British actor Robson Green: A romantic at heart
() - September 5, 2006 - 12:00am
Robson Green is the type of guy you’d like to get to know more after chatting with him for just a few minutes. This I found out after I wrapped up the 15-minute phoner Hallmark Channel arranged with him.

The 41-year-old star of many a celebrated TV drama and stage play and the voice behind hit songs in the UK may be way up there. But he doesn’t show it.

When he found out I was having trouble with the speaker phone I was using, Green didn’t wait to be asked. He promised to speak "slooowly."

And when he did, Green’s replies showed a mind and a heart that thinks, not only of himself but of others.

The star of Hallmark’s Rocketman has many things in common with George, the rocket scientist he plays in the family drama. Like George, who builds a rocket in his garden shed when people think it’s a waste of time, Green is a dreamer.

"I’m ambitious. I try to live my dreams, and I’m romantic at heart. That’s how my character in Rocketman is. He’s not scared of adventure. He aspires for better things," Green says.

Aspiring for better things has become a habit for this man who has been an actor for 21 years in his native England. His first job, that of a draftsman at the Shipbuilders, Swan Hunter, didn’t exactly augur well for an acting career.

Somehow, someway, he forayed into theater, a big thing, especially in the birthplace of Shakespeare. Green trained at the Live Theater in Newcastle and acted in several plays staged at the Shaw Theatre.

But it was television that made him. Green proved so unforgettable as a hospital porter Jimmy in the BBC drama series Casualty, people started to sit up and notice. An avalanche of TV series and various roles followed in quick succession.

Recording came purely by accident. Green met Jerome Flynn, who was to be his singing partner on his way to work for the TV series Soldier, Soldier.

Since then, the two achieved three No. 1 hits: Unchained Melody, which spent seven weeks on top of the charts, I Believe/Up on the Roof (four weeks at No.1) and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted/Saturday Night at the Movies (No. 1 for two weeks).

Their music videos did just as well, attracting advance orders.

The success enabled Green to put up his own production firm. Coastal Productions produces and co-produces Green’s TV work and movies as well.

More than the business profits he gets, Green is proud of how it has given work to actors who may otherwise be jobless. In the UK, that means a whopping unemployment rate of 82 percent for actors.

"I’m a socialist at heart. A lot of actors don’t have work or the infrastructure to get involved in work. I invest in trying to formulate the structure," he says.

Always, that structure must consist of projects with good storylines.

"Good storytelling will always succeed. I grew up with good stories," he says with pride.

So he reads the script. Is it intelligent? Does it appeal to what he believes in? Does it leave him with a sense of hope? More importantly, does he care about the characters in the story?

These are the questions Green asks himself. If the answer is yes, he takes the project to the next level. As an actor, Green meets up with the director and producer. As a producer himself, Green gives the go-signal for the wheels of production to start turning.

Wire in the Blood
, another Hallmark Channel series that will be shown soon, is a case in point. Green saw something universal in the story based on three best-selling crime novels.

As clinical psychologist Tony Hill, Green showed that "we only see evil people when they are in front of the newspaper." But we don’t realize, he continues, that "any act of trauma will have consequences."

He cites an example. "If you kill a boy’s parents, or if you kill a mother’s son or daughter, don’t be surprised if they seek revenge on you."

And don’t think the tragedy can happen only to your neighbor, Green warns. It can happen to you.

As Wire in the Blood and Green show us, it’s still people who matter at the end of the day.

That’s why he’d rather invest on people, not things. "Whether it’s nurturing a talent or encouraging an individual, the rewards will always come back," he assures you.

The guy is not only a good actor with educational pedigree (he has an honorary degree as Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Northumbria). He also has a good heart.

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