You’ve probably seen Paul James all over your TV for the past few years. Following the series finale of the popular ABC Family show Greek, where he played Calvin Owens, James has kept busy with guest appearances on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Shameless. He also recurs as O’Connor on the TNT series The Last Ship, which is airing now for its third season. This summer, he finds a new home as Sean Egan on the new Hulu original series The Path, alongside Aaron Paul, Hugh Dancy, and Michelle Monaghan. We caught up with James recently to chat about the exciting new show and what’s to come.
Cliché: Tell me a little about yourself growing up. What were you like? Were you always into entertaining?
Paul James: I was pretty much the same, just smaller. I was also definitely dumber. I think I played a lot with action figures and then outside with my friends. I liked building things, so I think my parents thought I would be an architect or something. My favorite color was chrome, but I remember changing it to red a little later, but never blue though. I enjoyed watching The NeverEnding Story every day after school. I liked tunafish sandwiches, always with relish and always the chunky white kind. Tuna didn’t travel well to school, so I only ate bologna and cheese sandwiches at school, always with mustard. I definitely was always entertained by myself. We had a cat, Melody, that didn’t find me too funny. But she died and I’m still here, so who is laughing last, Melody?
You previously starred on ABC Family’s hit series Greek. What is your best memory from that set?
Oh wow, there are so many memories, the best of which are mostly inappropriate to print. I am still very close with most of the actors from the show as well as many crew members. Someone came up to me one day and said I had changed his life by my portrayal of Calvin. That made me feel really good about the show and the character. Then someone told me that they fast-forwarded through my parts because they didn’t like Calvin. So then I was back to feeling pretty much the same as before.
What about The Path felt different or exciting for you and made you want to get involved with the show?
I actually wasn’t too sure about it at the beginning. I hadn’t had luck with projects that began with the letter “W” and the show was originally called The Way (I won’t watch The Walking Dead because of this), but the script was really excellent. Aside from that, you really just audition and the producers and writers give you the thumbs up or thumbs down. I have auditioned for lots of crap, like real shit, and you wait by the phone and hope to get it so you can pay the mortgage or go out with friends to Benihana for a birthday. Beggars rarely get to be choosers, though I have met a few stuck up panhandlers in my time out in L.A. It is really nice to get something that you’re excited to work on. And then when the name got changed to The Path, I knew it was going to be great. I like the letter P a whole bunch.
Tell me a little bit about your character Sean Egan. What is he like?
Well, Sean is a vegetarian as are all the members of the Meyerest movement. Initially he really struggled with this as he used to play football and was on a high protein diet. I became a vegetarian for three days to get in the mindset, but I really felt like on the fourth day I had learned all I was going to learn and now I am eating meat again. Sean is pretty new to the movement, but he has found a nice peace as the series opens. He is really enjoying the East Coast, having never been there before. He sees something special in Mary Cox (Emma Greenwell) and since she is from the East Coast, there is a lot they can share. Sean has had a very tragic past and has found peace in the movement. Now, a show about people who find peace and stay at peace wouldn’t be very interesting, so his perspective definitely gets challenged as the show progresses.
What is your absolute dream role?
I’m not much of a dreamer these days, besides dreaming about the Mets winning the world series.
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Paul James Discusses the New Hulu Series ‘The Path’: Photographed by Catie Laffoon