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Kurt and Wyatt Russell Blend Talents into a Singular Character


  • Casting Kurt & Wyatt Russell in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters adds depth to the character of Lee Shaw and reflects their real-life bond as father and son.
  • The unique casting choice explores continuity and evolution of the character through shared mannerisms and family resemblance.
  • Kurt Russell and son Wyatt’s collaborative efforts have led to a distinctive and captivating character, setting a precedent for future casting decisions in the industry.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, an Apple TV+ series, showcases how innovative casting choices, like using Kurt Russell and his real-life son Wyatt Russell for the role of Lee Shaw, can add a unique dynamic and enrich the storytelling experience in film and television. The series, set against the backdrop of Godzilla’s devastating attack on San Francisco and subsequent sightings of Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms in the 1950s, weaves a tale that spans decades.

Matt Fraction, the developer of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, sheds light on the collaborative process behind this casting decision. In a revealing interview with Men’s Health, he delves into the father and son duo’s approach to embodying Lee Shaw at different stages of his life. Fraction’s insights into their rehearsals and interactions provide a glimpse into the creative synergy that the Russells brought to the table. Their method of working together, sharing lines, and reading each other’s parts, not only reflects their dedication but also their ability to influence and learn from one another. Read Fraction’s comments on the Russells:

“They would do lines together, [ask] ‘How would you do this?’ They would go back and forth. They would read each other’s parts. They just really worked the whole time to make this thing. As much fun as it is to write that, to bring it into the world of acting— this is just a treat, you know? I think it’s certainly a stunt-y idea. But it’s fun. Man, they were willing to play. We had really active collaborators in the Russells. It’s a great relationship, and it’s fun to hang out with them.

Then, to watch them do this stuff — there’ll be moments where Wyatt would kind of do a Kurt impression. It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s Lee pretending to be Shaw, but he’s not there yet. He’s trying to be a tough guy.’ Then there’ll be other moments where Kurt, for all the Kurtness, would find something beautiful, tender, and human in Cate, Kentaro, or May, and suddenly he would soften up. It’s like, ‘Oh my God, look at that!’ right? Thank God Kurt and Wyatt understood it. It was more than a gimmick for us. [We told them] ‘We want you guys to build this thing together,’ and they were they absolutely wanted to—and went for it.”

The casting of Kurt and Wyatt Russell is not just a novelty but a strategic choice that adds depth to the character of Lee Shaw. Their real-life bond as father and son undoubtedly adds a layer of authenticity to their portrayals. This is seen in moments where Wyatt Russell subtly imitates his father, capturing the essence of Lee Shaw’s younger self trying to embody the toughness of his future. Conversely, Kurt Russell’s ability to bring out a softer, more human side in pivotal scenes adds a nuanced depth to the character.

RELATED: Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Review | A Grounded and Fascinating Dive into the Origins of Monarch

A Family Affair on Screen: The Uncommon Casting of Kurt and Wyatt Russell in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Release Date
November 17, 2023

Christopher Heyerdahl, Mari Yamamoto, Qyoko Kudo, Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi


The unique casting choice is a rarity in the industry. The decision to cast related actors, especially a father and son duo, to play the same character at different ages is not commonly seen. However, it offers a fascinating opportunity to explore the continuity and evolution of a character through the lens of family resemblance and shared mannerisms. It’s a testament to the versatility and skill of both Kurt and Wyatt Russell, as they navigate the complexities of playing Lee Shaw at different times in his life.

The decision to cast the Russells was not initially obvious. Matt Shakman, the director of the series, revealed that the initial search was for unrelated actors. However, the opportunity to cast Kurt and Wyatt presented a compelling and exciting prospect. The series exhibits its dedication to fresh storytelling, simultaneously intriguing its audience with this decision.

The casting of Kurt and Wyatt Russell in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is a testament to the creative possibilities in storytelling. Under Matt Fraction’s guidance, their collaborative efforts have led to the creation of a character that is both distinctive and captivating. The interplay between their performances, enriched by their real-life relationship, offers viewers an immersive experience that goes beyond traditional casting norms. This approach not only enhances the narrative but also sets a precedent for future casting decisions in the industry, where the fusion of talent and familial bonds can lead to compelling and captivating storytelling.


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