You probably know Paul Blackthorne from one of his many acting roles. He currently stars on the CW’s hit show, Arrow, as Quentin Lance. He’s also had high profile roles on The Dresden Files, The River, Lipstick Jungle, and many more. What you may not know is that he’s also a director.
In the midst of the economic downturn throughout the United States, Blackthorne set out to find out how average, every day folks were handing the crisis. The result of his cross-country road trip was the documentary, This American Journey.
I recently spoke to Paul Blackthorne about Arrow and also about This American Journey, which was released this week on Hulu. Check out my interview with him and then jump on over to Hulu to watch this inspiring documentary.
On your journey, what type of questions did you ask people?
We spoke to Americans about how they felt about the state of America and how they felt about the future of America. And, really, what is it in our lives that makes us happy in terms of how we go about living our lives. It was interesting getting the insight of every day folks on the street as to how they felt the best way for us to basically live for ourselves and for each other.
Where the country goes from here. What the country learns from the economic down times and moves on in a positive future. And, we had some wonderful and inspiring people that we spoke with that ultimately painted a positive picture of where America’s at.
Was there anything that surprised you in the responses?
The one thing that was really apparent for us was that despite where people seemingly come from, what they’re wearing, who you think they might be, you could never really judge a book by its cover, you know.
As much as we tend to think people are very different in different places in different parts of the country, we really discovered that we absolutely have much more in common than we have different. And, we’re all in this together and we all realize that money, big houses, cars and the such, isn’t necessarily the road to happiness. There’s something more to happiness than those material things.
It was interesting hearing the people of America talking in that fashion, especially since the American Dream is going through a bit of a tough time at the moment. It’s interesting hearing people talk about what it is in life that truly makes us happy. That being community, family, each other and basically focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
Since you’re from England, what inspired you to do this project about Americans?
I love America. I always have since I was a kid. I’ve been fortunate enough to live here for the last 11 years, but a few years ago I was wondering really myself where the country was at. I was having doubts about it myself given that it was going through these tough times and the pursuit of the American Dream had really kind of brought it to its knees. I was wondering how I felt about the country and decided that I only spend most of my time in New York or LA on the coasts there.
I wanted to speak to the people in the middle of America and really get to know the biggest part of America – the middle part – and see how they feel about where the country’s at. And, then I’d have a much more informed opinion as to how I felt about America. Then I’d have seen the main part of America.
So that’s what I did. I got in a car with a friend of mine and we drove across America from New York to Los Angeles. We spent a month doing it and we got to know America. And, having done that, by the time we get to the end, of course it was like “You know what the country may be in a mess, but the spirit of the American people will get this country through it.”
And, the inspiring and uplifting people that we met basically made us feel a whole lot more positive about America. We drove through the heartland of America and met the folks out there. It was very inspiring and uplifting. I’m as much in love with the country now as I was when I was a kid.
“This American Journey” is now available on Hulu.
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(Image courtesy of the CW.)