A former businessman who swapped the boardroom for the clapper board is back on our screens sporting some impressive facial hair in a new blockbuster.

Erich Redman, of Isleworth, plays a Russian orthodox priest in Kenneth Branagh-directed spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

His character delivers a sermon containing a secret code designed to activate Russian sleeper cells living covertly in the US, thus setting off a perilous chain of events on both sides of the Atlantic.

Since quitting the business world 20 years ago, Mr Redman has worked with a series of top directors including Steven Spielberg and Sir Richard Attenborough, specialising in baddies like the one he played in Captain America .

Actor Erich Redman as he appears out of costume
Actor Erich Redman as he appears out of costume
 

He appears alongside Keira Knightley and Star Trek star Chris Pine in the film, which was released last Friday, but said working under Mr Branagh was a particular pleasure.

"He was really lovely to work with – charming, courteous, respectful; you can tell that he is an actor himself and knows how to talk to actors," he said.

"Like me, I don’t think he’s a natural early-riser, but by mid-morning he is his usual charming, smiling self!"

Mr Redman last appeared on the big screen as a German journalist in Rush , about the real-life rivalry between 70s motor racing legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda.