Felicity, she ain’t.
For her TV return, Keri Russell stars as Elizabeth Jennings, a dedicated Soviet spy pretending to be a happily married American suburban housewife in The Americans, an ’80s-set FX series debuting Jan. 30. With her faux-husband Phillip, played by Brothers & Sisters star Matthew Rhys, she will kidnap, kill and offer her sexual favors, all to further the interests of the Soviet Union.
And she’s not just a commie spy, which would be change enough from the good girl she played in Felicity. She’s also an action hero. In the pilot, she kicks some guy so hard, his head goes through the wall.
“It was terrible to do. …There’s no pad, I’m kicking his head into the wall. He grabbed me and said ‘Do it and do it right, because if you mess it up, we’re going to have to do it again, and then I’m going to be (angry).’ ”
Posing as an American, of course, is nothing new for Rhys, a Welsh actor who has often played American characters. What he has learned about Americans, he says, is that we’re both welcoming and “incredibly honest” in the way we share how we feel.
“In day-to-day activity, there’s an incredible emotional articulateness that you don’t find in Britain … that’s lacking in the British system. That and a lack of therapy.”