Sources:Interview with Paul Campbell, November 22, 2003 (Billy)
Paul Campbell: "The Man Behind Billy"
The interview was conducted on November 20, 2003 with Paul Campbell's manager Jim Sheasgreen from Look Management attending. Paul's sense of humor made this a very enjoyable interview. I have to say that I am very impressed this young actor's candor and honesty.
Jim Sheasgreen: Paul...this is Ted...
Paul Campbell: Hi Ted
Battlestar Galactica 2003: Hi Paul. How are you doing today?
PC: Couldn't be better. You?
BG2003: Terrific...I really appreciate this opportunity to chat with you about your career and your role in Battlestar Galactica.
PC: My pleasure.
BG2003: So how did you begin your career as an actor?
PC: I was originally a carpenter and decided one day to try making a little extra money doing extra work. I took an acting class and in the first five minutes I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.
BG2003: Is there a contemporary actor or actors you have modeled yourself after?
PC: I think I find myself wanting to be a Johnny Depp or but I'm more of a Tom Hanks. I've set my sights pretty low.
We all break into laughter
BG2003: How do you envision your career over the next twenty years?
PC: I imagine I will work mostly in film but I would love to get back into the theatre where I started. Broadway sounds nice.
BG2003: Would you like to go into writing or producing someday?
PC: Producing is something I haven't really considered much although I am currently writing a mockumentry that I would like to either produce or have produced sometime in 2004.
BG2003: Can you tell us a little about your mockumentary? It sounds very interesting.
PC: Hmmn... what to give away? Let's just say it involves two fairly unlikely brothers and the Olsen twins. It's going to be an absolute riot.
BG2003: Sure sounds like a riot. So how did you come about to audition for Battlestar Galactica?
PC: Interesting story actually. One day my manager called me up and said "Paul, you've got an audition tomorrow". I asked what for and he said "Paul, Battlestar Galactica". I said "Cool".
BG2003: Were you a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica series?
PC: I had actually heard very little about it. I did know that the original Cylons looked like Kmart toasters and it had a huge cult following but not much else.
BG2003: Did you take part in the Battlestar Galactica boot camp prior to filming that the producers put together?
PC: No damn it, I wasn't invited. I wasn't actually a soldier in the show so I guess I didn't really need to go but I heard it was a blast.
BG2003: Can you tell us a little about your character Billy Keikeya?
PC: Billy Billy Billy, let's see. Billy is an incredibly smart, ambitous young man. His somewhat clumsy first impression is quite misleading in that he is actually quite the force to be reckoned with. Oh yeah, quite the ladies man I might add.
Paul Campbell grins.
BG2003: Is there one particular lady like Dualla that Billy gets close to?
PC: Billy never kisses and tells.
BG2003: I am sure he doesn't.
I break out with a chuckle
BG2003: What was it like working with Kandyse McClure?
PC: It was great. She is incredibly personable (not to mention gorgeous) and she is very professional. We got along like gangbusters.
BG2003: Another lady you have plenty of screentime with is Mary McDonnell. What was it like to work with Mary?
PC: Probably the best learning experience of my young career to date. Mary is sooooo good at what she does that it's almost impossible to screw up a scene with her. I tried. Believe me. She is also one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She was a delight. I probably couldn't say enough good things about her.
BG2003: Can you describe Mary's character Laura Roslin for the fans?
PC: Laura is basically as close to becoming superwoman as any woman could without wearing her underwear on the outside of her tights. She is strong and passionate. Cool as ice during every crisis, levelheaded and brave. At the same time she manages to hang on to her compassion and caring and in reality she is incredibly vulnerable, she just chooses the right moments to show it.
BG2003: So what was it like work with Edward James Olmos?
PC: Oh Eddy, or Ed as I like to call him. Unfortunately I didn't get to spend as much time with him as with Mary but I did get a few great opportunities to watch him work. He is a rock. Same thing as Mary, he just knows his craft so well that when he speaks everyone just stops to listen. I'll tell you a quick story that I find hilarious that I think the fans will like...
We were shooting a scene with Mary and Edward and it was right near the end of a very long day. The scene was from near the end of the script and it is an epic standoff between the two. They are sitting across from each other separated by a desk. Adama wants to stay and fight and Mary is telling him that we need to run and repopulate. On about the fifth take, instead of getting up and walking away as Mary is yelling we need to start making babies he calmly points to the desk and says let's get started. I may have wet my pants.
Everyone breaks out in laughter
BG2003: I hope they captured that on film for the blooper reel.
PC: They did! I saw it at the wrap party.
BG2003: That is truly a hilarious story. It sounds like the cast had a great time during the shoot. What was it like to work with Michael Rymer? I have heard he is quite an actor's director. Is this true?
PC: Absolutely. There were a couple of times I got stuck, one in particular where I knew what I was doing just wasn't right. Michael never lost his cool he just came out every take and gave me a new idea. I think we did about eight takes before we had something we liked. He was always very encouraging and knew exactly what he wanted. I never felt rushed or put upon in any way.
BG2003: Did you get a chance to get to know Katee Sackhoff on set? If so, what was she like? Do you think fans will accept her as Starbuck?
Paul breaks out in laughter
PC: Funny you should ask. Actually no, I didn't really get to know her. I would have liked to though. She has a very strong personality and was always cracking jokes. Good kid. As far as Starbuck... Abso-fucking-lutely!!! I think people will be blown away by her performance. She was a truly great choice for the role.
BG2003: Was there one particular cast member you enjoyed spending more time with?
PC: I really enjoyed my time with Mary, I was always learning something new and she was simply a fascinating person to talk to but I also really enjoyed hanging around James Callis (Gaius Baltar). He would make me laugh until my jaw fell off. He was incredibly silly and it always just put me on the floor. A couple of times during scenes with him I would just burst out laughing. I couldn't help it
BG2003: James just had a son with his wife Neha in early November. Did you hear from James about that event?
PC: No, I knew that they were expecting but to be honest most of my time during the shoot was spent with Mary so I never really developed friendships with the rest of the cast. I'm pretty shy anyway.
BG2003: Are you coming back to Battlestar Galactica if it goes to series?
PC: Good question. So far there have been no talks of doing the series but we will see if the opportunity arises.
BG2003: If it does go to series, is there a direction you would like the writers to take Billy to?
PC: I'm thinking Vice President of the world. I'd say he's ready for that.
We all break out in laughter
BG2003: Does Laura have a VP? If not, then I think that would be a good idea.
PC: No, everyone else was killed. I'm already her assistant and confidant so it's only logical.
BG2003: If Battlestar Galactica becomes a successful science fiction franchise like Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate SG-1, etc., are you afraid of being typed cast in the industry?
PC: Well first of all that is assuming I decide to do the series and yes that is certainly a concern, on the other hand Billy isn't necessarily the sort of character that falls into that trap. He isn't a lead and he's pretty versatile.
BG2003: One of things Ronald D. Moore has said consistently in every interview thus far is Battlestar Galactica is not traditional science fiction. Do you feel the same?
PC: Well if anyone knows traditional science fiction Ron Moore does. But I do agree. Even just watching the trailer you can see that it isn't you typical campy space flick and it's relevance to the goings on in today's turbulent social and political atmosphere really makes it feel much more like a gritty war drama.
BG2003: Has anything surprised you about being an actor? How people treat you, working on a set, the gypsy lifestyle of constantly moving, and doing different things?
PC: This question looks vaguely familiar to one posted on the "ask Paul Campbell" thread on mediablvd.com. Hmnn... The whole industry is shocking in that it is completely its own world so far removed from reality if Columbo and Matlock teamed up they wouldn't find it. People treat actors like royalty which is a little weird although it's nice having help getting your pants on but it really just seems surreal.
We start laughing and break into a discussion about Lisa’s ability to create questions.
PC: I actually sat down the other night and spent two hours answering all those questions and when I went to post I erased all my answers so I gave up.
More chuckling from the group
BG2003: I have another one from Lisa ..., "Have you noticed any differences between working in Canada on a project and working in the US on one?"
PC: Well no, but that doesn't mean much because I've never actually worked in the US. The casting directors are certainly different.
BG2003: Are you pleased with the production of Battlestar Galactica? How would you compare it to previous projects you worked on?
PC: I am pleased. It had a much bigger budget that most things I had previously worked on and that is reflected in how good it looks. But it actually came out looking much better than I expected
BG2003: I have another one from Lisa, "I've heard that much of an actors time on the set, is spent waiting to perform. What kinds of things do you like to do to pass the time? "
PC: I love to read and write. Coloring books are also good. I listen to a lot of music but mostly I like to stay out on set and check out the action. I'm sorry Ted I actually have to run off to make a dinner engagement. How bout one more question?
BG2003: What's your message to the fans of Battlestar Galactica?
PC: For the skeptics and the naysayers, don't knock it till you've tried it, and for those like me who can't wait to see it, I know for a fact that you are all going to be blown away.
BG2003: Thanks for your time Paul and I wish you continued success in your career!
PC: Thank you Ted, it's been a pleasure
BG2003: The pleasure was all mine.