When I visited the set of “The Americans” in early December, attempts to interview Keri Russell kept being delayed, both by the complicated process of filming parts of four different episodes in a single day, and by Russell”s desire to prep for a physically and emotionally grueling scene (which appeared in tonight”s episode, as I reviewed here) involving the worsening condition of Elizabeth”s injured tooth.
Fortunately, once Russell, Matthew Rhys and director Tommy Schlamme finished shooting the scene, she had a few minutes to talk, and a lighter spirit thanks to a plate of cookies that was being passed around the stage. (There”s a good 90 seconds of my interview recording that”s just her trying to talk me into splitting a cookie with her, including her saying what is now my life motto: “Everyone deserves cookies.”)
Does it feel strange eating a cookie right after on-screen dental work?
Keri Russell: Eating a cookie never feels strange. I don”t care what I”m doing beforehand. I am a big believer in food in general.
So in the range of things you”ve been asked to do, this is a physical part. Where would you say that stacked up?
Keri Russell: Somewhere in between being strapped to Tom Cruise like a backpack and jumping out of a burning building, and doing a threesome with strangers in Staten Island on a Tuesday at 9:00 a.m.
Do you feel like (producers) Joel (Fields) and Joe (Weisberg) try to push the two of you in terms of the physical things that they give you to do?
Keri Russell: I think so. I love it. It”s so fun. That”s what”s so cool and surprising about this show. I love that I”m getting my teeth pulled by my husband, but it”s so strangely intimate. Tommy told us that this is our sex scene for this episode. And it is. It”s like this intimate, heightened moment. I love that about the show. These are my favorite things. Not just crazy kicking dudes heads through walls. I like it to be about a relationship. So I do. I love doing this versus, I don”t know, brushing a little girl”s hair and being a super nice mom and praying or something.