Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Keri Russell On The Americans, Sleeper Agents, Motherhood & More"

On FX’s The Americans, which begins Wednesday, Keri Russell plays a Soviet sleeper agent in 1980s suburban D.C. I talk with the former Felicity star about Russian spies, secret lives, and being a mom.

At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Keri Russell On The Americans, Sleeper Agents, Motherhood, and More," in which I sit down with Keri Russell to talk about FX Networks's new 1980s espionage drama The Americans (and why it's perhaps the anti-Felicity), motherhood, and more.

In the opening scene of The Americans, Joe Weisberg’s tense new 1980s spy drama, Soviet sleeper agent Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) flirts with a middle-aged stranger in a Washington, D.C., bar.

Donning a blond Pretty Woman-style wig and a short dress, Russell is nearly unrecognizable, convincingly transformed into a barfly who pretends to be turned on by a G-man’s security clearance. Elizabeth and her mark head to a hotel room, where she proceeds to seduce him in order to elicit top-secret information, engaging in a range of sexual contact that’s all recorded and later listened to by Elizabeth’s husband, Phillip (Matthew Rhys).

In other words, this is the anti-Felicity.

“Oh, yeah, blow jobs and push-up bras and wigs,” says Russell, laughing. “It’s certainly a far cry.”

It’s January, and Russell sits demurely on a couch at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena. The 36-year-old actress is animated and excited, prone to waving her hands and pounding her fists emphatically on her knees while talking. It’s impossible to believe that it’s been more than 10 years since Russell played Felicity Porter on The WB’s beloved coming-of-age drama Felicity between 1998 and 2002. In the time since Felicity wrapped, Russell segued into a movie career, starring in the late Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 Sundance favorite Waitress, Mission: Impossible 3 (which reunited Russell with Felicity co-creator J.J. Abrams), and a slew of others. (A brief return to television, as the female lead opposite Will Arnett in Mitch Hurwitz’s 2010 Fox comedy Running Wilde, was short-lived.)

In person, Russell is warm and open, nothing like the character she plays on The Americans, which begins Wednesday night on FX. While she’s all high-waisted jeans and smiles on the surface—the perfect portrait of 1980s suburban motherhood who brings over home-baked brownies to her new neighbors—Elizabeth is, underneath, a brutal and unflinching killer who believes in the mission given to her and her “husband” by their Russian overseers.

It’s a bit ironic that Russell is now playing a spy. After Felicity, Abrams went on to create the Jennifer Garner-led ABC espionage thriller Alias, the idea for which grew out of a writers’ room discussion about what it would be like if Felicity became a spy. (Alias would make a star out of former Felicity guest star Garner and become an international hit.) But while Alias featured a spy who was one of the good guys, The Americans’ Elizabeth is anything but on the side of the angels.

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it