Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

Keri Russell chats the sixth and final season

FX Networks’s THE AMERICANS comes to a conclusion after six seasons on Wednesday, May 30. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, married KGB spies, with two children, posing as ordinary Americans in Reagan-era U.S.A. Russell, who won a Golden Globe and was twice nominated for Emmys for her work as Elizabeth, reminisces about her time with the series.

ASSIGNMENT X: Do you have a favorite episode or scene from your time on THE AMERICANS?

KERI RUSSELL: My favorite scenes are always the emotional marriage scenes, always, just because that’s the stuff I’m most interested in. But some highlights – I love, still, beating up Margo Martindale [who plays Claudia, Elizabeth and Philip’s KGB handler], just because it was so wild. People on the street, like tough construction guys, are still saying to me, “Yo, you really kicked that lady’s ass.” And I just think that’s so funny. But I love the emotional big fights we have. There are so many moments in this season, it’s so great.

AX: What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned in working on THE AMERICANS?

RUSSELL: Well, to be honest, just learning about some of the Russian history in the war [WWII]. As Americans, we don’t learn any of that. Even the amount of people, the amount of soldiers, that the Russians lost compared to Americans in World War II, is devastating. It was something over fifteen million. And our numbers were something like four hundred thousand. It’s unbelievable. There’s such a history. And we don’t ever learn that. So parts of that were interesting. Continue reading Keri Russell chats the sixth and final season

Categories Articles & Interviews

The Americans exit interview: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys bid farewell to their Cold War spy drama

“Hi. I was hoping to make it home for dinner but things are very topsy-turvy at the office.”

In the penultimate episode of FX’s The Americans, Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) delivers that coded message to a stricken Elizabeth (Keri Russell) as she sits inside their Falls Church single-family home, where they’ve lived as Americans for years, raising their children, running operations, and living across the street from an FBI agent turned best friend. She understands exactly what it means: Their cover is blown, they’re going on the run, and the identities they’ve spent their lives building have begun to fall apart.

But as a classic 1986 single would recommend: Don’t dream it’s over. With one episode left of the critically acclaimed Cold War spy drama to go, EW asked stars (and real-life partners) Russell and Rhys to look back on the brutal, beautiful series, those long nights shooting the show in the cold, and what they’ll miss from their six seasons of spy-craft.

Spoiler alert: It’s not the wigs.
Continue reading The Americans exit interview: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys bid farewell to their Cold War spy drama

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans stars reflect on the series’ end and the new demonization of Russians

When “The Americans” was first being developed as an FX series, there was one potential hitch in telling a story about a suburban couple in the 1980s who actually were embedded KGB agents: Post-Cold War Russians didn’t scare us anymore.

“People were wondering whether Russians were a credible enemy in a work of fiction when we started,” says creator Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent who has worked side-by-side with executive producer Joel Fields on the show, which wraps up next week after six seasons with a surprising finale.

Oh, how things have changed since 2013, when “Americans” first premiered, turning into a bona-fide critical hit for FX thanks in part to its strong cast (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), 1980s retro looks (and disguises), sophisticated writing and flawed, complex characters — whose main goal was to undermine U.S. interests. Continue reading The Americans stars reflect on the series’ end and the new demonization of Russians

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans recap: With one episode left, the Jennings family is near exposure

Who is Elizabeth Jennings? Who is she really?

That’s something the character has been trying to keep hidden from the world since the beginning of The Americans, but she may finally be figuring out the answer for herself.

The penultimate installment is called “Jennings, Elizabeth” because that’s what Stan types into the Automated Case Support database at the FBI as the episode begins.

Nothing. He finds nothing. No past or current investigations involving her.

He also finds nothing about Jennings, Philip. Or their business, Dupont Circle Travel.

With only one more episode left in the series, there are bound to be consequences now that bring a sense of finality to a show that is bound to finally expose the Jennings family for who they really are. But what’s surprising is how this episode allowed some of the major figures — especially Elizabeth — to fundamentally change who they are. Continue reading The Americans recap: With one episode left, the Jennings family is near exposure

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

Do you believe Elizabeth’s big decision on The Americans?

With one episode left to go in the series, we know one thing for sure about The Americans. As Soviet agent Elizabeth Jennings, Keri Russell is giving a performance for the ages.

This final season has been one long endurance test for the character and the actress, an endless stream of spy ops, wigs swapped, assets fatally shot or fatally seduced. Elizabeth hasn’t lost her knack for shapeshifting. Her interaction with Senate intern Jackson (Austin Abrams) was a master class in personality espionage, steadily undressing the poor boy via Manic Pixie Cinephilia (ah, yes, Rififi!) and the dangling promise of a glamorous new life in the private sector. It’s almost Westworldly, the way she digs herself into narratives for these lonely souls, working overtime as Host and Programmer and gun-toting QA.

But her exhaustion is palpable. She’s a soldier near the end of a very long war, juggling battles on many fronts. Some of the best moments on TV recently have been Elizabeth quietly smoking cigarettes. She can look tough, tired, confident, confused, desperate, savvy, murderous, kind, sometimes all at once.

Wednesday’s penultimate episode is titled “Jennings, Elizabeth,” and it’s both a showcase for Russell’s ice-and-fire energy and a pivotal turning point for Elizabeth.

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk!)
Continue reading Do you believe Elizabeth’s big decision on The Americans?