When many of us think of actress Keri Russell, we think Ben, Noel, Noel, Ben, New York, Dean & DeLuca and (gasp) the infamous haircut. In a word: Felicity. Well, a lot has happened in the 10-plus years since the WB series—about a young woman who follows her high school crush to college—ended its four-year run.
Russell is now mom to two kids—6-year-old son River and 1-and-a-half-year-old daughter Willa—with contractor husband Shane Deary, and she's the star of a new series, The Americans, on FX.
The mom of two is also starring in romantic comedy Austenland, a film produced by Twilight writer Stephenie Meyer about a single 30-something who uses her life savings to visit a Jane Austen-themed English resort to find her true Regency-era love. It hits theaters Aug. 16.
We caught up with Russell at a press conference for the film, and she let us in on a few things you might not know about her—including that Ben or Noel thing. Which one would she choose in real life—or would it be the Austen-friendly Mr. Darcy? Read on to find out.
She's Obsessed With Books...
"When I was younger, my obsession was less Jane Austen and more Nancy Drew, which I feel like I'm still obsessed with—a teenage detective," Russell says. "I read every single one of those books."
These days, though, she says she's more into writer Michael Ondaatje and singer Bonnie Raitt.
"I have this old 1971 recording of [Raitt's] that I play over and over and over," Russell says. "My kids are like, 'Ugh, not that again!'"
She Was Pregnant While Filming Austenland
"Corsets while pregnant was interesting," Russell mentions, recalling the time it took to fold herself into petticoats, tights and lace-up boots. "No wonder you had maid servants. You couldn't do it on your own. It took three hours!"
Add to that a growing bump while she was four months pregnant with daughter Willa. "By the end [of shooting], I was like six months [along]," she says.
She's the Easy Girl ... When It Comes to Acting
Or so says her director: "She told me when we first started chatting, 'I'm the girl you want to make your first movie with,' says Austenland director Jerusha Hess. "You don't want to work with those other girls."
"I'm the easy girl," Russell says. "It's so true."
"Keri was there every single day," says Meyer. "She's in pretty much almost every scene, and ... to have someone who's so easygoing, what a gift. It was really nice."
She Thinks She's Boring
"I don't have that exciting of a life," she quips when asked how she's stayed grounded as an actress.
She Still Can't Quite Pick Between Ben, Noel ... or Mr. Darcy
"Can't I have them all?" she asks. "Mr. Darcy has the best vocabulary. American boys are just like, 'Duh.' English boys have such a better vocabulary."
However, she concedes, "[Scott] Speedman (who played Ben) is still one of my really close friends, so I guess I sort of have to say him."