Newsmakers: Elon professor, screenwriter of ‘August Rush’ Paul Castro

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Paul Castro’s life has many layers: triathlete, U.S. Navy officer, suicide prevention counselor, screenwriter, director, university professor and that’s just to name a few. In fact, it’s been a while since I've come across a person with such a multifaceted life.

I met Paul when he started doing movie reviews in our studio every Friday afternoon during the FOX8 4:00 p.m. Newscast. I remember watching him for the first time and thinking, “This guy knows what he’s talking about. He obviously knows what it takes to make a movie.” His criticism had more depth than any I had seen on local television.

Then I learned he’s an associate professor of communications at Elon University teaching classes like “Producing for the Screen,” “Screenwriting” and “Producing Narrative Cinema,” among others.

After the tragic death of Robin Williams, our 4:00 p.m. newscast producer asked Paul to come in to talk about suicide (given the fact he spent seven years as a volunteer counselor at the Suicide Prevention Center of Los Angeles -- something he started doing after a close friend of his took his own life).

During that interview, Paul mentioned he had written the original screenplay for the Warner Brothers Picture “August Rush,” which debuted in 2007. Paul wrote it while a student at UCLA, but the script sat for two or three years and was re-written many times before Robin Williams signed on to play the character Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace. Then, everything -- as Paul likes to say -- “came together.”

But there’s a lot more to know about Paul than “August Rush.” Be sure to watch the video that accompanies this story. Among other things, you’ll see how Sept. 11, 2001 marked a big turning point in his life. You’ll also hear about the close friendships he’s developed with famous people like Shirley MacLaine and Joe Manganiello.

When I asked Paul about his life mission, here’s what he said:

“My whole mission besides raising my daughter the best way I possibly can is adding tremendous value to my students and putting them in the best possible position to succeed in the entertainment industry, coupled with creating my own work that’s going to influence the masses positively in the entertainment industry.”

Be sure to watch Paul every Friday on the 4:00 p.m. News for “FOX8 Flicks.”

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