In Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Adrian Paul, he talks more about the Sword Experience events (more information can be found at swordxp.com), the online HIGHLANDER convention Watchercon happening this weekend, August 21-22 (for details, go to highlanderworldwide.com/hlww-watchercon/), his recent acting work, his upcoming film directing work, and more.
ASSIGNMENT X: For Watchercon, do you know what you’ll be doing?
ADRIAN PAUL: Watchercon is an online HIGHLANDER convention. [The Sword Experience] did a couple of online conventions earlier, but we’re connected to the ones that are now being run by Highlander Worldwide. This is more a getting together of all the people that were involved – the actors, the producers, the directors, the writers – from HIGHLANDER. I’m talking to the organizers now as to what we’re going to do. But definitely answering questions, getting back together with [colleagues on] different panels, et cetera.
AX: When you do Sword Experience events online, is that essentially a live video of you doing demonstration?
PAUL: Yeah. The first one we did was a live one, where people could actually follow along [at home]. It wasn’t just, “Hey, this is what we do,” it was, “You can do this, this way.” The second one we did was a recorded version of the same thing, because we found that in the first one, sometimes the Internet connection went out, and people couldn’t come in at the right time, or they would miss an event, because we had two or three instructors performing at the same time. So, we did the video events, because people would then look at them afterwards, and go and see everything that was there, they weren’t going to miss anything that was going on, and then after that, they’d contact the instructor to continue, if they wanted to do any live or online instruction from these particular instructors that we had.
AX: You’ve also had some recent acting projects. What was A BEAUTIFUL DISTRACTION?
PAUL: That was actually a pilot, done about two years ago, prior to the pandemic, which was an interesting concept, about people coming back [from alternative timelines. I don’t think it really went anywhere, but it was fun to do. It had a couple of interesting people in it [including Vivica A. Fox, Sean Young, and Robert Clohessy].
It’s been about a year-and-a-half since I’ve been doing anything, because things have slowed down. I now have my production company in Europe, where it seems that we have a lot of things happening right now, so I will be able to announce more of that stuff shortly. SNAPSHOT was a short that we did prior to the pandemic.
And WILD LEAGUE was just before that. It was a Russian production, [filmed] in Russia. It was the idea of how the Russians first found soccer, and how it evolved from an elite society to the general masses, and how the English brought it in. In the film, and I don’t know how true this was, but the guys that started it were actually fighters, and then they started putting soccer teams together.
So, it was fun to do, and I had to learn Russian, which they gave me two days before the event, before film, and that was not easy. The other actor, the very first scene we did, I did these Russian lines, and he looked at me, and said, “I have no idea what you just said.” At the end of it, he said, “Actually, it sounded pretty good.” “Okay” [laughs].
And then GLIA was another – it’s not in post, they actually did release it – which was an English film that I did, again, two years ago, that was about this guy creating some sort of virus – or not virus, concoction that increased people’s ability to think and understand things, but then it put them out of control, and et cetera. So, a very small movie.
AX: You said you may be directing some films next year?
PAUL: Yeah. I’ve got connections with the Hungarian Film Office, and so my partner and I are producing two shorts for them, and we have the greenlight to do two films, one of which I will direct, which is a thing called BENEATH THE SHADOWS. We’re eighty-five percent certain it’s going to happen, but I never count my chickens before they’re hatched, because anything can happen, but that’s supposed to happen early next year.
It’s the story of a place called the House of Terror in Budapest, which is a museum now, which was the headquarters of the German Nazis in World War II, as well as the Russian Secret Service after they took over. It’s loosely based on that. It’s the nightmares of this young girl, who’s getting these dreams of this place, and she can’t understand why, and she goes back to try to investigate it, and it unravels from there. So, it’s not a comedy.
AX: Will you act in that, or direct only?
PAUL: I would probably only direct it. If I did [act in it], I would play a small role in it. I directed HIGHLANDER episodes [“Homeland,” “Methuselah’s Gift,” “Revelations 6:8,” and “The Modern Prometheus”] before, and the reason I was able to do that is, I had done the character for years prior, and so I understood who he was. It was easy to switch from backwards to forwards, from in front of the camera to the back of the camera. But you really need to hone in because of the special effects and a variety of things in [BENEATH THE SHADOWS], and I don’t think I want to be spending too much time worrying about what I’m doing as an actor, but rather as a director.
AX: Are you also finding that, as you get older, you have a larger interest in telling the whole story as the director, rather than just one character’s story as an actor?
PAUL: Yes, actually. I have two podcasts. I have one which is for my charity, which is called PEACE FUND RADIO, and the other one is called THE HOLLYWOOD EXPERIENCE, which is about film fights, and choreography, so I have actors, directors, stunt performers, et cetera, and talking to them, it’s interesting to hear a different side of the equation. As an actor, you kind of sit back and go, “Okay, now I see where you’re coming from.” As a director, you see where [everyone is] coming from. So, it changes you a little bit, to the direction that you are now pushing yourself.
The funny thing is, it’s actually given me more contacts with different people, connecting that way, but it also lets you see different things when you talk to these different people, and makes you adjust or define what you want to do, and gives you different ideas.
My PEACE FUND charity podcast, I’ve done over six hundred hours now, and it’s all free. I have a program for my charity that we’re revamping now, that’s called Kids Read to Lead program. And the podcast highlights that, but it also highlights different charities around the U.S. Now, I’ve done so many different interviews, because that’s part of my giving-back side, it’s part of my spiritual side, if you like. It has the things to work on, whether it’s your physical, your mental, your intellectual, sexual, religious, whatever side – we’re all made up of all those things, I think we all have to work on that a little bit, so that’s my side of doing it. So, it’s very rewarding.
And the HOLLYWOOD podcast came up because of the pandemic, pretty much. Now I’ve done about thirty-five different interviews there, so I’m talking to all different types of characters.
AX: With the PEACE FUND podcast, are you interviewing all different types of people, like teachers and nurses and so on?
PAUL: Yes, every week. With the pandemic, it was a lot harder, because prior to that, I was going to different places. If I was traveling around the country, I would be able to go to different charities, and talk about what they were doing. Because a lot of the time, what we found is, there are thousands of charities in every city, and yet they might be doing the same thing as somebody in Rhode Island, or somebody in Dallas, and yet they never talked to each other, and never knew.
It’s not that they were different, but they were doing the same thing in a different way. They might have a different way to raise money, they might have a different part in the program that’s different. So, the idea was, for people who were actually in that city when they had a problem – if you’re somebody who suddenly finds yourself, your child has spinal bifida, or homelessness, or we talk about foster care, people suddenly find themselves [needing help], but they don’t know where to go.
So, we talk to all different types of things. We talk to food pantries, we talk to charities that deal with homelessness, with such a variety of people, as well as people who were going to hospitals, for instance, and they would be our Heroes of the Week, where they were going to hospitals dressed up as Batman, to help kids go through chemotherapy. So, we’ve had such a variety of people on that podcast, and some people have found it helpful. There are so many different people that we’ve gotten involved with that.
And we’ve had a lot of people say, “Oh, I didn’t know that charity existed in my area.” And it’s the same thing as when you drive to work every day for twenty years, and you go past the same church or something, and you never even see it, until somebody says, “Well, look, there’s that church there, they’ve got an event there.” “I didn’t even know that existed.” It’s the same with charities, and some of them do some amazing things that you never even realized.
We’ve also highlighted the charities that don’t do very well, taking money from people [and not doing what they promise]. We constantly [point people towards] Charity Navigator, one of two or three sites we talk about that actually do research on charities. Because a lot of people, especially with the pandemic, or something happens, like a hurricane, everybody goes to donate, but they don’t really look up who they’re donating to. So, all these fake places turn up, and everybody gives them, because they may be named slightly similar to a real charity. So, we say, “Go to this place and check these charities out before you donate.” So, there’s a lot of that we do, as well.
The variety of things we’d highlight on the podcast prior to the pandemic was all of that. Now, during the past year, we’ve really been honing in on a lot of the things being said through YouTube, some of the kids that are doing things to help people to create masks, or have helped different people on a social distancing basis. Now we’re beginning to get back to the charities again, and we have our Heroes of the Week as well. That to me is the inspiring portion of it. These are kids, from five years old to fifteen or twenty years old that decided, “Oh, you know what, I’m going to raise money for charity,” and they raise a hundred thousand dollars. These kids, just amazing, just incredible. So, we always highlight these kids, because some of them have gone on to do some really amazing things.
AX: Is there anything else you would like to discuss?
PAUL: Really, it’s a really changing time. I’m re-evaluating everything I’ve done in the past to now going to the other side of the camera and creating a business for myself on the side. The funny thing is, what I’d like to say is, a lot of people talk about their career, and for me, it’s not about the career anymore, it’s about my three children, it’s about getting them through school and college, and making sure that they get the right leg up in life. So, it’s interesting how that changes your perspective on things.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about the Sword Experience?
PAUL: That it’s a fun place to learn, and to learn something that you never thought you could do, but you will, because so many people go through, and say, “I didn’t think I could do this, but I loved every minute of it, and now it’s allowed me to do something that was either on the bucket list, or I didn’t think I could ever actually achieve.” So, that actually helps people do other things as well.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview: Adrian Paul on HIGHLANDER, THE SWORD EXPERIENCE and WATCHERCON – Part 2