The 51-year-old actor has revealed that he started to question whether he could actually play the part, three days before shooting his new film, which he directed as well as stars in.
In it, he plays an Australian farmer who makes a graveside promise to his wife that he will find the bodies of their three sons, who were lost four years earlier in the Battle of Gallipoli, and return the bodies home to be buried next to her.
Russell said: ”We went through all the financial process, pre-production, casting and then about three days before we set the shoot, I started to question myself a little bit, ‘Can I really do this?’ But that’s a natural thing. Those kind of butterflies you have when you perform means that you care about the project.”
As a father to two sons Tennyson and Charles, the Gladiator star went on to reveal how much he understood his character’s guilt at letting his children go to war.
Speaking on Spanish TV show El Hormiguero, Russell said: ”I suppose you do your very best for your kids. You try to create a world where they can be their best, but in a situation like (in the movie) when you feel the pressure of the society in young people to volunteer for the war, it’s very understandable to feel guilty to let your sons go.”