Keri Russell reinvents herself in motherhood
By Roger Moore
Published: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Keri Russell's “comeback year” has the feel of a reinvention, a re-branding of the dainty young lovely who burst on the scene with “Felicity” back in the last century.
But as different as her flinty mom in the new film “Dark Skies” might seem, as dangerous and “out there” as her born-again Bolshevik sleeper spy is in TV's “The Americans,” she refuses to label her return to public view a career makeover.
“The great think about disappearing is that people forget about you a little bit,” Russell says. “Your past is forgotten. You can come back as something fresh and new. These past two years, I've come back to all these interesting things that people might not have thought about me for in the past. They just happened.”
She stepped away from film and TV half a dozen years ago, getting married and giving birth to two children, who are now 1 and 5. At 36, she's a different person — a mom, for starters. And it's made her a different actress.
“Anything that opens you up emotionally is going to impact your acting,” she says. “Parenthood, becoming a mom, certainly does that. For one thing, you practice storytelling at its most basic.”
Basic, and maybe primal. Russell's return to the big screen has her playing a suburban mom whose children are threatened by a supernatural menace. Her turn as Lacy Barrett in “Dark Skies” — in theaters Friday — was informed by her own motherhood — and by imagining real-life motherly terrors.
“The thing I kept in my mind doing those scenes where things got truly hairy for our characters was Katrina. It helped me to try to imagine what that would feel like, as a parent — to know something so enormous was coming your way, hitting you, something you have no control over, and that you have these little precious kids in your charge who are looking to you to take care of.”
Her “Mama Bear” on television's “The Americans” (Wednesday nights on FX) is an altogether-different mom, a mother of a mother from Mother Russia, laying low in suburban D.C. with her fellow-agent husband (Matthew Rhys), ready to ratchet up the Cold War to match new president Ronald Reagan's 1981 rhetoric.
“Elizabeth, the spy, is plainly more stunted in her emotional life,” Russell says of the TV series. “She's very uncomfortable showing it. She is very hard to like, she's not the most moral person and she's not exactly a touchy-feely mom. She is a communist, after all.
“And we'll find out, over the run of the show, just what made her the way she is.
“But she's at a place now where she realizes she's not going to survive if she doesn't bend.”
Roger Moore is a movie critic for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Gritty but vibrant world’ of Braddock lures director of ‘Out of the Furnace’
- Dark Braddock setting of ‘Out of the Furnace’ reflects a dying way of life
- Third act redeems war tale ‘Twice Born’
- Review: ‘Out of the Furnace’ looks at the fire within
- DVD reviews: ‘The Wolverine,’ ‘Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ and ‘Drinking Buddies’