Interviews

“I enjoyed playing the bad guy because the bad guys is unpredictable..” – An Interview with Actor, Paul Campbell

Paul Campbell Jamaican Actor
Written by Leo Gilling

Jamaican-born actor Paul George Anthony Campbell has starred in various films and Tv shows. He’s not only popular in Jamaica, but around the globe. He is know for his villain roles and distinctive radio voice. Paul Campbell is also an accomplished painter and is currently working on an autobiography. We sat down with him recently to find out what he has been up to.

1. What have you been working on recently?
A new TV series. The film I am promoting today is called ‘The Heart of Summer.’ That I produced, myself along with Adrian Allen. We wrote it together and saw the need to have some work created here in South Florida. We came together, and multiple people in the cast are not real actors, you know, but they are now. What I think is most important, more than anything else, is to come together and create the work and that’s what we’ve done. So I’m very honored today and proud to be here to promote it.

2. Is it a Jamaican based film?
It’s a Jamaican film, in fact its a second-generation Jamaican family. I’m the Jamaican dad and the lead of the cast. Sophia Nicholson, someone who is a part of this event tonight, also plays a major role.

3. A far cry bredrin. How do you always get the bigger dumpling?
Luckily it’s not even a far cry. What it is is an unleashing of what you’ve not been able to see because of roles afforded to me that were villanous roles. So now I’m also starring in a new TV series called Shottas. I’m playing a prosecutor, an American prosecutor. But that’s how it is. I’m making it very different now. Before it was very hard trying to get there, so you took what was offered. And what was offered was bad man. When you can afford to do it yourself then you give yourself the opportunity of becoming other characters.

4. Is it hard to transform into a different character since you’ve played the villain for so long?
No, it’s not really a difficult task. It’s a repression task. I enjoyed playing the bad guy because the bad guys is unpredictable and that’s what I like about the heart of acting.

5. And when we think of any Jamaican film today the only person we think about is you and you in the bad guy role. So do you think playing the good guy could be a good thing?
Well I’m doing so now. The Heart of Summer was something I had to get myself into as far as role is concerned to play. Something else other than the bad guy.

6. Where are you from in Jamaica?
I am from Kingston 13, Maxfield Avenue, St. James, gunshop, lick him over the head, take off the door, come rape my sister, and you mother. Eventually you have to have a gun on your chest and all of that. Those are my formative years so when I take them to screen you see it.

7. Have you written any books yet?
I am presently doing something about my own autobiography right now. I’ve had a ghostwriter write my life story from the age of 13 living in Maxfield Avenue, second form Kingston College, and from there until I became the Paul Campbell that I am now. It talks about adversity. It talks about the places I have been and out of it sticking to your guns. Focusing on what you want to be because life has a way of blowing stuff in your way. And once your train derails, if you’re not strong enough to get back on the track your out. I’m very fortunate. My mother is the person I owe all of this too.

8. So tell me Paul, if you were stranded on an island for two and a half days, which two musical albums would you choose to listen to over and over?
I choose Bob, Fire album and I choose an album called Between Two Worlds. Between Two Worlds has no vocal. It’s all sound and it’s done by a musician by the name of Patrick. I’m a little Jamaican, I’m born in Jamaica, but I’m a man of the world.

9. So you are very spiritual then because it sounds like that kind of gets you into yourself.
That helps me alot to transcend to that level. I am indeed very spiritual. Most people would never know that. Yes. This is an exclusive today, but I am. My paintings if you see, I paint as well. I’m a fine artist. I’ve been painting about thirty odd years. I’ve exhibited in London, Switzerland, Ghana, New York, and Jamaica. The best for last. I’ve been at it for some time and I also teach in the summers. It’s important that you give back. A little tricks of the trade: if I’m standing in the square with two other artists I will always do something so their eyes stay on me. So those are the tricks of the trade. I’d like to pass it on. I’ve been to all of the different colleges but the greatest teacher to me was life.

10. There’s nothing better than that.
Absolutely nothing. And if you don’t learn.

11. Coming from Kingston 13, Galaway Road….
Galaway Road I was rebuilding. Galaway Road, Sunlight Street, Barnes Avenue, all of that. You hear gunshot. You’ve got to sleep. I had my gun and I would go up in the ackee tree up until two or three o’clock in the morning. I’m up there watching for the guys to come up the gully. After my shift ends, I get out. I give the guy back his gun and I put on purple and white because I attend Kingston College.

12. Wait, so your first couple of years weren’t acting right?
It was acting but I would live it. You know they talk about life imitating art and vice versa, it was that for me. And why I think I became an actor more than anything else is because I had to create a wonderful world while the gunshots were whizzing over my head. I had to create a wonderful world while the woman next door was being chopped by her boyfriend. I had to create a wonderful world when I saw all the depravation. Pessimistic things that were, you know, that has meaning that has come together meaning tenement yard. One had to leave that reality, so my reality was created. And I created my reality with the help of my mother, who was the one who nurtured. In my time of growing up you know how Jamaica was, if you’re in theater you’re a batty man. I’ve had to deal with that so many times but I can’t make them stop.

13. Can you remember who you were before you made your first movie and what changes you have encountered over the years that you can identify? Whether its spiritual or physical? What is it?
No. it’s always been spiritual for me. I think there is a huge greater supreme being. I don’t know if it’s definitely what man’s doing. You understand because men do their own thing. Happy for their own business. So belief has always been in the cosmos and I’ve always thought much of a divine entity.

I can talk to you for hours. I feel like this has been a very casual conversation that’s very deep. And I like that alot. I appreciate that alot man.
No problem.

Be sure to follow Paul Campbell on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

About the author

Leo Gilling