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Keri Russell Talks 'Austenland,' Women in Hollywood, Costume Dramas and Boobs

Photo of Casey Cipriani By Casey Cipriani | Indiewire August 15, 2013 at 2:26PM

Keri Russell won the admiration of many an adolescent girl during her four-season run as the star of "Felicity," a teen drama focused on an awkward young girl's adjustment to college life.
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He's done period films before.

A million! A million costume dramas, so he is that world. And Bret is not really an actor-actor, he's a musician and comedian and so that's not really what he does. We would have to do these kissing scenes, and Jerusha kept making so much fun of him because he would go in to kiss and he wouldn't use his hands. He's just be like (holds her arms straight down). And Jerusha would be like, "It's weird! You have to touch her! Are you allergic to touching people?" And we would tease him like (holds her arms straight down again). So they each had their own good things, and so fun and for the most part a really easy shoot. Fun people, beautiful scenery.

How long was the shoot?

My memory was that it was pretty short. Maybe I would say like two months? But I really can't remember, it was two years ago and I was pregnant.

Right, how did that work out?

It was okay because of those dresses!

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Yeah those dresses are so floofy anyway.

Yeah and they're right here [at the top of the waist] and it's perfect. So that baby was growing in that expandable corset underneath. And that's how we went.

Well I guess if you're going to do a costume drama while you're pregnant it's best with the Empire waist.

Right! And boobs! It was a win-win for all parties involved.

What was it like to work with Jane Seymour?

She's amazing. She's larger than life, so beautiful and such a hard worker still and always has been. And hilarious! She goes for it in this and it really works.

Yeah that first opening bit…

Holding dead lambs. Hilarious.

So the whole marketing plan behind this film is very female-centric. Sony Pictures Classics has basically said that they're specifically courting women to come see the film.

The only thing I can say is, it does have Jennifer Coolidge and her boobs in it. I mean, that's not just for the ladies. And Jennifer Coolidge's humor to me is so guy-centric, you know what I mean? It's not tame. And it's hilarious. And Bret feels like such a dude to me too -- "Flight of the Concords". It is fluffy dresses and talking about a romance novelist and that world, but I think it's pretty wacky and fun too. I say girls can bring dates and what the dates get out of it is a make out at the end.

It is also a big deal in that it's written by women, produced by women, and directed by women. I tend to embrace projects where women are on the creative end. How do you feel about how women are developing in the industry?

Certainly there are still more guys in those positions. But that being said I've worked with a lot of female directors these days, a lot. So it's definitely getting better. Maybe I should think about it more but I don't tend to choose a project because of that, because there's a woman director or producer. But Jerusha was the reason I took this. Not because she's a woman but because I thought she was cool and was familiar with her work before and thought it would be fun. I wanted to support her in her first [solo] directorial venture.

"I've worked with a lot of female directors these days, a lot."

So what was it like shooting this very girly, dress up movie and then going into kicking ass and taking names on "The Americans"?

[laughs] They're so similar, these characters. Not! That's the fun thing about this job. You get to wear these fancy clothes and be this innocent vulnerable hopeful girl running in the English countryside.

Cut to "The Americans" and it's all cat eyeliner and blown out hair and leather tough Russian spy. And that's what's so cool about this job to me right now is just the variety of it and getting to step into different worlds.

What's up next for you?

Rest! I don't start "The Americans" again until October. So other than a six-year-old starting a new school, just that.

This article is related to: Interviews, Keri Russell, Austenland, The Americans





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