IMPORTANT: Keri Russell & Matthew Rhys Are Generously Letting Us Gape at Their Beautiful Nerd Love
Stop everything. Stop your job, your family, your life. Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell have just participated in a rare (if first? Do they EVER do this?) joint interview, and I’m not sure that all of you are fully aware of the magic that these two bring. Maybe all you know is that these two people are beautiful, and now they’re beautiful together, in a baby-making sort of way. (They do have an actual baby together, if you’re a bit behind.)
But when you see two people that beautiful, being beautiful together, you may have a hard time believing that these two are GIGANTIC NERDS. All day, every day, just one big beautiful nerd family. And this interview with the Hollywood Reporter is great proof of that.
Exhibit A: They had a strong reaction to their Emmy nominations, and they knew they were dumb reactions, but how do humans handle success? I still don’t know. No one knows.
RUSSELL You get so used to being the underdog for so long, and you’re comfortable in that place: no pressure, no expectations.
RHYS So the celebration was short-lived. For three minutes, we were like, “This is fantastic,” then we were like, “Oh no, now people will watch. We’re dead. Everyone will hate us. This is terrible.” (Laughs.)
Exhibit B: They have as many admittedly dumb theories about how The American should end as we do.
RHYS Oh, I definitely do.
RUSSELL I actually said to them at the beginning of last [season], “Are we seeing cracks? Is there any way this could be Elizabeth saying, ‘Maybe we should double agent or something?’ ” And Joe looked like I had said the most blasphemous thing. He was like, “No, there is not a chance.” (Laughter.)
RHYS These spies were called “illegals,” and so we had a real illegal come to set who did exactly what we did. We caught some flack in the press about having an FBI agent [Noah Emmerich] living next door, but that was his story. He had an FBI agent who lived next door to him who turned him, so I was saying all this to Joe and Joel. I was like, “This is perfect. Noah Emmerich will turn us — we’ll become double agents.”
RHYS This whole massive pitch. And they went, “Yeah … no.”
Exhibit B.1: Like, REALLY dumb. Like, Rhys has an idea that Paige should end the series changing her name to Monica Lewinsky, to “penetrate” the Oval Office.
Exhibit C: They finish each other’s sentences. And talk about wine. And their mothers. They’re perfect, is what I’m saying. Here’s them being asked to explain the popularity of The Wine Show.
RHYS Well, that certainly wasn’t because of The Americans. (Laughter.) That was because my friend called and said …
RUSSELL “Do you want to get drunk together?”
RHYS (In a drunk voice) “My brother-in-law is making a show about wine, do you want to be in it?” I went, “Where is it shooting?” “Italy.” “Yes, please.” [Rhys and Goode currently are exploring new locales for a second season.]
RUSSELL You have to tell her what your mom said.
RHYS She said, “It’s the best thing you’ve ever done.” National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, no. This is the best thing you’ve ever done.
Exhibit D: Keri Russell is one of us. Fully. Meaning, she is a super total badass (as we all imagine/know ourselves to be), but WILL NOT STAND FOR YOUR MISOGYNISTIC/AGEIST/WHATEVERIST BULLSHIT.
RUSSELL Oh yeah. After season one, when I got to beat up Margo Martindale, I’d be walking down the street in New York City, and like every construction worker would be like, “Yo! You really kicked that lady’s ass!”
RHYS Actually, what he said was, “I loved it when you kicked that old lady’s ass!” And you were like, “How dare you call Margo Martindale an old lady. How f—ing dare you.”
D.1: She’s put as much thought into the gender roles of The Americans as any creator or fellow unapologetically feminist audience member.
RUSSELL The fact that [FX Networks CEO] John Landgraf wanted Felicity to play this cold, icy Russian spy is incredible. And he asked me multiple times to do it, and I’m forever thankful to him for doing that. I was like, “Me? What are you talking about?” The part that interested me most was that marriage. In the beginning, it’s a relationship where the female was a little less invested, which is such an interesting take because it’s always the woman pining after the guy who’s cheating on her. I read those scripts all the time.
… No, I love it. Because everything we see as a woman is that you’re supposed to be loving and nurturing. Elizabeth believes in what she has to do and it’s OK that there’s another parent at home who’s a little more touchy-feely. I know it’s not always cozy, perfect parenting, but I also think it’s real. As a mother of three, there are moments where [you’re not] the craft-making, cookie-making mom you want to be. And you know what? It’s OK.
D.2. And she’s really fucking tired of our problems with Felicity’s hair, okay? And she doesn’t think that shit would stand nowadays.
RUSSELL Just because it’s not kosher to talk that much shit about some girl’s hair anymore. Like, Hillary might be president. You gotta be cool with that shit. Tone it down. And I hope that someone would call someone out on that if it happened now. But I still stand by it. I loved it for the character. What surprised me most was that it wasn’t a fashion show. She wore big, baggy sweaters and boy clothes. Since when do you care what she looks like? But apparently people did.
So, luckily, she’s got a super hot Welsh brilliant nerd man to help her navigate the weird world of obsessing over a woman’s hair. Because if you can’t fight it, monetize the crap out of it.
So Matthew, if Keri came home and had chopped off her hair, how would you react?
RHYS I’d be like, “I hope you kept that hair, we can put it on eBay. Buy Felicity’s real hair.” He (nodding to baby Sam) needs to go to college. (Laughter.)
Now just watch the video of them. Because for one, there’s no other way to really describe their banter, with its oddly intimate lack of eye contact and finished sentences. They are too adorable to exist. And also because you probably always forget Rhys is Welsh, right? We all do, and it’s always a sexy-delightful surprise.
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