What It’s Really Like to Star in and Write Hallmark Movies

Paul Campbell is ready to deck the hallmarks of what it means to make a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. 

Known as one of the network’s funniest leading men, Campbell has also become one of its most creative. Not only did he star in what was arguably one of the most comedic movies of 2021’s “Countdown to Christmas” lineup, the 42-year-old actor also wrote two of its most successful outings, both in terms of ratings and audience response. 

There is a running theme among the three movies Campbell had a hand in making this year: There’s heart and humor in equal measure, which is a hard tone to strike on a network previously known for dry kisses, struggling Christmas tree farms and hunks in flannel sweeping the work-obsessed city girl off her feet. 

“It’s such a fine balance, both in acting and writing because, obviously, you’re trying to honor what it is that Hallmark is trying to do,” Campbell told E! News in a recent phone interview. “And what Hallmark has done so successfully is bring movies with a certain tone and a certain feeling that leaves people feeling like they got what they came for. If you stray too far in any direction it can be kind of jarring and sometimes it doesn’t necessarily suit the network or it doesn’t necessarily suit the tone of the movie.”