Paul Campbell’s Hallmark Movies Are Changing the Game

Hallmark Channel Christmas motion pictures have a repute to uphold.

They’re identified and beloved for being as candy as sugarplums and as healthful as a Norman Rockwell portray. But one actor and author who had a hand in three of this yr’s Countdown to Christmas motion pictures is encouraging Hallmark Channel to broaden the type of tales it tells and the way it tells them.

42-year-old Paul Campbell first started pitching film concepts to Hallmark in 2015 nevertheless it wasn’t till 2017 when one of many movies he’d written aired on the channel. In 2021, he starred in “The Santa Stakeout” with Tamera Mowry-Housley and wrote “An Unexpected Christmas” and “Christmas at Castle Hart,” the latter of which was the highest-ranked Hallmark film of the yr.

In an interview with E! News, Campbell admitted that he tends to “take lots of leeway” and “lots of liberties” as an actor in Hallmark motion pictures. He additionally defined how he is managed to inject extra realism and humor into Hallmark Channel movies whereas nonetheless delivering the feel-good enjoyable audiences count on.

Campbell Says He Was Given ‘Free Reign’ in ‘The Santa Stakeout’

In “The Santa Stakeout,” Campbell and Tamera Mowry-Housley play undercover detectives pretending to be a married couple. Campbell instructed E! News that the workforce at Hallmark has been good at giving him initiatives the place he can experiment and produce some humor to the position.

“They have been actually good casting me in roles the place they assume I might be off the leash a little bit bit. Not all the time, however this one, they actually wished it to be extra of a conventional rom-com and so they have been like, ‘We assume Paul may most likely go and have some enjoyable with it,’ and I definitely did,” he instructed the outlet.

When it involves utilizing sarcasm and snark in a method that is not off-putting, Campbell makes use of the late Paul Newman as his north star. “Even in (Newman’s) most sarcastic or slicing (moments), you by no means actually felt minimize,” Campbell instructed E! News. “You can ship a snarky line, however if you happen to imagine sufficient within the individual delivering it or you understand that the underlying intention is hotter than that, you will get away with lots. You get lots of leeway to push in numerous instructions if it comes from a barely hotter place.”

Campbell Was Hired to Rewrite ‘Christmas at Castle Hart’

Lacey Chabert’s newest Hallmark film, “Christmas at Castle Hart,” has a plot that is fairly commonplace for the community. A New York City woman falls for an Irish Earl as she plans a Christmas gala at his household’s fort. With some hidden identities, a horseback driving scene, and a tree lighting ceremony thrown in, it is conventional Hallmark fare.

But the movie has actual coronary heart and a few actually humorous moments. Campbell was employed to rewrite “Christmas at Castle Hart” after Chabert requested that her character be funnier. He determined to make Chabert’s character a struggling waitress relatively than a profitable occasion planner and added in a subplot about discovering her Irish kinfolk, one of many extra touching features of the movie.

Some of the movie’s funniest moments happen when Stuart Townsend, who performs Aiden the Earl, first meets Chabert’s character, Brooke. Brooke and her sister are sitting in an Irish pub, gushing over how charmingly “Irish” the place is. Aiden cannot resist teasing the wide-eyed Americans, giving them instructions to see the closest leprechaun.

“A variety of Stuart Townsend’s supply was actually understated and it labored in such a stunning method,” Campbell instructed E! News. “But popping out of any person else’s mouth you may go a lot harsher and people jokes are much more sharp.” It appears that Townsend additionally managed to emulate Paul Newman on this method, albeit unknowingly.

Campbell Has Noticed a Subtle Shift at Hallmark

Campbell additionally wrote the 2021 Hallmark movie “An Unexpected Christmas” starring Tyler Hynes and Bethany Joy Lenz. At one level within the movie, Hynes’s character drinks wine straight from the bottle, which Campbell does not assume he’d ever been seen in a Hallmark film earlier than. It’s a small instance of how he is slowly pushing the envelope of what will get proven on the community.

“We all know the sandbox we’re taking part in in and all I do as a author is simply discover the very edges of the sandbox,” he instructed E! News. “I feel as Hallmark expands its storytelling, the sandbox is getting larger and the sides are getting additional away.”

He instructed the outlet that till a few years in the past, there was a system for Hallmark motion pictures. “A variety of script notes have been like, ‘Ok, we’ve got to have x, y, z vacation traditions. We have to do that, we’ve got to see the character arcs go from A to C,'” he mentioned. “It turned actually arduous to distinguish between lots of the tales.”

Since then, he is observed “a push for various storytelling and sorts of characters.” He says that the considering at Hallmark channel now could be “let’s begin telling tales about actually various kinds of individuals, who’re perhaps extra relatable, we are able to go deeper emotional, we are able to have people who find themselves barely damaged and we are able to begin telling very totally different tales.”


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