HIT THE GROUND RUN­NING

Queens­lan­der Alex Rus­sell’s ma­jor TV de­but sees him play a young cop with an uncer­tain fu­ture in the ac­tion-packed US drama S.W.A.T.

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SEANNA CRONIN

Run­ning straight into on­com­ing gun­fire isn’t ad­vis­able, but it’s cer­tainly one way to make an en­trance. Alex Rus­sell an­swers the call to pro­tect, serve and en­ter­tain in the new Amer­i­can cop drama S. W. A. T.

The Queens­land act­ing ex­port sees his fair share of ac­tion in the se­ries, in­spired by the 1970s tele­vi­sion se­ries and the 2003 fea­ture film of the same name.

He stars op­po­site She­mar Moore who plays Daniel “Hondo” Har­rel­son, a lo­cally born and bred S.W.A.T. lieu­tenant who is torn be­tween loy­alty to the streets and duty to his fel­low of­fi­cers.

It’s the Bris­bane-born, Rock­hamp­ton-raised actor’s TV de­but and big­gest role to date after his break­through in the 2012 sci-fi film Chron­i­cle.

“We’re film­ing at the mo­ment and it’s in­cred­i­ble,” he says. “It’s more ac­tion­packed than any net­work show that I can re­mem­ber, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­tain­ing heart and hu­mour and com­plex­ity.”

Join­ing the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment’s elite S.W.A.T. unit – the “last stop for solv­ing crimes” – is a bap­tism of fire for Alex’s char­ac­ter Jim Street.

The new re­cruit doesn’t make the best first im­pres­sion, speed­ing on his mo­tor­cy­cle and still show­ing up late to work. Then on his first as­sign­ment, he breaks pro­to­col in pur­suit of a sus­pect who gets away.

Out­go­ing S.W.A.T. leader Wil­liam “Buck” Spivey saw po­ten­tial in the cocky street cop with a trou­ble­some past, but it’s up to new boss Hondo to turn Jim into a team player.

“I look at the show and what we’ve shot so far and I feel proud,” Alex says.

“It deals with real-life prob­lems and real is­sues we’re fac­ing in so­ci­ety to­day.

“It’s some­thing ef­fort­lessly cur­rent while still be­ing en­ter­tain­ing, which is a rare and re­ward­ing com­bi­na­tion. It’s re­ally fun.”

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s re­cent wild­fires tem­po­rar­ily halted pro­duc­tion on the show, as well as HBO drama West­world. Co­in­ci­den­tally, Alex re­cently por­trayed a hot­shot fire­fighter in the film Only The Brave.

It’s back to busi­ness as usual now, with US net­work CBS order­ing a full 20-episode sea­son fol­low­ing the re­cep­tion of director and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Justin Lin’s ac­tion­packed pi­lot episode.

Star­ring in a ma­jor Amer­i­can TV se­ries seen by more than six mil­lion view­ers each week is a dream come true for Alex, but it’s the re­cep­tion back home that he’s ea­gerly await­ing.

“I’m ob­vi­ously re­ally most cer­tainly not be a low-key evening. Book on 5588 4000. It seems the Gold Coast Bul­letin’s Regina King has opened a can of worms with a Face­book com­ment about wardrobe when go­ing to the the­atre. Many peo­ple on the Coast will heartily agree – why pay in ex­cess of $100 to go to QPAC or else­where to see a show, and dress as if you’re go­ing to clean out the garage? Let’s hope stan­dards im­prove in the fu­ture – not Royal Gar­den Party stuff, just ap­pro­pri­ate and neat, clean gear. Yours truly has joined the cast in a teeny weeny part for spot­light’s Oliver open­ing early Fe­bru­ary. I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with wun­derkind An­drew Cock­roft Pen­man in ex­cited for it to air in Aus­tralia,” he says. “Mum is ready.” pre­mieres on Fox8 on Sun­day at 7.30pm this block­buster mu­si­cal. The cast is 45-strong, which should en­sure many sold-out houses – we hear there are four full ones al­ready. Get your tick­ets by call­ing 5539 4255. I ran into ex-Gold Coast dance teacher Greta Brins­ley. She’s now work­ing from Perth as dance ad­ju­di­ca­tor and trav­el­ling all over the world. Well done, Greta! Cur­rently in re­hearsal are GCLT’s Bar­maids, Spot­light The­atre’s Oliver, Javeen­bah The­atre’s When the Rain Stops Fall­ing, Tu­gun The­atre’s Old Ac­tors Never Die, Bal­lina Play­ers’ The Lit­tle Mer­maid, Tweed’s Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and NAPA’s Spring Awak­en­ing. See you in a crowded foyer real soon!

Queens­land act­ing ex­port Alex Rus­sell can’t wait to see what Aussie au­di­ences make of his new ac­tion TV se­ries S.W.A.T.

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