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Chatelaine discussion forum

Many thanks to Chatelaine.com for their kind permission to reproduce the transcript of Paul's marathon two-hour online discussion in their Special Guest Forum on Wednesday 13th September 2000.

Pamela, Online Editor, Chatelaine.com: Let me introduce to you...Paul Gross is now officially "in the house," to answer some of your questions and read your comments! A gentle reminder to all, please, that due to the high volume of anticipated posts, Paul will try to answer what he can. And if you need any technical help, please look into my posts for helpful hints. Paul will be with us until 2 p.m. ET... so let's get started!

Paul: Hi, everyone. I'm sort of new to this so bear with me. I'll start answering what I can. Thanks.

Laura: Have seen Hamlet three times and thoroughly enjoyed each time. I have never seen it done better. You are an accomplished and gifted actor as well musician, writer, director and producer. My question is: Is there anything you don't do well? Looking forward seeing more of your performances in the furture and any works you do that make it to the US.

Paul: Laura -- I'm really lousy at neuro-surgery but I'm practising.

JPeters: Every time I watch a certain episode of due South, I cringe at the mention of my hometown. A friend sent me a transcript of an interview where Yellow Springs is mentioned as well. What's your connection to Yellow Springs?

Paul: JP -- I spent a night in Yellow Springs with a singer/songwriter friend of mine from Nashville. I have fond memories of the night and was also tickled by its name. In no way did I mean to be disparaging.

JPeters: The context wasn't exactly flattering, you know. I have a bumper sticker set aside in case I ever get to a due South gathering like the one in Toronto. It says:  "Yellow Springs, home of avante garde carpenters, neo-revolutionary potters, and angry young vegetarians." :-) So, rest assured, we have a sense of humor about our little village.

Sandi: Hi again, Do you play other instruments beyond guitar? I thoroughly enjoy your music and can't wait for the release of your new CD. Many thanks for ayour time and best wishes always.

Paul: Sandi -- No, I only play the guitar and that's a charitable word to describe what I do with it. Mostly I think you could call it strumming.

Joanne C.: First, I would like to say you are an excellent actor, singer and writer. due South is a wonderful series. I've been a fan from day one. Can we expect to see you in a new series in the near future? And will it air in the United States. Good luck in all your future projects and God Bless :-) 

Paul: Joanne -- I had planned to do a series but for a variety of reasons that's not going to happen now. I'm not sure what the future holds but I certainly wouldn't rule out another one. We'll see what happens.

Carole: You mentioned recently that the scene with Osric was unfathomable to you. Has its meaning become clearer in the course of the production and if so, what is it about?! I think it's a lovely scene and very funny, but cannot figure out why it is there. Are there any other scenes you find "difficult"?

Paul: Carole -- I think I'm slowly starting to get a handle on the scene (after 50 some odd performances). I think Shakes. intends a macabre banality with this character. He is doom incarnate to Hamlet and there is something bleak and hideous in the scene. This prince, who embodies in many ways the best sides of the human character, is ushered toward his death by a 'waterfly'. Does that make any sense? There's something pedestrian about this and that lack of nobility seems to heighten the impending tragedy.

Darlene B.: I was trying to come up with an intelligent question, but could not. I just want to say I am a huge fan and I am looking forward to seeing you again in Hamlet on Sunday 9/17 and Saturday 9/23. Hope all is well...

Paul: Darlene -- Yeah, all is well.

Carole: I have to agree with everyone else - I have never seen a better Hamlet. And I have seen a few! While you have been in Stratford, have you had the time to see any of the other productions? 

Paul: Carole -- I've seen most of them and have been blown away by Brent Carver in Fiddler on the Roof. Also particularly enjoyed Elizabeth Rex. It's one of the great treats of working in this place -- there's a lot of good theatre around.

rc: Do you have any pets?

Paul: rc -- Yeah, I have a golden retriever named Chester who is a 20 year old dog in a 3 year old body. Almost inert but delightful.

Kate: Are there any activities or interests that you love to do in your spare time? I hear you're an avid runner.

Paul: Kate -- I don't really have much in the way of hobbies. If I'm not acting or on a set I'm generally writing or in a recording studio. And although I run, you could hardly characterize it as an avid pursuit. I like it. And skiing. Horses if I'm at my parents. That kind of thing.

Belle: Having been at this past Saturday's performance of Hamlet, I have a new appreciation for Hamlet. I was truly impressed with your portrayal. I am thinking about coming back in a couple of weeks to see it again. About the US Grand Prix, are you coming to the race at Indianapolis? I am looking forward to the race and maybe I will see you there.

Paul: Belle -- I'm glad you enjoyed the show. And yes, I will be at the F1 race. I'm pulling for BAR to do something this time -- maybe a podium...? 

Belle: I work at the airport in Indianapolis and would be glad to provide any assistance that you might need in our Great city. 

KarenT: We were over in Stratford 3 weeks ago. Saw the production and loved your interpretation of this complex charactor. Had the pleasure of meeting both you and David after the performance and was impressed at the time you took to talk and meet with everyone.
a) Can you tell me whether your second cd is in a similar vein to your first, or does any one style predominate. eg. rock-country, folk-country or pure country?
b) Also, we enjoyed Ontario - Do you know of any Neuroendocrinology Research Establishments in Toronto??!! We would love to spend some time over in Canada if possible. 
c) Being a fan of F1 is your money on Haakinnen gaining three world championships in a row, or on Schumaker? Would you like to see Mika pull it off?

Paul: Karen -- First, the CD is similar in style, I guess, although we haven't started to mix it yet so it's a little fuzzy at the moment. Second, I know next to nothing about neuroendocrinology. And lastly, I would like to see Mikka take it again but if I were puting a lot of money down it would have to go on the Red Baron.

Carole: At a performance of Hamlet I attended in August, a digital watch pinged just as Hamlet reached the line, "The time is out of joint ." Fortunately, everyone was too enthralled by the production to react, but to what extent do the actors notice audience distractions such as this? Also, does the overall audience reaction affect your performance? Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to do this chat!

Paul: Carole -- I tend not to hear these things, although I know that other actors can be bothered by them. One performance a cell phone and a hearing aid were going off but I didn't hear them. David Keeley said the piercing screech of the hearing aid almost drove him mad. Sometimes I do hear it and it is distracting. The worst are coughers. Occassionaly there will be someone in the house who sounds like they have stepped out of an old style TB sanitorium and it can be particularly disorienting becaus you think that the audience is missing critical lines. Ordinarily though? No I don't hear it.

TigerLilly: Have you had an opportunity to view any of the films at this year's Toronto International Film Festival? If so, do you have any favorites? Loved your portrayal of Hamlet! Meeting you in person was the thrill of a lifetime. Thanks for taking time for your fans.

Paul: Tigerlilly -- This year I haven't had a chance but usually I try to. 

Monna: I just wanted to say hello and let you know how much I have enjoyed watching the re-runs of due South  here in the states. I hope that you are enjoying your summer and having fun with Hamlet. My only question.....Could you please send me a BIG HELLO?...this would make my day..ummmm..YEAR! Love you and keep up the excellent work!!!

Paul: Monna -- A BIG HELLO.

Jan (UK): Thanks for giving up your time for this discussion! I enjoyed your Hamlet immensely - it's always good to see someone give 110% to a role - and wonder if I saw the same play as the Globe and Mail critic who didn't "get" it. The elegant simplicity of the production and the clarity of everyone on stage put our own Royal Shakespeare Company to shame. Only one small thing bothered me - why was there no blood in the duelling scene? Can't they afford to launder the shirts? ;)  If you were able to email Shakespeare, is there anything you'd like to ask him about Hamlet?

Paul: Jan -- Actually we did have long conversations regarding blood. One of the problems is that you have to keep bleeding and this involves rigging bags that will let the blood flow for a while. And while it sounds funny that we can't launder shirts, it's an extraordinary expense to get white shirts bloody. The type of blood that would be used on stage (so that you could actually see it) stains the fabric very quickly. So it wouldn't just be a matter of laundering it would mean replacing them every few shows and over the course of 80 runs, that can add up. If I could email Shakes...? I would love to know where all of his original drafts of the plays went to...

Felicity (UK): Your parents have announced, on their Badlands website, that you have given them permission to publish your plays. Was this a difficult decision on your part, did you need much persuading? Secondly I've read that you intended to keep a diary of your time in Stratford, again for your parents to publish,have you been able to make daily entries or have they been a little more erratic than that?! Thanks

Paul: Felicity -- No, it wasnt' a difficult decision (beyond the problem of actually now having to go around and dig them up and tidy them up). The diary itself my father and I are arguing about. I'm not sure I'm really a diarist and after having read David Hare's Acting Up I think I may have to reconsider. I'm not at all sure my thoughts are that interesting.

Deej: I think there are any number of people who will disagree with about how interesting your thoughts are.

Felicity (UK): I'm sure your thoughts would be more than interesting.

Barb: I've seen Hamlet twice now and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. Unfortunately we had to leave during the last scene last Saturday or miss our flight back to the US. I had a gift for you, but obviously had no opportunity to give it. Is it okay to send it to you through the Festival Theatre? Also, have you and Mr. Keeley been able to record for the new album? I noticed a bit of an attitude on this visit against Americans in general. Do you find this more and more prevalent? 

Paul: Barb -- Sure you can send it through the Festival and thank you. 

David and I are just about finished recording the CD, then we have mixing to go so...I'm not sure when it will be completed. Soon, I hope. 

As far as an attitude toward Americans is concerned, I don't know. I think it's one of the unfortunate lumps you have to take if you're a citizen of the world's only superpower. It's largely fueled by a kind of jealousy I think and this isn't restricted to Canada. I've encountered it around the world. But mostly I don't think it's virulent -- it's simple envy.

Jenny Marie: Hope your having a good day so far. I have a few more questions to ask you...
1. Did you have alot of fun guest starring on the show The Red Green Show? What was it like working with Steve Smith?
2. I was wondering, I notice that in past you have been in a lot of plays, did you happen to major in theater? If so, what kind of classes did you have to take? The reason I ask is I'm thinking about majoring in theater. I just got finished taking the class called "Theater Production" and I loved it!! It was so much fun.. Have you ever taking a Theater Production class?
3. Are you still doing Hamlet in November? My parents and I would love to see the play. I would also love to meet you in person but I dont think I really can. I have Aspergers and it, well it's really hard for me to talk to people in person....I'm great at talking with people online. Call me wierd but it's true. 

Paul: Jenny Marie -- Steve Smith is one of this country's great treasures and working on the show is a laugh riot. Really fun and silly. 

Your second question..? I went to theatre school at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. And I think for the profession of acting it's still the best route. I would reccommend it, if you're thinking of this as a pursuit. 

And yes, of course, you must come to Hamlet.

Grace: Do you still have plans for a film based on your grandfather's experiences in World War 1? The last I read you were trying to get some backers for a film.

Paul: Grace -- Yes, I still plan to make that film and hopefully it will be the next project after Men with Brooms

Loredana C.: Ciao Paul, first of all thanks for not being just the usual superficial good looking guy but a lovely wonderful man full of defects and vices like any other human being with a lot of brain. So I ask you: basing yourself on the experience that you have acquired especially after the last very hard Hamlet work, would you like to play such a difficult role as the one of a person convict to death? And if yes, how do you think you would deal with this subject? Thanks for everything and please keep yourself always the lovely man you are. Baci from Rome Italy.

Paul: Loredana -- I think you would approach the role of someone waiting for death (I assume you mean someone to be executed) in the same way I would approach any role. It's hard to describe but you sort of let the role wash over you a bit until you start to see things in it, and it starts to inform you of what you need to do. The whole process is largely intuitive and once you have a sense of it, then you start to apply the craft. At least that seems to be what I do.

Laurie: Recently, I visited your parents' website and had the opportunity to download and listen to "Take 'em Home" numerous times. Quite an impressive early work, and I was struck by how much you sound like Bruce Springsteen near the end of the song. Has anyone made this comparison before? You said a few years ago that if you could focus on any one of your various talents (acting, music, writing, producing), you would choose writing. Do you still feel that way? If so, is it strictly personal preference or do you think that's your greatest strength? You've been referred to as somewhat of a Renaissance man. How do you feel about that label? 

Paul: Laurie -- I'm sure I did sound like the Boss since I listened to him endlessly in those days. As far as the 'rennaisance' label is concerned, I think it's a little silly. Everything I do seems to me of a piece, or rather that they are variations on a theme. All these pursuits are deeply related in one way or another. It's not as though I'm designing air-craft and writing symphonies. However, if I were pushed to make a choice I would probably stick with writing -- it's something you can do for a long, long time.

Lorna: Hi to Paul! Are there any works you have done in the past, and looked back on recently and thought..."I really wish I hadn't done that..."?

Paul: Lorna -- I don't know if there are whole projects that I wish I hadn't done but there are certainly bits and pieces of things I wish I had been better at. Of course that's the nature of the profession. If you could start out having everything figured out why would we bother? One of the great privileges of a life in this arena is that it's never really finished -- there is always something to learn and each new challenge seems like a brand new chapter.

Meredith: Are there any plans in the future for a due South television movie? Or are you guys just tired of the whole thing? I also enjoy horseback riding and was wondering, if you didn't think this was a dumb question, do you prefer english riding or western?

Paul: Meredith -- I'm a cowboy so Western. And although we have talked from time to time about doing some due South movie of the weeks, there are no firm plans for that as yet.

Cheryl: I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you what a fantastic actor you are. I am impressed by your versatility. I was wondering if any of your work will be presented in the United States in the near future? Also, what are your immediate plans after Hamlet?

Paul: Cheryl -- After Hamlet I will start work on Men with Brooms which is a feature film that I'll be directing and I presume will be screened in the States.

Marilyn: Hi Paul, A huge "hand" for your performance in this unique Hamlet & for the personal sacrifice you have made in choosing to appear @the stagedoor. This acton has not gone unnoticed by the locals, with whom your "stock" has skyrocketed astronomically I am told, because of this simple gesture.  The question EVERYWHERE: Is there ANYTHING we can DO to ASSIST IN GETTING A Hamlet video made before it's too late?" Can you tell us WHERE letters, call, emails, (donations :D) ...should be sent to help make that happen? In the past, a groundswell of opinion HAS made a difference several times in your career...Is it still possible to make a difference @ this late date to try and influence "SOMEONE" to tape Hamlet? If CBS cant, what about Lenz Entertainment or even Whizbang Productions? The "return" would be enormous I bet! Looking forward also to you new CD

Paul: Marilyn -- Thanks for your enthusiasm about recording the Hamlet. You know, the big problem with this is one of monies. I wouldn't want to do a videotaped production of it because I think they look shoddy. And a film version is obviously costly. Additionally, there have been a number of Hamlets committed to film lately and the appetite may simply not be out there for yet another one. 

Also, and this is sort of a personal aside, it seems to me that one of the elusive beauties of the theatre is that it exists as a live event and survives in memory and passed on stories. so I'm a little torn as to whether these things ought ever to be recorded. 

I'm not sure if that answers your question but if you still think something should be done about it, I would reccommend you contact Antony Cimilino, here at the Festival -- he's the GM and has control over all the money.

Sandi: Thank you for providing the opportunity for me to travel 3K-miles to see you perfom live and also discover the wonderful community of Stratford. Both of you are totally awesome! My question(s): You have said your one dream is to hear your music on the radio while driving around your parents ranch. Has that happened? Details?

Paul: Sandi -- Yeah. I was driving the truck to the dump and the Robert Mackensie came on. Very exciting. Much more exciting than the dump.

Viola: I am just wondering if you will perform with the Soulpepper Theatre Company at any point. I understand that Joseph Ziegler, your director, and Martha [Burns], your wife are key members of this fabulous group. Can we anticipate any future projects that would link you with this company?

Paul: Viola -- I don't have any immediate plans to work at SoulPepper but I have talked with Albert Schultz in the past about projects and who knows? Maybe something will arise in the future. They're a great company and the work is always of an astonishingly high calibre so it would be a great thrill to work with them. We'll see.

Barb from michigan: Hi Paul I really enjoyed being able to see you at Stratford this summer I have seen Hamlet 3 times and plan on seeing it again in Oct. I have meet you 5 or 6 times after the play also and have enjoyed getting to know you a little. thanks for you kindness to all you fans and me. my question is .
1. Do you think you will ever tour with your new album? 
2. do you ever play hockey with the all star celebrity team or will you concider it? 
3. is it true you turned down a role on E.R.

Paul: Barb -- We don't have any plans to tour and it is always difficult for us to do that since our schedules are so crammed. On top of this, David has landed the lead role in Mamma Mia in Toronto so any thoughts of touring in the near future are out. We hope to play some dates though, once the record is finished.

No, I haven't played in any hockey events partly because I would be a liability to any team. 

And this ER story is a little overblown. They did inquire about my interest and availability but I was doing Hamlet so that's as far as the conversation went.

JP: My hometown, Yellow Springs, was mentioned in a due South episode and in an interview on CBC. I've often wondered how that came about, and what's the nature of your acquaintance with our village.

Paul: JP -- I think I answered that in an earlier question. A fine town.

Yvonne: Here's a question from Holland. I read you like Formula 1 racing a lot. Did you ever attent a race and who is your favorite driver? I am a big Ferrari fan so you know my answer to this question. I further would like to say that I love your acting and singing. Here in Holland you are not such a big star as in Canada but thanks to the net I can keep up with all your latest activities. Big kiss, Yvonne.

Paul: Yvonne -- Thanks for your kind words. I think most of those drivers are other worldly but I suppose I think I have to go with my sentimental vote and that's for my countryman, Villeneuve.

Hilde: I'm most interested in purchasing a Video with your Hamlet - could you tell if or when it is available.  And an another question : In which new projects could we see you after Hamlet? What do you want do next year? Once more - your Hamlet is very, very good. Thank you for an unforgettable theater event.

Paul: Hilde -- Sorry about the video. I've kind of answered it in an earlier response. Thanks for your kind words.

Caroline: Paul, I've read that you did a considerable amount of research to prepare for the role of Hamlet. What books/articles in particular did you find useful? Is your interpretation of the role based on that of any other actor who has previously played Hamlet? Thank you!

Paul: Caroline -- The bibliography would be awfully long to include here and even at that I think I really only dented the massive amount of critical study that has been devoted to this play. It's something I've quoted fairly often but I believe it's true that more biographies have been written about Hamelt than anyone else with the exception of Hitler and Jesus. This about a man who didn't exist. 

In the end, however, the literature is interesting but not particularly instructive. Neither would it help to study another actor's approach. The play takes over you, inhabits you and tells you what to do. I found the big trick was to get myself out of the way and let the role run where it wanted to.

Conny: Hi, congratulation to your excellent performence of Hamlet. We saw it in June and we enjoyed Hamlet very much. I think that your performance of Hamlet should be available on video. I'm sure that a lot of people would be happy to get this video. All the best from Germany

Paul: Conny -- Yikes, with so many people asking about this video, we should maybe reconsider.

Amanda: I assure you that for every person asking about a Hamlet video on this forum, there are at least 100 other people thinking the same thing. Can we organize a protest march or something? :-) 

Jeanne R.: Hi Paul! To refresh your memory, I sent you a couple of prints of my artwork. I would like to know if you and David target your music towards a certain market intentionally. Is it country? Is it rock? How do you decide how to market your songs?

Paul: Jeanne -- We have no marketing strategy which probably accounts for why we aren't in the top ten. Our music is largely a hobby, or at least it's a personal pursuit. If one of the songs breaks out, that would be great but there's no tactical plan for it. Perhaps we should adopt one...?

christine: hello paul please could you tell me if the latest album has been realesed in the uk yet as i loved two houses and am eager to hear the next one love christine

Paul: Christine -- No, it isn't released yet. We're just finishing it now so soon, soon....

Lynne: I am a fan of due South and have recently watched Chasing Rainbows. You seemed to be enjoying this shoot. How long did the filming take and was the filming as much fun as it looked. How long did it take to film?

Paul: Lynne -- I'm hesitant to answer this. Actually, Chasing Rainbows wasn't a lot of fun to do. Some of it was but the upper level executives on the show were quite hopeless so every day was a bit of a struggle. In the end, the audience seemed to enjoy it so I suppose that's a compensation but the 16 months it took to make weren't greatly amusing.

Lynne: So sorry to hear that about such an entertaining piece of film. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and watching your reactions to all the scenes. It was very well done. I am glad I had the opportunity to see it. The flavor of the work set a nice tone of interest for the time period it was portraying.

Lorna: When you're travelling, do you have a favourite country/place to visit? 

Paul: Lorna -- Anywhere.

Marybeth: I had the opportunity of seeing you as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and though I was not a student there, I thouroghly enjoyed the performance and will carry a memento to my grave. LOL I was wondering if there had been any deterent in your acting education that would have kept you from continuing further in your craft, and if there was, what was it?

Paul: Marybeth -- In the tent! That was magical. And no, I never ran into any road blocks, other than my own inadequacies. 

Marybeth: I don't know about any tent, but there is a scar on my cheekbone, from a reaction in the audiance during a performance, when my head bounced off the seat in front of me. Thank of the belly laugh!!! :)

Emily (again): Sorry, just one more question, Mr. Gross. I know your and Mr. Keeley's Two Houses C.D. has been out since 1997, but I just recently found out about it and ordered it in July. It's amazing, I listen to it all the time. I think my favorite song is 'Angels.' I wanted to ask if you have a favorite on the album? And are all the songs on the new album written by yourself and Mr. Keeley? Also, I tried to come up and see you and Mr. Keeley in Stratford, but I ran out of funds and couldn't get out of my classes. So, I'm hoping, will you be doing any plays in Stratford next year? You'd make a delightfully unassuming Iago! Thank you for your time.

Paul: Emily -- I don't really have a favourite one (although I am fond of Angels). And no I have no plans to return here, certainly not next year. Although Richard Monette and I have talked about future possibilities so maybe...

LRM: I hope to be seeing Hamlet in October and I was wondering if you have become bored with the role? I've read so many glowing reviews, I would hate to think that towards the end of the play's run, you had mentally and emotionally 'moved on'. 

Paul: LRM -- Bored? No. I think it was Olivier who said that he could play it for a hundred years and find something new each night. It is bottomless and endlessly challenging and constanting rewarding. Never bored. No. 

Jennifer: What inspires you to write music? As a musician myself, I find it very hard to write and so I'm doomed to play everyone else's music. How do you do it?

Paul: Jennifer -- I have no idea but I love to listen to great songwriters talk about it. They just seem to kind of float into my head -- not the whole song but snatches of it. 

Sheila: Reading the messages on this site and the bbc due South site has confirmed my suspicions - us brits are being denied access to your talent! I am intrigued by the fact you are playing Hamlet and wondered if you had any plans to visit/work in Britain with Hamlet or with David Keeley on any music gigs? We seem to have lost sight of you with the ending of due South. (apart from the repeats that is). I can now see that you are a very busy man and would like to wish you good luck with all your projects. Thank you kindly for reading this.

Paul: Sheila -- Thanks for the interest. No, I don't have any plans to be in the UK soon. But the movie I'm going to make I'm sure will find its way over there. 

Laura: Congratulations on your great success as Hamlet. Perhaps your influence might get the play filmed so that more of your followers could see it. Would you at some time consider doing Hamlet in the US if made lucrative offer??

Paul: Laura -- If some angel wanted to throw a production up on Broadway I'd come to the States in a flash. Seems unlikely though. 

Emily: Hello, Mr. Gross, it's nice to speak with you! My only question is about your new movie, Men with Brooms. Is it being exclusively released in Canada, or will it also open in the States? It sounds like it will be wonderful.  Thank you so much, Emily Elizabeth, Knoxville, Tennessee 

Paul: Emily -- I have every confidence that Men with Brooms will sweep the world. 

natasja v.: hai, i just want to say that paul is the best actor in the holl world. i want to now if he is coming some day to holland. kisses from natasja

Paul: N -- thanks.

Marianne: I hope this is the right place to post questions to Mr. Gross before Wednesday... I have two.
1. How does it feel knowing that you are now one of a select group of actors playing one of the most well known characters of all time?
2. I know that other people are asking for videos of the play that they can buy, but is possible that the Stratford Festival is going to make one especially for the schools?
I just like to say that I really admire your work, Paul, (even though this gets me into heated debates with my friends in school) and have fun with the rest of the run of Hamlet! (:

Paul: Marianne -- Playing Hamlet has been and continues to be the great humbling privilege of my career...

C Weston: I would be most interested in purchasing the Paul Gross/Hamlet Video if or when it is available. Thank You.

KarenT: I was over in Stratford recently to see Paul as Hamlet and enquired at the Festival about the play being filmed. I was told that although in the past Shakespeare plays had been videotaped they were produced independantly by CBS. Due to cuts in their budget they were apparently not filming this years productions. This surely is a real lack of foresight as they should realise that world-wide interest in Paul's performance exists and the returns would be conciderable. Let's hope that sanity returns and a recording of the production is made. By the way, Paul's performance was wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed by us all (even my 14 and 11 year old!)

Paul: KarenTaylor -- OK, OK. A video/film. Hmmm.

Jeanne R.: I, myself, would love to see it broadcast on Bravo Channel in the US. We've gotten to see the Stratford Festival's Gilbert & Sullivan productions (although I'm not sure if they're from past years) but it makes me feel like I'm part of the Canadian audience when I see the productions.

Jenny Marie: Hope you are having a great day so far, mine is a little boring at the moment. Anyway I have a couple of questions to ask you. You can answer just one of them or if you want you can answer all of them :)
1. I couldn't help but wonder when your new CD is coming out? Also are you and David Keeley planning on making any more Music videos? The ones you did make were wonderful!
2. Do you ever get tired of playing Hamlet over and over or are you loving every moment of it?
3. Would you ever consider coming back and making a due South Movie of the week if you had a decent schedule? Example, you maybe work Monday-Friday and have the weekends off to be with your family or do whatever you want to do? 
I have to go, but I would like to Thank You Kindly for taking the time to chat with your fans!!!

Paul: Jenny Marie -- Thanks for the interest and I hope I've covered your questions earlier.

Felicity P. (UK): After witnessing your magnificent portrayal, and Joseph Ziegler's spot-on direction, of Hamlet in August, I started to wonder about the following:  If you had the opportunity to direct and cast Hamlet, who would be your Hamlet? and would your direction of the play be similar to Mr Ziegler's,or are there scenes that you would prefer to interpret differently? Thank you.

Paul: Felicity -- Geez. That's something I could only realistically think about after I've finished playing the part. 

Diana R.: Paul, are you going to actively pursue having Hamlet filmed before your Stratford run ends in November? With a film version, people who live in Australia and New Zealand could see your marvelous interpretation of the role.

Eileen: I think that is a great suggestion Diana. I, too, would like to have the opportunity to buy a filmed copy of Paul Gross' Hamlet

Tracy: Just wanted to say a big enthusiastic "Hi!" because for the life of me, I can't think of anything else to say. I thought Hamlet was wonderful; such a compelling by everyone. It was the first time I ever saw you in anything and my expectations were blown away. Thanks for being here today! It's great to be able to talk to you this way!

Noel: What's happening with your upcoming TV series?

Paul: Noel -- I guess I'll try and deal with this now. We had planned to do a series that was conceived of by Bob Carney (my co-executive on due South). For a whole variety of reasons, mostly to do with the timing of events, I've elected to make Men with Brooms first of all. I'm not sure what that means in terms of other series in the future but I may well want to do one at another point.

Carole: Paul, In your AOL chat in July, you kinda sorta like hinted that Callum Keith Rennie would be cast in it. Is this still the case? Is he still practising his curling? Please, please, don't change that title!

Paul: Carole -- Yeah, Callum's still in it and a few other tasty treats. If he isn't dilligently practicing his curling, he's in trouble.

Vesna: Heard you gave up smoking for Hamlet. How's it going? Do you find it affects your emotions on stage?

Paul: Vesna -- It will be a lifetime battle.

Tanya: This is more of a comment than a question, really. I just wanted to let you know that I love Two Houses. My favorite part about it is the distinctively Canadian flair to it. There are not a whole lot of songs that I can think of (recently) that you can say, "Now that's Canadian." I can't wait for your new album to come out to hear the new stuff that you have written.

Paul: Tanya -- Thanks so much. I hope you like the next one.

Elyse: Just one more question. If you could remake any movie, and have *absolute* say in the casting, what movie would it be, who would you cast in what parts, and why?

Paul: Elyse -- Good lord, that's an impossible question. Essentially, it all starts with the story and the script and then you move on to who would be the ideal actor for it. So first of all I would have to write it then...

Joanne C: Did you enjoy traveling and living in many different countries? Any experiences come to mind that stick out and would you change anything from your childhood?

Paul: Joanne -- No, I don't think I'd change much about my childhood. It was a great broadening experience to travel so much as a kid. Now, not everyone reacts to this in the same way. My brother, for instance, found it a struggle to almost be uprooted. I enjoyed it though and still love travelling. Everywhere I go I think -- I want to live here.

Old Wife: Someone who visits the pets forum here wanted this question asked. I'm quoting below:
"I am unable to be on-line for this, but if anyone could ask him about what it was like to work with the various "Diefenbaker"s on the set of due South, and whether any of them were easier, I would appreciate it."

Paul: Old Wife -- It was fine. The reality of it is that you don't really work with the dogs. They work with the handler and you stay out of their way. But they were very smart animals and a lot of fun to be around.

Stephanie: What can you tell us about your childhood and family life? I know you have 2 children. Do you consider yourself a stern father? What are your favorite sports?

Paul: Stephanie -- I don't think I'm stern, but there are boundries.

Cathy: I just wanted to thank you for signing your autograph for a little girl after one of the performances of Hamlet. Not many established actors would spend that time with a young girl. THANK YOU

Amanda: Hi Cathy, Sorry I'm not Paul, but what day were you there? I last went Aug 17 and saw what you are describing. I was more impressed by the gracious manner in which he behaved with his fans at the stage door than by all his wonderful acting put together.

Cathy: It's OK if you're not Paul...I went on July 13 and I agree with you. Paul appears to have a lot of class which wouldn't hurt others to have.

Paul: Cathy -- It's my pleasure. I always so thankful that people actually want to come and see it.

Karen: Just a quick general query. Are those your children that we catch a quick glimpse of in the video for 'Down on the Robert Mckenzie'?
PS. DO your children act at all? David Keeley's son said that he was appearing in Fiddler on the Roof

Paul: Karen -- Yeah, the unmoving, deer in the headlights kids? Those were mine. And no they don't act although they are talking about interest in it so who knows...?

Cinders: Hello Prince! Have you any tips to give me to encourage me [and others] to give up smoking? And may I aswhat is your favourite colour? Thankyou Kindly 

Paul: Cinders -- No, I have no tips. Wish I did. Favourite colour? Well, seeing as I am the Danish Prince at the moment it is 'solemn black'.

Cinders: Oh God I'm doomed! And your favourite colour the same as my lungs 

gloria: Just wondered if you had read the book Back to the Front, written by a Canadian journalist who walks/rides/hitches along the remains of WWI's western front in France. If you have read it what did you think? If you haven't read it, check it out. I found it rather interestingly ironic to see the historical sites juxtaposed with modern "intrusions" such as skins heads and gaffiti.  1550545779

Paul: gloria -- Yes, I have read it and I think it is fantastic. He captures that disconnect between the historical events that lie just beneath the surface of that landscape and the contemporary terrain. Weird echos and odd resonance. I enjoyed it very much.

Sky: You were great in the first Tales of the City. What made you decide not to appear in the sequel?

Paul: Sky -- I was doing due South.

Victoria Marie: I have been a due South Fan from day 1. I can watch reruns and never tire from this wonderful series. My favorite episodes are Victoria's Secret and the one with the train and Inspector Thachter and yourself are tied together. And also the one when you dressed up in drag. LOL Thanks again for a wonderful program.

Paul: Victoria -- Thank you kindly.

Viola: I am not a native Newfoundlander, just a wannabe. What kind of Newfoundland music do you like?

Paul: Viola -- Well, you better kiss that cod. And I love all music that comes from the rock.

Barb: hi, paul do you really like kitkats if so have you ever had one of those new big kats they are now making in the US?

Paul: Barb -- YEah, I like kitkats and no I've never seen a really big one. Not sure I want to either. It could be a little frightening.

Robin: I'm new to chat rooms and a new fan of due South and yours. Any chance of seeing Chasing Rainbows in the states?

Paul: Robin -- I'm new to them too. I really don't know if there is any chance of seeing Chasing Rainbows down there. It was shot quite a long time ago.

Laura: There was a VA station broadcasting it not to long ago. I live near DC and was able to pick it on cable, but not earlier enough to tape the whole series. The rebroadcast a few months later, but still missed some of the episodes. I'm hoping they will show it again, and if they do I could try to make you a copy.

Robin: I've just been introduced to due South. Would love to see Paul in other things. I have a satellite dish with many stations. Do you know what channel showed Chasing Rainbows. Murder Most Likely will be on TNT on Oct. 17. Thanks

Barb: HI, paul i gave you a potter park zoo tee shirt after one of the Hamlet perforamces this summer and I just wondered if it fit you or not. if you do not remember that ok, it was dark blue and had a wolf on it . thanks

Paul: Barb -- Yep. Fit just fine.

Carole: [Thunder, Perfect Mind] The description of this multimedia production on your mother's website is wonderful. Is there any chance you might re-stage this in the future? I was also struck by your mother's reference to your "professional courage". This is clear in your interpretion of Hamlet, I think. Do you think it is necessary to take risks to produce the best work?

Paul: Carole -- I better visit my parent's website. 

I don't have any plans for restaging it but I have talked with Jack Lenz about doing something with it -- perhaps an animated version. See, when we made it the technology was really in its infancy and that's why it ended up in the planetarium. It might work better in an updated version with digital effects.

And yes, I think you do have to risk. It's only in that kind of challenge that you progress I think. In that sense, art shares an affinity with athletics.

Vesna : Will we get the pleasure of seeing you act in Men with Brooms?

Paul: Vesna -- Yes, I will hurl rocks on screen.

Jeanne R.: Hi again Paul! Thankfully we in the US got to see Murder Most Likely.  When you were working on this project, was there ever a time that you found it difficult to break yourself away from the portrayal of Patrick Kelly? I realize that as an actor you get faced with this with every role you undertake, but he was such an over-the-top personality. 

Paul: Jeanne -- Yeah, it was a little hard to drop the guy off in the parking lot. That sort of character weasels around inside you, pulling out your darker corners and it wasn't a great deal of fun to play. Interesting though. 

Joanne NYC: I enjoyed that movie. And you can play the bad guy equally great as you play the good guy. Wonderful acting. I also own both due South CDs. I must add, you are a very handsome man and your wife is a lucky woman. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us the fans. I know I truly appreciate it very much. I thank you kindly:-)

Paul: Joanne -- Thank you.

S.M. Perpend: I recently read an article where you stated that you would be interested in doing more theatre, specifically Barefoot In The Park and Othello. Is this true? Would you play the moor in blackface? When and where do you expect this to happen? I am very much looking forward to seeing you onstage again in the very near future.

Paul: SM -- I believe that Richard Monette is contemplating these two productions in the 2002 season.

Smitty: Hi Paul, My whole family loves your song "Ride Forever". Do you ever miss these blue Alberta Skies? Today is a beautiful day in Calgary. The sky is blue, the air is crisp and the geese are flying overhead. And the Rockies look spectacular. Do you ever return to Alberta to ride forever?

Paul: Smitty -- Yeah, I get back as often as I can. Lately, not often enough.

Vesna: I think I speak for all your fans when I say that making a video of Hamlet would be a great collection to our library. When I saw you, your portrayal of Hamlet left me emotionally drained!!!! It took me a couple of days to get back to normal. I think everyone should have that sort of experience. hugs and kisses

zzzaney: I know you've probably been asked this question alot, and I just have to ask again! :) Would you be willing to do a due South reunion show? Perhaps a 2 hour deal? Also, since I personally couldn't make it to Hamlet, I wanted to thank you for signing a playbill for me, through a very lucky friend who attended!

Paul: zzzzaney -- I've kind of answered it before but it's something we talk about -- we just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Debbie: I don't have anything really deep or profound to say but I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed due South. I recently watched the finale again and found it just as enjoyable the second time. I am a curler and look forward to your Men with Brooms project. As for Formula 1, go Mika. I look forward to seeing Hamlet on Oct 3. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I wish you well.

Paul: Debbie -- Thanks. Hope you enjoy the show.

Anne, Sudbury: Particularly enjoyed "Blind Man". Any plans for a video? Do you plan on shooting Men with Brooms in Newfoundland? Heard you mention word "panic" several times; do you actually have full blown panic attacks? If so, what do you do to alleviate them? 

Karen: Anne, this track is my favourite as well. You can just feel the loneliness conveyed in it. A video would be fantastic. Great idea.

Paul: Anne -- Not any plans for a video on that one. Maybe though. We're not sure where we're going to shoot MWB. Probably where the tax benefits are the best and that will allow us to maximise our budget. Panic? No I don't panic too often. I did a couple of days before the first audience of Hamlet. Then once I got in front of the audience, all was fine.

JMarie: Paul, you're a hunk!

Cinders: Awwww Jeannie Marie - Hunk is an ugly word and Paul is beautiful ;-)

Barb B: HI Paul i just wondered if it upset you when we met you after the play in stratford. you have always been nothing but nice but i did not want to bother you .

Jan (UK): If you have time to get to this: You obviously sink yourself deeply into the role before and during each performance. Afterwards, how easy is it to go home as Paul Gross again?

Paul: Jan -- It's not really so much a question of leaving Hamlet in the theatre, This part is all consuming and is with me all the time. I don't mean to sound alarmist but you end up living with a general, low grade sense of dread. I think it just goes with the territory and is a little disconcerting at first. The part has affected other actors so adversely that they were unable to continue -- Daniel Day Lewis, for example

Judi: I've noticed several references to angels... do you think you may have one 'riding' on your shoulder? Also, when you write something a little more lengthy than a song, do the ideas come as you are typing along or is the entire story in your head already?

Paul: Judi -- No, I don't think I've got an angel. Although I wouldn't mind meeting one. 

I find with writing that it's a constant see-saw between ideas that spring out and plot elements that have to be constructed. A balancing act between free flowing creativity and craft.

Jen: Hi Paul...Perhaps you already DO have an angel, and he or she has not made him or herself known yet. :) I very much admire what you do and the kind of man you are. 

Rita: Thank you for an excellent performance of Hamlet. I really, really enjoyed it so much. I'm coming back for another show this Sunday. Please come back to Stratford again next year. Would like to see you again in a different performance. Do you think you might consider this? Are you going to be taking some time off, after Hamlet?

Paul: Rita -- Thanks. Yes, I'll be taking some time off and then starting on Men with Brooms.

Barb from Indy: Mr Gross, do you and Callum Keith Rennie keep in touch? Do you anticipate working together again? I hope you enjoy your visit to Indy for the F1 race. We're anticipating a different crowd from the Indy 500 and Nascar's Brickyard 400. If you happen to be here that Sat night, try the 8 Second Saloon near the airport - lots of fun and dancing.

Paul: Barb -- Thanks for the info. And Callum will be in Men with Brooms.

Christina D.: My 16 year old daughter and I just traveled to Canada the beginning of August to see Hamlet. It was an experience that the two of us will never forget. We are both fans of you and your work and we were both thrilled to be there. We are hoping that you will do more theatre and I was wondering if there is a chance that you will ever do Cat On A Hot Tin Roof again.  Also, let me add my vote for the Hamlet video. While coming to see you perform live is something that neither of us will ever forget, it would be glorious to be able to see it over and over again anytime we like.

Paul: Christina -- Thanks for your kind words and I'm thrilled that you kid liked. It's been one of the great rewards of doing this part, knowing that for many children it will be their first experience with the play. It's an honour and a privilege.

Christina D.: Which is your fave movie role and why? In which movie do you feel you gave your best performance? Lastly, is there anyone that you haven't worked with that you a dying to act opposite and why?

Paul: C -- Well, my favourite role is Hamlet and I imagine will be for a long, long time. 

As far as other people that I would like to work with in concerned? This list is pretty well endless.

Joanne C New York: can write to for an autographed photo of you? I would so love to have one. A am a big fan. I've seen every due South a half a dozen times. I seen Aspen Extreme and Murder Most Likely. Enjoyed your acting and writing and singint too.

Jeanne R.: Hi Joanne (and whoever else maybe interested)! The current address that I have for writing Paul is:
Paul Gross email c/o: Ron Nichol, Company Mgr. 
rnichol@stratford-festival.on.ca
or
Paul Gross
The Stratford Festival 
P.O. Box 520
Stratford, Ontario
N5A 6V2
CANADA
Hope that helps!

JPeters: Hi, Do you generally like British comedy, ie Monty Python or Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide? (I think you'd play a great Zaphod, and CKR would fit as Ford Prefect.)

Paul: JP -- Yeah, I kind of grew up on British stuff -- my father was a fan of the Goons, Hancock etc. And when I was 10-12 I was addicted to Monty Python. So I feel a real affinity with that kind of stuff. Now, there is a streak of Brit humour I think is ghastly but the good stuff is untouchable.

karen: Mamma Mia Paul, I see that you mention that David has landed the lead in this production. This has been a huge success in London (Eng). Will you pass on my best wishes to him.

Emily: Do you find all the fan fiction for due South on the internet flattering or downright creepy? (B/c some of it IS creepy.) Thank you!

Paul: Emily -- I'm such an illiterate with the net that I don't even know where to find it.

Tracy: Try  http://www.hexwood.com  :)

Noel: Another question Paul, I'm very happy to see you will be in MWB. I'd heard that Callum might also have a role. True? Can you tell us who will be in the cast?

Paul: Noel -- We're a ways away from casting it so I can't really say much. Suffice it to say the cast will be brilliant.

karen: Thanks for taking time out to do this. I think I speak for everyone when I say its been fun! Its great that you are so candid in your replies.

Tanya: Gotta agree. This has been a great experience! It was nice to get to talk to you.

Paul: Karen -- Thanks. yeah, it has been fun.

Yvonne: I read somewhere (I believe your wife said it) that you are a fast typist. Well, she certainly was right. Thanks for your answers in this forum !!! Yvonne (yes, from Holland)

Jill: Good job I don't attend the theatre too often as coming from the UK makes it rather expensive - plus I've never flown before aaarrrggghhh. Could you come to Stratford-Upon-Avon sometime? Best wishes for the rest of the season 

Paul: Jill -- Would love to come to S-O-A

Lilly: How and where were you educated, and who was your biggest mentor while in school?

Paul: Lilly -- I went to the University of Alberta. And I don't know who my real mentor would be -- Tom Peacock intitially but I've been affected by everyone I've worked with.

Felicity (UK): Paul I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Paul: Felicity -- Thank you for all your questions. Hope I answered enough. I've got to run. Best wishes to all of you.

Amanda A: May I ask where your family orginally comes from?

Paul: Thanks again. I'm not sure if you got the message I sent to Felicity but...it's been a real pleasure and I thank you for all your interest and kind words. Wish you all the best but I've got to run.

Jan (UK): Thank you for setting this up, Pam - it was great to be able to ask Paul our questions.

Jeanne R.: A big "thank you!" to Pam! This was blast to have Paul spend as much time as he did with us. I really enjoyed it! Maybe you can convince him to do this again (hint, hint)?

Yvonne: Also a big thank you from me. Being an enormous Paul Gross fan in a country which hardly knows him it is a blast to be able to participate in such a thing as this forum. Thanx !!!!!

Smitty: Thank you Paul and thank you Chatelaine for setting this up. We love you both!!!

Rachel G.: Paul Gross, If you get a chance to read this please e-mail me a list of times and dates hamlet is playing. And can you please send me a puffin face like the one you made on the due South chat.

Jan (UK): Hi Rachel, you can find out about Hamlet by going to the Stratford Festival website at http://www.stratford-festival.on.ca/

Mercedes O.: Hola Mr. Gross, A warm hello from PR. Also, a question. Did you ever receive my scripts? I would really like to know. Even if it's yes or no. I thought they were so you as Fraser. I know you have done more than just Fraser and I have seen some of your other work and have enjoyed it very much. I really think you live the part you play at the moment. I wish I could have seen you in Hamlet; maybe some day. If you like I can send those scripts again. I really do think you will enjoy them. Thanks for having this forum and giving me the opportunity to write to you.

Pamela, Online Editor, Chatelaine.com: Thank you to all who participated in this Special Guest forum...it's so good to see posts coming in from all over the world, as well as from our own Canadian backyard! And, of course, the biggest thanks goes to the man with the fastest typing fingers ... Paul Gross himself, who took the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us all. From all of us at Chatelaine and Chatelaine.com, thank you so much, Paul.  Thanks!

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