AOL chat transcript (interview)

From: AOL Chat Transcript
Date: Oct. 17, 2001

AOL Host : Hello, everybody, welcome to AOL Live’s chat with Keri Russell, the star of ‘ Felicity ,’ which airs tonight and every Wednesday at 9:00PM on The WB. Welcome back to AOL. Great to have you here again.
Keri Russell : Thank you. Nice to be back.

AOL Host : Before we get to the questions our members have for us, give us a recap of last week’s season premiere. It’s Felicity’s senior year. What’s going on with her, and with her, Ben and Noel?
Keri Russell : It’s Felicity’s senior year. What I really liked about the first episode is it felt very reminiscent of the ‘Felicity’ pilot and the ‘Felicity’ early shows from the first season. The story line basically is Felicity is struggling with what she is going to do with her life, the age-old question, and what her major’s going to be. And she feels very lost in that, especially when those around her — Ben has decided he wants to be a doctor and is very driven. She’s just trying to kind of find her way. And the premiere — at the end of the first episode, Felicity sleeps with Noel, which is a monumental event in the series, because they’ve never actually slept together, although they’ve made out a little.

AOL Host : We have a question from a member, Go 382chick: Keri, is this season harder to film at all?
Keri Russell : Is it harder?

AOL Host : Yeah.
Keri Russell : Hmm. I don’t know that it’s harder. I think the challenge in doing a series is always just trying to keep it fresh and creative and not get lazy. But I don’t think it’s harder. I think in many ways the senior year affords a lot of sentimental and emotional story lines, which I find easier to do.

AOL Host : Easier in what way?
Keri Russell : Just… I appreciate the more heartfelt, sweet, sentimental stories and the feelings I like to feel, so it’s easier to shoot. And because it’s her senior year, there’s a sense of accomplishment and that she’d come through this journey. And I can feel that, I can relate to that, because I feel like we’ve been doing this series for four years, and so in that way I enjoy this year.

AOL Host : What ways do you think the character has evolved since the first season? Is she more mature now? Is she smarter now?
Keri Russell : I’d love to say yes, but no, she’s still making tons of mistakes. But I guess that’s what we do. I think the difference is in the beginning, Felicity’s main concern was breaking away from her parents and creating her own independence. She was very ruled by their thoughts and their wishes for her. And now I feel like she is separate from them, especially in the first episode. She’s made it absolutely clear that she is separate from them, because she’s going to school. And I think now it’s more about making decisions on her own and dealing with those consequences, if they’re wrong or if they’re right. So that’s another — the next step in becoming a grown-up. There’s no one to answer to, which — you know, having to answer to yourself.

AOL Host : Another member wants to know, in your opinion, who does Felicity go better with, Ben or Noel? I guess that’s the question of the season.
Keri Russell : Yeah. I have no idea. I appreciate her chemistry with both of them, and I understand the chemistry with both of them very clearly. Each of the characters, the male characters, has something really wonderful to offer and bring out in her. And I — it’s hard. Sometimes I think she won’t end up with either of them, that she’ll choose herself ultimately and be on her own. But I guess that’s not romantic enough, is it?

Question : What aspects of her personality relates to you the most, and in what ways are you completely different from Felicity?
Keri Russell : Well, hmm. I’m definitely nervous like Felicity is. I definitely have my socially awkward moments. And I also think some of the stuff she’s dealing with this year, and just the whole series — about trying to be brave and step out and put yourself out there — I’m trying to do that as well. I don’t know that I’m achieving it so much, but I try, and it’s something that I want. And as far as being different, I think the main difference is she was very controlled by her parents, being an only child, and had all these expectations of what her parents wanted. And I didn’t have that so much. I’m the middle of three kids, and I felt much more — I felt a freedom at a much younger age, and I think that creates a very different life growing up.

AOL Host : We have a question from a member named Roxiegirl616, wants to know: What is your favorite thing about being an actress?
Keri Russell : My favorite thing is — I mean, basically, I get paid to learn and explore what I feel about things, everything. I mean, if I’m doing a scene with my dad on the show, I may think it’s boring at first. Then, when I’m actually doing it, you have to make a connection for yourself about what you really feel about your dad and your relationship and how it differs with this scene. I mean, it’s a really cool job, to get paid to, you know, go through stuff and kind of evolve as a human being. It’s nice. I’m not saying that, you know, I’m by any means highly evolved.

AOL Host : Right.
Keri Russell : It’s a cool job, I mean, exploring human characters. It’s endlessly fascinating for me.

AOL Host : We have a question from a member named Gwjewelgirl, wants to know if the cast is as friendly offscreen as the characters they portray.
Keri Russell : Pretty much, I’d say. I mean, yeah, right before I went to bed last night, I was on the phone with Mandy, who plays Meghan. And you know, it was 9:30, I was like, I got to be up early in the morning. She was, Okay, call me after work tomorrow. And you know, Scott Foley just came up to me, I was shooting a scene today, and he said, “Can I borrow the keys to your car? I want to drive it and see if I like it.” I see Scott Speedman all the time. Pretty much everyone is really, for the most part, pretty friendly. We’ve been lucky.

AOL Host : You guys don’t get sick of each other, being around each other so much?
Keri Russell : It’s like a family. Doing scenes, you’re going to get on people’s nerves. It’s been this slumber party for four years. I mean, what other job do you work 15, 16-hour days, five days a week? It’s crazy living.

AOL Host : We have a question from a member named Luisa Barlow: I’m a big fan that needs advice. Is it hard to become an actress? And what is your advice for me?
Keri Russell : I think it is hard. I definitely got into this business by luck. I mean, I was a dancer, and it was just a fluke thing that it just ended up working out. I do think it is hard, and that it… but it’s so much about chance. I’d say if you’re very clear about something you want to do, then it tends to work out, if you have it set in your brain and you know what you want to do.

AOL Host : Have there been times when you’ve read the script for a particular episode and thought, “Wow, I can’t believe they’re going to have Felicity do that”?
Keri Russell : Oh, all the time. All the time I say, “I can’t believe we’re doing that! Please, no.” But, you know, they’re pretty serious, and the writers and directors are incredibly collaborative. And everyone hears everyone out, for the most part. A lot of times, I’ve been very surprised. Sometimes you hear something or read something and think, “I would never do that.” Then you do it, and it’s great or hilarious or really touching. So sometimes you got to trust them and sometimes they got to trust me, and they do.

AOL Host : We have a nice comment from a member named Chillychick501, says you are the best role model. Do you feel like a role model?
Keri Russell : Oh, thank you. That’s a scary subject, I mean, because — yeah, I mean, I think I have to admit, to some degree, that being on television, you are role model. But at the same time, you don’t want your creative work, you know, your job to be ruled by being a role model. You want to be able to make risky choices and, you know, still do what you think is in the means of a normal college girl’s life. Like, I wouldn’t want to hold a story line back because I thought everyone was going to go out and do it. So it is — it’s tricky. But I’d say I’d be lying if I didn’t know that, to some degree, I am.

AOL Host : Question from a member named Howard J. Friedman, wants to know: Are you going to be doing any movies in the future?
Keri Russell : I’d love to. It’s kind of finding the right material and the right people to do it, and get them to want me to do it, beg for the job. No. I did a movie this spring called ‘We Were Soldiers’ with Mel Gibson and Sam Elliott and Madeline Stowe, a Vietnam movie.

AOL Host : When is that coming out? I don’t know.
Keri Russell : I don’t know, but I assume next spring. It’s lots of soldiers, based on the Vietnam war. I’m a young soldier’s wife.

AOL Host : Question from a member named Suma22: What does it feel like to be considered a sex symbol?
Keri Russell : I didn’t know that I was. I don’t know. ::laughter:: I don’t know. I have no answer for that. I can’t believe I’m a sex symbol.

AOL Host : Do you ever check out the tons and tons of Web sites devoted to you?
Keri Russell : I really don’t. I have a computer, but it’s strictly to check my e-mail, and maybe every once in a while to order a CD. But I have to say, I don’t even think I’d be very good at finding it. I’m not so advanced on the computer.

AOL Host : Do you find the fact that there are people out there devoting that kind of time to you flattering, or is it kind of like weird?
Keri Russell : It’s definitely unique. It’s a bizarre feeling. I do think it’s flattering. It’s incredibly flattering. But it is — it’s a bizarre feeling, yeah, that people know you and you don’t know them. But I have to look at it like, you know, I love some musicians and their work and their music, and I have to look at it like that, you know. You can appreciate someone and not know them.

AOL Host : Well, speaking of music, we have a member question, wants to know: What kind of music do you like personally?
Keri Russell : I love music. I listen to so much. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Ryan Adams — not Bryan, but Ryan.

AOL Host : An important distinction, I think.
Keri Russell : Very different. Ryan with an R. I’ve been listening to a lot of his new CD, ‘Gold’ — actually, the ‘Whiskey Town’ CD he was part of. And I love the Mandalay new CD, ‘Solace.’ Also this cool group the Kings of Convenience, which I really like. But I love music. I mean, I listen to so much.

AOL Host : Do you know if any cast members like Amy Jo Johnson or Amy Smart will be back this season?
Keri Russell : We had Amy Smart back the end of last year. And Amy Jo Johnson, I’m not sure. I’ve heard rumors of it, but I haven’t seen anything yet. But there’s always room for them to come back.

AOL Host : How much input do you or the other actors get into the scripts or the directions your characters are going to take?
Keri Russell : Like I said, the producers are pretty collaborative. So… but at the same time, we’re not writers, so you’ve kind of got to let them do their job. But they’ve been pretty collaborative.

AOL Host : I know the creator of Felicity, J. J. Abrams, also created ‘Alias.’ Has he tried to add any martial arts to ‘Felicity’? Are you going to be karate-chopping Ben anytime soon? Has that been discussed at all?
Keri Russell : Actually, I always say that I have a fantasy dream sequence show that everyone would get to do what everyone has always wanted to do. In my fantasy dream sequence show, Felicity… Felicity’s always getting beat up on, kind of, emotionally, never really standing up for herself. I just feel like in my fantasy show, someone would say something mean or Ben would do something bad, and she would just beat him up, do a full-on ‘Alias’ thing maneuver on the — ninja maneuver on the person. But no, I have a feeling that won’t be.

AOL Host : You don’t think that will happen?
Keri Russell : I have a feeling no.

AOL Host : These characters are in their last year of college; Noel’s already graduated. Can they still keep hanging out together for years to come?
Keri Russell : Oh, I don’t know. I mean, for the people in premed, well, there’s medical school. There’s, you know, graduate school. There’s absolutely story lines. I have no idea what’s going to happen.

AOL Host : Just because it’s senior year, it’s definitely not the last year of ‘Felicity’ ?
Keri Russell : I wouldn’t say that means it’s the last year, but it’s not up to me.

AOL Host : What sort of things did you do during your last break between seasons?
Keri Russell : Well, we had a really long hiatus because we didn’t shoot a full season, and I traveled mostly. I did that movie, which was shot in Georgia. When we finished, I took a road trip around Georgia, which was great, by myself. Then I met one of my best girlfriends, who’s going to school in Prague, and I went there for a little while. She actually goes to NYU, ironically, so I was there in Prague with the NYU program. It was funny. But I had a great time, went to a lot of hockey games. I went to the Stanley Cup final game, Game 7 in Denver…

AOL Host : Cool.
Keri Russell : …to watch my team win. Incredible. I took my dad. It was really fun.

AOL Host : Are you a hockey fan?
Keri Russell : Yeah. I’m a girl, and I don’t know everything I’m supposed to know.

AOL Host : Don’t say that. A lot of girls like hockey. Come on.
Keri Russell : But I used to live in Colorado, so I’m a big fan of the Colorado Avalanche, and they’re a great team. So it makes it fun when they’re winning.

AOL Host : We have a question from Dmode, who says: I love the show. Will it be on for longer this season? Asking if there’s a midseason break again.
Keri Russell : As far as I know, we were picked up for 22 episodes, which is a full season. That is longer than last year. So I’m not exactly sure how they program it, but I know that we are booked for a full 22.

AOL Host : Has being on ‘Felicity’ made you wish you had gone to college yourself, or does it make you glad you didn’t?
Keri Russell : Sometimes I really do wish I would have gone. There are things about it that I think I miss socially, just being in groups of people and being young with tons of other young people, going through all the other same stuff. But I wouldn’t change my life or what has happened. But sometimes I do still think about going, even if it were just to take a class or two.

AOL Host : We have a question from a member named Ccoopdoing17: How old were you when you realized you wanted to be an actress?
Keri Russell : Like I said before, I was a dancer. I didn’t grow up thinking, “I want to be an actress, I want to be an actress.” I kind of started working before I knew I really wanted to do it. I have to say — started ‘Felicity.’ ‘Felicity’ was kind of the first project that I did that I really, really loved, and I was proud of the work I was doing and understood the work I was doing. So I would say ‘Felicity’ — I mean, it’s been a very rewarding experience.

AOL Host : We have a question from a member named Mschatterbox1985: Hi, Keri. I think you’re an amazing actress. I love ‘Felicity.’ Is there a way fans can reach you, an e-mail address or post office address?
Keri Russell : You know, there is a fan mail number or address, and I’m not sure what it is.

AOL Host : They can go to WB.com?
Keri Russell : Yeah, probably. Also, ‘Felicity’ has a Web site. There are places to leave messages all over that, I think.

AOL Host : We have a specific question about an upcoming story line. A member wants to know: How is the relationship with Felicity’s father going to be, now that she’s on her own financially?
Keri Russell : I’m not sure. There hasn’t been anything written yet where he’s come back in, and we’re on about the ninth episode. But I think it could be a really good thing, I mean, that she’s completely on her own, and maybe she could now separate what her life is and what her education is from the relationship she has with her dad.

AOL Host : How are you able to deal with fans coming up to you in public? Are you able to go out by yourself, or do you have people around you to protect you from the public?
Keri Russell : No, I go out by myself all the time. I try to avoid malls on a Saturday afternoon.

AOL Host : Right.
Keri Russell : I don’t mind when people come up, as long as they’re cool, respectful, and treat me like a person. But the only time it gets slightly uncomfortable is when you are alone and the group of people are so much bigger than just you, and it gets a little scary, a little crowd-control scary. But people are respectful. For the most part, really, really decent human beings watch our show. I have to say, we have very cool, smart, sensitive people who watch our show. I find that mostly to be true.

AOL Host : A question from a member, wants to know: Who was one of your biggest idols or heroes?
Keri Russell : Gosh. I’m always so bad at that question. Oh, God, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t really have a hero or idol. I think people are cool. I think — oh, gosh. I just read this really interesting — I’ve been reading a lot of Joan Didion.

AOL Host : She’s great.
Keri Russell : Yeah, really cool essays. She wrote a really cool essay on Georgia O’Keefe that caught my attention. Georgia O’Keefe sounded really strong and just interesting to me. So maybe her.

AOL Host : Member question, wants to know: What do you find the most challenging about what you do, being an actress?
Keri Russell : Well, being a public figure is definitely challenging. It’s hard maintaining your private life, keeping it separate. And it’s also hard — you know, this is a very bizarre job, where, you know, when you’re sick, you don’t get to say, “Hey, I’m sick, I want to go home and wear a sweatshirt for the rest of the day.” You know, you work when you have a fever, you know. They don’t have time for you to be sick. Or, you know, like you can’t just have an off day. When you have an off day, you’re visible, you’re being filmed. So you can’t just have a day where you’re like, I want to wear my hair in a bun and wear no makeup and feel like crap.

AOL Host : Well, on that note, a member named Geronimo65 wants to know: How many hours a day do you generally work when shooting?
Keri Russell : They try to keep it to a 12-hour workday.

AOL Host : Only 12 hours, huh?
Keri Russell : It tends to be a lot more than that. It tends to be, on average, 14-hour days.

AOL Host : How many weeks does it take to film a given episode? One a week?
Keri Russell : We shoot an episode in seven days, seven to eight days, seven to eight shooting days.

AOL Host : A member comment and question, Resa967 says: I love, love, love your show. You’re such an inspiration to so many people, and you have amazing talent. I was just wondering what the best thing about working on the set of ‘Felicity’ is.
Keri Russell : Best thing is, for the most part, it’s one of my favorite characters. I mean, oh, gosh. The pilot episode, that first story, is honestly one of my favorite stories. And it’s just been great being able to be a part of that. And I really, really love Matt Reeves and J. J. Abrams, who created the series and are still working on it. When you find a relationship, a working relationship that is comfortable and creative, it makes everything nicer.

AOL Host : Where in your house do you keep the Golden Globe award that you won?
Keri Russell : In a cupboard.

AOL Host : It’s not out on display for the world to see?
Keri Russell : I have it on a bookshelf, but it’s on top, you know.

AOL Host : You’re very modest, Keri, obviously.
Keri Russell : Well.

AOL Host : We’re going to wrap up in a second, unfortunately. Let’s have one more member question. This is a member named Nickisforme001: I think you’re great, Keri. I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the new season. What can we expect this year on ‘Felicity’ ?
Keri Russell : I’m trying to think. I’m trying to think. I definitely feel like the Noel-Felicity relationship — I don’t know what’s going to happen because I haven’t read it yet, but I think that will be explored in a new way. And what else is going on? She’s definitely getting back into art and trying to make this honors program. She’s taking a second shot at it. And I think a lot of things are going to happen, because it’s senior year and everything’s going to kind of wrap up, or just college, four years. And I think a lot of relationships are going to evolve or kind of have an end to the chapter, in a way.

AOL Host : Can you give us a little sneak peek of what we’re going to see tonight without spoiling too much?
Keri Russell : Oh, what happens? Lots of kind of funny but crazy emotional scenes with Noel, because, obviously, of what happened. And — I don’t know. I feel like I’m on the ninth episode, so I don’t even know what episode two is. But I hope it’s good. Oh, yes, isn’t episode two, there’s a wedding? That’s what I can tell you.

AOL Host : Sounds good. Keri, it was a pleasure to have you on AOL again.
Keri Russell : Thank you.

AOL Host : I hope we can get you back here again.
Keri Russell : I’m sure.

AOL Host : Remind everyone, ‘Felicity’ airs tonight and every Wednesday at 9:00PM on The WB. Thank you very much, Keri.
Keri Russell : Thank you.

AOL Host : Thanks to the members for the great questions.
Keri Russell : Thank you very much. Good night.