The art of playing the same character: An interview with Kurt and Wyatt Russell

Kurt and Wyatt Russell talk about their character, Lee Shaw, from the Apple TV hit Monarch: Legacy of Monsters in an exclusive interview with us.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters - ©2023 AppleTV
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters - ©2023 AppleTV /
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In a delightfully colossal encounter (no pun intended), I had the pleasure of speaking with the renowned father-son duo, Kurt and Wyatt Russell, in regards to their unique dynamic in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. In case you haven't watched this absolutely incredible series, both Kurt and Wyatt Russell play the same character, Colonel Leland "Lee" Lafayette Shaw III.

You read correctly - Both Kurt and Wyatt play this complex and interesting character but in different parts of his life. The iconic Kurt plays an older Lee Shaw, who blesses our screens in the main 2015 plotline of the series while Wyatt plays the younger version of Shaw we see in the flashbacks to the 1940s and neighboring years. Their portrayal of the same character across different ages in a groundbreaking project has set a new standard in the realm of acting.

During our quick little chat, they shed light on their unique approach and the deep connection they share, both on and off the screen.

Mastering the art of age-defying character portrayal

The Russells' achievement in playing the same character at different life stages is a marvel of modern television. "We relied on some genetics," Wyatt joked with a smile, underlining the blend of natural resemblance and meticulous acting preparation. He explained, "We worked a lot before production, making sure Young Lee and Old Lee had similarities, but also important differences. It's about hitting those mile markers in a character's life."

Kurt, with his characteristic insight, added, "The biggest challenge was tying these two time periods together. It's not just about playing a character; it's about creating a believable journey across decades."

For those not familiar with Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, Lee Shaw is one of the founding members of Monarch itself and we get to watch how Monarch was born and evolved into what it is in the series' present time. We get to see just how perfectly in sync the Russells are when it comes to Shaw's character and mannerisms, and it is quite the seamless transition.

The Russells' MonsterVerse favorites - it's not who you think

I made the entire internet aware earlier this week that I am a big MonsterVerse fan, especially when it comes to Godzilla. I just had to know, so I asked both Kurt and Wyatt about their favorite monsters.

Wyatt's choice was clear: "I'm definitely kind of partial to King Kong. You can really see the emotion in his eyes, his physicality. It's more human."

As I tried to hide my hurt feelings, Kurt echoed this sentiment, but with a hint of humor: "I kind of like King Kong, too, but I would never tell Godzilla that."

It's quite alright, Kurt, I won't tell him either. But I am saddened (and, I have to admit, slightly disappointed, but I do enjoy Kurt Russell quite a bit so I'll let it slide).

As we discussed their upcoming projects, their enthusiasm for the Monarch series was evident. "We can't wait for everyone to see what we've been working on," Wyatt stated with palpable excitement. I honestly can't wait, either.

This quick but cherished conversation with Kurt and Wyatt Russell was not just a professional milestone for me, but an enriching experience that highlighted the unique bond they share as father and son. Their dedication to acting and the ability to bring depth and authenticity to their roles truly set them apart in the world of acting and make some miracles happen - I, a complete Grinch, adore The Christmas Chronicles and it's entirely Kurt's fault.

As we look forward to their future projects and hope for a season two of Monarch as soon as humanly possible, it's clear that the Russells will continue to captivate audiences with their exceptional talent and on-screen chemistry for quite some time, as they have for a while.

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