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Keri Russell Likes ‘The Americans’ Better Than ‘Felicity’

Keri Russell might have recently collaborated with one of the directors behind the show that launched her career, but that doesn’t mean that “Felicity” — or even “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which was helmed by the show’s creator Matt Reeves — was her favorite work experience.

“[With] ‘Felicity’ I was the main person,” she told MTV News. “That was a real grind. I think because Matt and J.J. [Abrams] had never [produced a show] before, and we were creating a really cinematic show for the olden days… we worked a lot of hours.”

Instead, Russell says that it’s her current, critically acclaimed FX drama “The Americans” that’s fueling her creative fire — and giving her a chance to catch up on some family time.

“What I love about ‘The Americans’ is the 13 episodes, which means I can work really hard for four and a half months, and then be with my kids, or go do a movie, do a play,” she continued, adding that the material itself is also a reason to celebrate (we agree).

“Just the quality of working on cable right now is just the best place to work,” she said. “Especially being an actress — it’s tough right now in movies. There are a few, a handful, that I think are great movies. If you win the lottery and get to be the girl in that movie, you have maybe one good scene. You’re usually someone’s girlfriend, or a mom, worried. My show that I get to do is this really rich, in-depth character, and it’s fun. It’s weird, and all of these different things, not just the supporting girlfriend in one scene.”

Preach, sister.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is in theaters nationwide. “The Americans” will return next year for its third season, and you can probably watch reruns of “Felicity” on Netflix or something.

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Keri Russell had to catch up for ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

There are times for Keri Russell when that famous line from “Planet of the Apes” runs through her mind: “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.”

Especially while fighting large furry creatures in the forests of Vancouver, where “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was shot. “All of the action scenes were fun because I grew up as a dancer, so I’m very physical,” Russell says. “There’s still something about fighting apes where you want to say, ‘OK, paws off!’ It’s a primal reaction.”

In “Dawn” (opening Friday), the star of FX’s “The Americans” plays Ellie, the wife of Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and a survivor of the ALZ-113 virus. It’s a decade past the events in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) and the apes of Earth believe the humans have been wiped out and the few humans who remain believe the apes no longer exist. When they encounter each other again, it’s species vs. species.

“It doesn’t exactly bode well for the humans,” hints Russell with a laugh.

Q. What was the biggest hardship filming “Dawn” in the woods?

a. It was great, except there was no cell service. You’d be walking around the woods during breaks and then someone would yell out, “Oh my God, I got cell service! I found a bar!” Between takes, if anyone on this set found any cell service in those trees, the entire cast started scrambling and yelling, “Where, where, where?”

Q. What was the draw of doing this movie?

a. Director Matt Reeves was key. We worked together on “Felicity.” I knew that he had sensitive taste and that he would create intimacy between the characters. I knew wanted to make this an intricate, character-driven piece and show the sensibility of both humans and apes. I also thought that this could be a fun, summer action film and an epic, 3-D summer movie.

Q. Were you surprised when you got the call?

a. I said, “Really? Me? In ‘Planet of the Apes?’ ” I never even saw the original movies as a kid. I had a sense of them. I saw photos of them. So, I had a bit of catching up to do.

Q. How do you describe the new “Apes” film?

a. It’s a survival story. You think that this virus has perhaps wiped out all humans and all that is left is apes. She was helping fight the virus for the humans. She’s incredibly resourceful, but damaged and living in a makeshift family. She’s just trying to rebuild and live. Most of all, she doesn’t want to lose the few people left that she loves. She doesn’t want to let them out of her sight.

Q. How did you prepare for the role?

a. I read about female war journalists who lost so many people they loved due to the war. The woman I play in this new film has also lost a lot of loved ones. Now, she’s just trying to keep alive, but she’s deeply wounded.

Q. “The Americans” is such a huge hit. What do you think is the appeal of playing this KGB spy?

a. It’s been such a great experience. Roles like this aren’t available on film, so I’m so thankful for this exciting job. I love the challenge of playing this woman who becomes so many characters within one show. Thank God, we have the best hair and makeup people because they do a lot of the work.

Q. Don’t you live in Brooklyn right by the set?

a. Yes, I can bike home for lunch, put my baby down for a nap, and go back to spy work. It’s perfect.


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Keri Russell on Dawn of the Planet of Apes’ Unlikely Felicity Reunion

If, like me, you were a fan of the WB’s Felicity then it’s very amusing to ponder the fact that the co-creator of that series, Matt Reeves, and the show’s star, Keri Russell are teaming up again on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which Reeves directed. While Russell has worked with Felicity’s other creator — a guy named J.J. Abrams — since Felicity ended (in Mission: Impossible III), Apes marks her first time reuniting with Reeves.

As Russell remarked to me about the experience, “This is not the project I thought we’d be doing together, let’s be honest. He has this most beautiful film, this independent film, that he wrote that I would love to do, and we tried to get money for it a few years ago. It’s so good, and maybe, hopefully soon. But this is not that. [Laughs] This is so crazy and ambitious and epic. I had no idea what I was signing on for. He had a phone conversation with me and just said, ‘Please come do this.’ I said, ‘Matt, I’m finishing this show [The Americans], I’m so tired.’ He said, ‘Just come do this with me,’ and I’m so glad I did.” Continue reading Keri Russell on Dawn of the Planet of Apes’ Unlikely Felicity Reunion

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‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Premiere: How Andy Serkis’ Caesar Found a Voice

Dawn opens ten years after the devastating Simian flu pandemic has decimated the human race, and the City by the Bay looks very different than moviegoers may remember from Rise. “I was very interested in telling the story from the apes’ point of view,” said Reeves, “To start the movie not in the post-apocalyptic world [of man], but instead in a world where it seemed it had been inherited by the new species of intelligent apes.” A rust-ravaged Golden Gate Bridge serves as a set of monkey bars for the apes to travel between their home in the Marin headlands to the now-desolate city of San Francisco. “The idea is that the earth would sort of start to reclaim this place,” said Reeves. “We tried to do it in as naturalistic a fashion as possible … what would happen here without humanity?”

Keri Russell, who plays the wife of Malcolm (Clarke) in the film, praised Serkis’ performance as Caesar, the genetically-enhanced ape. “Andy is just so good. That was really the treat of doing this movie. I really hope people start paying attention to him. He’s unbelievable.”

After the screening, the cast and crowd were ushered into the rotunda of the Palace of the Fine Arts, which had been transformed into a post-Simian Flu, apocalyptic afterparty. Dramatic up-lighting and overgrown branches shrouded the venue in deep shadows as floor-to-ceiling triptychs featuring Caesar’s iconic visage glowered over all. The dimly lit arena made distinguishing between guests almost impossible, keeping with the film’s message of the evening that, truly, we are all alike.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters July 11.


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Keri Russell and Gary Oldman Talk DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Filming in New Orleans, the TINKER TAILOR Sequel, and More

Over the past few weeks, we’ve posted an enormous amount of coverage on director Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. We had our set visit (with 45 things to know about the movie), on set interviews with Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, and cinematographer Michael Seresin, new toy images, new movie images and posters, a TV spot, and more. Based on everything I’ve seen and learned, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is going to be a great sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes and it’s going to show how motion capture technology has advanced over the past few years. I really believe Reeves is going to hit a home-run with this film.

At last weekend’s WonderCon, I landed a great video interview with Keri Russell and Gary Oldman. Unlike some interviews that are formal, I was their last interview of the day and they just wanted to have some fun. You’ll understand as you watch the video. They talked about how the film shows both the apes and humans perspectives, what it was like filming in New Orleans, working with Reeves while he was seriously ill with pneumonia, the morality of Oldman’s character, the performance capture technology and shooting in 3D, what happened with the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sequel Smiley’s People, The Americans season 2 finale, and you can even watch Oldman talking with his son on the phone. It’s a fun interview so check it out after the jump. Continue reading Keri Russell and Gary Oldman Talk DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Filming in New Orleans, the TINKER TAILOR Sequel, and More