“I am enjoying acting more now. I feel more comfortable now with acting than I ever have,” Russell told the Fresno Bee. “It’s really interesting. I love The Americans, it’s so bizarre and weird. It was so special to work [ Apes director] Matt Reeves again. I just feel like things are getting better.”
Russell, who is 38, seems like she should be older because she started working when she 15 on The All New Mickey Mouse Club. She made a huge splash at age 21 as star of the college drama Felicity, which was co-created by Reeves.
The special effects and big battles didn’t attract Russell to Dawn. She was more interested in the human drama that she knew Reeves would bring to the story, such as her character being a member of the medical community that couldn’t stop the epidemic that wiped out most of the world’s human population. Russell’s character also deals with the death of her daughter and trying to connect with the son of the man she loves.
“That’s what I think is special about this movie. There are heavy-duty action scenes, but the film also has a lot to say about our own tendencies and capacities for empathy for communities that are not our own,” says Russell.
The mother of two, who announced she was divorcing construction expert Shane Deary in December, is always happy to find stories that deal with family relationships.
“The loudest and most profound relationship you are in is usually with your family — either your parents or your kids. Both the cable show and the film have these strong relationships,” Russell says.
She says she wants to be moved by material, no matter what it is.
“I don’t care if it’s a TV show, movie of the week, whatever. I just wanted to be moved by it. I want to feel something.”