We interview popular Jamaican actor Paul Campbell. One of Jamaica’s most heralded contemporary actor, Paul has appeared any many screen and stage productions. Some of his most notable works are his leading roles in Palm Picture’s Lunatic, the notorious & unforgettable villain priest, in Dancehall Queen (1997), and the highest-grossing film out of Jamaica, Third World Cop (1999). This month Paul takes time from his busy schedule to talk about one of his upcoming projects.
Q: How old were you when you knew you would become an actor?
When I did my first feature I was 29. That was “The Lunatic”
Q: What was your first acting job?
My first acting job was in “Johnny Reggae” in the National Pantomime. I played a member of the “mouth-water quartet” that consisted of three people.
Q: How many plays have you appeared in?
Most certainly over 10!
Q: How different is theater from movie?
Very different. With the stage you get one chance to do it. With films you can have as many as a million takes. But, you get only one chance on the stage.
Q: What movie do most people still recognize you for, Dancehall Queen, Third World Cop or Shottas?
It’s between Dancehall Queen and Shottas.
Q: Which of those 3 roles did you enjoy the most?
Third World Cop. Because there was so much more to the role. I enjoyed working with people, the various characters featured in the film. For me that was a better experience.
Q: Did that role galvanize you in the industry?
No. The role of Priest, from Dancehall Queen that galvanized me.
Q: Tell us about your new movie “The Heart of Summer” set for release in this summer?
Oh, it’s an absolutely fantastic movie, and very dear to my heart. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever played before. I am looking forward to seeing my fan’s reaction to this role.
Q: You are not playing a “tough” guy in this movie but a “tough father”. How is this role different from the other roles you have played in the past?
It’s not a gun-toting role. Its more of a human-interest story. That is the aspect that really got me interested in the role. The fact that it is a human interest story, and I’m looking forward to playing more of these roles.
Q: You are not only acting in the movie but one of the producers. Is this your first time being a producer? How do you like producing?
No. This is not my first time as a Producer. I have produced short films before.I love being a Producer because it gives me an opportunity to have some control from concept to realization.
Q: Without giving away too much of the movie why to you think the audience must go see this movie?
For one, it has a lot of family values embedded into the script, and you only can come away enhanced being that it leaves you in an elevated state of mind.
Q: Morgan Freeman always wanted to play Mandela. What role is your dream role and who would you be playing?
I would love to play the Jamaican Hero, Paul Bogle, and really tell his story because I feel it’s a story worth being told.
Q: Who is the actor you most admire?
I admire a number of actors for different reasons, their different M.O.s, their different styles. I like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle. They are all great actors.
Q: I am going to make a wild assumption that the market for Jamaican actors outside of Jamaica may not be that big. Is this a reason for Jamaica and the Caribbean to develop more films that tell our story or should actors adapt by losing their accent?
No! I think we should tell our stories. After all, we are an English speaking country.
Q: If you were not acting what would you be doing?
Well, I think I would be writing or painting. Anything I could get lost into, and be in control of.
Q: What is the one job you would give it all up for?
A job which allows me to work with the best of my peers.
Q: What is the must-have food that has to be on the set?
(Laughter)Fruit Juice and BBQ Chicken Wings!
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Q: Little Ochi or Hellshire?
Q: Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to answer our questions. Any closing thoughts?
If I could reverse time I’d take Jamaica back in time, not to make it less educated, or to take a way progress, but for a particular kind of peace to once again reign in Jamaica among its people!