[General spoilers ahead]
Paul Greene is back on Hallmark Channel Sunday night for the final Countdown toÂ Valentine’s DayÂ movie of 2016, Anything For Love , opposite Erika Christensen.Â It’s his third outing for the network after last December’s A Christmas Detour with Candace Cameron Bure and last spring’s Perfect Match with Danica McKellar. Aside from those films, Greene might also be familiar to you from his stint on the first season of Bitten, where he played Elena’s human love, Philip. We had the chance to chat one on one with Greene about his Hallmark experiences,Â the new film, his time on Bitten, and what’s next.
Greene got his first job atÂ HallmarkÂ indirectly through playing Philip. “For Perfect Match, they were looking for that character, Adam.Â Bart Fisher [Development Director at Crown Media]Â really liked Bitten and he was the first to bring me to the network,” he recalls. “I just got so lucky to work with [director]Â Ron Oliver, who does a lot of Hallmark movies and is a film noir buff and it was such a great experience. I was so excited. It was three weeks in Vancouver.”
“I’d never met a director like Ron. He’s so special, he plays music on set. It was a classy, beautiful experience. As soon as I landed in LA [afterward], they were looking for another leading man for a film with Candace Cameron.Â A Christmas Detour happened super quick.Â [Candace and Danica] were both girls I grew up with. IÂ grew up on a farm without much technology. My friends at home were excited. They’re both unique actresses. Acting with different people is like playing sports with different athletes. You learn by being so intimately connected with them. You’re never quite the same actor once you’ve worked with somebody.”
Greene got involved with Anything For Love very quickly, and enjoyed working with the cast and crew, again back in Vancouver. “I got the script on a Friday and I was travelling on a Monday. We just finished it. [The people at Hallmark Channel]Â are miracle workers. They have quite the team. I’m so impressed with the end result and knowing how little time we had,” he says. “You have to move [fast], so it’s important to know who your character isÂ and what they want and all those actor goodies.”
“My character is a male nurse and Erika’s character is a corporateÂ exec and she can’t find love because men are intimated by her. She’s on the cover of Forbes and all that. I can’t find love because I love my jobÂ and I have the idea that women wouldn’t want to be with a male nurse. It’s a really broad comedy.”
“We were allowed to play big and have the moments be really ridiculous. My friend [in the movie]Â is telling me to tell women I’m a doctor and he switches my dating profile. She pretends she’s an executive assistant. It’s the story of us falling in love with who we think the other person is. It reminded me of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. You’re rooting for these people. You know the inevitable is coming where they have to tell each other and they keep falling more in love. It’sÂ a love story and it’s a comedy. The script [by The Boy Next Door‘s Barbara Curry] was great.”
This time out, Greene was directed by Terry Ingram, who previously worked with Christensen on My Boyfriends’ Dogs as well as co-star Antonio Cupo in Love at the Thanksgiving Parade. “Terry is just really easy to work with. Very fast and knows what he wants. The set environment was so excellent. They know what they need and when they’ve got it,” he explains. “It was my third film in nine months. I haveÂ a feeling now for the tone and the rhythm they want.”
He recalled Oliver making that point for one of the actorsÂ during an earlier production when a line reading came in too dark. OliverÂ corrected theÂ tone by having him go brighter and more optimistic. “He had him smile–‘Hallmark’ and had him frown–‘Lifetime,'” he laughs. “What I’m grateful for is that Ron has introduced me to all these old films. He sends me these beautiful old films I had no idea existed [and] introduced me to that style of a leading man and it’s been a great mentorship.”
Greene had a ball with Patrick Gilmore, who plays Reggie, and with Christensen, who brought some of her Parenthood work style to set. “Erika’s got such a fun wayÂ of working from Parenthood. She told me that they’d go off script and were allowed to [so we tried that],”Â he says. “It almost felt like improv…even though we stayed really close to the script. No matter what I gave her she would always come back with what I gave her. She was listening to me.Â Working with her and her style every day wasÂ incredible. Â She’s an incredible actress, person, human.”
Syfy’s BittenÂ is based on a series of books, and it veered from the source material [SPOILER ALERT] by killing off Greene’s character at the end of the first season. Going in, GreeneÂ wasn’t awareÂ that would be Philip’s onscreen fate. “I didn’t know. In the books, he leaves.Â [Since then],Â they’ve cranked it up where it’s more violence and sex,” he says. “Ironically,Â they show way more of that in Canada, where all of my family is. I have cousins calling me. [Then] I’m watching the Syfy version [in the U.S., which is edited], and it’s not that bad.”
Greene’s favorite arc occurred when Clay came to Toronto and stayed withÂ Elena and him. “He was in my place and we had that tension. There’s so many layers to it becauseÂ [Clay] loves Elena enough to know that if she chose [Philip], he really wants what’s best for,” he points out. “There’s a scene where I discover he’s going to take her away again right before the fight breaks out. I think those few episodes when we got to work in that triangle was my favorite part for sure.”
He also made the conscious choice to only read his scenes, to help preserve Philip’s perspective as a human unaware of the supernatural and werewolves. “I quit reading the books when I got who Philip was,” he explains. “I tried not to live in that world so that I had that sense of discovery. I played dumb for all of it in that I tried to live in the human world. I had a super power of patience.”
Bitten also fedÂ Greene’s new relationship with Hallmark, as Oliver had previously directed Bitten star Laura Vandervoort [in 2012’s Broken Trust]. OliverÂ called her for the skinny onÂ Greene before he was hired.Â “We have such a great relationship and a good experience [so it was fine]. It’s how this business works,” he says. “Danica knew Candace and Candace calledÂ her because she had approval rights on A Christmas Detour. It’s how the friendships work, and how important it is to not be a selfish person.”
That sentiment carries over in his newfound relationship with Hallmark. “It feels like an old school network. They take care of you,” he says. “They find a home for you. They’re amazing.”
His recent tenure on Hallmark fits more in line with his personality and the types of projects he likes to watch. “I definitely like comedy, romantic comedy and that world. I’m a very positive person,” he shares. “I’m sure there will be enough [that’s heavy] to deal with in my life. I prefer the light. If you do it right,Â [characters in thematically lighter projects]Â also have a lot going on.” Case in point, he and his family suddenly found themselves four episodes deep in When Calls the Heart after stumbling across it on Netflix.
Next up, Greene has submitted tapes for an episode of Canada’s Saving Hope and a recurring role on Netflix’s Sense8.
Greene is also putting together a fundraiser for ALS, the disease that took his father two years ago. “We’re doing an art show mixed with photography, and some celebrity friends of mine are doing a silent auction,” he says. “It only affects 10,000 people a year but when it affects you and your family… It’s amazing how many people I’ve met who have been affected and it seems to be growing. It’s two to five years [from onset] and you’re gone.
Anything For Love premieres Sunday at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel. Here are a couple of sneak peeks
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