Magazine article Variety

Versatile Actress Can Go from Spry to Spy

Magazine article Variety

Versatile Actress Can Go from Spry to Spy

Article excerpt

When Keri Russell learned she was getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she was honored but skeptical. "At first I thought, 'Do they know something I don't know? Does this mean it's over for me?,' she jokes. "Because when I think of stars on Hollywood Boulevard, I think of Judy Garland or someone really famous. I know I'm not 20, but is this the twilight of my career? It's hugely iconic and part of me definitely feels like it's been a mistake, but I'm going for it anyway."

Far from the twilight of her career, Russell has been getting the best reviews of her career as Elizabeth Jennings, a ruthless Soviet spy, on the FX series "The Americans." After four seasons as a critical darling, the show finally broke through in the major Emmy categories last year, earning Russell her first nomination. And now, on the morning after its fifth season ends, Russell will have her name further etched on the Hollywood firmament during her Walk of Fame induction ceremony on May 30.

In Russell's modest telling, however, it's all been one happy accident.

"I haven't had some great plan," she says. "It's definitely not something I started out wanting to do. I didn't grow up wanting to be an actress. I was a dancer who sort of fell into it. And I've been incredibly lucky and had some really good opportunities and experiences. There's no rhyme or reason. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't."

Once a hatchling from the "Mickey Mouse Club" incubator, Russell made the leap from teenage prodigy to household name when she got the title role on the hit WB series "Felicity," which ran four seasons from 1998 to 2002. The show's creators, J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, seized on Russell's quick wit and emotional dexterity, which won her a Golden Globe for lead actress.

Russell continued to work steadily in film and television during the decade following the cancellation of "Felicity," with notable roles in the indie comedy "Waitress" and the Abrams-directed "Mission: Impossible III. …

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