Keri Russell is back on TV. After her starmaking drama Felicity, which also launched the behind the scenes talent of J.J. Abrams, Russell enjoyed a movie career in critical darlings like Waitress and blockbusters like Mission: Impossible III and Bedtime Stories. Now she’s costarring in the new Fox comedy Running Wilde, from Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz.
Wilde is Will Arnett’s character, Steven Wilde, the son of an oil tycoon. Emmy (Russell) is his childhood sweetheart, who has become an environmentalist protesting Wilde Oil for displacing a tribe in the rainforest. That puts the mismatched duo at odds already, but that’s not all.
Emmy may be a do-gooder but she’s not entirely noble. She neglects her daughter and gets on such a high horse she can’t see what’s going on. Russell goes wild herself freaking out in Emmy’s lengthy tangents. She had fun with the Television Critics Association this summer too, hanging out by the bar at a Fox cocktail reception.
Q: Does playing a mom to a teen give you an idea what to expect from an older child?
KR: I don’t know. Yes, she’s 12 but it’s also we’re talking about a Mitch Hurwitz show here so it’s not exactly reality here. She doesn’t speak for the first ¾ of the show.
Q: How old is your son?
Q: What do you like to do with him in the house?
KR: There’s a lot of playing with cars right now. A lot of playing with cars. We color. He’s a boy so there’s a lot of sword fighting and cars.
Q: What do you do to relax?
KR: Go to sleep. I don’t know, eat a lot.
Q: What are your food choices like when you’re exhausted?
KR: When you’re that exhausted, whatever is closest. Like eight bowls of cereal and string cheese. Whatever is left over in the fridge.
Q: Do you have a healthy snack you like?
KR: A healthy snack? I’ve been making a homemade granola that’s very good. With yogurt. Sometimes I eat that at night. I think I’m being healthy but it’s not really.
Q: What kind of music are you into?
KR: I am so behind on music. I used to be so cool. It’s like you have a kid and it goes out the window.
Q: There’s a girl named Lady Gaga. She’s quite popular.
KR: Now who is this girl? No, what are we listening to. I just went to a National concert in Brooklyn.
Q: What is the last CD you bought?
KR: That’s what I’m trying to think. Now we download everything. What have I downloaded recently?
Q: With downloads, we can’t even make mix tapes anymore.
KR: Mix tapes are awesome. It’s still important. I’m still into that. I’m still into playlists.
Q: Do you have motivational music you listen to?
KR: Yeah, the latest workout song I downloaded was the Swedish girl, the song is like Dancing On My Own, Robyn. I love that song.
Q: What are you doing to work out?
KR: I don’t know, running, pilates, whatever’s around.
Q: Do you go to a public pilates class?
KR: I do. In New York.
Q: Do you stay away from craft services on the set?
KR: No. I had about 18 sour gummi worms today and they were delicious.
Q: How do you stop cravings?
KR: I don’t. I eat them and then go for a walk.
Q: Do you think pairing yourself with Will Arnett is automatically funny?
KR: I definitely knew Will’s work. I admired him from afar but when I had lunch with Mitch, when I met him, I just sort of got a sense of them. I thought you know what? This could be really good. The pilot was totally written for Will but it was also so much about Mitch and his sensibility and I thought you know what? This could be good.
Q: Have you had a comic actress in you for a while or is it a leap of faith?
KR: It’s still a leap of faith. We’ll see. I feel like I’m a visitor in their world. We’ll see how it goes.
Q: Were you an Arrested Development addict?
KR: Yes, I love Arrested Development. I own the box set. Yes.
Q: What attracted you to the role?
KR: I was a big fan of Mitch. Will was okay. [Laughs] It just was interesting. I was just sort of bored with the film scripts I was getting. The type of movies I did like weren’t being made, they couldn’t get green lit. I kind of just wasn’t working. I didn’t want to just do something that was okay. This came along and it was just so different and funny, I just couldn’t say no.
Q: You’re kind of the foil. Do you get a chance to be goofy?
KR: There are moments but yes, I would say I am the straight man.
Q: What do you think of the shows on TV now?
KR: I don’t watch a ton of TV. The shows I watch are like So You Think You Can Dance. I love it. And I love that show Addicted with that blonde lady with the blue eyes. I’m so obsessed with that lady. I know there’s really great TV now but I have a three-year-old and I’m the only person in the universe who doesn’t have a DVR machine which is ridiculous. It needs to happen now. So I’ve missed a lot of the TV but I know there’s great TV but I haven’t seen it.
Q: How is mommyhood?
KR: I mean, he’s three, he’s wonderful. He’s a good guy.
Q: Has he seen Bedtime Stories yet?
KR: He has seen it. Someone showed that to him. He goes, “Mama.”
Q: He knew it was you?
KR: He did know it was me.
Q: Does he realize what you do for a living?
KR: I don’t think so. I don’t think so but we did take him to see Toy Story 3. That was his first big movie and he liked it very much.
Q: Isn’t that traumatic for a three-year-old?
KR: He loved it. He did not make a peep though. He just sat and wore the 3D glasses. I thought oh, that’s going to bother him. He just sat perfectly still. Except, have you seen the movie?
Q: Yeah, they’re about to be incinerated at one point.
KR: I asked him about that. I said, “Remember when they all hold hands and they’re sliding, they’re going to be burned.” He said, “No, not burned.” He was perfectly still by it except there’s a scene in the beginning like the whole wild west. There’s this one moment where Mr. Potato Head for some reason says, “Money money money.” And for some reason so loud went, “Money money money!” No, no, we’re watching.