AOL chat transcript (interview)

Keri Russell Chat Transcript
April 5, 2000

Host : Hello, and welcome to America Online Studio I. I’m your host, Matt Wagner. Today we are very pleased to be joined by Keri Russell, star of WB’s “Felicity.” Hi, Keri. Welcome.
Keri Russell : Thank you very much.

Host : You’re drinking tea out of our lovely “You’ve Got Mail” mug.
Keri Russell : I’m a little under the weather. Sorry.

Host : We’ll go easy on you. We have questions from your fans out there. We have questions by the thousands. Philly 468 says: Hi, Keri. You’re so pretty. I was wondering if you got the idea to cut your hair or if it was in your contract, if the show asked you to do it. Thanks.
Keri Russell : No, it started off as a joke last summer. I had [taken a] picture with this really short wig on. And then I sent it to the executive producers saying, you know, I’m having the best summer ever. And I cut my hair and, you know, it looks great, I hope you guys don’t mind. But it was all completely a joke. Then about two weeks before we came back to do the second season, the producers called me and said, you know, would you actually mind cutting your hair? We have this idea for a story line. We think it would be real for a college girl to go through this break up, then cut her hair. And I said, “Yeah, sure.”

Host : Now, has it changed you personally? I mean, rather than just your career, the way you feel about…
Keri Russell : Yeah. I definitely think, you know, my long, curly hair was a big part of me. So it was the coolest thing to do, to change and experience something so new and get rid of something that was so — you know, such a comfort for me. So it’s definitely been interesting. But I think it’s been good, for the most part.

Host : All right. Now, tonight you guys moved to…
Keri Russell : To Wednesday night.

Host : And it starts — eight new episodes start tonight. Any new changes? Any new developments you can tell us about?
Keri Russell : Well, tonight’s episode after “Dawson’s Creek” is sort of a social/political one. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hope it’s good. But Javier, first of all, is in the last eight episodes, which is really good. And the Ben-Felicity story line is definitely moving closer and exciting and romantic and all of that. And what else can I tell you? Well, there’s going to be a wedding coming up. I can tell you that much.

Host : Hmm. DPA Evans wants to know: What would you like for the show to focus on for your character?
Keri Russell : Well, I’m not a writer. I definitely don’t pretend to be. But I just like when it’s touching and real and hopeful. And that’s it, really. I just like her to be as honest of a character as possible. Yeah, remain hopeful and not get, you know, jaded.

Host : Right, or cynical.
Keri Russell : Right.

Host : Even though we are highly technical here, if you could straighten out your mike a little bit.
Keri Russell : Oh, sure.

Host : Next question: Do you relate well to the character of Felicity?
Keri Russell : Yeah, I think I do. I mean, she has — she shows her insecurities a lot more than I think I tend to. But yeah, I do. I think, you know, we both tend to be really idealistic and hopeful and, yeah, I do relate to her.

Host : Do you get a chance to influence the story lines? You said you’re not a writer, but do you get a chance to?
Keri Russell : Yeah. Our executive producers and writers are really cool and collaborative. And if there’s something we say, oh, I wish you would do this instead, they’re so cool. Yeah, they’re always willing to work with us.

Host : Matt 265 wants to know: Is it true you were a Mousketeer with Britney and *NSYNC?
Keri Russell : It is true. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. J.C. was like one of my best friends when I was 16 years old. I would get in my car and drive around everywhere together. And Justin. All those guys, yeah.

Host : Is there going to be a “Mickey Mouse Club” reunion ever?
Keri Russell : I don’t know. I’m sure someone from Disney wanting to make a lot of money is working on that. I don’t know.

Host : Are you still in touch with those people?
Keri Russell : Yeah, they’re still my best friends. Alana, I talk to her all the time. A lot of us stay in touch.

Host : It’s pretty amazing, it’s such a talented group of people.
Keri Russell : Matt, the director, yeah.

Host : He deserves an award.
Keri Russell : I think so.

Host : CarCar 1134 says: What is one thing you’re so sick of people asking you?
Keri Russell : Well, the hair thing is definitely — has definitely been answered many times. But I understand why. I understand why.

Host : Let’s see here. Our next question is from KCare Bear: What does Keri like to do in her spare time?
Keri Russell : I love to read. I love to watch movies. I just saw “High Fidelity.” It was so great. I would see it 12 more times. But yeah, movies by myself on, like, a Sunday afternoon is awesome. I like to hike. Anything physical.

Host : Do you get a lot of free time? How busy is your schedule?
Keri Russell : It’s pretty busy. Weekends, I usually have. But an average day for us, we shoot five days a week, and an average day is somewhere between 13, 15 hours.

Host : Wow. Laalou says: How did you get the part on the show?
Keri Russell : I just auditioned like everyone else. I think I had three different auditions, you know, the first one and then the first studio test, and then the network test. I was really nervous, and it was, I think, ultimately me and three other girls. All the other girls were so cool. We stood outside, all so nervous together — be like, “Oh, God!” Yeah, I auditioned like everyone else.

Host : How do you find out? How do you find out you got the show?
Keri Russell : They call your representation and they call you. Actually, Matt and J.J. called me, but I was so nervous that I went and took this really long drive for an hour. When I got back, there were like 13 messages, everyone saying, “We’re trying to get ahold of you! We’re so excited!”

Host : Manneders KA says: What advice does Keri have for people just starting out in the business?
Keri Russell : Wow. I guess I’m not a great person to answer that, because I didn’t always want to be an actor. I was kind of a dancer. So I fell into it through “Mickey Mouse Club.” And so I don’t know, because I wasn’t — I didn’t do the usual process of, you know, taking acting class and then getting an agent and doing all these auditions. So I don’t know. Just if you — just make sure it’s something that you love doing, because it’s not all fun.

Host : It’s strange, I mean, I talk to so many actors, and it seems everyone has a different way of getting into the business, so there’s no real path.
Keri Russell : There isn’t. I think life just kind of happens, and you got to go with it.

Host : Right. Hufort says: Is it true your nickname is Care Bear?
Keri Russell : I don’t know. Not that I know of. I don’t think so.

Host : Have you heard that before?
Keri Russell : No. I had one friend when we were doing “Mickey Mouse Club” that called me that. But no, not really. Oh, my God.

Host : Mona Sweeney 27 wants to know: Who kisses better, Ben or Noel?
Keri Russell : I couldn’t say. They both different. They’re both good.

Host : In their own unique way.
Keri Russell : In their own unique way.

Host : Next question: Hey, Keri, who’s your biggest inspiration?
Keri Russell : Oh, I don’t know. There’s not one specific person, but — I mean, the things I’m inspired by mostly are, you know, great movies or great songs or great books. Like I’m — I loved the movie last year “A Walk on the Moon.” Or movies like that. Just anything, or any song that people try to be better. You know, so that’s kind of what inspires me.

Host : “Felicity” always has great music. Do you get a chance to — do you influence that at all?
Keri Russell : Yeah. We usually say, we love that song. They go, oh, that’s too expensive.

Host : Right.
Keri Russell : That’s the weird thing of, you know, when you put great songs or great music in shows, it costs a lot of money. So it’s a weird thing. But yeah, I love music. I love — I actually really dig our soundtrack that we have. We had really good artists like Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Air. It was so diverse and great.

Host : Karpuchi 15: I have to learn to read many different languages. What’s your daily agenda like on the set?
Keri Russell : On Monday morning, it’s usually — call time is — this Monday it was 6:15. So you get there at 6:15, the sun’s usually not up. And you usually start your day and do about four or five scenes a day, depending on the page count. Like I said, it’s usually — an average would be like a 13, 14-hour day.

Host : Is it shot in sequence?
Keri Russell : No, completely out of sequence. So if we have four scenes in Dean & Delucca, we shoot all those in the same day.

Host : Right. Is it hard to keep track internally, in your mind?
Keri Russell : It is. That’s part of the process of doing an hour show. Doing a film, too, it’s not necessarily shot in order. Yeah, you have to kind of keep track of where you are, who you talked to before and what that means to talk to that person. Definitely part of, you know, what you do.

Host : Quackers 44 says: I’ve heard rumors that the show is going to be canceled. Is this true? Is there anything we as fans can do about it?
Keri Russell : Yeah. Well, I don’t think our ratings have ever really been through the roof. We’ve been kind of this tiny show, and we’ve had — I think what’s great about our show is we have this small group of fans who are incredibly loyal. I kind of like it that way.

Host : Kind of your own private club.
Keri Russell : Right, private little club. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch it. But those who like it, watch it. I guess we are, you know, in danger. Apparently the fans have been really cool in sending in tons of e-mails to Jamie Keler saying please pick it up. Which has been great.

Host : Hopefully, this move will bring a new audience.
Keri Russell : Right, the move from Sunday to Wednesday is a trial to see if it gets better.

Host : “Felicity” seems on the tip of everyone’s tongue. It seems everyone knows about the show.
Keri Russell : Maybe it’s just in the cities, like LA and New York. Yeah, because our ratings aren’t huge. They’re not like the ratings of “90210” or a show like that. But yeah, it is odd, because people do know about it.

Host : Right. Love Wings wants to know: Are you getting married on “Felicity” or in real life?
Keri Russell : “Felicity” or in real life?

Host : Choose one.
Keri Russell : Right. No. But there is a wedding coming up, but I can’t, obviously, talk about that. But no, I’m not getting married in real life.

Host : Do people like approach you ever as Felicity, confuse you like that? Does that happen?
Keri Russell : People are so cool, the fans of our show. That has happened to me before. I’ve had it happen to friends of mine. But our show, I think the people who watch tend to be so cool and just smart in general. So when they come up, and they usually don’t scream like, “Felicity!” They’re actually really cool and a lot of them know my name and say, “Keri, we just like the show.” I think we have a really cool, mature, sensitive fan base.

Host : And hopefully, you’ll have many more mature, sensitive fans.
Keri Russell : Right. On Wednesday night.

Host : Kylie 99 says: If you won an Emmy and your boyfriend was out in the audience crying, would you be embarrassed?
Keri Russell : I take it this is like a Hilary Swank thing. For the record, Hilary lives near where I live. She’s so cool and sweet, and nothing she did was — you can’t imagine how horrifying and nervous you are when you’re up there and you’re trying to remember everyone. No, I wouldn’t be embarrassed, because Chad is a sweetie.

Host : I thought it was great. I thought it was a great thing that he did.
Keri Russell : Yeah. That’s a whole other thing. But no, I think it — I don’t know what I would do. I don’t think I — I don’t know. I don’t know. I think what Hilary did was great. And Chad.

Host : Was 883 says: Do you still sing? And do you ever think of going for a record deal?
Keri Russell : I have a really great rap album coming out really soon. I’m shooting the video next week. No. I sing a lot in my car, but I’m not really a singer, besides my car. I turn it up loud and rock out.

Host : Did you sing on “The Mickey Mouse Club”?
Keri Russell : We all had to sing. We had our strengths. Dance was definitely my strength. You know, people like Christina, J.C. and Justin from *NSYNC, they were the singers.

Host : Right. Cutie Patutie 77 says: Hi, Keri. Is working with Scott Speedman great? Because he is really good-looking.
Keri Russell : Yes. And really, that’s the only reason. I don’t care that he’s a good actor. I just like that he’s good-looking. No. I — yeah. My job is definitely pleasant when I come to work. It could be a lot worse. Everyone on our job is very pleasant looking.

Host : Sylvia 9 says: What’s Felicity going to do after college? Grad school?
Keri Russell : I have no idea. I assume she’s — she seems to be veering towards the medical end.

Host : Which is long.
Keri Russell : Very long! There seems to be a lot of school. But who knows? I have no idea.

Host : What year are you in?
Keri Russell : I’m a sophomore. Just finishing sophomore year. So yeah, I really don’t know. That would be a good question for…

Host : There’s the five-year plan that a lot of people do in college. So you’re set for five years.
Keri Russell : Yes, yes.

Host : 5 Metrico says: What would you most like to be doing five years from now?
Keri Russell : I have no idea. I mean, I feel like more of a crazy, lost teenage kid now than I did when I was a teenager. I just hope I’m happy. I hope whatever I’m doing, it’s inspiring and makes me feel good and I’m proud of it. Whatever that is. I have no idea. I mean, there’s a lot of aspects to this business, and I don’t know. I might be tired. I might be like, you know, living in some crazy, small town working in a coffee shop. Who knows? If that makes me happy, I hope I’m doing that.

Host : Do you ever realize — did you ever realize you’d be doing this five years ago?
Keri Russell : Five years ago, what was I doing? How old am I? I’m 24. I guess I was doing this five years ago. No, but before this, I never thought that I’d be doing this. I was just a dancer, and that’s all I wanted to do, and that’s what made me happy. Who knows? It might change again.

Host : Smmcav says: What are your plans when the show goes on hiatus?
Keri Russell : At this point, just to relax. We’ve had a really long year, and it’s really exhausting. So many great things, too. But hopefully, take some trips. I love to travel. So hopefully take some trips and catch up on all these great books I want to read. Yeah. I don’t know, just relax, act like a kid.

Host : Right. Pesqui says: Do you plan to do any movies soon?
Keri Russell : Yeah. I hope. I mean, I’m reading stuff all the time. I read scripts whenever I have time. I’m just trying to find the right one, I guess. I audition for things that I don’t get, daily. But….

Host : You still go to auditions?
Keri Russell : Yeah. You know, “We want Keri Russell to do this brilliant script.” No, that doesn’t happen all the time. I still audition, and just trying to find the right thing.

Host : What would be the right thing? What is it you’re looking for?
Keri Russell : I just love, like people stories. You know, like the “Felicity” pilot was one of my favorite stories, just of this person trying to break out and be this, you know, adult and be independent and follow this boy who wrote this sweet thing. I love the specifics of that, and I love her heart and her hope. So something like that. And like I said, “A Walk on the Moon” was great. I loved “High Fidelity.” That was so great. Just people stories.

Host : Next question: What is your favorite music group?
Keri Russell : Favorite music groups? I love Dave Matthews Band. I love U2. Where are they?

Host : They’re coming out with a new album. I’m a big fan, as well. I know they’re coming out with a new album. At least, they better be.
Keri Russell : I love them. I love Patty Griffin. She’s sort of a cool folk girl.

Host : Matt 208253 says: Do you like to meet your fans?
Keri Russell : Sure.

Host : Do you get opportunities to meet your fans?
Keri Russell : I meet people on the street a lot. Like I said, I’m surprised how cool people usually are, and how noninvasive they tend to be, which is really nice. I think it’s — I’m sure it’s unique and exceptional. But I truly appreciate it.

Host : Right. Dixie chicks 79 says: I was wondering, if you weren’t in the acting business, what would you like to be doing?
Keri Russell : I was just having this conversation with someone. We were — you know, who’s in the business as well. We were looking at each other going, what would we be doing if we weren’t doing this? What skills do we have? What jobs could we do? It’s an odd thing. I haven’t gone to college. I think about that sometimes. Especially during the show, about college. It’s funny, you know, to wonder if I should be going to college. I do think about it.

I shot a movie a few summers ago in Ireland. There’s a very big university there called Trinity, in the center of Dublin. Actually, it is the center of Dublin. And I used to sit on the campus and watch all the kids go by, the students. There is a part of me who wants to do that. Who knows? Maybe that.

Host : Do you still dance? Are you still dancing?
Keri Russell : I haven’t been able to, with the schedule of this show — of this show. But before I did “Felicity,” yeah. I do. I always try to stretch. I definitely dance in my house.

Host : Sing in your car and dance in your house.
Keri Russell : Right. I’m very talented. Very musical.

Host : Right. All Righty wants to know: Do you have AOL?
Keri Russell : You know, I do. And — but I just recently gave my computer to someone, because all I was using it for was e-mail, and so I gave it to someone who actually has a business that they run off of it. I have to get a new one.

Host : Lynn 705 wants to know: What was your favorite episode of “Felicity”?
Keri Russell : Well, besides the pilot, which is absolutely one of my favorites, I love the Thanksgiving episode of the first season. I tend to like when the whole group is there, and it gets a little crazy and funny and emotional all at the same time. I liked parts of the episode where Ben and Felicity break into the pool. I think stuff like that is really fun and shows Felicity, you know, having fun at college.

But we’re actually shooting some stuff right now, the episode we’re shooting now, where all the girls go out and they finally convince Meghan to take them out, like partying, clubbing or whatever. It’s a riot. It’s a total riot. And it’s really romantic. I tend to like the cheesy, romantic stuff. I think you just want to hope that life is really that way. It’s nice to pretend for a little bit that it is.

Host : Right. Moon Angel 1 says: Do you think of yourself as a role model for teens and children today?
Keri Russell : You know, the weird thing about TV is you’re on TV, you’re in people’s houses for free — versus a movie theater, where someone’s actually choosing to pay and see this movie. You’re taking in — they’re deciding to do that. So I think you have to somewhat understand that you are a role model, because you’re — you are doing that. But it’s hard, too, because, you know, you want to be able to mess up, too, and not be like, “I’m perfect. I’m on TV. I’m a role model.” But I guess peripherally, I do understand that and acknowledge that.

Host : Noely Win says: Have you enjoyed the show’s success, and what do you see for the plot lines for future shows?
Keri Russell : Have I enjoyed the success? Yeah. I think it’s — like I was talking to you before, I think our core little audience is great and incredibly loyal and, yeah, it’s not just a job for me. It is something, a show that I would like to watch. I think it’s really sensitive and smart and funny at times. And for future plot lines, I don’t know. Just the same, I guess. You know, in hopes that it just stays real and touching and heartwarming and all those things.

Host : Do you get a chance to watch the show?
Keri Russell : I try to. Even if it’s not on a day, now that we’re going back to Wednesday nights, we usually are shooting through the nights. But I do try to watch them. I think it’s important for me to see what’s going on so I can say, oh, yeah, that’s what happened. That reminds me — or that’s how they played that scene. I was thinking this way, but that’s really the end result, so that’s what I have to kind of keep for myself.

Host : And do you keep each — I’ve always wondered this about actors on TV shows, do you keep each show?
Keri Russell : Not necessarily. But they have started to — the production company has started to send them to me because I can’t watch them every time. So they send them to me so I can watch them at my convenience. So I do have a few of them. But no — if not, my mom has them.

Host : Right. You can always go there. Roxie Girly 2c says: Hey, Keri. I was just wondering if college is really the way it seems on your show. I’ll be attending college soon, so I’ll really be appreciating your answer. Thanks.
Keri Russell : Well, I haven’t been to college, so I hope it’s somewhat like it. I mean, I think — I think Felicity’s life is probably — I mean, it is a TV show, so there are probably a lot more boring days than what Felicity’s going through. I don’t know. I haven’t been to college. I think it’s a nice depiction of what it is.

Host : College is a pretty traumatic time. And angst. I think you guys get it. Sutro wants to know: What was it like to win a Golden Globe?
Keri Russell : Crazy. It was so insane. I mean, it was so unexpected. Especially, I think, for everyone on our show. It was just odd, because we’re so new. It was really cool. It was really cool, and it’s hard to put into words, because it’s such a bizarre, great experience. But it was great and shocking and wonderful and embarrassing and all those things. You feel so much all at once that it was great, and I was so happy for our show, especially, that it was acknowledged. It was really cool.

Host : Right. Do you have the Golden Globe somewhere?
Keri Russell : Yeah.

Host : Prominently in your house?
Keri Russell : On a desk. Yeah.

Host : Partner 7 says: Is there an e-mail [address] where fans can write you and/or the cast?
Keri Russell : Yes. It’s at Felicity.com. I think it’s Felicity.com even before we started the show. J.J. actually bought the Felicity domain. He said, “I’m going to buy the domain.” I’m almost positive it’s Felicity.com, because J.J. — Felicity.com — checks almost every day, and all the feedback after every episode. He actually reads all the comments and, you know, it’s great. And a lot of times we incorporate things fans have said or — yes, definitely.

Host : Excellent. Well, thank you so much. That was the last question. Thank you very much for coming in.
Keri Russell : Thank you.

Host : We really appreciate it. Everyone be sure to watch “Felicity” tonight after “Dawson’s Creek” on The WB. Thanks. Please come again.
Keri Russell : Thank you.

Host : And I hope your throat feels better.
Keri Russell : Me too, yeah. Thank you so much.

Host : Thank you all. See you next time here in AOL. Thanks, everyone, for your great questions, everyone! Have a great night!