In the new series "Turn," Jamie Bell plays Abe Woodhull, one of America's first spies.
As a new father, who welcomed a son with wife Evan Rachel Wood just over eight months ago, oddly the 28-year-old actor said starting a new family helped him relate to his mysterious character.
"I thought about Abe a lot, because this guy was taking this incredible risk," he said about filming earlier this year in Virginia. "If you are a spy in that time and you get caught, you are literally hanged the next day. I would obviously think about my family a lot, I'm sure he was thinking about his family."
Wood and the new baby were on location with Bell during filming and he said he "would think" about them a lot when he wrapped for the day.
No matter the dense, nail biting content of a show based on a Revolutionary War era spy ring - which premiered Sunday on AMC - Bell said his family is that anchor he often needs.
About being a young father, who's working and trying to be with the family as much as possible, "It's tricky, sometimes you are exhausted, actually a lot of the time you are exhausted, but I am very blessed. I have a healthy son, I have a great wife, I have a good job. I'm living the dream in a lot of ways."
As for what's changed since the birth of his son, "I don't really put myself first anymore. As soon as that kid comes out, you waive that right. Everything you do, every decision you make, you are thinking 5, 10 years down the line ... a lot of stuff doesn't mean that much anymore. Things affect me less, I'm much calmer than I used to be."
Bell said prepping for the role of Woodhull was tough, basically because he was good at covert ops.
"The reason we know nothing about this guy, because he was a good spy," he said. "Usually if you've heard of a spy, it's because he's dead."
One highly-anticipated role where there is plenty of material he can prep with is his upcoming arc as The Thing in the "Fantastic Four" reboot, a Marvel superhero movie his son is sure to love one day.
"I hope he grows up and he loves this franchise, these characters, because then I will be his f-----g hero," he added. "He will love me forever."
He continued, "It's a vibrant, young, fresh thing to be part of ... 'Fantastic Four' is a property rife for a reboot!"