Keri Russell and Will Arnett are comedic gold together — at least that’s what we took away from our sit-down with them at the Television Critics Association fall previews.
Mitch Hurwitz: Running Wilde is not Arrested Development, but you should still watch
Envision lots of laughter as the stars of Running Wilde — Fox’s new comedy about a spoiled sycophant with endless resources trying to woo his former pal — hijack TVGuide.com’s interview. Really, we’ll let them take it away…
TVGuide.com: The chemistry between the two of you in Running Wilde is hilarious. Will, you play the spoiled brat; Keri, the girl who has roughed it—
Russell: Perfect person, yes.
Arnett: Nobody said perfect.
Russell: She’s trying to be nice in front of you. Go ahead.
TVGuide.com: How will they interact with each other as the series moves forward?
Arnett: We’re going to find that some people who thought they were perfect are not quite so perfect after all, are they?
Russell: I don’t know what he’s talking about.
Arnett: This whole show is designed to reveal what a hypocrite Keri Russell is, so we created an illusion of this show to shed light on that.
Russell: My husband will be so excited.
Arnett: I know, who do you think is behind it? Really, there’s a history with these characters. They used to be in each other’s lives, they used to be in love, and they got separated. They both become perverted by the direction they’ve gone in — he, by being a guy who has lived a life of excess; she, by going in, seemingly helping everybody out and being so perfect. You’re going to be like, “Oh wait, how can they reconnect?”
TVGuide.com: Do you guys actually get anything done on set?
Russell: Yes, there are literally three directors for every episode and they yell at you.
Arnett: We’re very professional. We have lots of people—
Russell: To yell at us when we’re not.
Arnett: On the pilot, we had both the Russo brothers, who directed the Arrested Development pilot, and Mitch Hurwitz at the helm of this ship. It’s so much fun. It’s just a big goof-off.
Russell: It’s also hard work. I feel like I’ve learned so much. First of all, it happens so quickly. [From] my experience in the past, I’m used to getting there and working it out a little bit and seeing what’s going to happen. I feel like you guys show up with all the cards on the table. It happens right there, and you get one or two shots to do it and we’re moving on. You have to be able to move super quick. That’s different for me and a testament to them, really. Will and Peter [Serafinowicz] really bring it in an immediate way.
TVGuide.com: Keri, you haven’t done too much comedy. So Will, do you school her on set?
Arnett: Oh God, no.
Russell: I have a comedy tutor, and it’s really this little man who follows me around.
Arnett: Keri knows how to handle herself and she’s been doing this a long time. People say, “How would you describe Keri?” I say, “She’s a pro, a working girl.”
Russell: Like a prostitute? Where is this going?
Arnett: Oh, I see what you mean. I see how that sounds.
Russell: Yes, I used to be a dancer. Yes, I used to make money, but I don’t think that has any bearing on what we’re talking about now.
Arnett: You don’t think it does. Great. Difference of opinion.
TVGuide.com: Do you think it’s the right climate to have a show where you’re watching idiotic rich people just do whatever they please?
Arnett: I do think it’s the right climate.
Russell: Yeah, but then it’s balanced by me constantly calling him on it.
Arnett: We’re not condoning it. Also, we’re calling her out — the people who spend their lives calling it out.
Russell: You know, the people who are saying, “You really shouldn’t be eating that.” It’s sort of annoying. I love when people are like, “Oh my God, if one more person talks about composting, I’ll slit my wrists!”
Arnett: There’s so much hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle. We want to shed light on both of those. Here you have this absurdly rich guy who brings this tribe up from the rain forest because he thinks it’s what her character wants. We’re saying it’s crazy.
TVGuide.com: Keri, instant reaction: When you heard you’d be starring opposite Will Arnett, what did you think?
Russell: Literally, my mouth just started dribbling. I started wearing bibs around. This is total truth.
TVGuide.com: Will, what was your reaction when you heard Keri was joining?
Arnett: I thought, who is he? No, I didn’t have an instant reaction because we had sent the script out and we had heard she was interested in meeting us, so we were beyond psyched that she would even consider joining our ship of fools. We thought, man, she’s going to class this joint up.
TVGuide.com: So, he did say you were perfect and classy.
Russell: You got that! I’m glad you recorded that.
Arnett: No! That’s not what I meant!