Grayson Russell, an outspoken Christian who’s been an actor in Hollywood since childhood, said he was overcome with gratitude after learning he would be acting alongside Tom Hanks in the film "Greyhound.”
Hanks is the star and writer of the World War II action film that was inspired by real-life events. Joining Hanks on-screen is Russell, 22, who's already had a long career in Hollywood.
"I was 19 when we filmed it ["Greyhound”] and I just turned 22 a couple of months ago, so it's been a long time coming," the Alabama native told CBN in a recent interview.
Russell revealed that he was overcome with gratitude when he learned that he’d be working alongside the Academy Award-winning actor.
"I had just come home from college for Valentine's Day weekend, and I got the call that Friday, saying, 'We need you on Tuesday to be in Baton Rouge to begin boot camp for the Navy Marines for Greyhound and by the way, you'll be working with Tom Hanks for two months,'" Russell recalled.
“I just remember, I [was] just on all my knees, like, 'Oh my God, thank you so much,'” he said.
On the wall behind Russell during his interview was a framed art piece with the word "MasterPiece." The scripture Ephesians 2:10 was also written under the phrase which says: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Throughout his career, Russell has starred in several films such as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Space Warriors,” among others. He also starred in the movie “Talladega Nights,” a comedy that's not suitable for children and which Russell admitted that he felt uncomfortable being a part of.
"A lot of people don't realize that I got saved while filming 'Talladega Nights,' and as a 7 year old, brand new, just got saved [kid], I wasn't comfortable with it,” he explained.
“Neither was my family,” Russell continued. “We're going, 'OK, we know we're supposed to be here because this is too crazy of a situation to not be of God. How do we handle it?'”
Even as a child actor, Russell said he felt the need to express his discomfort to the movie’s director about some of his lines in the film.
“I very vividly remember going to Adam McKay, and I remember going up to him and saying, 'Mr. Adam, do we really have to say all this?’ And he sat me up and looked me in the eyes and said, 'You never have to do anything that you're not comfortable with.'"
According to “Greyhound” director Aaron Schneider, the protagonist of the film, Ernie Krause (Hanks), is also a man guided by his Christian faith amid the horrors of war.
“As soon as you bring a man of faith into a story as a hero, you're almost immediately confronting everything that a man of faith holds dear,” Schneider told The Christian Post in an exclusive interview.
“When thrust into war, a man of faith is going to inevitably confront the basic tenets of his own faith: The sanctity of life and thou shalt not kill; faith in his mission and himself; and holding to unbroken faith for yet another day. That's what storytelling is about; you take a hero's principles and everything he or she holds dear, and you throw the biggest possible thematic opposites at them,” he added.
Adapted from the 1955 novel The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester, “Greyhound” follows Krause, captain of a U.S. warship leading a convoy of 37 merchant and troop ships across the North Atlantic in February 1942. Russell plays a signalman who assists Krause in the five-day voyage where the captain must lead his convoy through a treacherous area of the ocean riddled with Nazi U-boats.
"Greyhound" is rated PG-13 and is streaming on AppleTV+.