Alex Russell in Cut Snake

Entering the final week of shooting crime thriller Cut Snake, Alex Russell is tired and emotionally drained but happy to be working with Sullivan Stapleton, Jessica De Gouw and director Tony Ayres.

The Aussie actor will need to find new sources of energy because he wraps Cut Snake in Melbourne on December 13 and flies out early the next morning to Tamworth to work in Angelina Jolie’s drama Unbroken.

He ought to find plenty of inspiration from collaborating with Jolie, who emailed him after he got the part and asked him to send her any questions he had about his character. During a break in shooting Cut Snake he spent a day filming scenes with Jolie, whom he describes as “very open and encouraging; she is a team player and very passionate about the material.”

In Matchbox’s Cut Snake he plays Sparra Farrell, a young guy who, after serving a prison term, moves to a new city intending to start a new life and hooks up with the beautiful Paula (De Gouw). Stapleton is brutal ex-crim Pommie, who tracks down Sparra and tries to lure him back into a life of crime.

Like Jess, Russell describes the set as very calm, a stark contrast to the narrative which is “erratic and crazy.” He tells IF on the line from Melbourne, “I am a bit drained emotionally, it’s been tiring. Emotions run high, the stakes are high and the emotions are very raw. But the rewards are ten-fold because we realise we are doing justice to an amazing story (scripted by Blake Ayshford).”

Also in common with Jess, Russell has found Ayres to be a “very soothing, nurturing and supportive director.”

In Unbroken, which is based on a true story, Russell plays Pete, the older brother of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), who was a member of the US athletics team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Serving with the US Air Force in WWII, Louis survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean and after 47 days on a life raft was interned in a Japanese prison camp. Pete encouraged Louis, a troubled teenager, to try out for the school’s track team after seeing how fast he ran from the cops.

United Management’s Natasha Harrison represents Russell in Australia. Hel starred in the Carrie remake after roles in The Host, Bait and Chronicle.
Earlier this year he appeared in Will Bakke’s US indie dramedy Believe Me, shot in Austin Texas, as a guy who takes part in a scam to con Christian groups.

He’s developing several projects that he wants to produce including Raker, based on a short film directed by Aussie Ande Cunningham, in which he plays a journalist in a Dystopian world where journos who don’t tell the truth are executed.

He directed a short film, Love and Dating in LA, the saga of a serial killer who looks for love in the city of angels, which screened at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival.

Alex is he’s keen to direct again but he acknowledges, “I don’t know how people can direct and act at the same time.”

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