Paul Greene Talks New Christmas Movies, Candace Cameron-Bure & ‘When Calls the Heart’
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means chances are Paul Greene is on your TV screen. One of the staples of yuletide films has two new offerings this holiday season. First, as a jingle writer who forms a love connection with an aspiring singer played by Jessica Lowndes in I’m Glad It’s Christmas. The Great American Family movie also features the legendary Gladys Knight.
Then the When Calls the Heart alum plays an entrepreneur looking to turn a small town rec center into a ski resort property in CBS’s Fit for Christmas. His love interest, a fitness instructor portrayed by Amanda Kloots, wants to put the kibosh on those plans. Ahead of the premieres, we caught up with the busy actor and musician.
You’ve done so many Christmas movies. Are you Christmas-ed out at home?
Paul Greene: I love Christmas! I have Christmas music on so early. We usually film so far away from Christmas like July that it’s more like a sneak peek then. I’m always ready for it.
Great American Family has really gone all-in when it comes to holiday movies along with the other networks and streamers. What do you make of this boom?
So many! Everyone is doing them. CBS used to do them back in the day and realized there is really a solid audience. When it comes to competition, I think the more the merrier.
How incredible was it to work with Gladys Knight on I’m Glad It’s Christmas?
She was very approachable and kind. We got to sing quite a bit with her. There is some acapella singing and some highly produced singing. She was amazing. I just can’t believe at her age she looks the way she does but also sings the way she does. She is super funny and brings lots of wisdom as a musician and performer. It was a real honor.
What was it like to be able to lean a bit more about your musicality?
I personally do play a lot of music. During the pandemic, I did a lot of live streams from home, so I was so stoked to be able to play and sing. It is kind of my dream job where I get to play music, act, make people laugh, and be close to family. This checked three of the four boxes…Jessica and I’s characters fall in love with each other at the beginning. Then there are all these obstacles. I think what makes a good movie is when your leads have these obstacles to overcome. It’s a hero’s journey that can inspire, hopefully, to take risks or love again or try something hard or forgive someone. That’s why I do these things. There is this connection to Christmas. It feels to me like there is so much division in the world. At least most people can sit down to watch one of these Christmas movies and find something to unite on.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of Fit for Christmas, you’re kind of Grinch at the start.
Yeah, but it’s just on the outside. My character is a big softy. I would say Fit for Christmas differs in pace and humor a little bit. Fit is more of a comedy whereas I’m Glad It’s Christmas is a comedy but it’s a little deeper in the storylines. Fit for Christmas was written by Anna White, who is one of my favs. She wrote another Christmas movie I was in, Christmas CEO. It’s hilarious. It’s so fast and witty. I loved getting to work with her and Amanda. I didn’t know her very well. I was aware of her story during COVID and losing her husband Nick. There is a bunch of meet-cutes in this movie. It’s a meet-cute overload in both movies.
Fans loved seeing you on When Calls the Heart. Do you think we’ll see Dr. Carson Shepherd in Hope Valley again and perhaps have a happily ever after with Faith?
There have been talks about some different approaches to completing that storyline or expanding that. That falls into the hands of the gods. There are so many cool projects I’m involved in. When you’re on a series, you might be able to sneak in one or two things. I loved being on it, but there are so many other projects I wanted to do. I helped produce a pilot. I’ve been involved in a [Jaguar My Love] film for two years that I’m proud of. If I was on a series, that all wouldn’t happen. I also had a baby and was able to be there for the whole pregnancy. I would never give up any of that for extra seasons. I have my gift…I make music, I have a podcast. I’m writing a parenting book. I try to be as present for all the little things. There is the whole fitness side. My wife and I coach people through a transformation process and a program called Freedom Alchemist. I have to tell myself enough to slow down and think about what my main priority is and go from there.
During the holidays do you watch yourself?
I don’t. I’ve seen the stuff I’ve done. I had a fan tell me she watched A Christmas Detour 130 times. I think she holds the record. I don’t even think my mom has watched them that many times. She does love them when the movies come on in Canada. I definitely don’t do my movie marathons. I’m definitely excited to watch Spirited. We are going to sit down and watch both of my new Christmas movies. But we always watch Love Actually and The Grinch. I definitely have my classics.
You mentioned A Christmas Detour. What’s your take on everything going on with your former co-star Candace [Cameron-Bure] and the backlash to The Wall Street Journal interview?
She is the most amazing person. I’ve said this about Lori Loughlin when things came up with her. They are my friends, and if they are going through whatever they are going through, I’m going to stand by them as their friends. From what I know about Candace, none of what they say in the media recently makes any sense or is true. They left out important parts of what she said [to The Wall Street Journal] and who she is. I know who she is. At her heart. Her friend and manager are a part of the LGBTQ community. She is amazing. She is loving to all people. Whatever she chooses to produce is her choice, and I don’t judge her for that. I don’t agree with everything she does, and I don’t disagree with everything she does. I just wish the media was fair enough to put in her whole statement. That’s what people need to know. That Candace truly loves people. The news media drives me nuts because they leave out important parts. They do it all the time for clickbait. That is what is happening to Candace. That’s from my perspective.
I appreciate you giving me your thoughts on the subject.
I have so many friends that are gay. They may get upset I’m not coming out against her, but I’m not because she is my friend. And I know her heart. People are so divided, and there is so much money to be made on division. I just wish we can all come together. We also have to remember there is a real person on the other side, whether it’s Lori or Candace. They are human beings there. They bring real joy and are compassionate. When you look at social media, people are so cruel. How Candace has responded with so much love. It just shows you who she is.
I’m Glad It’s Christmas premiere, November 26, 8/7c, Great American Family
Fit for Christmas premiere, December 4, 8:30/7:30c (8pm PT), CBS