GREYHOUND Actor Grayson Russell on Faith in Hollywood: ‘The Good Lord Saw Fit to Put Me Here’
By Movieguide® Staff
Actor Grayson Russell, who appeared alongside Tom Hanks in the Movieguide® nominated movie GREYHOUND.
The 23-year-old actor, who attended Lee University in Tennessee, received his first significant role in Hollywood in 2006 with TALLADEGA NIGHTS. At just seven years old, Russell felt convicted about standing up for his faith and the part he was asked to play.
Movieguide® previously reported:
The faith in GREYHOUND appealed to Russell, who was saved on the set of TALLADEGA NIGHTS at 7 years old.
“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,” Russell said.
“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?'” Russell said. “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.'”
That’s a lesson Russell took to heart and something he considers before choosing roles.
Despite the pressures of Hollywood, Russell said that his primary goal is to hold to his identity in Christ.
“It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Russell said. “Actors are wild, perhaps more so than musicians, and they can throw down with the best of them; however, I understand that the only reason I am in this position is that the Good Lord saw fit to put me here, and if I don’t do the job He’s set before me, I’ll never forgive myself.”
Although Russell has had to divide his time between college and shooting films, his time at Lee has continued to develop a passion for acting and filmmaking.
While at Lee University, Russell continued to establish how his faith and aspirations to become an actor could co-exist.
“The respect I have for the industry and the way I act has been exponentially enhanced by my time here at Lee,” Russell said. “I’m forever grateful for my time here, and I don’t ever want to take it for granted.”
One of Russell’s former professors, Jeff Salyer, said Russell remained humble even though he had already starred in several mainstream movies, like the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID franchise.
“I think Grayson is a little different — he’s humble, unashamed of his faith and willing to help anyone with anything,” Salyer said of Russell in 2020. “Every time we part ways he asks me: ‘Is there anything I can do for you boss?’ and he genuinely means it. On the Media Services team, he’s just as willing to carry sandbags as he is to shoot a video.”
Grayson previously expressed his thankfulness to God after landing a role in GREYHOUND:
Russell, who was 19-years-old at the time, said he “thanked God” for the opportunity to work with the writer and star of the movie, Tom Hanks.
“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 added.