Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

Keri Russell on Wrapping The Americans and Why She’d Rather Be Camping

As her hit series The Americans enters its sixth and final season, Keri Russell talks about wide-open spaces, raising adventurous kids, and more.

So Keri, how are ya?
Well, right now I’m talking to you from bed, because I have the flu, which turned into bronchitis and pneumonia. I’m just in bed going, “What the fuck.”

That sounds terrible.
Yeah, but I’m also a working mom of three kids, so when you’re not sick, you have these fantasy dream sequences every day where you’re like, “Oh my god, if I could just get sick, I could lie in bed. I just need a week of rest where I’m not working outside in the freezing New York snow, and I’m not fucking taking care of kids.” But then it actually happened, and I’m like, “Waaahhhh.” Part of me thinks I should really just be relishing this and ordering everyone around, but the other part’s like, all I want to do is drink 8,000 cups of coffee and run around and get on my bike. Continue reading Keri Russell on Wrapping The Americans and Why She’d Rather Be Camping

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Keri Russell for Rhapsody Magazine

Oh my god,” says Keri Russell, hazel eyes wide and mouth agape in shock. “Wow.” Pause. “Holy crap.” She shakes her head and looks up at the ceiling for a moment, doing the math in her head. “Is it?”

Yes, this year really is the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Felicity, the show that rocketed Russell and her mass of curls to stardom when she was just 22. Sitting across from the actress at an Italian restaurant in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge on a foggy February afternoon, I can’t help but think it is a bit of a shock that Russell is 41 now. Her creamy complexion is smooth enough to get her carded (just a few fine lines around the eyes) and she’s just as tiny as she was when Felicity followed Ben across the country to enroll at a New York university. She looks bike-ride ready today in a red-and-white striped linen T-shirt and white jeans, and, although her hair is fairly straight now (she does Keratin treatments, shhh), wisps at her forehead are fighting to curl again on account of the humidity.

Suddenly, a lightbulb moment. “Oh yeah … maybe that’s why they’re asking about a reunion!” she says with a laugh, explaining that she had been invited to this summer’s ATX Television Festival, where, in the past, the casts of Gilmore Girls and Battlestar Galactica came together for much-publicized events. “Huh. That’s crazy.”

You could forgive her for not being aware of such a milestone. Since Felicity’s four-year run—which also helped launch the career of creator J.J. Abrams—Russell has had three kids, appeared in 14 movies, and spent the last five years trying to bring down the U.S. government as an undercover Russian spy on The Americans. Last month brought the sixth and final season of the critically adored FX drama, which has nabbed Russell two Emmy nominations for her role as the fiercely loyal, ruthless KGB operator Elizabeth Jennings—not to mention a baby daddy. After the series’ first season in 2013, she and her on-screen husband, Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, started dating, and in 2016, she gave birth to their son, Sam. (She has two children, River, 10, and Willa, 6, with her ex-husband, Shane Deary.) Continue reading Keri Russell for Rhapsody Magazine

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on Saying Goodbye to The Americans

The FX drama series The Americans has been truly excellent throughout its run, with compelling storytelling and exceptional performances from everyone in the cast. Among many highlights, it’s shown us how good Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are, in their roles as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, KGB spies posing as Americans, it’s allowed us to watch Holly Taylor grow the teenage Paige into a compelling character, as she doubted and questioned what her parents were really up to, and it’s taken us on a roller coaster, as we’ve wondered what the ultimate outcome of the Jennings family could possibly be. The fact that it’s entering its final season is bittersweet, as it’s always sad to say goodbye to such a great TV show, but it’s also exciting to know that the creators were able to write to an ending that they chose and are saying that goodbye on their own terms.

During this interview with Collider, co-stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys talked about how good it feels to end The Americans on a high note, not having had enough time to reflect yet on the series ending, the journey that Elizabeth and Philip will be on this season, and where the family dynamic is headed with Paige, and how emotional it was to read the final episode. Continue reading Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on Saying Goodbye to The Americans

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans premiere recap: Dead Hand

“Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win.”

— Crowded House “Don’t Dream It’s Over”

A few years have passed.

The Americans begins its final season in the year 1987, but this super-sound of 1986 opens the episode as we see Elizabeth engaged in a series of new assignments — some dull, some sexual, some dangerous — while Philip goes about the mundane work of operating their cover: the travel agency.

The Berlin Wall will fall in two years, but as the song suggests, there is another one being built between these two Soviet agents. They were once partners; now they lead increasingly separate lives. Continue reading The Americans premiere recap: Dead Hand

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

‘The Americans Season 6: TV Review

One of television’s greatest series, FX’s marital spy drama heads thrillingly and ominously toward its end.
It’s a weird thing to be proud of a TV show. To understand the difficult decisions the writers make in the face of expectations and to feel it’s important to acknowledge terrific and sometimes surprising acting and directing. The hardest thing in all of television is making a great series season after season. And as The Americans begins its sixth and final season, the first three episodes sent by FX to critics elicited that kind of admiration, that confidence that, at least in the early going, the enormous weight of expectations hadn’t crippled the show but given it a certain exhilaration as it began its end game.

They were, all three of them, exceptional — clear examples of one of television’s greatest dramas still very much on top of its game.

Viewers are all over the map on what they consider to be a spoiler, so all a critic can do in a situation like this — watching the last moves of a complicated chess match, the strands of a long-building pattern emerging for its last reveal — is to promise to hew more toward appreciation than actual review. And honestly, with only three episodes to judge from, all the truly enormous twists have yet to be seen, so realistically there’s not much to spoil (and does anyone want to do that anyway?). Besides, The Americans is a drama about the Cold War, and we all know how that ends for that period and how, in 2018, the word “Russia” seems to be ominously everywhere (giving this series an intriguingly twisted place in history — far different from what could have been predicted when it launched in January 2013). Continue reading ‘The Americans Season 6: TV Review

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans Preview: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys Talk Wigs, Marital Rifts and the ‘Bittersweet’ Final Season

The Cold War may be drawing to a close on The Americans… but it’s getting awfully chilly in Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage.

As FX’s Reagan-era spy drama enters its sixth and final season — debuting this Wednesday at 10/9c — the action jumps forward three years to 1987, just when diplomatic relations between America and the Soviets were beginning to mend. But as star Matthew Rhys hints, while there’s “this great thaw between the U.S. and the Soviet Union… the ice age is settling in” between the married Russian spies at the show’s center. (And even their vast array of wigs can’t keep them warm.)

The Americans Season 6 Premiere Elizabeth PhilipTVLine sat down with Rhys and Keri Russell — the real-life spouses and Emmy nominees who play Philip and Elizabeth — for a preview of The Americans‘ final season, which kicks off with Philip trading the spy game for a corporate yuppie existence (he even has a car phone!), while Elizabeth is left to pick up the espionage slack. And that’s caused a serious rift between the formerly happy couple. While the two aren’t “at war with each other,” Russell says, they’re in “almost a sadder place, where you’re just so far from each other. To get back there seems so insurmountable and lonely, and that’s kind of where we start.”
Continue reading The Americans Preview: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys Talk Wigs, Marital Rifts and the ‘Bittersweet’ Final Season

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The Americans: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on ‘crazy intimacy’ of their Russian spies

“It’s just been a hard thing for the marriage to deal with; she’s just gotten exhausted and worn down, and in a way is sort of wilting under that burden,” says co-creator Joe Weisberg. “On top of it, now (Mikhail) Gorbachev has been leading the Soviet Union for two years, and glasnost and perestroika have really started to come into their own, and this is something Philip and Elizabeth are not on the same page about. So history and politics have thrown another wedge into their relationship.”

While The Americans is a spy thriller, at its heart it’s about the marriage of Philip and Elizabeth, and the costs of their jobs to their family.

“Its strength is this very intricate, complicated marriage,” Russell says. “The spy element of it is such a great backdrop; it pushes and pulls the relationship in so many different ways. You’re sleeping with other people, and there’s massive trust issues, and you’re killing people.”

A further strain: Their daughter, Paige (Holly Taylor), once oblivious to the family business, has been recruited into it, against Philip’s wishes. (Son Henry, now a hockey star at boarding school, remains blissfully unaware.)

“When I was at the CIA,” says Weisberg, a former officer, “one of the things that interested me most was the story of parents who had to figure out when to tell their kids, ‘Hey, this is what I really do.’ Even in all of espionage, it seemed like the most interesting thing.”

Continue reading The Americans: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on ‘crazy intimacy’ of their Russian spies

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans previews new season in Washington, where Russia drama is already on TV

You know it’s weird times when at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the president was making headlines for congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on a victory in what’s been called a “sham” election, and elsewhere in Washington, multiple investigations were looking into the nefarious doings of our former Cold War enemy on our shores — and meanwhile, smack dab in the middle, there was a red-carpet screening of a TV show that was supposed to be just a stylish drama about 1980s Russian spycraft in the nation’s capital that feels … well, maybe just a little too close to home.

Joe Weisberg, the show’s creator and executive producer (and a former CIA officer, so he knows of what he writes), was strolling the gantlet of reporters and photographers lined up to capture the Tuesday night premiere of the sixth and final season of FX’s “The Americans,” and he was clearly not thrilled that his show’s carefully crafted story lines were colliding with chaotic cable-news chyrons.

“This,” he said of the prospect of running a show about Russian interference in the United States at the very moment when America is focused on Russian interference in the United States, “was not the plan.” Continue reading The Americans previews new season in Washington, where Russia drama is already on TV

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans prepares to take a final bow on FX

On a drizzly night in February, Keri Russell and Holly Taylor walked down a hilly block in Upper Manhattan that was doubling for Reagan-era Washington in a scene from the final season of FX’s spy thriller “The Americans.”

Russell, in character as Elizabeth Jennings, a KGB agent living undercover in the United States in the waning days of the Cold War, was dispensing some tough love to her daughter, Paige (Taylor) a college student sympathetic to the Soviet cause.

“You’re going to have to make a decision: to commit to this life or get out, because sometimes this is what we have to do,” said Russell as Elizabeth. “Are you willing to give up friends and relationships — your life, if you have to?”

The tension between the personal and the political is at the heart of “The Americans,” which returnsfor its final 10-episode season March 28 and centers on Elizabeth and her husband, Philip (Matthew Rhys), a pair of seemingly mild-mannered travel agents and suburban parents who carry out deadly covert missions on behalf of the motherland. Continue reading The Americans prepares to take a final bow on FX

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans: Inside Its Six-Season Journey to Critical Stardom and TV History

“We’re making a f—ing TV show here!”

Matthew Rhys’ booming stage voice, imbued with Welsh-accented gravitas, fills the commuter train sitting at the edge of the platform at a station in Tuckahoe, N.Y., about 18 miles north of Manhattan. “The Americans,” the beloved FX drama series starring Rhys and Keri Russell, is filming a pivotal scene for its series finale under extremely cramped conditions on a chilly March morning.

The train, borrowed from New York’s Metro-North Railroad, will move back and forth 2,000 feet for three-plus hours while “Americans” director-executive producer Chris Long and his team gather the shots they need.

Rhys, Russell and the rest of the crew are charged up to deliver a powerful conclusion to the six-season saga of the Soviet spy couple masquerading as Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, embedded as a typical 1980s suburban Washington, D.C., married couple with two kids, Paige and Henry. The critical adoration showered on the show has raised the stakes for Team Americans, led by showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, to stick the landing with the final season that bows March 28.
Continue reading The Americans: Inside Its Six-Season Journey to Critical Stardom and TV History