Alex Russell in ‘S.W.A.T.’
Playing a rebel cop in the first season of the CBS series S.W.A.T., Alex Russell’s character Jim Street was fiercely loyal to his mother Karen, who was in jail for the manslaughter of her abusive husband.
In season two, which is now shooting in Los Angeles and will screen here on Fox8, Karen (Sherilyn Fenn) is released and goes to live with her son, which causes more conflict with his boss, Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson (Shemar Moore), and the rest of the tight-knit squad.
“My character has to dig deep and ask some really tough questions. There is essentially a fork in the road and he is going to go one way or the other,” the actor tells IF on the line from his home in L.A.
Russell had been reluctant to make the long-term commitment required for a US series of 22 episodes but was persuaded by the showrunner/co-creator Shawn Ryan and by Justin Lin, who directed the pilot.
He will spend nine months shooting the second series of 24 episodes, observing: “It’s a lot of work but I am working with a great group of people so it kind of flies.”
He usually gets each script 10 days in advance – although they are subject to change – and learns his lines before each day’s shoot.
Currently on screen in Australia in Luke Shanahan’s psychological thriller Rabbit, Russell will return to Oz after S.W.A.T. wraps to play the co-lead in Sons of Salt, a crime drama from writer-director David O’Donnell, developed with the support of Screen Australia.
He will play an ex-con who is trying to go straight but has just 24 hours to save his pro-surfer younger brother (yet to be cast), whose own criminal habits are spiraling out of control.
In the meantime he has two US independent films due for release. In writer-director Michael Doneger’s Brampton’s Own he plays a retired minor league baseball player who at the age of 30 returns to his small hometown to find his old friends have started families, his ex-girlfriend is engaged and his mother is selling his childhood home and moving in with her new boyfriend.
Dark Star Pictures will launch the romantic drama in cinemas and on VOD on October 19. “It’s one of my favourite films, a $500,000 indie which looks like a $5 million indie, a great story with A-list performances from Jean Smart and John Getz,” he said.
In Christian Papierniak’s Izzy Gets The F*ck Across Town he plays Roger, the former boyfriend of Izzy (Mackenzie Davis), who tries to win him back at his engagement party. He had a lot of fun working with the cast including Brandon T. Jackson and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat.
After directing two short films he is keen to direct and write features, balanced with his acting career.