With nearly a dozen holiday films under his belt, King of Christmas Paul Greene can’t wait for viewers to see his latest, Fit For Christmas.
Starring with The Talk star Amanda Kloots, the special holiday movie is about Audrey (Kloots), an enthusiastic Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor who is teaching classes at her financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Montana.
She begins a holiday romance with a charming and mysterious businessman, Griffin (Greene), which complicates his plan to turn the center into a more financially profitable resort property.
Greene says that he loved working with his new friend, the exuberant Kloots, getting to know her three-year-old son, Elvis, and helping us celebrate the holidays with this magical movie.
Fit For Christmas premiers on CBS on Sunday, December 4, and streaming on Paramount+. Greene is known for his role in Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart, his many Hallmark Christmas movies, his success as a professional musician, and his passion for improving the world as a philanthropist.
The father of two, 11-month-old Austin, and 19-year-old Oliver, he is looking forward to heading out in the snow and introducing his little one to the simple pleasures of a family Christmas in Vancouver, Canada.
“Everyone just loves that feeling of Christmas. For most of us, it is nostalgic,” Greene exclusively tells Monsters and Critics.
“People really look forward to that cozy feeling of coming home and everything just being perfect at home,” he adds. “It almost gives people that feeling of if they went home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, even though there was maybe a little tension, it all worked out in the end. Overall, I think it gives people hope.”
Read on for a look at Paul Greene’s brilliant career, his many Christmas and holiday movies, life with his new baby, and why we love Christmas movies.
M&C: What did you enjoy about making Fit For Christmas?
Paul Greene: It’s a traditional romantic comedy, but it’s a little different because CBS is only doing three of them. I would say quality over quantity is a pretty big feature here. It looks beautiful, it’s super funny, and edited very well. CBS is really behind it, which makes this a little bit different and special with billboards all over L.A. and just their publicity. It’s on right after Sunday football, so there are 20-plus million people that will be staying around to watch our movie.
The actual work on it was special because it’s based on a true story in a way. So, it’s loosely based on Amanda Kloots’ fitness business, and her business isn’t failing, but she wanted to kind of bring that into it. The writer is Anna White, who wrote last year’s holiday movie, Christmas CEO. There’s just so much serendipity there because Anna, in high school, had a picture of me from an L.L. Bean catalog that she used for a stamp print that she needed for her art project. Then she’s followed my career ever since through Bitten and through all my different Hallmark movies. She’s like, “I’m going to write that Christmas movie someday.” And she did, so that’s a bit crazy.
M&C: It sounds like this movie was meant to be for all of you.
Paul Greene: Yes. There’s just a lot of serendipity and sweetness and chemistry. When I first met Amanda, just our first day, I got her a lavender latte from my favorite breakfast spot in Vancouver, and we were going to a dance rehearsal. I had followed her story loosely during Covid. I didn’t know the depth of what happened with her late husband, Nick Cordero.
Once I looked her up a little bit, I was really excited to work with her. Right away, we had just wild chemistry, friend chemistry, and past life chemistry and just wild. Then we pretty much laughed for 15 straight days, especially when Anna was on set, which was rare for a writer. We were like the three musketeers; it was hysterical and so much fun.
M&C: This was Amanda’s first movie like this.
Paul Greene: Yes, that is true. I was kind of excited to kind of hold her hand through it and take her through all her firsts. There were a lot of firsts for her on this. Which was really special, and it really shows in her acting. Instead of it coming across as the first time she’s done it, it actually just comes across as really playful and innocent, with no tricks, and just delightful. Her character was super broad, and mine was, also. It’s a very comedic thing, but still a lot of romance. And just it’s really special to be working with CBS because I’ve done many different kinds of these.
M&C: Since you were talking about Amanda, did you get to meet or spend any time with her son, Elvis?
Paul Greene: Yes, he came on set. Had a little cameo one day. Then we did a podcast on my roof, and he came that day. I met him twice. I think I’m going to see him this weekend for a little screening, too. I have an 11-month-old son, Austin, and Elvis is three, so we had lots to bond on with children, and her story is just fascinating. Amanda is a warm and lovely person.
M&C: The trailer talks a lot about miracles happening and being able to make your dreams come true. How does that fit with your own mindset?
Paul Greene: The miracle is they needed a financial miracle. I believe in miracles in the sense that just about anything is possible. What I mean is instead of miracles, maybe it’s just dreaming big and then doing the work to have it show up. I’ve had a lot of miracles in my life, so to speak. Having a new baby is a miracle, and the fact that he’s healthy is such a blessing. So, every time he laughs, I feel like that’s a miracle.
Just to be healthy and just the gift of being in these – there’s actually a line in the movie that I agree with totally. Audrey’s mom believed that being able to move our bodies was a privilege. I think we almost treat it like a punishment, meaning we eat, and then we’re like, I’ve got to go to the gym and work this off. It’s almost like a punishment when it’s true, and I believe this the other way around.
M&C: What do you think of your moniker, King of Christmas?
Paul Greene: It feels good. I can’t complain. I guess I’m humbly embarrassed by it, but it’s also quite charming. I’ve done 11 of these Christmas holiday pictures, so at the very beginning of Hallmark, there was a writer, Steve Gidlow, that called me the Cary Grant of Hallmark. As long as people aren’t calling me mean things, I’m happy with it. They’re nice.
M&C: You are a busy actor and musician.
Paul Greene: Very true. I made this and the movie for GAC, I’m Glad It’s Christmas, with Jessica Lowndes and Gladys Knight, which is on Hulu, and as soon as I came home, we had to go to Mexico to finish this Jaguar movie that I just finished yesterday.
It’s been the busiest period with an 11-month-old son and my music career, and my wife and I have a coaching business. So, it’s a pretty hectic time, for sure. I’ve never been busier, but so fun. I don’t do things that aren’t fun, so I find it very enjoyable. I’ve had to pinch myself sometimes because I love making movies and I love making music, and I love the business my wife and I do together. I have three pillars to what I do, and they’re all very fulfilling.
M&C: Do you have any new Christmas traditions as the father of a young child?
Paul Greene: This will be Austin’s first Christmas. I mean, he was born ten days before Christmas last year, so it was just a whirlwind, we were just nursing, and I was feeding my wife, so I don’t remember what happened last year. But we’re going to see my mom in Canada in a week or two. We’re always making new traditions.
We have a cabin in Arrowhead, so my tradition for me is the Polar Plunge, going in that ice water where there’s snow and trying to last three minutes. That’s one of my favorite things. We’re not big gift people. There are always presents, but we like experiences, so I make food. Then when there’s snow, I can’t wait for Austin to see snow for the first time here in Canada.
M&C: Why do people love these Christmas and holiday movies so much?
Paul Greene: I would say it is because they make you feel like drinking hot chocolate, that warm, sweet sensation. Just the feeling of these holiday movies, people can kind of forget all the division for a minute, and it allows people to – I think it creates nostalgia.
Also, everyone loves a happy ending, and they know it’s coming, but it’s like they get taken on a bit of a ride where it falls apart in the seventh act. They like to be taken on a journey. Just like the old studio system with Cary Grant and all those old things, people would fall in love with actors and be able to see them in different roles. People like that.
M&C: I cry sometimes, too, when they get really sweet.
Paul Greene: Yes, there is no shortage of sweetness. It’s a formula and predictable, but people still dig it, and I’m happy to serve it up.
M&C: What’s happening with you and your Hallmark series, When Calls the Heart?
Paul Greene: I have no idea. There are talks of lots of different things, but I don’t know, we will have to see. Nobody knows; there are a lot of moving parts. I have no idea. As soon as I know, I’ll talk all about it, but I couldn’t tell you.
M&C: Tell me briefly about your podcast.
Paul Greene: My best friend, Russell, was with me in Vancouver when I was filming, When Calls the Heart. This was two years ago, and I was like, let’s just put up some mics because I was recording my music live. That was my first one. I enjoyed it, and I started interviewing other actors. It’s called, The Grass is Greener by Paul Greene, and it is based on the quote the grass is greener where you water it, not on the other side, which I love.
I wanted to interview people around the conversation of nurturing the things you love rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses or wishing you had something else. So, The Grass is Greener is based on that.
I just started Season 3, and I probably get out two a month. I have three or four in the can that I just have to edit. I do it all myself, the editing and all that. I have 100,000 downloads which I can see on my back end, and 300 five-star reviews on iTunes. I’ve turned it all the way up to number six on the U.S. podcast chart. I think it was my episode with Chris McNally. I love asking questions and digging into things, especially around that conversation of nurturing what you love rather than wishing things were different.
M&C: Why do you want my readers to watch your two Christmas movies?
Paul Greene: Well, I’m Glad It’s Christmas because they get to watch the Hall-of-Famer, seven-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight at almost 80 years old act, which she’s only acted once before, I think, with The Butler. And then me and I get to sing with her. That’s a very unique part of it, and the story is very sweet and very special, deep and romantic.
For Fit for Christmas, I want them to watch it because they’re going to want to watch it over and over again. It’s very fast and very funny.
With both of them, your readers are going to take away something. The watchers are going to definitely get that feeling of coming home. But, also, they’re very different from each other. I feel like one’s got a little bit more, maybe romance, and the other one’s a little bit wittier and funnier. I think they’re going to have to watch them both to figure out which one is which.
Fit For Christmas premieres on Sunday, December 4, at 8:30 p.m. ET and streams on Paramount+.
I’m Glad It’s Christmas is available for streaming on Hulu.