Russell says he spent a lot of time preparing to play the iconic figure. "We wanted to really understand where the mythology had started from," he says. "It became apparent to us that the difference between the hundred years of cinema and the previous 800 years of story being handed down from mythology to legend to a political tool to a tool of the church to a parlor game when King Henry VIII was in power, you know, it just seemed to us that there was something intrinsic about that story that we should maybe wipe away all that other stuff and get back to the core."
Though he says he's not a perfectionist, he does try to always do his best. "That is a central tenet," he says. "Every single day on a movie set I just get up and I try to do something special."