Photographer: Waldy Martens
Christopher Russell who stars in Syfy’s newest horror series DAY OF THE DEAD, streaming now The series is inspired by the zombie apocalyptic universe of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Although it’s not a reprisal role, Chris is eager to jump back into the world of the living dead after starring in Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD.
Syfy's Day of the Dead is a thing! Why do you think people love SYFY so much?
I think people love SYFY so much because they offer programming that encompasses all types of genres, not just science fiction, that excite and stimulate the imagination, and provide some fun and fantastic escapism.
What's your role and how was it on set filming?
I play Trey Bowman, Mayor Paula Bowman’s husband, and Luke Bowman’s father. Trey is essentially an idiot, a buffoon if you will, albeit a lovable one. He genuinely believes everything that comes out of his mouth as being a fact, so inadvertently this makes him quite funny. He has difficulties saying no to people, as he is, at his core, a very caring and compassionate person, however this trait makes him vulnerable to coercion and manipulation. He’s easily led, which makes the dynamic between him and Paula very humorous. Filming was a blast. The whole cast and crew worked really hard to make this the best they could, and everyone involved should be proud of their contribution. The tone of the show has an 80’s inspired satirical vibe at times, and it was incredibly fun to lean into that genre. The zombie prosthetics and make up were so well done it wasn’t much of a stretch in the ol’ acting to department to bubble up some genuine fear when shooting any scenes involving the brain hungry undead.
Are you a horror movie buff if so what's your all time favorite?
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a horror movie buff, as those that truly are could definitely run circles around me in the little-known trivia department. But I definitely enjoy a good horror film or show. My favorite? That’s a tough call because so many are great for different reasons. Some that come to the top of my mind are Wolf Creek, Hostel, Eden Lake, 28 Days Later, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to name a few.
What made you choose to work on this project?
When the casting notices first started making the rounds, I saw the character breakdown for Trey and instantly felt like “I know this guy.” I read some of his scenes and really enjoyed the writing. The dialogue of the show is clever in general; witty, smart, relevant and with Trey I could tell the writers really had a solid direction they wanted his character to go and I wanted to be a part of that. Plus, I love genre shows, and Day Of The Dead stood out to me as a great representation of the fun and entertainment zombies can bring to one’s screen.
What inspires you in life? Where's your favorite place to travel?
‘My kids. Seeing the world through their lenses. Watching them grow and come into their own as individuals, but also as kind and caring contributors to the community. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘rat race’ of life, or what our society deems important. And in turn, we forget that it was the apparent simple things that brought us the most joy early on in life. My children are good reminders of this. I do my best to help guide them in the right direction, but they’re constantly teaching me things about myself, and it’s amazing. ’
Favorite place to travel?
They’re a lot of exciting and interesting places in the world that I’d like to go, but right now: anywhere in British Columbia, Canada. I love the ocean, the mountains, the vastness of the evergreens. I just love it. Tofino is amazing, the drive to Whistler, Stanley park, the North Shore mountains, Squamish, Osoyoos, it’s just beautiful. I guess that’s why the license plates say, “Beautiful British Columbia”.
How do you stay humble and grounded ?
I’m human, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t prone to momentary lapses in humility. But it comes down to perspective. We all have one and being aware of this helps keep my feet planted on planet earth. And if that fails, family gets me back down to earth really quick. It’s easy to get caught up in the social and professional hierarchy of this business, but my wife and kids are constant reminders of the true importance of life. The rest doesn’t matter. Truly. In general, if I’m putting my best foot forward, showing up prepared, being kind and considerate, listening to others, understanding that I’m not the center of the universe but a small component of a much larger, much more intricate entity, then I’m on the right track. Everyone has dreams. Everyone has fears. Everyone has things in their life that are of the utmost importance to them. Going forth through each day with that in mind, makes every interaction easier. I mean, at the end of the day, what’s important to me can seem trivial to someone else, so I needn’t put too much weight on everything I do.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” one of my favorites .
How was this on set and where did you film?
We shot this show in Vancouver, Canada. Playing Panto Trost on Dirk Gently was such a dream role for me. I love that character. I grew up with The Princess Bride, and Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin were so great in that movie, I used to reenact scenes from it all the time as a kid. Panto was my pink haired sci fi fantasy ode to that style of storytelling. The fairy tale prince caught in a world of trouble trying to do the right thing despite the unthinkable odds. Working on set was amazing. The fight coordinators were brilliant. Coming up with realistic ways to use a ‘scissor sword’, it was terrific. And having the opportunity to work with so many great actors was very rewarding. I learnt a lot on that set. Sam Barnett, who plays Dirk, would constantly have monologue after monologue in some scenes, and he would always knock it out of the park. A lot of actors think they can just show up and look the part and ‘kinda’ know their lines and that’s good enough. They’re great ‘memorizers’ so they don’t have to do any prep work. If that works for them and they’re successful, great. But I’ve always felt, and Sam proved this every day on set, that the more prepared you are, the more liberated you are on set to free yourself up to countless possibilities of scene interpretation, being open to what the other actors, the director and even the physical set can offer you. Elijah Wood was so humble and down to earth, and genuinely kind. Honestly, the whole cast was a joy to be around. Lee Madjoub, who plays Silas, Panto’s true love, he and I didn’t know each other until we started working on Dirk Gently, but we became good friends right away. So, all in all, working on Dirk Gently was one of those experiences I’ll be telling my grandkids about for sure :)
What and who's your ultimate co-star and project for future you?
Oh goodness. Ultimate co-star? They’re so many great actors out there I’d love to work with. I’d love to do a comedy with Murray Bartlett and Kieran Culkin. I think those guys are so talented. I’d also love to do an action movie with Michael Biehn. He was my HERO growing up. Hicks, Reese? You know if you know.
How important is health to you and how do you maintain it?
Health is pretty important to me. I do my best to eat mainly foods that have few ingredients, i.e. whole foods. Nothing processed. And exercise is important, not just for my physical health but also my mental health. I find I’m a lot more focused and clearer headed after a good workout. So, I maintain it by eating as ‘clean’ as I can and making sure to run or do a HIIT workout most mornings.
What other projects can we watch for in 2022 and beyond? How can fans follow you via social media?
Well, if you like holiday movies, A Lot Like Christmas starring Maggie Lawson and myself comes out December 5th of this year. It’s a fun romantic comedy with a lot of heart, and of course, a lot of Christmas. I’m also going to be in Reacher in 2022, the new Amazon Prime series based on Lee Child’s bestselling books.
I’m on instagram at @chrisrussellofficial ;)