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.
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.