With FELICITY being off the air for nearly a decade now, what was the impetus for your return to television?
Keri Russell: Because I had such a great run with FELICITY, which was such a positive experience in every way, I certainly wasn’t shopping around to do a series again. But when I read the RUNNING WILDE pilot — being a huge ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT fan — I just was so taken by Mitch Hurwitz that I couldn’t pass it up and couldn’t say no. I think Mitch’s relationship has been with FOX before, so it was a good fit and it’s just been a delight. It’s hilarious. I feel like I’m hanging out with my older brother and all his cool friends or something and I’m just tagging along every day.
Coming from FELICITY and film, what has it been like flexing your comedic muscles?
This show is unlike anything I’ve really done before, it’s such a different ride and I feel like I’m learning so much every day. With Mitch, it’s fast and furious where he’s rewriting things seconds before we shoot them. And I’m not talking a line, I’m talking pages of rewrites where he says, “Go ahead… I’ll just stand off to the side and I’ll give you your line.” I say, “Mitch, that’s not how it works,” but by-the-way, for Will [Arnett] it is. Will is just so sharp like that and they have such a quick, I don’t know, just such a … relationship that they just know each other’s jokes. So yes, it’s working completely different muscles. But I just have to say it’s a delight and I’m enjoying it so much. Plus, I’m getting to work in New York, which is wonderful, where I live. They’re super smart, they’re funny and it’s just refreshing for me. It’s an absolute change of pace and I’m just laughing all day.
What’s it like to work with Will Arnett? Are there any funny backstage or behind the scenes anecdotes and pranks you’d like to share?
Literally, you’re asking me to describe every minute of my job. He’s humiliating me or berating me in front of people, in front of the crew. I feel like they are 75% on my side, though. I feel like they like me a lot more than they like him. Yes, I’m pretty confident about that.
I’m trying to think if there’s something funny that happened recently. I don’t know and they’re probably gross and I can’t repeat them. I tell him every day, I have an older brother already and his name is Todd Russell: I don’t need a second one! By the way I throw it back. Any chance I can tell him he’s balding, any chance I can tell him he’s old I let everyone know.
Does it feel like an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT reunion because you’ve got Will, Mitch, David Cross? And are there plans to get Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Tambor or Michael Cera on the show?
There was already some talk of Jeffrey but he wasn’t available. It was a great part but done brilliantly by someone else. So yes, I think when something works well you have this chemistry together and you just want to keep using that chemistry. I feel that same way with J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves who created FELICITY. J.J. calls me all the time to do stuff and I always want to work with him because you have a shorthand with someone and you kind of know what to expect.
There’s some wonderful comedies coming out this season. Why should people tune into RUNNING WILDE?
For me it’s just that I was a huge fan of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and there’s just something it tickles in me and it’s bright and it’s hilarious. I know a lot of people don’t know Peter Serafinowicz as well, but he is so wonderful on this show. He plays Steven Wilde’s frenemy next door neighbor named Fa’ad. I don’t know if you guys know his work at all from London but he has his own show and he plays all these different characters on our show with different accents. They’re doing crazy stuff and it’s just really wonderful. I feel like they’re really great at what they do and then I think it balances out a little bit with Stefania Owen, who plays my daughter, Puddle. I was doing a scene just recently with Stefania and she has this kind of real moment and I looked at her and I thought, “Oh, right, that’s why she’s … in the show,” because amidst all this hilarity and my craziness then there’s this grounded person. It’s a funny, off center balance the whole ride and I think it’s really fun.
RUNNING WILDE airs Tuesday Nights at 9:30PM on FOX (Netflix.ca in Canada)