The Cold War is rekindled on FX's new series "The Americans," as deep cover Russian spies embed themselves in suburbia. Series star Keri Russell spoke with IGN about what drew her to the series and what viewers can expect.
Russell sees the most intriguing aspect of the series as the internal strife that occurs within this manufactured faux-family as they attempt to do their jobs. "Yes, the spy stuff is cool, but the part that’s interesting to me and the part I kept wrestling with and the part I kept replaying in my brain when I was thinking about taking it, was really just the marriage and how -- I know its couched in the spy world in the 1980s and all this stuff -- but the interesting thing for me to untangle is, what is this relationship for these people who have been chosen for each other?" Russell explained. "They’ve been living together for 15 years, but they didn’t choose each other. They’re trying to find a way to make it work, and they clearly have such opposing ideals about what this life should be. How do you find that? She is so closed off emotionally, compartmentalized, much more in the way a man does with sexuality. She so keeps him at a distance, and I think that endpoint in the pilot where [there's] just this little opening, that interested me. I thought, 'Oh, what is this going to be?' It could go so many different ways, and the minutia of that might be really fun. So that’s what interested me more."
The strain in the marriage between the husband and wife spies is one of the central aspects of the series, with Russell's character emotionally closed off and her husband, played by Matthew Rhys, the polar opposite. "I think he is just -- which is instant from the first time you meet them in the pilot -- he’s just much more accessible. He’s so much more in touch with his emotions and able to love her. I think, because she’s so closed and damaged in her own way, it is easier to compartmentalize," Russell said. "I think it’s interesting that she is such a sexual being, but not sexual in her own marriage and in being intimate with her own husband. And that makes sense to me. And it makes sense that she can really be a good soldier by doing that. To open yourself up to the vulnerability, in her mind, would make her vulnerable in that outside world, which is the world that really matters to her. So I guess that would be the journey. To watch the outside world of the work -- which is so important to her -- and the internal, self-acceptance world and love for her husband hopefully merging and finding a way to coexist."
While the depth of character is what drew the actress to the series, she insists that the series is unique in juggling numerous themes, each of which has the potential to take greater prominence as the series progresses. "The show has so many different elements. I don’t know which will rise to the top. We’re only shooting the fourth episode right now, so we’ll see. But it has so many components that are completely worthwhile and watchable," Russell said. "Even the neighbor moving in next door that Noah [Emmerich] plays. All of those elements are really interesting and so not just a basic procedural show. I think it has a lot of good stuff and potential, and we’ll see what happens."
Don't miss FX's new series "The Americans," premiering Wednesday on FX!