[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Paul Campbell has become a Hallmark regular in the last handful of years. We just saw him in December in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ A Godwink Christmas, and this Saturday, he’s back on Hallmark Channel, paired with Rachel Boston in The Last Bridesmaid. Earlier this week, I chatted with Campbell about the film.
Campbell plays videographer Kyle Taylor opposite Boston’s Becca Foster. Becca is on her ninth wedding as a bridesmaid when she strikes up a friendship with him. When they find themselves working another wedding, for Becca’s cousin, their friendship deepens over the four months leading up to the big day.
Kyle and Becca each have a side hustle that’s their true calling and soon they’re each other’s champion in making big life changes–in their careers, and maybe even personally, too. Once they encourage each other to follow their dreams, they realize they must listen to their hearts, too. Mark Jean directs Nina Weinman‘s script. Look for familiar Hallmark faces in Jeremy Guilbaut, Stephanie Bennett, Brandi Alexander, and Christine Willes.
The project came to Campbell through Weinman. “Hallmark’s been really good to me. I’ve done about one [movie] a year for the past six years. This one was a little different. I had become friends with Nina Weinman and she was familiar with some of the stuff I’d done for Hallmark. We started chatting on Twitter and when I was wrapping up my last film and she was in Vancouver, we ended up grabbing a drink and chatting,” he recalls.
“She said she had written a June wedding movie with me in mind and that if it went forward, she hoped ultimately I’d end up in it. She wanted me to play Kyle. I think, honestly, it’s the first time in my 15-year career that someone said they’d written a part for me and that if it went forward they’d love to have me and it actually worked out. They put their money where their mouth is.”
“In every sense of the word, just the way [Kyle] spoke and the way he carried himself, and his attitude was just me. It’s like stepping into a role as myself in clothes somebody else picked out and with a little bit of hair and makeup.”
“Hopefully in the next couple of years more opportunities will come along [like that]. Sun, Sand & Romance was a project that I pitched to Hallmark and they brought me on to executive produce. I have another project in development potentially for next summer that I’ll be co-writing with a director friend of mine.”
“I would love to really start writing a lot more at Hallmark. I think I like writing as much as acting. I find it incredibly rewarding. There is a lot more freedom in writing. As an actor, you’re serving someone else’s work. As a writer, there are rules to play by in terms of what you write for Hallmark, but the creative freedom is all yours. You don’t find that in any other discipline. It’s yours to make what you want of it. I really like that aspect of it. I’ve been writing a ton. Hopefully I can set up shop as a triple threat actor, producer, and writer.”
One of the things Campbell enjoyed about the role is that his character is multi-faceted, with many interests, which echoes Campbell’s own real-life differentiation. “I have so many irons in the fire. When I graduated high school, I was a carpenter. I thought it was what I wanted to do and I still love doing it, but it always felt like a day job. I wasn’t passionate about t. I didn’t know what my passion was until I took an acting class, randomly. And then I went, ‘Oh, this is the thing that excites me,’” he shares.
“I think that connected me right away to Kyle because he has a day job, but it’s not inspiring. He has found that thing that pushes him and inspires him and that he yearns for. That’s one of the things that attracts him immediately to Becca. He sees those similarities in Becca, but for various reasons, she hasn’t been able to commit to it. She’s playing it safe.”
“I think artists recognize other artists and Kyle recognized that in Becca right away and realized how important it is for somebody to pursue that passion when they find it and how important and integral it can be to finding happiness, so he pushes her to chase it. They do find that in each other. They realize they have to be doing the same thing.”
“There’s something interesting in the psychology of someone who is addressing their own hurdles and pushing someone else to jump those hurdles they’re not willing to jump themselves. It’s, ‘Do as I say and not as I do.’ You’re living vicariously through someone else.
As Kyle, Campbell spends much of the film behind the camera, chronicling weddings, and he explains the intricate physicality of it, and the way it informed his character. “That camera got really heavy. It’s the camera they use to film these movies. There’s a shot in the bridal shop that I filmed myself. You see me in the mirror. It was a fairly complicated camera movement. Every scene that I’m in, I’m filming something,” he says.
“The idea was that they might be able to use some of the footage, which is why they gave me such an expensive camera. The operators on films are not usually holding a camera out in front of them and I was carrying that camera the entire time.”
“It becomes this piece of baggage that you carry with you. I have so many scenes where I’m carrying that camera or setting it down or setting it on my lap. Imagine five or six takes of every shot. It becomes a piece of the character, too, because he hides behind it a bit and it becomes a buffer, and an extension of him and it plays a big part of him getting to know Becca and letting his guard down.”
A Hallmark-adjacent project of Campbell is “2 Pauls in a Podcast,” which features him and Paul Greene. It arose out of a fun alliterative gag on social media. “That was a silly, silly thing. I made a joke on Twitter that I was thinking ‘Two Peas in a Podcast’ would be funny, and said I was looking for another P to co-host, and then, I thought, ‘That’s not a bad idea. I’ve always wanted to be on radio and this is probably as close as I’ll come,” he laughs.
“I reached out to Paul Greene to be the first guest. The initial idea was that I’d be the constant P and all of my guests would be a P name. We started recording and got along so well and said we should call it “Two Pauls in a Podcast” and we went from there. Geographically, we’ve been too far apart to do a third one. Hopefully, we will when he’s back in town for When Calls the Heart. It’d be pretty funny…you could literally fill it up with all our favorite Hallmark people.”
The Last Bridesmaid premieres Saturday at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Channel. Campbell won’t be live Tweeting that night as he’ll be celebrating his 40th birthday, but he’s sharing some fun treats on Instagram ahead of the film. Here’s a sneak peek of the movie.
Photos and Videos Courtesy of Crown Media.
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