of humor. He’s thoughtful. He’s charming at times. And these are things that I am drawn to — I love playing characters like that. And Nina’s writing is so good. Her dialogue is so snappy and she writes true romantic comedies. She actually writes real humor into these things which, immediately gets my vote.
Were you surprised when you got kind of offered this particular role because they’d written it for you or written it with you in mind?
PAUL: I was only surprised because it has never happened to me in my career that when somebody, a colleague or a friend, says, “Hey, I wrote this thing with you in mind or I wrote it with your voice in mind,” that I’ve ended up actually working on that project. I’ve heard it so many times and the projects come and go and for various reasons that somebody else is cast in that role. There’s so many different actors and then when the offer came in, I was like, “Oh, wow. Nina was serious. She actually said she wrote it with me in mind and wanted me to do it, and made it happen.”
You said you met Rachel Boston previously. Did you guys actually work on a project or was it just a screen test?
PAUL: We met at a screen test. I can’t even recall what it was. We were racking our brains trying to figure out what it was, but it was about 10 years ago in L.A. We met briefly and we probably read some stuff together. Probably read some scenes together at the screen test, but I remember thinking she was really funny and here we are, 10 years later, working on the same project together.
You and Rachel have both had such interesting career paths as you both started in dramatic roles and kind of fell into comedy. Does that make you surprised that you are not doing more drama and you are always doing these kind of romantic-comedy roles now?
PAUL: A little bit. It’s funny because the first acting class that I took was very focused on dramatic stuff and I think that’s probably what drew me to acting in the first place. There was a real catharsis to it for me. There was a real, sort of therapy element, a way to express anger, frustration, and things I was feeling as a 20 year old kid through my work that I hadn’t found an outlet for any other way. So, when I started acting, I got BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and stuff like that, my whole focus was in drama and it never occurred to me that comedy might be something I enjoy. And then, I started doing some comedy pilots and realized how fun those were. And then, I feel like for a while, I kind of struck a balance between the two, but I find most of the stuff I do now is on the lighter side and occasionally I’ll dip back in to the more dramatic stuff. I did a guest star on a show called TAKE TWO, that was dramatic. So I wouldn’t say “no” to it, but I certainly like the tone of what I’ve been doing in the last five or ten years for sure.
You have turned into quite the Hallmark leading man as you have done a number of their key projects, which I’ve really enjoyed, like “A Godwink Christmas”, “Sun, Sand, Romance,” “Once Upon A Holiday,” and “Surprised By Love”. Does that surprise you that you’ve become a romantic lead for a lot of big movies for Hallmark?
PAUL: Well, thank you! Yes, kind of. It surprises me, because the first role that they cast me in was in “Window Wonderland” and that guy was not a traditional romantic lead for Hallmark. That character was — I think I was hired because I was kind of a funny, smart-ass and he was kind of fast and loose, and I think that’s what the character needed. They don’t have a lot of characters like that on Hallmark anymore. The leading men are much more traditional leading men. So it never really occurred to me that I would transition into those roles, because I’ve never, to be honest, really considered myself a traditional leading man. I’ve always added some quirk or some humor. I’ve never been the guy that walks into the room and all the women’s heads turn and a hush falls over the crowd. That’s never been my vibe. So the fact that I get to play these leading romantic roles is definitely surprising to me. If you had told me at age 16 that this is what I would be doing a week from my 40th birthday, I would have had you thrown out of the room. I would have called you a liar, had you arrested. [Laughs] It just would have blown my mind. I mean, it could not be further from what I imagined my life to be when I was a teenager.
When I watch you perform in your films, one thing that strikes me is, you are very genuine. I always feel like you are the realest character on the screen and that makes it more appealing. I am drawn to your characters because of they feel so real.
PAUL: Oh, thank you. Honestly, I think that’s what connected me. That’s what really drew me into acting in the first place, was there was a way to — the style that I was taught of acting was to connect things emotionally — so I just often to really ground them in a reality that makes sense to you as a person. So when I’m getting into character, everything that that character is going through, I connect to something very personal to me and I try to imagine as if that was me personally in that scenario and how I would deal with it emotionally. I think, it’s easy, especially with a light-hearted romantic comedy, to keep things on the surface, but for someone like me, who really likes to go for laughs and to be silly sometimes, I think you really earn those silly moments when you have the grounded, poignant moments to balance it out. Otherwise, it just becomes more of a comedy. I’ve always sought for a balance of humor and sentiment, and the only way you get there is if you actually, really connect and really dig deep.
You certainly make your characters real and that’s why I fall in love with each of those characters. So I’m always really excited when I see your name on a film announcement.
PAUL: Oh, thank you!
What did you find yourself really connecting to with your character of Kyle for “The Last Bridesmaid”? What was the key thing that made it real for you?
PAUL: You know, this is a guy that struggles with really taking that extra leap and putting his light out there — taking that risk to be great, and that’s a huge thing for a lot of artists. Because, especially for people like myself who have incredibly high standards of work and I don’t like to look foolish, I’ve never wanted to look foolish and the way that I got around that is I make sure that whatever I’m doing, I’m doing the best possible version that I can. Or I’m putting as much work, as much effort into it. So I won’t look so scared or I won’t look like something’s done only 90% of the way. And for Kyle, that’s him. He’s got this documentary that he’s still working on that by all accounts is ready for the screen, but he doesn’t feel that it’s ready. He’s afraid to show anybody because he’s worried that it’ll be rejected or that it will be viewed as subpar in any respect. And I totally get that. I get not wanting to face any sort of rejection and criticism. I think I’ve eased up in the last five years on being tough on myself. But when I was in my 20’s, I was incredibly hard on myself. I didn’t like watching any of the stuff that I did. I’m a contractor and in my down time, I would do wood work. I’d been doing it my whole life and I’ve thrown entire projects in the trash if I didn’t feel they were 100%. I’ve never had them see the light of day. So, I get that. I get striving for the best and to my own detriment and being my own worst enemy because my standards are too high. And I think that’s who Kyle is. Because he’s tripping over himself. He’s getting in his own way.
Then what does he see in Becca (Rachel Boston)? What draws his attention so that he sort of falls under her spell?
PAUL: I think he sees in Becca all those things that he sees in himself. And I was just thinking about this. It’s kind of that “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. If you recognize faults in someone else, or things in someone else that you also recognize in yourself, it’s easier to push someone to take that step that you wouldn’t. It’s almost like you living vicariously through them. He sees in her this incredible passion and this incredible talent being essentially wasted because she’s playing things so safe and he sees her potential, much in the way that he has potential, and he pushes her to take that big leap. Definitely, they’re on very similar lives and career paths, in terms of struggling through a day-job that they don’t love, for fear of pursuing the passion that might fail them.
I also spoke with Rachel and she mentioned you two, while you were doing things behind the scenes, worked on a cover band together, singing and dancing. What can you share about that crazy experience?
PAUL: Oh, it’s just ridiculous. It was so silly. I think because we had so much time in between scenes, Rachel had the idea to make a silly music video and she wanted to do it to like a really traditional, kind of cheesy, love song. What we ultimately came up with was Foreigner’s, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” And so, very often between scenes, we would just film us doing silly pieces of like a really cheesy music video for Foreigner’s, “I Want to Know What Love Is” because we had the sets, we had the wardrobe. We had everything there, right? We just needed somebody to hold our camera. And, funnily enough, it was our producer, Scott Clayton, who ended up doing the lion’s share of the filming. So, it was our producer filming us just be silly on set. It was a lot of fun. It was a great way to pass the time. And to keep the mood light and just to be silly.
Are we going to get a chance to see that music video?
PAUL: [Laughs] I don’t know. I don’t know what stage it’s at. I think we have a bunch of pieces of video that we’d probably have to assemble. It may or may not see the light of day. This is life imitating art, with my character. He made this film. It may never see the light of day, if it’s not up to snuff.
You and Rachel should definitely collaborate and do the video behind the film, so to speak, and make a comedy out of that.
PAUL: Yeah, we should. I mean, honestly, I wish that Hallmark would do even more of that. They do some great behind the scenes stuff and those are so much fun. These sets are so light to work on. Everybody’s having fun. On a movie like this, where we had such a big cast, it was such a great group of actors. We had many, many days where there were six to ten actors on set all just goofing off and being silly. I mean, this behind the scenes video would be almost fun to watch, really, itself.
What was it like for you filming in Victoria?
PAUL: This is the second time that I’ve filmed in Victoria. The first time I was there, I filmed a horror movie. That was probably 10 years ago — even longer, maybe 12 years ago. It is extraordinary. I cannot say enough good things about Victoria. The locations that we had were second to none. It was gorgeous. The locations that they found, the sets they found, it looks like a $10 million movie. And these sets were, it was perfect. The bulk of the movie was filmed in or around Victoria. And then we spent a week up in a place called Sooke, which was this gorgeous little, coastal, harbor town and we stayed at the Sooke Harbor House Hotel, which is famous. There was just something so perfect about the whole thing. It was like we had walked right into the movie set. Didn’t need to dress it up really. Yeah, Victoria was great. The people are so lovely and we had the best time. We couldn’t have found a better location to shoot this movie. No question.
It sounds you and Rachel got to play a lot for this film and that’s kind of exciting. I think that translates really well on screen.
PAUL: Yeah, this was a true testament to Nina Weinman’s writing. She really knows how to write good, fun dialogues. Some of the Hallmark movies are more serious, some are a little funnier. This one is definitely closer to a traditional rom-com than some of them and it’s impossible not to have fun when you have fun words to say. You have fun scenarios. And you have fun people you’re working with. I mean its, everybody, without exception, is having the best time and it definitely translates to the screen. There’s no question.
What would you like to tease for the fans? What’s kind of their thing they can look forward to when they watch this?
PAUL: What can the fans look forward to when they watch this? Well, I mean it’s a Hallmark movie. People know that it’s going to end happily. I think you can certainly look forward to that. I think women in particular, are going to love all the dresses. We have two weddings. There’s two big weddings in the movie, so there’s a lot of dresses. And it’s a lot of guys looking their most polished, which I don’t think the ladies will hate. And Hallmark is known for hiring a lot of handsome fellas waiting in the wings to help play these parts. They’ve stacked this cast. I was like, “Does everybody have to be so handsome? Can we tone it down a little bit, just for my sake, guys? Don’t we have any B-list?” Seriously, it’s a good group — these guys are super awesome. It’s a really, really fun script. There’s a lot of laughs. A lot of really poignant, sentimental moments. And Rachel does such a great job. Everybody does such a great job of elevating characters and grounding it and making it funny and real. I think fans are just going to enjoy everything about it. I can’t wait to hear what people think and what people’s feedback is.
Are you going to be live tweeting during the broadcast?
PAUL: Well, first of all, I’m in Canada so, we actually don’t, it doesn’t air here in Canada on Saturday. I will have a link to it, but Saturday is also my 40th birthday. I have a feeling that I will be out in the evening celebrating my 40th birthday. I’ll probably do an Instagram. Like, I’ll do like a live chat or something like that. I do these silly fireside chats on Instagram. I go live, sit by the fire. It started in winter time, but it translates well into summer. So, I’ll probably do like a half hour fireside chat. So, people can hit me with questions and stuff. I’ll talk about the movie. Probably do that beforehand or maybe during the movie. And then go out at night and ring in my fourth decade.
And as you’re ringing in your fourth decade, do you have any other projects you want to tease or talk about?
PAUL: [Laughs] You know what? Everything that I have been working on is already aired. I have nothing in the hopper right now. It’s been pretty quiet. I’ll have the summer probably to get work finished on my, on our place here, get the bathroom finished and then it will be just time to get back to work.
“The Last Bridesmaid” premieres Saturday, June 22nd on Hallmark Channel. Fans are invited to join in the live-tweet fun by following along with Hallmark Channel (@HallmarkChannel) and Paul’s co-star Rachel Boston (@RachelBoston) on Twitter for more behind-the-scenes scoop about the making of this film — and be sure to give Paul (@thePaulCampbell) a shout-out on Twitter with a little birthday wish for him!
“The Last Bridesmaid” trailer:
On Location with “The Last Bridesmaid”:
Video clip of Rachel Boston introducing “The Last Bridesmaid”:
Video of Paul Campbell introducing his character in “The Last Bridesmaid”: