Its not everyday that you get to work alongside your family in an all-star movie production (We Can Be Heroes on Netflix), or a hit show (Family Reunion). However, this is the sweet reality for actress and actor Brittany Perry-Russell and her son Isaiah Russell-Bailey. The series of events that led to this moment in their careers was something neither of them would have imagined, yet everything that they could have hoped for.
On Fame and Acting
“My mom said no for a year when I told her that I wanted to go into acting,” Isaiah said. The two of them laughed about it, however for Brittany her initial stance on her son working in entertainment came from a protective place. “This business is so full of rejection and it is really hard on you mentally and physically. I wanted him to just be a kid. I didn’t think he’d want to go into acting or expect him to,” Brittany said.
“At the time he (Isaiah) was at a performing arts school doing a play, and he got a standing ovation. That was the changing moment for me. I got him some representation and a few weeks later he booked Raven’s Home and then S.W.A.T. and the bookings kept coming. After that I decided to shut-up,” she laughed.
“I struggled with it because when you’re in the business you’re exposed to so much. Isaiah’s realized that you have to mature a lot quicker in the business.”
Brittany and Isaiah noted how acting has enhanced their relationship. “Its nice being able to lean on my mom. We’ve gotten so much closer and having someone to help coach me through any rejection, celebrate my success and anything else I might experience. We understand each other better and respect each other’s process more,” Isaiah said.
“I’m amazed at God’s timing. As a parent I worry about the teen-years. Being a millennial, I see what gen-z is going through. I don’t wanna get this wrong. Whether its about an audition, or a new project or even disappointment. We’re able to understand each other as artists, and with him being older we can have more raw and honest conversations,” Brittany added.
Black Lives Matter
Looking out beyond their celebrity status, Brittany is a mother that cares for the safety of her Black son. Like many celebrities, Brittany and Isaiah use their platform to spotlight things that are important to them. Both Brittany and Isaiah have attended peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter.
“I can get so upset, and I’ve had to pull back when I hear people use the word terrorist to describe the Black Lives Matter movement or say that we’re a cult. I don’t understand how people get that from an organization that is simply saying let’s reimagine what this world looks like. We can have a safer and more peaceful world. How do you get terrorism out of that,” she added.
“We’re not saying that only Black Lives Matter, we’re saying that all lives matter when Black Lives Matter too,” Isiah said. We’re not canceling anyone out here,” but Black lives are important as well.
We can Be Heroes
Their most recent project (We Can Be Heroes) places both Brittany and Isaiah on-set with some of Hollywood’s brightest luminaries. “We have a huge cast here, Christian Slater, Pedro Pascal, and Priyanka Chopra. We were just doing an interview a while ago, and Netflix believes that we are playing the first Black superhero family,” Brittany told me.
“We Can be Heroes is about a band of superhero kids that have to save their superhero parents from aliens,” Isaiah said. I’m a superhero-kid who gets his powers from his mom (Brittany) who’s also a super.
“We play a family of superheroes,” Brittany said. “He (Isaiah) actually plays my son, and I have a set of twins that I give my powers to in the film. The movie isn’t just about heroes having powers, the movies is also about the younger heroes finding their way while learning about their abilities.”
Talk about a milestone in entertainment. I noted that I was mildly jealous of Brittany and Isaiah getting to do stunts and play superheroes, but equally happy for their success. Its not often that you get to play a super-powered hero in a film with an all-star cast.
“The stunts were my favorite part of filming,” Isaiah exclaimed. “I got to do my own stunts, which is really rare. There’s such a liability with kids doing stunts that most producers won’t allow it.” While no official release date has been set for the film, producers expect it to be ready in 2021.