On an unseasonably warm day in Brooklyn, we visited with Paul Blackthorne, star of ABC’s newest series, The River. Seeing as the show is set in the humid Amazon and Blackthorne plays the oft-sweaty film producer tasked with documenting the rescue mission of a wildlife explorer, the day’s weather could not be more fitting.
You spent most of your childhood as an army brat in the UK and Germany. What was that like?
PAUL BLACKTHORNE: It was a textbook childhood. That of an only child of divorced parents desperately seeking approval [laughs]. Seriously, I saw the world through the eyes of an ‘army brat’ and I honestly have very fond memories of my time in both the UK and Germany.
You were great as Captain Andrew Russell in Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India. What was it like being in a Bollywood movie and learning Hindi?
PB: At first, I wasn’t sure what do to with the offer and I was constantly questioning if I should commit to the project. My friends looked at me like I was nuts. In the end, it was a terrific script and an amazing journey through India. I also had the opportunity to learn to play cricket, badly, and learn Hindi, even more poorly.
The River has a paranormal edge to it. Can you tell us more about the plot?
PB: This is a group of ordinary people asked to accomplish the extraordinary. Not only do we need to find a ‘needle in a haystack,’ but we also suddenly have to deal with things beyond the realm of normal. This show truly is a paranormal adventure with more than its fair share of scary moments.
What is the biggest misconception about you?
PB: I am not sure if this is a misconception, but many people don’t realize I also have a love for photography. Well, to be honest, I enjoy taking photographs and I will let the masses decide if I am truly any good at it. I’m a bit of an oddball who plays cricket badly, speaks a dash of Hindi, and I have some of my best conversations with my dog.