It’s time to get past the haircut. Keri Russell certainly has.
In fact, the former “Felicity” star has moved so far beyond her famous pixie cut that she’s now realizing that there’s something else out there — namely, aliens. That’s right, Russell’s latest project is the sci-fi/horror film “Dark Skies.” She plays a mother under siege from all angles: financial, familial and supernatural. When strange things start happening, such as her youngest son claiming visits from “the sandman,” unexplained items moving inexplicably throughout the house and scary episodes she can’t remember, Russell’s character takes matters into her own hands, to thrilling result.
NextMovie sat down with Russell in New York City ahead of the movie to discuss her thoughts on aliens, the time she almost drowned while hanging out with Anthony Kiedis and, yes, the haircut.
Your movie scared the bejeezus out of me.
Good, mission accomplished.
Do you like seeing horror movies in theaters?
I don’t, usually, because I get kind of too scared. I watched a screening of “Dark Skies” last week. I invited a group of my girlfriends with me because I thought, “I can’t see a scary movie alone.” And it was so fun. I get it! I was reminded why it’s so fun to go see those movies: Because it’s thrilling. The feeling of being scared when you know it’s just a movie, there’s this crazy delight and it’s funny that you’re getting scared, and so you laugh at it! My girlfriends, we were laughing so hard, that nervous hehehe, and then you scream, and it’s fun. You’re thrilled in that real, true sense of that word, and I get it.
Is it still scary for you, even if you know what’s coming?
Totally. Isn’t that sad? It’s still scary. I’ve seen it, and yet I think it really works, I really think [director] Scott [Stewart] did a good job.
Both of your sons in the movie have creepy moments. There’s just something about kids in horror movies. Who do you think is the creepiest horror movie kid ever?
Well, there’s a million. I didn’t see a ton of creepy movies, but the redrum kid is definitely creepy, the age-old creepy kid. But it’s not even him, it’s the twins. Those weird twin girls who are also in “The Shining.” Walking down hotel halls still scares me. I’m just like, “Don’t think of the little twin girls in the hallway!”
What’s it like filming horror scenes? Are the big scares still scary?
It’s all sort of imagination. To me, it’s all about a mom protecting her kids. You’re not thinking of it as like a “scary movie,” it’s the reality of a mom protecting her kids, no matter what you’re protecting them from. You don’t think of it like a scary movie, just like a real movie.
Do you believe in aliens?
I am open to the possibility. I don’t shut anything out. I don’t know enough about it, you know?
In the movie, you fall into kind of a Google black hole that leads you to decide that your family is being visited by aliens. What’s the deepest Google hole you’ve fallen into yourself?
I have no free time these days, so I don’t do a lot of that, but if I would do any kind of searching, it would be, like, travel. Like, what’s the best bed and breakfast up in the mountains and then click that place to that place to that place, something like that. And now it’s 2 in the morning and I have to go to bed, because guess what, I’m not going on vacation any time soon. Like how did this happen, and this needs to end right now. I don’t need this.
Do you Google yourself?
Sometimes. I’m like, is there anything really bad about me out there?
What the weirdest or most wrong thing you’ve seen about yourself on the internet?
There’s always wrong stuff.Oh, once it was reported a while ago that I had a near-drowning incident with Anthony Kiedis. I’m sort of like…yeah, sure.
Have you ever even met him?
There was this crazy weird thing where a group of us went and we were swimming in the ocean, which is true. He’s not my friend by any means, but we were part of the same group, we were swimming, and there was a riptide. I stand by the fact that I am a wonderful swimmer and know how to get back to shore, but some of my friends weren’t as confident, so the lifeguard took them. He made us come in because of the riptide. Anyway, I guess it has to be reported by the lifeguard, and we had to give our names, and it was reported as a near death or near drowning. People ask me about that sometimes.
You can just say that Anthony Kiedis held you under.
Yeah. He was threatened by me. Intimidated. It happens.
In that same vein, is there a rumor that you’d like to start about yourself?
That I’m cool. That I’m not nerdy and home by 9:00. “Keri’s actually cool! You guys, I know it doesn’t sound real, but I’m serious! It’s from a credible source! She might be cool!”
Years ago, you got a very famous haircut.
I don’t know if you’ve heard about this haircut.
I haven’t. I’ll Google it though.
Are you paranoid when you get your hair cut now?
No. No. But it’s so funny that that was such a thing. Maybe it’s because curly hair is more recognizable? I have no idea. But so wild. I stand by it. I thought it was such a good storyline that the college girl cuts her hair. Granted, it was a lot of hair to cut off, but I thought it was totally an appropriate storyline for the show and really sweet.
Lena Dunham cut her hair and got some flak as well.
She has short hair now? Oh, that would look so cute on her!
Now you can say that you were the pre-Lena Lena Dunham.
We are hair sisters, haircut sisters.
J.J. Abrams, with whom you have worked several times, is directing the new “Star Wars.” Are you lobbying to get cast?
As Chewbacca. I think that’s the top pick for me.
CGI or animal suit?
Oh, I’ll do the animal suit. I’ll do the sounds. Whatever Mr. Abrams wants me to do.
Can you do a Chewbacca sound?
I wish I could. But I can’t. But I’m gonna work on it! I’ll work very hard, J.J., I swear!
Not going for Leia 2?
Oh, in a heartbeat. In a heartbeat. But I don’t even know what his “Star Wars” is going to be about. I’m so ready to be excited about “Star Wars” again, and I think he’s the perfect person to do it. “Star Trek” I’m not as much of a fan of, but Star Wars, I’m so excited about. He’s great at all that stuff, so good.
Do you have an Oscar pick to share with us?
I don’t even know who’s nominated. I haven’t seen any of the movies. Literally any of the movies. I’m so bad. I’m like, “This name sounds really intriguing!”
What would your porn name be?
So I have two really good ones. It would be Lynn Grandview, if we’re using my middle name. Classic.
That sounds very regal.
Or, with the pet, this one’s even better: Felina Grandview.