More than a gangster actor
Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer
Paul Campbell has firmly established himself as one of Jamaica's leading actors and has also been recognised internationally for his contribution to the film industry. He may be familiar to movie lovers as the fearsome gangster, Mad Max, from the hit movie 'Shottas', or tough policeman, Capone, from 'Third World Cop', but the renowned actor is much more multifaceted than those who know him solely from the screen may realise.
He gave The Sunday Gleaner an overview of his various endeavours at an exclusive party in Constant Spring, where he and members of the upcoming flick, Jamaican Mafia, were in high spirits ahead of the movie's premiere. The actor spoke candidly about his life outside of acting and the need for persons to establish the difference between a character in a movie and the person bringing that character to life.
Campbell explained that while most of the characters he has portrayed in movies display violent tendencies, he leads a very different life. "People must understand and realise that an actor is an actor. That's the job, but I lead a very different life," he said. "I paint and I teach; many people don't know that about me."
proclamation for teaching
He recently received a proclamation for teaching from the Mayor of Mt Vernon in the United States, where Campbell teaches students from the Mt Vernon High School. He has also done several lectures at the Northern Caribbean University.
Campbell admitted that making it to the top of the acting world in Jamaica was difficult and pointed out that in order to make it in the business, he had to leave the island he loved dearly. "It is a sad reality, but in order to make it seriously in the industry, you have to leave Jamaica. There is so much to learn and, unfortunately, you can't learn all that here," he said.
Most of Campbell's roles portray the violent aspect of Jamaican society, but his most recent initiative aims at spreading a completely different message. "I launched an initiative called Stretch, where I teach children to shoot with the camera and not the gun," he explained.
Keen on leaving a legacy, Campbell also spoke of his plans to aid in further developing Jamaica's film industry. "With help from Government, I'd love to spearhead a department to make a success of the film industry in Jamaica. Our resources are enormous and we are a brilliant people," he said.
He did not hold back on stating his opinion for the stagnation of the Jamaican film industry. "The Government lacks vision; they don't see the bigger picture. They need to educate themselves about what happens in the marketplace globally, because whether or not we realise it, we have to compete globally," Campbell said.
The well-travelled actor explained that Jamaica is seen as a huge brand overseas and has seen first-hand how others have capitalised on Brand Jamaica. "Jamaica is branded in such a big way that other people are using Jamaica's name, so what is it that is taking our leaders and the Government so long to come to the realisation?" Campbell demanded.
He offered a solution to one area of exploitation of Jamaica's resources. "We need to establish unions that will ensure that when foreigners come to our shores to use our country and our resources, we get the majority of the benefits," Campbell proposed.