Talent On Tap – Camille Mitchell Navigates Ships In the Night

If you watch films or good television then you’ve seen Camille Mitchells work. Award-winning actress and one of Canada’s golden-coast treasures, Camille was born in Santa Monica and her father is Hollywood icon Cameron Mitchell (The High Chaparral, How to Marry a Millionaire).  She was raised in Vancouver, Canada and studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. She has the charm of Disneyland, a heart the size of Texas, the acting prowess of Shakespeare and the fortitude of a soldier that keeps marching on! Yes, I just spoke with her and I’m still in awe. She is a legend that always raises the bar in terms of – generosity of her time and genuine goodness, I’m still buzzing from her positive energy.


From the Laboratory to The Outer Limits and into a Poltergeist, Camille Mitchells career spans decades and is filled with enough character roles to fill a resort. Smallville hired her as Sheriff Nancy for 5 years until iZombie took control. Van Helsing needed help killing monsters and Arrow needed backup. If you want star power and diversity, there is no other than this amazing mother… and wife.       


Camille joins Candace Cameron Bure in Hallmark’s Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Cold Feet and a Cold Case starting production on January 29, 2021 in Vancouver B.C. Directed by Martin Wood, production is set to begin on January 29, 2021 in Vancouver, B.C.  Aurora Teagarden Mysteries is the longest-running Signature Mysteries series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Camille also joins Jesse Metcalfe and Sarah Lind in Ships In the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery airing on the Hallmark Channel Saturday February 13 & 18, 2021 at 10:00 pm.  


As part of the Hallmark 2020 Christmas movie line up, Camille plays Martha Munro in A Glenbrooke Christmas alongside Amber Reeser and Antonio Cupo. If you still can’t get enough of Camille Mitchell, you can also catch her in the recurring role as Rosie, on Netflix’s dramedy, The Healing Powers of Dude. The eight-episode series is a new family-comedy series that centers on an 11-year-old Noah Ferris (newcomer Jace Chapman), who is struggling with a social anxiety disorder. His family adopts a high-energy emotional support dog, called Dude (voiced by Steve Zahn). 



If you are still hungry for more of Camille’s screen presence, she’s joined Katherine McNamara who stars as Mia Smoak, in the new Arrow spin-off pilot, Green Arrow and the Canaries. ‘Extremely busy’ doesn’t quite explain Camille’s schedule, so we went looking for a better explanation – and time… slowed down.      


HNM “Thanks again for talking to us, it’s always such a pleasure. You’ve been so busy in the last year and continue to stay busy.”

CAMILLE “I’ve really been so lucky. My brother used to say, ‘it’s an ill wind that blows no good’. Before Covid, I was booked to do Hallmark’s, Ships in the Night and then everything shut down March 13. I remember thinking that I won’t be working for a while… but then suddenly in July, the film industry started to get back on its feet and things started getting busy again, with masks and sanitizers in tow. It’s still very good; you arrive on set – they take your temperature right away, they ask you questions about any close proximity to people with Covid, etc. They give you extra masks and hand sanitizer, and you’re on your way.”


HNM “It must slow down/extend production time for shoots because of the extra protocols in place?”

CAMILLE “It does, one formula that they’re trying is putting less cast into a scene when in close proximity, so you can still maintain a safe distance. Once the cameras are rolling, the masks are off. I’m currently working with director Martin Wood on Aurora Teagarden series, which is a lot of fun. We have Marilu Henner, Candace Cameron Bure and Niall Matter plays my son. Martin is such a good director; he moves really fast and knows what he wants – he’s amazing.”


HNM “When you mention scenes with less cast, how does that translate onto the screen, does it seem different for the viewer?”

CAMILLE “That’s a good question. The directors are getting clever with the backgrounds. You might only have a couple extras, but they’re tightening the shots. I think it allows for more intensity in the scenes because there’s less people. I think it might also give the characters a little more richness because they’re trying to compound the information between a few talking heads in a scene as opposed to several. I also think it allows for more depth of character in a scene. In what I’ve watched, I haven’t noticed anything unusual that stands out.”


HNM “It sounds like the adjustments have been received quite well?”

CAMILLE “When you go in for hair and wardrobe, they have each area separated by clear acrylic curtains. There is only you and the person working on your hair and make-up inside there. They’ve also given us face shields, if you don’t want to mess up your make-up from wearing a mask. The crew has been incredible, on every production – they’ve been so considerate with wearing masks and reassuring us before every scene that we’re all good, we’re all safe and wearing the protection. It can get pretty hot and uncomfortable on set and they are real troopers.”


Camille continued to tell me, last July – Victoria, BC was the film capitol of the world, because there weren’t any productions happening anywhere else; LA was shut down, New York, Toronto, London and everywhere else. There’s a certain amount of pride in that and they want to ensure that productions don’t go away. They don’t want to risk anything and have as many covid-free productions as they can, so the industry stays here.”


HNM “Has there been any changes to rehearsals/table reads?”

CAMILLE “We wear our masks in rehearsals. As I mentioned earlier, I’m working with the very lovely Niall Matter, who plays my son – and suddenly I’m aware of the importance of asking… can I touch you here… do you mind if I touch your arm, because of the COVID factor. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t have to consider that, when doing a scene between a mother and her son – you wouldn’t have to ask permission.” 


HNM “That production was suppose to start on Jan. 29th. Did it start shooting on schedule?”            

CAMILLE “Yes, it did. I got to go to a real wedding but make-believe, between Aurora (Candace Cameron Bure) and Nick, played by Niall. Marilu Henner plays Candace’s mom and I play Nick’s mom. It’s been really fun and we’re still filming. This week we were in Abbotsford and next week we’re going to be in Squamish to finish it. It will be airing in the US on June 14 but I’m not sure about the Canadian premiere.”


HNM “Do you have any great stories from the production or are you allowed to talk about that stuff?”

CAMILLE “This is actually the 16th film in the Aurora Teagan Garden series, so I’m the new kid on the block. They’ve been absolutely lovely and very welcoming, but I’ve been finding my way through the relationships, the characters, the backstories and as the new kid, they couldn’t make me feel more welcome.”


HNM “Considering that you play a mother in-law in the movie, are you a mother in-law in real life?”

CAMILLE “Not yet, but he’s certainly been with his lovely girlfriend for 5 years, so who knows.”


HNM “Did you find this role somewhat relatable?”

CAMILLE “I have, exactly. My son is Charlie Mitchell and he’s a writer/director that’s been working in film production for the last 5 years. He was the assistant to the executive producer on Altered Carbon and was my date a couple years ago at The Leos. I wanted to mention, when we were filming in Abbotsford, one of the locations we used for the restaurant scene, where my character meets the brides’ family for the first time was a candy store. It was such a charming place, called The Village Store – OMG, if you ever go to Abbotsford… it’s a candy store that’s been making candy for over 100 years. They have absolutely everything and it was still operating as we were setting up in the restaurant – we were all drooling. They had these giant jawbreakers, chocolate bars I haven’t seen since I was a kid, there were even different candies from England. When they were setting up the lighting, a lot of us were looking at it all and deciding what to buy after shooting. If you go to Abbotsford, you really have to check it out, it’s absolutely fabulous.”



HNM “You are also in another Martha Vineyard Mystery film with Jesse Metcalfe and Sarah Lind, airing on the Hallmark Network Feb. 13 and the 18th, called Ships in the Night. You play Lila in this story, how did you become involved in that movie?”    

CAMILLE “That was an audition I did before Covid shut everything down. We were supposed to start in March or April but we got shut down and I thought it would just disappear. It was such a lovely part but everything was shutting down and I didn’t know how they were going to catch up on all the projects. It has Jesse Metcalfe from Desperate Housewives – he played Eva Longoria’s garden, a young romance. He’s a wonderful and charming actor. The last time I worked with Sarah Lind was on Smallville and she killed me on that show. She played my deputy, so when I saw her on set the first day – I said, ‘hey Sarah, I haven’t seen you since you shot me’(laughing). She’s such a wonderful person and it was such a beautiful location; we were shooting in Victoria and the ‘circus’ was overlooking Oak Bay, it was such a pleasure driving to work each day. I play the owner of the Winchester Art Gallery and several of my pieces are in big demand and even killed for. There’s a murder that happens and I’m one of the suspects, as are several other people. It unfolds from there, I wish I could tell you more.”


HNM “I see your dog Ginger and read that she’s a rescue from LA. That’s so wonderful that you gave her a better home.”

CAMILLE “Yes, my son adopted a rescue 11 years ago and it was such an eye-opener. Up until that point, we’ve never taken in a rescue dog before… but this dog was so wonderful that we decided, it’s the only dog we’ll get from now on. In LA it was so heartbreaking, there are thousands of them.”   


HNM “I’ve never asked an actor this… but when you’ve been in a movie that’s coming out, do you watch it in advance of the network premiere or wait for the family, to watch it together?”   

CAMILLE “I prefer to watch it with my family and like a lot of actors, I don’t like to watch myself – my family members always tell me I’m too hard on myself. I always think I look a thousand years old, it’s the worst acting ever and I’ll never work again. I don’t know any actors that like to see themselves… I really don’t. It’s like the first time you hear yourself on a tape recorder – you don’t believe it’s you, it can’t be my voice. It has echoes of that, that haunt us for the rest of our lives (laughing).”   


HNM “You’ve been in so many recent productions, I also wanted to ask about another Hallmark 2020 Christmas movie, where you play Martha Munro, in A Glenbrooke Christmas – alongside Amber Reeser and Antonio Cupo. What is your character like in that story?”

CAMILLE “I play the loyal ‘head of staff’ for a family. I’m sort of the mother figure – her mother died a long time ago and she lives with her grandfather and I’m a big part of her family life. Every time you see me, I’m either in the kitchen or I’m serving for a party; I’m definitely a working girl on this one. It’s not part of a series, it’s a movie of the week (MOW) and it was shot in a beautiful home. Hallmark has a certain sweetness to all their projects and it’s a lovely piece. The female character played by Autumn Reeser, wants to live in the house where she grew up and she finds out that it’s for rent. She goes back to find herself after living a very high-powered life in the big city. Beau Daniels plays the Grandfather – it’s a charming Christmas show, it has a lovely vibe to it.”


HNM “Have you worked with any of the cast before?”

CAMILLE “No, I haven’t but one of the highlights of this year was working with my son. He produced a really interesting short film, called The Architect’s Dream, directed by Francesco Papetti. It was the first time I’ve worked with my son in that capacity and it was so much fun. In honesty though, all the shoots I’ve done this year, aside from Sarah Lind in Martha’s Vineyard, have all been new people, new directors, it’s been great and very exciting. You always learn new things, working with new people, it’s been fun. My son’s film is in post-production right now and was shot at the Wow House in N. Vancouver, it’s an Arthur Erickson gem. I play the architect that makes a pact for her soul. It has a slight supernatural vibe to it and I think it’s an excellent short film. It was such a pleasure to work with my son, Charlie Mitchell too, as the producer. It was fun having him asking me what I wanted for lunch (laughing). He’s also an amazing director and I always ask him to help me with my self-tapes because he’s so intuitive and so insightful – I’m so proud of him.” 


HNM “On top of everything else you’re working on, you’re also in a recurring role as Rosie on Netflix’s dramedy, The Healing Powers of Dude. Was that filmed in Vancouver?”

CAMILLE “We filmed it in North Vancouver, it was so much fun. I play the doting outspoken coffee shop owner and is young Noah’s (Jace Chapman) grandmother that absolutely adores him. He’s a young boy that suffers from social anxiety, so the family gets him a dog (Dude). The dog talks to the audience and to Noah – it’s hysterically funny. It’s a really lovely show.”  


HNM “Have you ever acted with dogs in the past?”

CAMILLE “No, and they tell you to never act with dogs or children (laughing). You’ll get upstaged every time, which is so true but so worth it. The dog that they use is actually a rescue dog that had been trained to be an acting dog. This dog was amazing and it was incredible to watch it. It was completely locked in with the trainer and was just magical.”


HNM “Having worked with so many tremendously talented actors throughout your amazing career, is there someone that you’ve worked with that you will never forget?”

CAMILLE “I’ve been so lucky to work with so many wonderful people… I have a story but it’s not a working story, it’s about Kurt Russel. One of the very first shows he did was on High Chaparral, with my father Cameron Mitchell. My father was sick in the hospital shortly before he passed away and I had been walking in LA. Kurt Russel had been watching his son play baseball at a park and I walked up to him to say hello. He asked how my dad was and I told him he was in the hospital. He asked which one, so I told him and he said that he would try to get up there to see him. I was thinking that he’s just being nice and was very sweet, but I knew he was a busy man. A couple of days later I was visiting my father and in walks Kurt Russel. My father was thrilled to see him and he stayed for hours. He was so generous with his time and his heart, he was so sincere and it was such a beautiful gesture and such a beautiful thing – my dad was moved to tears, he was so grateful to see him. A couple of months later, he passed away. In an industry like this, people mean well and say the right things but they don’t necessarily have the time to do them. I was so touched by it.”


An incredible story that most people have never heard. It really shows the human side, the personal side and friendships that last a lifetime within the industry – Amazing! Camille likes to use the analogy – soldiers in the trenches and explains, “You hope every film will be a joy to work on… but sometimes they’re not and you have to stick it out and sometimes you only have each other to rely on. If it’s bad, you’re the one that gets blamed but if it’s good, you get praise. You come to really respect your colleagues you work with in the profession, over the years. Nobody has it easy and it’s not always the highs, there’s low valleys and once and awhile you hit a mountain. I have the deepest respect for other actors because we all know what each other is going through – it really is like being soldiers together.” 


HNM “Last question… you have 50 miles to travel and 3 sources of transportation. You can drive a convertible, a boat or take a train – which one do you choose?”             

CAMILLE “(Laughing) Oh what a fun question. It’s got to be a boat, preferably a sailboat. I love being on the water and used to have an aluminum 18-footer. I had to sell it but it was a very fun boat to own.”


What a treat it is to chat with a star like Camille Mitchell. My headache is gone, my spirit is lifted, I feel in great shape (for some unexplained reason) and am totally inspired to keep smiling all day. Thank you, Camille… you are the genuine article! 


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