Keri Russell has been acting more than half her life. The 32-year-old Fountain Valley, Calif., native started working in front of the cameras when she was 15, as a member of the Disney Channel’s “New Mickey Mouse Club.” Since then she has starred in multiple television and film projects from “Felicity” to “Waitress.”
And Russell has loved every minute of it.
“This is definitely a unique job,” says Russell during an interview at the Four Seasons Hotel to talk about her latest acting role. She stars with Adam Sandler in the Christmas Day release “Bedtime Stories.”
“It is always interesting – so far. And generally I get to be around pretty great people. I am constantly interested in them.”
Sandler, whom Russell calls “a delight,” certainly interested her. So when he called, Russell agreed to take on a role in the film that has her play everything from a mermaid to a damsel in distress in the Wild West. In “Bedtime Stories,” the tales Sandler’s character spins for his niece and nephew come to life on screen. And the tales take place in locations from ancient Rome to outer space.
The wild mix of characters was so much fun for Russell that she never considered it work.
“There are certainly other jobs where you have to be emotional all the time or you have to memorize a ton of lines. This was like show up, hang out with Adam for six hours and then shoot for two minutes,” Russell says.
“Bedtime Stories” is the first family-friendly movie by Sandler. And that’s not just a description of what ended up on the screen. Sandler encouraged the actors to bring their children to the set during filming.
That was another positive for Russell. Her son was 8 months old when filming started early this year. Russell was able to spend time with him between scenes.
A career plus for her is that she has been able to do so many different kinds of projects. “Bedtime Stories” is a broad comedy while “Mission Impossible III” was a big-budget action movie. She’s even starred in a Western in the television miniseries “Into the West.”
Her method for picking roles is simple. Russell is an avid reader. And she wants any project she does to have a story that will be compelling and moving.
Many of the recent scripts she has found to be intriguing have been for television projects. Because of the success she had with “Felicity,” she almost exclusively gets offered one-hour television dramas. The only thing keeping Russell from a return to television is the long shooting schedule, which often means 18-hour days.
Russell likes making the occasional movie, because she can work for a few months and then have months to be with her son.
The profession Russell finds so fascinating and enjoyable got even more interesting with her voice work for the animated “Wonder Woman” film. It was the first voice work Russell had done. It was not the first time she was Wonder Woman.
“I was Wonder Woman for Halloween when I was 3. My mom made my costume. I was very proud of it,” Russell says.
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