Harpur Trust CEO played by Colin Firth in new Kursk film


A new film about the mission to rescue the crew of the Russian submarine ‘Kursk’ will see Colin Firth playing Harpur Trust CEO, David Russell.

David Russell was the first UK Trident submarine Commanding Officer, and a Deputy Flag Officer Submarines and was responsible for leading the UK effort to rescue the submariners.

His key role in the tragic incident is depicted in the film by Firth. “The movie obviously brought back memories of the event itself,” said David.

David Russell on set with Colin Firth
David Russell on set with Colin Firth.

“We were determined to do our best to offer help and bring the resources Royal Navy to try and save the Russian crew.

“As submariners ourselves, we knew the dangers they faced and the understood the feelings of anguish of their families.

“I cannot be certain we could have rescued the trapped men, but we were desperate to try and it was extremely frustrating that political considerations prevented the Russians accepting our help.

“Perhaps that is the real tragedy of this story.”

David met Colin First on set and was involved in the production of the film from the start.

‘Kursk: The Last Mission’ tells the true story of the attempt to rescue the crew, when their submarine sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea in August 2000.

A tribute to those who died, David Russell and his crew.
A tribute to those who died, David Russell and his crew.

“My role was really to advise on the script and set and ensure that the technical language and the practicalities of life in a submarine were as realistic as possible,” he added.

“It was a fascinating experience to see how a movie is put together and how the work of actors, camera men, make-up artists, lighting and sound engineers and everyone else involved are brought together by the director.

“The movie is not a documentary, but it does stick to the broad messages in the book and it is a moving portrayal of a very sad event, which has resonances for today.”

The Harpur Trust is putting on a special performance of the film at VUE in September for invited guests.

They hope to also hold film nights at local schools with Q&A sessions with David, who joined the Harpur Trust and retires this summer.

Read: David Steadman named as new CEO for Harpur Trust

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)), adapted Robert Moore’s bestselling book about the tragedy, ‘A Time to Die’ with screenwriter Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan).

The film tells the tragic story of the Kursk through a fictional character on the doomed vessel.

As well as portraying the frustrated attempts of the Royal Navy, led by David, and other nations to help the Russians.

A week after the accident the Russians finally accepted help but sadly it was too late.

It became clear the submarine was completely flooded and the men who had survived the initial explosions were no longer alive.

118 men lost their lives.