Date of publishing: 12th
Paul was born in the wee hours of the morning on
June 22, 1979 on the wet coast of British Columbia.
He grew up in a rough oceanside retirement town
just a few miles north of the 49th never more than
a stone's throw from the hairy blue sea or a sea
of blue hair. After highschool he decided to leave
his mark on the world, to utilize his "potential"
if you will. Theatre school flew by in what seemed
like days. In his final stunning perfomance as the
herald in Roger and Hammerstein's musical masterpiece
"Cinderella" he was spotted by a talent
agent and shortly thereafter began his career in
film and television. You'll recognize him as Billy
KeiKeya on Battlestar Galactica.
This interview was completed in collaboration with
and was conducted by Kenn aka "NetRanger".
Special thanks to him.
You can listen to the full audio interview on this
Warning for our non US readers, the following interview
contains spoilers thru episode 16 "Sacrifice"
of Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica.
a lot for taking the time to talk to us Paul.
Paul Campbell: You’re very
you start out by telling us what you’ve been
doing since you left Battlestar Galactica?
Paul Campbell: I’ve been
busy, busy, busy looking for work. Let me tell you.
I just got back from Pilot season in Los Angeles,
which was fairly dismal I think, all things considered.
But I did have the fortune of working on a feature
with Al Pacino. A little bit on this movie called
88 minutes, shooting in Vancouver. It’s a
thriller. That was rather exciting, and that actually
happened sort of in the two weeks following my departure
from Battlestar. Then basically had Christmas then
went down to LA for a couple of months and sort
of ground out the process of pilot season. And I’m
just back in Vancouver now regrouping. I’m
attempting to get a work visa for the US, which
will make it a lot easier to do guest stars and
smaller sort of walk on roles in features and stuff,
which now are sort of unavailable to me. Once that
goes thru hopefully, I’ll head back down to
Los Angeles to become gainfully employed.
So is it a fairly
complicated process getting the work Visa?
Paul Campbell: You know, it’s
not terribly complicated, but it’s very…
you have to be very prepared. It’s usually
based on the applicants resume, then there are a
certain number of letters required from various
industry people… producers, you know, people
of note who have pull. So you have to gather your
letters and submit an application packet which includes
your resume and any press that you might have from
your various jobs. So obviously the more press the
better, and the bigger the name that have singed
those letters the better. It’s kind of a crap
shoot. It ends up being one guy or one woman at
homeland security who ends up signing off on it.
And if they’re having a bad day, they can
say no, sort of on a whim.
there’s a lot more work in LA than Vancouver?
Paul Campbell: Yeah there is actually
quite a bit of work in Vancouver, but it’s
the quality of the work. I would love to get into
comedies. Into the half hour sitcom market, and
there’s absolutely nothing as far as that
goes in Vancouver. The irony of working in Vancouver,
if you want to get a lead role in a TV show or a
feature, typically those are all cast out of LA,
so even if you are a Vancouverite, wanting to work
on a show in Vancouver, you have to go to LA to
be cast in the show to come back to work in Vancouver.
And that’s kind of the way it is. Otherwise,
there’s a lot of principal roles and supporting
roles and stuff, and the occasional guest star on
the Smallvilles, and Supernaturals and those shows,
but usually those are cast out of LA. I think the
difference is on those big shows they have two sets
of casting directors, or even three. They’ll
be casting out of New York, Los Angeles and Vancouver,
but the principal casting is out of LA, and for
me the difference every time has been whether I
can spend five minutes in the room chatting the
producers and directors up before even starting
to read the sides, and I think that’s usually
the difference- being able to sell them on who you
are rather than what kind of actor you are.
you say you’d like to get into comedy, but
I see on your filmography on IMDB that you’ve
been in several of the Sci-Fi shows…..Smallville,
John Doe… some of those. Would you say that
you’re a Sci-Fi fan?
Paul Campbell: You know to be honest
with you, I’m not really. I’m a fan
of good film and good TV, and if it happens to be
good it doesn’t matter if it’s sci-fi
or fantasy or comedy. I’ll enjoy it. But for
the most part I find a lot of those shows, Andromeda
and Stargate… to be a little campy for my
tastes. I also don’t really jive with the
“Not Another Teen Movie” genre of comedies
as well. If it’s smart and it’s well
done, then I appreciate it. And that’s one
of the great things about Battlestar, is that right
from the get go, I could tell it was just a top
notch show through and through. The other credits,
John Doe was the third job I ever had, and I had
four lines. On Andromeda, I did too episodes and
they were very small. As it happens about forty
or fifty percent of what’s shot in Vancouver
is Sci-Fi for some reason. SO half of the available
jobs are going to be science fiction. So when you
are just starting out, I was just so happy to have
anything, it didn’t really matter if it was
a Sci-Fi or some children’s after-school special,
I would just do anything. And I’m still sort
of the same way, I’m not terribly picky but
certainly as far as long term choices, I don’t
think I’d take to another show like that.
Leaving Battlestar was pretty difficult. But I think
it was the right choice.
Do you think that
Billy’s death was necessary for the story?
Or how did that decision come about. Were you involved
Paul Campbell: It was kind of my
choice in a way. I was kind of given an ultimatum
eventually because in between the end of season
one and the beginning of season two I had actually
gone to LA and booked a pilot. Because Battlestar
production didn’t have me under contract,
I was free to go and do that. And it was their loss
if the show got picked up and I wasn’t able
to come back for season two. I think that was a
problem they had with a few of the cast members,
that everyone was a free agent after season 1, and
I think that scared them a little bit. They could
have potentially lost half their cast after season
1, and I think after that, they pretty much ended
up signing everyone to a contract. But I’d
already been cast in another show and decided to
go off on my own and see if it worked. As it turned
out it didn’t work, and I ended up having
a two episode hiatus after episode 4. I was gone
for 5 and 6, then came back for Home Pt. 1, I think
it was. Or Home Pt 2, I came back for. So after
that kind of gave me the ultimatum and said sign
a contract for 5 years, or we kind of need to go
our separate ways. And I kind of put it off and
put it off, then eventually they just said “Look,
we can tell your not really committed to the show,
and we can’t write story lines. So we’ve
decided to kill the character". It wasn’t
really a surprise, but I wasn’t expecting
it to happen when it did. But I certainly wasn’t
surprised that they had to do that.
don’t know if you’re aware, but a lot
of the internet fan sites have been running polls
or questions about who among the cast are Cylon
sleep agents. You were the leading contender before
the sacrifice episode.
Paul Campbell: I read a few of
if they were to offer for you to come back as a
Cylon, would you think about that?
Paul Campbell: I think that it
would have to be… Obviously, I’ve thought
about that every time that I get rejected. And every
time I get told the audition is going to go no further,
I wonder if I can go back and beg for my job as
a Cylon. But if they phoned me and said they would
love to bring me back as a Cylon and do an occasional
episode here and there as a guest role, I’d
just be over the moon. I’d love to do it.
But I probably wouldn’t say yes, I’d
sign on for a 5 year contract. It’s probably
pretty tough to work around what I’m offering
them, and I don’t blame them at all for letting
me go. But, damn right!, I’d love to come
back as a Cylon. I can be a creepy bastard! I’m
skinny, but I’m creepy.
It was interesting, just the way they ended up cutting
it, and I was like “Where are they going with
this. I think I am going to end up being a Cylon—forget
the presidency. I’m going to kick some ass,
and take some names.”
I was going to ask if you watch the episodes, but
it sounds like you do.
Paul Campbell: Absolutely, that
was my Friday night. Well, I was in Los Angeles,
so I was watching, and they were ten episodes ahead—the
US was 10 episodes ahead of Canada, so none of my
friends and family were with me. Actually, I don’t
even think my death has aired in Canada yet…
I think it’s a couple of weeks away. My family
hasn’t even seen it yet. We actually had a
party on valentine’s day- it was a Billy’s
death/Valentine’s party naturally. I had all
the friends over, it was good.
Was that friends
from the show?
Paul Campbell: No, just friends
from Los Angeles.
was actually kept fairly quiet. I didn’t start
seeing rumors about the death until maybe a week
or so before the episode.
Paul Campbell: And how did those
come out, it wasn’t Lisa was it? (Note: Lisa
is the webmaster of Paul’s Official site,
and a director of MediaBlvd)
I think it was on… I think it was on Hollywood
Paul Campbell: Oh, really? Well
I think I had gone back down to LA to test for another
show too, so people started to wonder why I was
taking these auditions, I don’t know how the
word got out. They really tried to keep a lid on
it, and I know for a fact it wasn’t Lisa,
and I managed to bluff my way thru that one too.
She asked me outright if I was dying, and I told
her I wasn’t. I think it was the night before
the episode, she’d heard that I was dying
and I told her no. I like to keep it a surprise.
I was searching the internet as well, and I didn’t
find any hard evidence I was dying. There was some
speculation, but I think for the most part, it was
a pretty well kept secret.
think what I saw was mostly speculation also.
Paul Campbell: There was a press
crew that was on set during the filming, and they
did a little bit about it. There were a lot of people
around when we were shooting it, so I don’t
know if word might have gotten out that way. It’s
pretty tough to keep a lid on those things too.
It’s not very infrequent that scripts would
delivered to my apartment building, and I’d
have four or 5 scripts with revisions delivered,
and sometimes people would take them. There was
no way to get them to me directly so they had to
drop them off in the middle of the night, and people
would snag them, so I didn’t even know who
had them in their greedy little paws. It’s
pretty tough to keep that stuff under wraps.
sure there’s a big market or big desire for
that sort of stuff.
Paul Campbell: Even telling my
parents that I was dying, they were like “Yeah,
I told so and so” and I’m like “Mom,
you can’t tell anybody”. Because if
one person writes it on the internet or something,
who knows how quickly that could leak out. Then
I could be in big, big trouble.
So what did you
think about the character of Billy? Was he anything
like you, or did you have anything in common with
Paul Campbell: I think to a certain
extent, yeah. I think he was sort of confidant in
his own right, but a little insecure. I think I’m
kind of the same way. He was a little awkward, a
little socially awkward. For the most part of my
life, I’ve been very similar to that. He’s
a smart guy, but just really, really too handsome
for his own good, and I think that came across.
A real ladies man, really strong, really under rated
in the gym, that’s me mostly. I’m kidding
here, play along with me! I think just incredibly
ambitious. One of those characters that I read the
sides and just instantly felt like I’d have
no problem doing it. It’s very often that
you’ll read a character and have to act it,
but for me, it just felt very easy. And I think
I slid into it quite easily.
was that the only part you tried out for in the
Paul Campbell: Yeah. Yeah, I know
there were a few actors that tried out for multiple
parts but that was the only one I would have worked
for. I’m certainly not a fighter pilot, and
even though I could kick Tamoh’s ass in a
heart beat, I didn’t want to embarrass him,
since he’s a friend of mine. And he wouldn’t
have done very well playing Billy, because he is
just too tall for Dualla. So, I actually didn’t
even meet any producers or anybody, I just read
for the casting director, and that was it. I really
had no idea when they were casting it how far it
would go. I thought it was just going to be a few
days on this miniseries. I hadn’t been a fan
of the original series. I was born in 1979, so I
missed the boat. And I didn’t really understand
what a cult following the original had had, and
how much transfer there would probably be to the
new show. So imagine my surprise when I found I
was on this TV show that had been picked up.
you seen any of the original series?
Paul Campbell: No, I haven’t.
It would be fun to watch, but it’s not the
type of thing I’d sit down and get really
are you still a fan of the show? Are you still watching
the new episodes?
Paul Campbell: Absolutely! Absolutely.
I’ve been in the process of moving back, or
was in the process of moving back when they aired
the last episode. So I’m going to have to
watch it when it comes on the air here, but I’m
excited to see it.
how did you get into acting? How did you get your
Paul Campbell: Rather strangely
actually. I was framing houses. My whole life I’d
dreamed of being a carpenter. So out of high school,
I went to framing houses, and I did that for nearly
four years. Then I just decided that I was going
to try to make a little extra pocket money doing
extra work, and took an acting class, and that was
it. I was sold from the very first class I took,
and knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest
of my life. And I literally dropped my hammer and
signed up for theatre school for that file. And
two months later I was in college for the theatre
program, and after I graduated I began working.
I did The Dead Zone, and I never looked back. And
I haven’t ever gone back to the trades. Kind
of random luck.
Have you ever
done theatre, or has it been mostly TV and the films?
Paul Campbell: Well I did theatre
in school, and did a number of plays. There was
a great facility at the school, but theatre just
doesn’t pay the way film and TV does. I’d
love to get back into it, but it’s a huge
time commitment. Particularly in LA, there’s
really not much of a theatre scene. I think there’s
more of a theatre scene in Vancouver than there
is in LA. So there’s not much opportunity
for that. And I’ve tried over the last couple
of years to get a couple of shows up and running,
but I’ve had trouble getting the rights and
stuff. But absolutely, I’d love to get back
to it one day. Because there really is no comparison
between theatre and film, they are just two different
mediums. And theatre is absolutely electric. I think
the closest I’ve come to it is on the pilot,
Nobody’s Watching, that I did for the WB last
year. It was a half hour before a live studio audience,
and it was just incredible to be in front of that
audience doing the comedy. It was just unbelievable.
television and movies which would you prefer if
you had your dream job?
Paul Campbell: I think the great
thing about movies is you get to keep reinventing
yourself every time you have a different movie.
I think there is a very tangible character arc,
and it’s sort of like theatre, that you get
to travel the entire road pretty quickly. But with
a TV show, it’s a longer straighter line,
I think. But there’s something to me that’s
really appealing about working in the half hour
genre for a studio audience, in a multi-camera format.
That’s just something, because I really haven’t
had any experience with it, that’s still incredibly
novel to me. And I’d love to spend some time
exploring that. But if I had my chance to become
a film star, I would certainly not turn it down.
Because I think there are so many phenomenal actors
and directors and writers out there for a person
to work with. For me it would just be like being
a kid in a candy store.
there anybody in particular that you would like
to work with?
Paul Campbell: I’d like
to work with Paul Newman one day. But I think that’s
pretty quickly passing me by. I think I read somewhere
that he would do one more film, and I think he was
looking to do something with Robert Redford. And
he’s getting pretty old, but he’s one
of my all time favorites and I would just kill to
have a chance to work with him. It would be a pretty
I understand that you’ve written your own
screenplay and tried to market that around?
Paul Campbell: I actually wrote
a pilot. It was a half hour pilot, and I haven’t
tried to sell it yet. I’m currently working
with another writer, a friend of mine, to polish
it off. It’s a really tough thing to sell
a pilot. But I’ve made some really great contacts
in the half hour world, and once it’s ready,
I believe in it. And I think it’s pretty darned
funny. So once it’s ready, we’re going
to shop it around and we’ll see what happens.
Fingers crossed, but I really have no expectation
for it. I mean there are a million pilots out there
and it’s sort of the luck of the draw. But
I think it’s a great exercise for actors to
be writing and constantly trying to do their own
things. Because if you sit around and wait, it’s
not going to come to you. So if nothing comes of
it, it was a good exercise. I guess it’s cathartic.
On your message
board, you go by the name Newt. Does it have any
meaning, or is there a story behind it?
Paul Campbell: It’s kind
of silly. When I was in grade 12, a friend and I
were helping my grandfather move some furniture.
It was a big glass cabinet, and it started to slip
and my grandfather just started screaming. He yelled
at me to grab the one corner, and he forgot my friends
name. So he just yelled “Newt! Get the door!,”
and for some reason the name stuck. And we began
calling each other Newt. For years we were just
Newt to each other, and that was my handy screen
name after that kind of a bizarre thing.
what do you like to do in your free time when you
Paul Campbell: Well, I have lots
of interests. I like to read a lot, and my girlfriend
has taught me surfing in the last couple of years.
And I ride my bike a lot. I love to write and watch
movies. I pretty much do the things regular kids
like to do.
how’s the surfing up in Vancouver?
Paul Campbell: It’s terrible…well,
there is none actually. You have to go 6 hours east
or 5 hours south to find any decent surf. But we
spend a lot of time in LA, so if you like surfing
in toilet water, it’s paradise.
had some questions come in from people that read
the message board, and one of them was from Aaron
Douglas. (Editor’s note: The question was
actually from an earlier interview with TheSciFiWorld.net).
He said that we should ask you about the names that
Paul and Aaron made up for the race horses that
Mary took her husband to see.
Paul Campbell: I was thinking
about that the other day. We had this ridiculous…Did
he give you any names?
but he said you were all laughing so hard that you
ruined take after take.
Paul Campbell: Absolutely, and
once you get Mary on a roll, once you get her giggling,
she will not stop. So we had a field day. We were
shooting Home Pt. 2, and Mary was talking about
taking her husband to the horse races and just randomly
picking names. And we were talking about if you
were just randomly picking names having no knowledge
of the horses, what names you might choose. It would
be like Lighting Steed, and Farts Dust, and choosing
between the two. Or Beaten by A Nose, and A Nose
for silly horse names. Three legged old man, and
Guaranteed to Win. But for some reason it just struck
us as incredibly silly, and we must have gone on
for two or three hours, and we had hundreds of names.
I think Mary laugher her way thru about 50% of those
how is she to work with?
Paul Campbell: She is amazing!
Just imagine working with somebody who is an absolute
veteran who knows their craft inside and out. I
can’t say enough good things about her. She
is incredibly humble and gracious, and lovely. But
when she wants to be this amazing sharp on the ball
actress, she can go from being this laughing giggling
woman to the incredible woman you see on the screen
in the span of a second. It’s just unbelievable.
It’s one thing to see what she ends up with
on the show, but to see the twenty other takes in
which she is equally brilliant…It’s
just unbelievable…truly awe inspiring to watch
that lady work. And then off camera, she’s
just so humble and gracious, and knows everybody’s
name, and says good morning to everyone and goodnight
to everyone. It’s just an awesome experience.
Without a doubt the one thing that I miss most about
not being on the show is having the experience to
work with her.
So do you keep
up with her and the other cast members?
Paul Campbell: I tried looking
her up in LA when I was there, and I think she was
out of town. We just didn’t end up crossing
paths. But she’s probably back in town this
week to start shooting again, so I’ll get
her to take me out for lunch or something. And I
think because I didn’t end up working a lot
with the other cast…I spent a lot of time
working on Colonial One, just me and the Prez, I
didn’t forge those incredible friendships.
Though we were all good friends, not to the point
where we’d go to each other’s house
and just stay for a week. But if they invited me,
I probably wouldn’t say no. I’m still
good friends with Candyce and Mary, and I knew Niccki
before. All those guys are Vancouver kids, I see
them around occasionally. But it’s tough to
keep I touch, people are really busy.
what are your best memories about working on the
Paul Campbell: Just silly things
like the day with Douglas joking about the horses.
And just being able to watch people like Mary and
Eddie do their stuff…You can’t pay for
classes like that. It’s just a truly unique
experience. And there are also a lot of times I
was really challenged as an actor and got work with
some wonderful directors. Eddie in particular was
just unbelievable to work with as a director. One
of my favorite episodes was the one he directed.
And just being able to be silly. You don’t
see it a lot in what they end up using of me, but
I was able to be incredibly silly. It was just such
a treat to be able to go to work every single day.
It was kind of a really difficult decision to leave
the show in the end.
say they do a lot of different takes in an episode.
Are you ever surprised by how it comes out in the
end in what’s aired?
Paul Campbell: Yeah, there was
a lot of time when I was expecting something very
different. But they have their own ideas about the
show. I tried to ham it up occasionally in the begging,
and in the miniseries, did a lot of physical comedy
that I think never intended for the character, and
they cut all of it completely. At times it meant
that big chunks of a scene were cut. But they had
a very different idea of the character than I did.
I think eventually we got on the same wavelength.
But a lot of times when I had done things that I
wanted to see, it ended up being a totally different
choice. Which is fine. But I was excited at times,
and ended up being let down at times. But at other
times they ended up using stuff that I didn’t
think worked out at all, but ended up being really
good and I was pleasantly surprised. For the most
part I knew what they were going to end up with.
what do you think about the story after you left,
and the trouble Mary’s character got herself
into? After your replacement came in she kind of
had a fall there. Do you think that would have happened
if you were still there to watch her back?
Paul Campbell: You know, I don’t
know if they could have. Billy had so much integrity,
that under his watch, I don’t think that would
have happened. And maybe he would have had to step
down, and Mary would have gone about that route
with someone else. But I don’t think if he
would have been in the picture, that would have
gone down. Because that’s some shady crap,
and I don’t think it would have cut it. We
obviously butted heads on a few things like that
in the past. In particular when I ended up leaving
her at the ship. As it turned out, I had another
pilot to go shoot. As it turned out, it was more
my schedule that didn’t work out, but it worked
in the writing. But no, I don’t think that
would have flown had I been in the picture. So I
don’t know what they would have done. I’m
sure that was the story line from the begging, but
how they would have worked me into it, I don’t
the number of survivors that showed up on the board,
that got to write a few times, did anybody actually
keep track of that? A lot of people on the net try
to track that, and it never seems to quite jive.
Paul Campbell: It’s pretty
random. If there were specific mention of a dead
civilian….no one was really keeping track
of pilots in the big Cylon attacks. No one was keeping
track of those as far as I know. There were never
any big conversations or no one lost any sleep over
that number. But when there were say 3747 people
dead and it was mentioned, we would keep track of
that and calculate, but in general it was pretty
random. It was an approximation.
Can you talk
a little about your movie Ill Fated? That was one
of your bigger roles outside of BSG.
Paul Campbell: Sure, it was the
first film I’d ever worked on. It was a lead,
a second lead role. It was a small independent film
written by a guy out of Vancouver, and produced
in Vancouver. It was a small budget, and ended up
being a really wonderful experience. Nicki Clyne
worked on the film as well, and that’s how
we met originally. It was a great month that we
spent shooting out in the dessert. Then they spent
about a year editing it and perfecting it, and it
went to the Toronto Film Festival, and SlamDance,
and decent festivals, and it’s on shelves
at the local video store. It was a really neat,
fun, challenging film. And it had a couple of screenings
at the local theatres, and it was really just a
you think you will be spending more time back on
the net, and on your message board talking to fans?
Paul Campbell: I probably should.
I’ve never been particularly adept with computers,
but it’s probably time I paid a little more
attention to that. I know Lisa spent a lot of time
and energy with that site, and I never seem to get
it updated. But I end up forgetting my password,
and silly things like that. I just don’t seem
to have a head for it. And to be honest with you,
I usually feel like I’m the only one reading
it. Maybe if I thought other people were actually
looking at it, I might put some effort into it.
But it’s beyond me if anyone would actually
really care about that stuff.
I’m the person that tracks those kinds of
stats for sites at MediaBlvd, and it’s been
fairly active. We linked the site to the main Battlestar
page, so it’s getting 300 or 400 hits a day.
Paul Campbell: Then I should probably
do something with that. There have been a few updates
since, and I guess if people are going to put the
energy into having a look at it, I can certainly
put the energy into keeping it updated. Now I feel
like a Schmuck!!!
shouldn’t feel that way, I think you are actually
one of the more accessible people out there and
the fans really appreciate that.
Paul Campbell: Well, it’s
there anything else you’d like to say to the
people listening to this or reading the article?
Paul Campbell: I don’t know,
those famous last words that I don’t seem
to ever have. I guess I’ve pretty much said
thanks again for taking the time to do this. We’ve
been trying to do it for awhile, so I’m happy
that we finally got our schedules to match up.
Paul Campbell: Me too,
and I’m sorry that it was such a hassle to
get a hold of me. And I'll absolutely get on that
look forward to that. Take care Paul.
Paul Campbell: You too Kenn, bye.