ASSIGNMENT X: Do you have a favorite episode or scene from your time on THE AMERICANS?
KERI RUSSELL: My favorite scenes are always the emotional marriage scenes, always, just because that’s the stuff I’m most interested in. But some highlights – I love, still, beating up Margo Martindale [who plays Claudia, Elizabeth and Philip’s KGB handler], just because it was so wild. People on the street, like tough construction guys, are still saying to me, “Yo, you really kicked that lady’s ass.” And I just think that’s so funny. But I love the emotional big fights we have. There are so many moments in this season, it’s so great.
AX: What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned in working on THE AMERICANS?
RUSSELL: Well, to be honest, just learning about some of the Russian history in the war [WWII]. As Americans, we don’t learn any of that. Even the amount of people, the amount of soldiers, that the Russians lost compared to Americans in World War II, is devastating. It was something over fifteen million. And our numbers were something like four hundred thousand. It’s unbelievable. There’s such a history. And we don’t ever learn that. So parts of that were interesting.
AX: Did you costar in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III before you started working on THE AMERICANS?
RUSSELL: Way before.
AX: You played an IMF agent in M:I III and had a lot of action scenes. Did the physicality of that help you with the physicality of THE AMERICANS?
RUSSELL: Yeah. And I think being a dancer helped with the physicality of all of it, but I find that the physicality, which is such a part of Elizabeth in this show, is so fun. It’s something I feel very at home in, because it just feels like dancing choreography, and I enjoy that part of it, for sure.
AX: Do you know what you’ll miss most about doing THE AMERICANS?
RUSSELL: Many things. It’s one of my favorite stories on television. I’ll certainly miss working with Matthew [who is now Russell’s partner in real life], and I just think Elizabeth as a character is a good one. It’s a rare good one. And I don’t know that I’ll hit such a good one like this [again].
AX: What would you most like people to know about the sixth and final season of THE AMERICANS?
RUSSELL: To me, especially at the end, Episodes 7, 8, 9, and 10, start really paying off. Actually, because there’s a lot of separate anxiety and strife, I don’t think I’m giving anything away, but at the end of Episode 6, there’s one line – there’s a phone conversation and Philip just says, “I’m on my way.” And you just go, “Yes!” And from then on, they just pay everything off. It’s so satisfying and emotional and pitch-perfect, where they’ve placed it, which is hard to do without being, “Everything exploded.” What they’ve created is so good. So I hope you’ll like it.
This interview was conducted during FX Networks’s portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.