While Keri Russell plays a cutthroat Russian spy on the FX thriller The Americans
, the star's breakthrough role had her playing a very different type of take-charge character in Felicity
In 1998, Russell was just starting to feel the heat of the media spotlight as the beloved WB series first hit the airwaves. Before the first episode even aired, the then-22-year-old actress sat down with ET to talk about her new role.
"The show isn't even on the air yet. I'm not even on television and people want you to be in their magazine and it kind of it makes you feel almost a little bad because they don't even know if you're good, but everyone kind of wants a piece of you," Russell said. " I just hope everyone likes the show as much as I do."
Felicity ran for four celebrated seasons, and was even named as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-Time" in 2007. The driving force behind the show was Russell's charisma.
It was series co-creator J.J. Abrams who had the foresight to cast Russell. The acclaimed director/producer also spoke with ET back in 1998, and explained what qualities made her perfect.
"I mean she just is remarkable, she's so engaging and she's so funny," Abrams explained. "We thought she was too beautiful when she first came in… [but] despite how she looks, she's able to be accessible and funny and heartbreaking and never whiny and complain-y and she's just… she's Felicity. And the fact that we found her is incredible."
Russell has brought that same heartbreaking and engaging energy to her role in the tense, paranoia-filled political drama The Americans. Set in the early-1980s during the tumultuous tail end of the cold war, Russell stars as a soviet KGB spy living with her spy husband while posing as Americans in Washington, D.C.
Season three of The Americans premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on FX.