Only the Brave: Australian actor Alex Russell talks new movie

Alex Russell in Only the Brave.
Alex Russell in Only the Brave.

AUSTRALIAN actor Alex Russell is in surprisingly good spirits despite recently being involved in a road bingle.

Speaking to Community News while taking an Uber to his LA home after a long day filming his latest project, the NIDA graduate said he had been without his own vehicle for a couple of days.

“My car is in the shop; someone rear-ended me the other day,” he said.

“It was not serious, just enough to inconvenience me; (the guy that hit me) was the nicest guy, he was so sweet, I could not have asked for a nicer guy to be rear-ended by.

“He owned it straight away and apologised, so I couldn’t be upset with him.”

After capturing Hollywood’s attention with his performance in 2010’s Wasted on the Young, the Brisbane born actor appeared in surprise hit Chronicle, the 2013 Carrie remake and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken.

But perusing his filmography, there are two notable titles missing: he never appeared in local soapies Home & Away or Neighbours, the launching pad for fellow Aussie superstars Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth and Heath Ledger, to name a few.

“That was just pure luck,” he said.

“People ask me over here all the time if I was on those shows but they mess the name up, like they will ask me if I was on Far and Away, and I say ‘no I wasn’t on that show or the two others that actually exist’.

“I do have a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) about not being on those shows. I feel like it is a rite of passage.”

In his latest film, Only The Brave, Russell portrays family man Andrew Ashcraft, one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew of firefighters who fought the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013.

After braving the South American wilderness while filming Jungle, Russell faced a new set of challenges for Only The Brave dealing with real fire and scorching heat.

“Different sets offer different challenges,” he said.

“I am always wary about being a wimpy actor; we get a glimpse of the situation but at the end of the day we are actors and after a 12-hour day we go home or back to the hotel and have a drink and read our lines.

“The Hotshots stay on the line and camp there and do it the next day and the next day.

“What we did, the challenge was a fraction of what those guys do.”

Russell said the cast bonded with the real family and friends of the people they portrayed.

“We met their friends and family; we shot in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico, and they came to visit us, answered our questions and offered their opinions and feedback, showed us pictures and let us listen to voicemails,” he said.

“I am still in contact with Andrew Ashcraft’s mother Deborah. We still text each other every Monday.

“She is a strong woman and reminds me of my own mum.”

Just weeks away from his 30th birthday on December 11, Russell said the older he became, the more he appreciated his time being alive.

“The older I get, as the days roll into weeks and months and years, I find myself sobered by life’s swiftness and fragility and I think Only The Brave exemplifies that,” he said.

“It smacks some sense into me not to sweat the small stuff.”

Only the Brave is in cinemas November 30.

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