Apr 25 2020

Alex russell swat

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Playing the hero is becoming a habit for rising Hollywood star Alex Russell.

Alex Russell has left his “chubby” boy past behind to be typecast as a screen hero

Playing the hero is becoming a habit for rising Hollywood star Alex Russell.

The Brisbane-born Alex is on the big screen now playing hopeful rescuer of Daniel Radcliffe in the film Jungle. He’ll return to cinemas later this month, as an elite firefighter alongside Josh Brolin in Only the Brave. And in January, he’ll make his TV debut as a cop in the major series S.W.A.T., on Foxtel’s FOX8.

It’s a long way from his days as a “chubby’’ 10-year-old who was often teased at school.

“I had this fluffy, woolly hair, I was this fat kid with glasses and braces so I was teased, mostly for being chubby,’’ Alex, 29, says. “Now when I look back on it I laugh, I probably would have teased myself. It’s funny how my life has worked out.’’

[L-R] Alex Russell as Kevin Gale, Daniel Radcliffe as Yossi Ghinsberg and Joel Jackson as Marcus Stamm in the thriller “JUNGLE” a Momentum Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Momentum Pictures.

Los Angeles-based Alex was excited to come home to Queensland last year to play American photographer Kevin Gale, alongside Daniel Radcliffe, in the survival film Jungle.

“Daniel is an awesome person and he is an awesome actor and artist. I respect him as an artist. Ever since Harry Potter he has had this focus that he wanted to expand himself and challenge himself and break the boundaries,’’ Alex says.

Jungle, based on Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir, covers the real-life events of 1981 when Yossi (played by Daniel), Kevin, Swiss friend Marcus Stamm (Joel Jackson) and mysterious Austrian guide Karl Ruchprecter (Thomas Kretschmann) set off to find a lost Indian tribe in the Amazon jungle. Alex spent several weeks filming in the jungle river networks and villages in Colombia, South America. But most of the jungle scenes were shot around Mt Tamborine in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Actor Alex Russell and girlfriend Diana Hopper. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)

“It’s funny because you go out to South America to shoot jungle but the Australian jungle looks more jungle than the jungle we were meant to portray,’’ Alex says.

A Yatala warehouse, south of Brisbane, served as the makeshift home of Yossi’s family.

In Jungle, when things don’t go to plan, Marcus and Karl try to return on foot, while Kevin and Yossi go on a raft down the Tuichi River until the two are separated. Kevin leads the rescue mission to save Yossi.

“Kevin is a real-life American hero who acted on his conviction that Yossi was still alive, which is so inspiring to me,’’ Alex says.

In Only the Brave , Alex plays the role of real-life firefighting hero Andrew Ashcraft.

“There is definitely an added sense of responsibility you carry when you are playing someone real and I felt that with Kevin and with portraying Andrew.’’

Only The Brave depicts the courageous efforts of an elite crew of firefighters who battle a deadly wildfire in Arizona in 2013.

Andrew Ashcraft (Alex Russell) in Columbia Pictures’ ONLY THE BRAVE.

Alex is now based in Los Angeles, where he lives with long-time glamorous girlfriend and actor Diana Hopper (Goliath). There, he’s filming the big-budget S.W.A.T. – his biggest American gig yet. He plays rebel police officer Jim Street.

Rockhampton-raised Alex, who features in Angelina Jolie’s movie Unbroken and Ivan Sen’s film Goldstone, says he would not have become successful if not for the support and faith of his parents Andrew and Frances who “brainwashed me with positivity’’.

“I attribute everything to my parents. My mother always believed that when I left school I would become an actor and go to NIDA and that’s what I did,’’ he says.

Jungle is in cinemas now. Only the Brave will screen from Nov 30 and S.W.A.T will be showing on FOX8 from Jan 2018.

Actor Alex Russell. Picture Craig Greenhill


Alex russell swat


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