Spotlight: Ally’s Little Sister

From: Vanity Fair October, 1998
by: Evgenia Peretz

It’s, like so amazing, Keri Russell says of her new job as the star of the WB network’s young-adult drama Felicity. She sounds uncannily like the title character herselt, a lovable Holly Hobbie type, whose plans for pre-med at Stanford are derailed by a promising encounter with the most popular boy in high school. Head in the clouds, she flies after him to New York City. What better place to trash one’s petri dishes and let loose?

98_vf_02With smart, honest treatment of the old reliable stuff—boys, girls, finding oneself—Felicity, created by Matt Reeves and J. J. Abrams (Forever Young, Regarding Henry), is Party of Five without the weekly bummers and Ally McBeal without the dancing baby. The show is the ideal forum, it seems, for this sparklingly natural 22-year-old from Colorado to introduce hersell to the world. “She makes all those faces that we know don’t make us look cool,” says Russell of Felicity. “She doesn’t have that device in her brain that says, ‘Don’t say that!”‘

Faking it has never been Russell’s style, either. “I started at The Mickey Mouse Club, and that led to the Disney movie Honey, l Blew Up the Kid,” she says, as earnestly as it she were talking about her years with the Royal Shakespeare Company. How will she cope when millions of teenage girls start getting “Felicity” perms? “I don’t know what I’m going to do. But, hey, we might only get a few shows. It may not work out.” That’s unlikely, given that Felicity was an instant shoo-in for the network’s fall season, earning the nine-o’clock time slot on Tuesday nights. And with two movies on the way, The Curve and an lrish production about mambo, Russell has already laid the groundwork to do what most television stars only dream about- leave TV For something bigger.