An Exclusive Interview with Billy Campbell

Check out our exclusive interview with the star of Disney’s 1991 movie The Rocketeer, Billy Campbell. Billy was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia and still returns to the area to visit friends and family. In his words, Billy’s “dream of becoming a professional actor” came true with the lead role of Cliff Secord in The Rocketeer. Join us this Sunday, February 17 at 2:00 PM for Paramount at the Movies Presents: Disney’s The Rocketeer. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets now.

Continue reading to learn more about Billy Campbell’s experience shooting The Rocketeer.

“In the years before I left Charlottesville for Chicago, I had a ‘job’ at the cinema which used to be next to Kmart on Hydraulic Road (right behind what is now Whole Foods) painting posters for upcoming movies on their big picture windows. I was in love with films, obsessed. I frequented the place enough that I’d become friendly with management and so I struck a deal: all the movies I wanted in exchange for my tempera-painted ‘masterpieces’ on their windows (I recall the one for Disney’s Black Hole being a particular mess).

Filming The Rocketeer was, as you may imagine, the stuff dreams are made of for…[someone] who never dared dream a move to Hollywood would amount to much. But there I was, the lead in my first film, which itself was a love letter to the great, old dreamy days of cinema —matinee idols dashing across the silver screen— doing most of my own stunt work […].

I can’t really say which of the scenes was my favorite to shoot. The whole film was a kind of honeyed bliss for me. Every scene was a first of its kind; every actor perfectly cast and a joy (or at least fascinating) to work with. So much happiness, so many fun scenes. One in particular, though, no less fun and more frightening: Joe wanted to know, before we started filming, if I’d go up in a plane to do the opening air-show sequence. It may add to your enjoyment of the film to know that, at the time, I was deathly afraid of flying. But, of course I agreed, if not eagerly.

Craig Hosking was our aerial stunt coordinator, one of the world’s best stunt pilots, and one of several working on the film. He and I flew in an open cockpit biplane, a two-seater, with everything rear of the forward cockpit tricked out to resemble the Geebee, Craig in the front with a mounted, rear-facing camera, piloting and shooting me at the same time. I was in the rear cockpit, unable, over the roar of the engine, to hear him on the one-way sewn into my helmet, and praying I’d remember when to operate the necessary controls (choke, tail-wheel lock, etc.), let alone do any acting. A couple days of this, some light (for him, though for me horrifying) aerobatics, and a few low level passes over the runway, about 5 feet off the ground at a couple hundred mph, and I haven’t been afraid of anything since. I even took up hang gliding.

I have so many memories: working with Alan Arkin and his wickedly dry sense of humor, and a gem of a human being as anyone who’s ever worked with him will attest; falling off the Zeppelin for real; practical jokes getting out of hand (never try to out-prank the stunt crew, you’ll end a long night of shooting with your vehicle wrapped in chain, padlocked, 40 miles from home); hanging out on set with Dave Stevens, who created and drew the brilliant original comic (thrilling for a kid who wanted, and still wants to draw comics); late nights at the hotel bar in Santa Maria, listening to stunt pilots laconically relate tales of vintage Mustangs folding up on them in mid-air, the kind of stories that go best with cold beer, which only washes loose more stories. I can report with some authority that when Peevy is about to fasten the Geebee’s canopy over his protégés head, tells him to ‘Be careful up there’, and receives the jaunty reply ‘Let’s make some history!’   …that Cliff, in that moment, is well and truly hungover as blazes.

Alan and I have been friends since, I’ve adored him from that day. We see each other on occasion, as often as work and life on different continents will allow. I was once, years after the film, being grilled by a customs agent at an airport in Arizona, when a distinctive voice called out from far enough away to be heard by seemingly everyone in the airport ‘Don’t believe a word he says, the kid’s a compulsive liar.’ Of course it was Alan.

We both spoke with Dave Stevens in his final days, we still miss him. Dave drew himself into his creation, he was the original Cliff, so it made sense that we bore more than a passing resemblance. We might have been brothers, and I know from him that he was deeply happy with the film. He was a talented artist and a kind, kind soul.

I’ve seen the movie a handful of times in the nearly 30 years since its release. It’s the kind of film that bears rewatching; a great one for your kids […]. For kids of all ages, really. It has a sort of sweet spirit that moves me every time I see it.

If you’re seeing it again…you likely feel the same way. If you’re seeing it for the first time, well then I hope you fall in love too.”

A Paramount Theater Exclusive Interview with National Geographic Live’s David Guttenfelder

Check out our exclusive interview with National Geographic Photographer, David Guttenfelder. Cuba, North Korea, and Iraq only name a few of the destinations David has traveled to take photos of intensely beautiful people and places. He joins us live on stage at The Paramount Friday, February 8th. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets now.

Keep reading for more about David’s travels and photos.

Q: According to your website, you have traveled to nearly 100 different countries around the world. Which country was your favorite and why?

A: “If it’s possible to choose a favorite country, I’d have to say mine is Tanzania. When I was a young University student (at that point I had never traveled anywhere outside of the United States), I spent a year as an exchange student in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Island studying Swahili language. I spent the most formative time of life among some of the most generous and energetic people I will ever know. During that year in east Africa, I learned how to step outside of my own culture and experience and the type of the tenacity and sacrifice required. It made me want to travel the world and become a photographer and storyteller.”

Q: Your photos are intensely beautiful and speak louder than words, but if you had to put one photograph into words, which photograph would it be and what would it say?

A: “She was wearing a fur-collared coat, standing at an opaque office window to stare at Pyongyang’s cold winter weather outside. Light fell on a tank of goldfish swimming around a seashell.”

“Most of us know very little about North Korea and its people. Part of the reason we know so little is that relatively few photographs have ever been made inside the otherwise-isolated country.”

“During my travels to North Korea, now nearly 40 times over the past 18 years, I’ve tried to photograph everything I could see around me. Important news, mass propaganda spectacles, the country’s leaders, the ordinary daily lives of people, ephemera, historical sites, landscapes and architecture, even my uneasy personal life there. Every photograph was one piece of a complicated, sometimes surreal or melancholy puzzle.”

“The most important photographs I made were of simple fleeting moments inside North Korean people’s offices or homes. These were rare chances to look into one another’s eyes. Despite all of the geopolitical tensions and hostilities, there are real people with real lives worthy of our understanding.”

Q: What do you have to do to mentally prepare for your journeys?

A: “I try to prepare to be completely open and to go deep, giving into everything around me while I’m traveling and photographing.  What that really means, is preparing to temporarily suspend your life back home.”

Q: How many photos do you have to take to get the one you want?

A: “Honestly, its always different. Sometimes I see a moment, react immediately, and shoot a single picture. Other times I may shoot hundreds, or even a few thousand pictures of a given situation or event. A National Geographic, we are required to submit every photo we shoot while on assignment for our editors to consider. Consequently, I might make, and submit 30,000 images to be distilled down to 20 for publication.”

Read our Fall Newsletter and Annual Report!

This year, The Paramount hosted 300 events, had 153 Active Volunteers, and more than 18,500 students and teachers participated in the education season.

We appreciate your support and hope to see you at a show this holiday season!

CLICK HERE to access the digital version of The Fall Newsletter. CLICK HERE to access the 2017-18 Annual Report.



A Paramount Theater Exclusive Interview with Hilaree Nelson








Check out our exclusive interview with the 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Hilaree Nelson. Hilaree has been on over 40 expeditions in the last 20 years. She joins us tomorrow, live on stage at The Paramount, for a story that will have you on the edge of your seat. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets now.

Continue reading for details on how Hilaree prepares for her expeditions, how she manages a family both at home and while away, and her favorite climbing adventures.

Q: Can you paint a picture of your climbing experiences in one sentence?

A: “My Career as an adventurer and climber has changed my worldview through rich experiences in culture, team dynamics, risk, and the emotional relationship with both success and failures in the mountains.”

Q: What climbing adventure was your favorite and why?

A: “I have many favorite climbs mostly because they are all so incredibly different. If I had to choose one it would likely be an expedition many years ago to the Isle of South Georgia due to the inclusion of extreme sailing and abundant wildlife. The remoteness was unique to any other trip I’ve ever done.”

Q: For all of the people who are not climbers, how do you physically and emotionally prepare for an adventure? Can you tell us about the physical and mental training?

A: “I’ve been on upwards of 40 expeditions over 18 years and each one requires a different preparation. Physically I do my best to train in the outdoors through long, aerobic adventure. I work hard at maintaining the technical skills needed to undertake these expeditions by rock climbing, ice climbing and just overall familiarizing myself with the equipment. Mental preparation is often the more challenging aspect of training for an expedition. It’s very difficult to prep for leaving my children but they are also a crucial part of my mental training in that they are always keeping me on my toes.”

Q: As a working parent, how do you and your family prepare for each adventure climb?

A: “Now that my boys are older, ages 9 and 11, I have fairly detailed conversations with them about the in’s and out’s of the expedition. They are much more independent and in that regard, the prep is less so than when they were younger. This ties in with the mental preparation because it goes hand in hand with planning the logistics of any adventure. A benefit of modern day climbing is that I can stay fairly well connected throughout any trip via satellite phone, internet modems, etc. This allows me to manage any problems at home in the present versus trying to have plan for everything in advance.”

One More Reason to See MARNIE…

Do you know who performed on stage December 17, 2004 for the Opening Night of The Paramount Theater’s 2004-05 Season? Mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves!

Imagine our delight while creating programs for Saturday’s Met Live in HD broadcast of Marnie, when we discovered Denyce Graves will be playing Marnie’s mother in the Live in HD Broadcast

This discovery sent us digging through our archives. Look at the treasure we found- the program from Denyce Graves’s 2004 performance at The Paramount!

Consider joining us tomorrow, Saturday, November 10 at 12:55PM for the Met Live in HD series continuation on The Paramount’s big screen with Nico Muhly’s new production MarnieCLICK HERE for tickets!






Following the Manhattan Short Film Festival at The Paramount’s screening, Paramount patrons cast their vote for the best overall film and actor. The Paramount audience voted Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times written and directed by Marcus Marcou (UK) as Best Movie, and Felix Grenier from the film Fauve, directed by Jérémy Comte (Canada) as Best Actor.

It just so happens that The Paramount’s audience vote aligned perfectly with the international festival’s winners! Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times was this year’s Gold Medal winner, and Felix Grenier from the film Fauve was this year’s Gold Medal winner for Best Actor! Congratulations to the winners. We can’t wait for the return of the Manhattan Film Festival next year!






Come see “Roseberry’s Charlottesville” at CitySpace Art Gallery on August 3!

Looking for plans before the David Cross – Oh Come On tour tonight? Look no further! Come to CitySpace Art Gallery’s First Fridays from 5:30-7:30PM to see Roseberry’s Charlottesville. This exhibit showcases a selection of rarely seen images of Charlottesville from the collection of photographer Ed Roseberry. Come get a glimpse into the past and even see images of The Paramount Theater in its original state!

Photo by: Ed Roseberry

National Geographic 2018 Award Winners Include Joel Sartore and Hilaree Nelson

Photo By: Cory Richards

When National Geographic announced their annual award winners, we were thrilled to see that two of the National Geographic Live series presenters won! The National Geographic Society recognized Joel Sartore as the 2018 recipient of the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year Award. Ski Mountaineer, Hilaree Nelson, who will present at The Paramount Theater on November 14, was named one of National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurers of the Year. If you want to hear the stories responsible for her award first-hand, be sure to come to Paramount Presents: National Geographic Live – Hilaree Nelson, Point of No Return.

Read more about these award recipients here:


Joel Sartore is one step closer to photographing every living species currently residing in a zoo or wildlife sanctuary. He has recently captured a photo of a Pyrenean Desman, marking his  8,000th photo in the  National Geographic  Photo Ark; a collection of his images taken to shed light on animal conservation. This is also the collection of images he will share with us at The Paramount Theater this June!

You can learn more about Sartore’s story, and see his amazing photographs at The Paramount on Friday, June 22 for the opening night of our National Geographic Live Series. To purchase tickets please visit:

To learn more about the Pyrenean Desman Click Here.

To read more about Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark Click Here

The Paramount’s Online Store

Make your Paramount experience complete!

Shop The Paramount’s online store and bring the magic home.  From Paramount heat activated mugs to Tervis Tumblers, Land End Paramount Bags to your own Paramount Blade ornament, you can now shop the store online as well as in person at events. See the Online Store link for a complete listing of Paramount items.

*Photo credit: Thank you to the Monticello High School Photography Department.