Felicity star takes aim with We Were Soldiers

Private Keri

From: The Calgary Sun 3/6/2002
by Louis B. Hobson
Keri Russell is positively blissful over her pending liberation.

After four seasons, Russell’s TV series Felicity is coming to an end.

“I have mixed emotions about the cancellation of Felicity. I’m bittersweet because it has been my life for four years, but I’m happy because I can pursue other projects.

“I’m also looking forward to an actual private life.

“I’ve been working so much lately that I don’t have much of an off-camera life,” says Russell.

Since beginning her role as college student Felicity Poter, Russell has only managed to squeeze two feature films into her busy schedule.

In 2000, she starred in the Irish film Mad About Mambo and is currently starring in the Mel Gibson war drama We Were Soldiers.

Russell plays Barbara Geoghegan whose young husband Jack Geoghegan, who is played by Chris Klein, was killed in the 1965 Ia Drang offensive which marked the first encounter between American and North Vietnamese troops.

“Shortly after getting the role, I talked to Barbara by phone. She was so happy we were doing the movie that she opened her heart and soul to me,” says Russell.

“Barbara was so young. She and Jack had just had their baby daughter. Life was just beginning for them. She never thought he’d die.”

Geoghegan sent copies of her husband’s letters from Vietnam to Russell and Klein and made herself available for phone calls throughout the shoot.

“Barbara actually visited the set one day. She brought her daughter and grandchildren with her.”

Russell recalls that her parents “were married shortly before my dad went to serve in Vietnam. I was conceived (in 1975) after he returned.”

She was born in California but raised in Arizona.

As a child she studied dance and began modelling when she was 15.

The same year an appearance on Star Search got Russell a contract with Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club.

The following year she was cast in Disney’s Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.

“After my Honey movie, my family moved back to Los Angeles, so I could pursue a career full time,” recalls Russell who starred in such TV movies as The Babysitter’s Seduction and When Innocence is Lost as well as such series as Daddy’s Girls, Malibu Shores and Roar.

NO REGRETS

Russell still shakes her head in disbelief when reminded she’s responsible for a ruling on the WB network that states no performer will be allowed to alter their hairstyle without consulting the studio.

Russell cut her trademark locks after Felicity’s first season, causing an onslaught of letters and a drop in ratings.

“It certainly allowed me to sympathize with what Jennifer Aniston has gone through on Friends.

“I think the question of a character’s hair style is so superficial, but obviously viewers and studio executives don’t share my opinion.”

Russell says she doesn’t have any real regrets about her choice of film projects, but is a bit saddened that more people didn’t see her movie Mad About Mambo.

She plays a dance instructor who is hired to help a high school student in Belfast –who wants to become a professional soccer player — perfect his foot work.

Not only did Russell work for months with a linguist to perfect an Irish accent, but she got to return to dance, her first love.

Russell’s off-camera romances have included a three year relationship with Tony Lucca, a former Mickey Mouse Club performer who co-starred with her in Malibu Shores, Joey Lawrence and Canadian Scott Speedman, who played her first love interest on Felicity.