Overlord star Wyatt Russell joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play John Walker in the new Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Russell's character tries to join Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie's Falcon in their fight and is the government's top choice to replace Steve Rogers as the new Captain America. The character has its basis in a real comic book character but goes in a different direction in the series.
Russell, 34, was born into Hollywood royalty as the son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. He is their only child together, but he has three half-siblings - Kurt's son Boston Russell, from his marriage to Season Hubley; and Hawn's children from her relationship with Bill Hudson, Kate Hudson, and Oliver Hudson. Russell's grandfather is the late actor and baseball player Bing Russell.
Since earning his first credit on Kurt's Soldier, Russell has worked on building a career of his own. His movie roles include Overlord, Ingrid Goes West, Everybody Wants Some!!, 22 Jump Street, and both Goon movies. He also starred in the short-lived AMC series Lodge 49 (2018-2019). Now that Russell is starring in an MCU project, his work will be seen by an even wider audience. Here's a look at what to know about Russell's life and career.
Russell was a hockey player before he went into acting
Russell's first career path took him far from the movie sets of his parents and half-siblings' world. While in college, he played hockey and attracted attention from amateur and pro teams. He also played in Europe and even won a championship. Unfortunately, his career ended early due to injuries.
After winning a championship in Germany, Russell let people he didn't know into his apartment after they found out where he lived on Facebook. That's why he no longer has a Facebook page. "I woke up at nine a.m. to people standing on my lawn and on my second-floor balcony banging on my door to get in," he explained to Craig Robinson in Interview Magazine in 2016. "I'm in my boxers and they have signs and chocolates and pretzels, so I let them all into my apartment and they all hung out and had a little party. I was a little freaked out that if I didn't let them in, something bad was going to happen. They found out where I lived through my Facebook, which is why I don't have Facebook anymore."prevnext
Russell appeared as a toddler in his parents' 'Overboard'
Russell first appeared onscreen in 1987, when he was just a year old. He could be spotted in Overboard, a romantic comedy his parents made together with director Garry Marshall. In 1996, Russell made another uncredited appearance in his father's action movie Escape from L.A. He earned his first credit as an 11-year-old in his father's Soldier.
Russell jokingly told Robinson he understood he came from a famous family almost from the moment he was born. However, he said Kurt made sure he understood that his grandparents came to California with very little in their pocket. "When he had kids, he didn't all of a sudden let us forget that that's where we came from," Russell recalled. "It wasn't like we came from generations of wealth and fame; everybody in my family is pretty much self-made. I remember he would do things, like we'd go to a nice restaurant and if you started to act out—I'm talking at two or three years old—he would say, 'If you keep doing this I'm going to take you home' and if you did it again, he'd take you home. He'd actually do it. You didn't get a second chance."prevnext
Meredith Hagner and Russell welcomed their first child in March
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Russell was first married to stylist Sanne Hamers, who he met in The Netherlands when he was playing hockey. They divorced in 2017 after two years of marriage. In 2019, he married Search Party actress Meredith Hagner. They welcomed their son, Buddy Prine Russell, in March 2021. Hagner shared the news on March 11, alongside a photo from inside the van the couple lived in during Hagner's pregnancy.prevnext
He earned his Screen Actors Guild membership card while making 'High School' in 2010
Although Russell made appearances as a child in his parents' movies, he did not earn his Screen Actors Guild card until 2010 when he appeared in the movie High School. At that time, he was still playing hockey and this was his first professional acting job. In an interview with Backstage, Russell said he only got a part in the movie because his friend and business partner John Stalberg had a role that needed to be filled.
"I didn't really have any choice," Russell recalled. "I wanted to help him out. I lied to my [hockey] team—I was hurt at the time. I said I had to do something, it was an emergency. I left and I did this small part. I had no interest in being an actor at that point; I had my hockey career."prevnext
The role of John Walker was attractive to Russell because he's 'complicated'
Russell's father also starred in the MCU, playing Star-Lord's father in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. The part of John Walker/U.S. Agent is very different form his dad's part in Guardians. "He's a complicated character. That's what drew me to him," Russell told Entertainment Weekly. "It'll be fun seeing how all three of these guys interact in terms of what their identity is. I think that I can safely say that it's a show about identity and what it means to each specific person."
Although his dad had a good experience with Marvel, Russell was a little apprehensive at first. Marvel asked him to audition but did not tell him for what reason. "At first it was like, 'Well, I love Marvel, but not that much.' I gotta know what I'm doing," he told EW. "Eventually, they were able to tell me a little bit about what it was rather than just blindly going in reading the lines. ... And even then it's still kind of confusing. But the way they portrayed him to me, the things that he'd be going through [and] fighting against, and [the] internal struggles, and all the other elements of the character, it seemed like something worth doing."prevnext
Hagner and Russell spent part of the pandemic in their van
Hagner and Russell are featured in the April 2021 issue of Vogue on interior design. When she announced their son's birth, she shared photos taken for Vogue from their van, named Carnella. In her interview with Vogue, Hagner, 33, said they plan to take their son on the road with them. "I mean, as soon as we can get our new van constructed, we're going to be on the road with him. That'll be a whole new set of adventures," she said, notes PEOPLE. Hagner and Russell met in 2015 when they made Folk Hero & Funny Guy together. Hagner's other credits include Palm Springs, Ingrid Goes West, Younger, and Disenchantment.prev