OnlyOnAOL: Keri Russell wishes she could beat you up

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Holly Taylor and Alison Wright On "The Americans"

BY DONNA FREYDKIN

Disguises are nice. But the storyline of FX's "The Americans," which returns for season four on Wednesday, is about much more than wigs and wardrobe changes.

The acclaimed series, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Russian spies masquerading as Joe and Jane next door, is now dealing with the repercussions of their career on their two kids, most notably daughter Paige (Holly Taylor). She learned the truth, and in last season's finale, spilled the beans. (See the video with Taylor and her costar Alison Wright above).

"It really is about Paige. Maybe this season is less about stunts and car chases, and more about the human emotional costs. These stories finally pay off," says Russell.

THE AMERICANS -- "Glanders" (Airs, Wednesday, March 16, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: (l-r) Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings, Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. CR: Eric Liebowitz/FXThe Jennings live in Washington, D.C., and have differing levels of commitment to their calling. Philip (Rhys) has doubts, and wants to keep the kids away from the family business. Elizabeth (Russell) is a tried and true communist, whose dedication is mostly unwavering.

"Elizabeth's arc is about her emotional development. I'm more on the outside watching and letting the family unfurl. It's really about her emotional development. With her daughter, she's going through how taxing and human it is to be a parent," says Russell.

"The Americans" Season 4 Premiere - After PartyIt's a topic that hits close to home for Russell. The actress is expecting her third child, her first with partner and costar Rhys; she has son River and daughter Willa from a previous marriage. In person, Russell is the opposite of stone-cold spy Elizabeth; she's warm, gregarious and delightful.

For Elizabeth, says Russell, "This season is very much about her becoming a mother. For the first time, she's watching her husband and her daughter, her arranged husband, she's really seeing how much this life has taken a toll on them. I'm not saying she'll renounce her communist vows, but she's seeing the weight for the first time. Elizabeth is on shaky ground. Towards the end of the season, there's more of that spicy stuff that comes back. She's knocked off her balance by things that happen."

"The Americans" Season 4 PremiereSo what does Russell see of herself in Elizabeth? Not much. "There's a lot of Elizabeth I wish I could be like. I love how tough and decisive and strong and sexy she can be. That's not me. I'm not confident. I wish I could beat people up. I wish I could beat anyone up. And be that unapologetic. I'm very different personally. She's the harsh version of yourself that you want to be," she says.

In fact, Russell is reveling in her softer, gentler side, especially at the moment. "I'm feeling great. And I'm glad to be eight months pregnant shooting at 2am doing fight scenes. I'm done doing press. I want to lounge and eat 8,000 donuts. That's what I'm ready to do right now."

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OnlyOnAOL: Keri Russell wishes she could beat you up
368666 Keri Russel From The Show Felicity. (Photo By Getty Images)
Keri Russell arrives at the premiere of "Austenland" at the ArcLight Hollywood on Thursday, August 8, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Keri Russell attends the 2014 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 779 -- Pictured: Keri Russell on February 8, 2013 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Actress Keri Russell is seen walking in the snow in Brooklyn on January 28, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 19: Actress Keri Russell leaves the Nikki Beach Lounge at the Sky Lodge on January 19, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/FilmMagic)
US actress Keri Russel poses during a photocall for a TV show 'The Americans' as part of the international MIPCOM audiovisual trade show at the Palais des Festivals, in Cannes, southeastern France, on October 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/GettyImages)
Actor Keri Russel arrives at the 2008 Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on February 23, 2008. The awards are given by Film Independent, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent film and independent filmmakers. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 07: Malaak Compton Rock and Actress Keri Russel listen to a doctor speak before a meeting at the Unity Health Care Upper Cardozo Clinic to discuss the struggles faced in accessing quality affordable healthcare on May 7, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Keri Russel attends the 17th Annual IFP Gotham Awards at Steiner Studios on November 27, 2007 in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic)
Keri Russel (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage for Sundance Film Festival) *** Local Caption ***
368666 Scott Foley, Keri Russel And Scott Speedman From The Show Felicity. (Photo By Getty Images)
382609 01: The cast of 'Felicity.' Clockwise from top left: Scott Foley, Scott Speedman, Amy Jo Johnson, Keri Russel (center) and Tangi Miller.
Keri Russel (Photo by Mychal Watts/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
Sarah Jessica Parker and Keri Russel (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Keri Russel and Jon Cryer during 59th Annual Tony Awards - Show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage)
In this photo provided by Fox Searchlight Pictures, from left to right, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion arrive for the premiere of the film "Waitress", Sunday, April 29, 2007 in New York. (AP Photo/Marion Curtis, Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Keri Russell attends the 2014 Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Keri Russell attends the Altuzarra for Target launch event on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Actress Keri Russell attends a screening of "Dawn of The Planet of The Apes" on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Diane Kruger, left, and Keri Russell arrive at the Critics' Choice Television Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Thursday, June 19, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Keri Russell attends the CFDA Fashion Awards on Monday, June 2, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Cast member Keri Russell participates in "The Americans" panel at the FX Winter TCA Press Tour, on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at the Langham Huntington, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for FOX/AP Images)
Actress Keri Russell attends a screening of "The Americans" at PaleyFest: Made In NY on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Keri Russell attends a screening of Sony PIctures Classics' "Austenland" hosted by the Cinema Society with Alice and Olivia on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Keri Russell arrives at the premiere of "Austenland" at the ArcLight Hollywood on Thursday, August 8, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)
Keri Russell attends the "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" press line on Day 4 of Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 20, 2013 in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Keri Russell attends the 2013 FX Network Upfront Bowling Event, on thursday, March, 28, 2013 in New York, NY. (Photo by Dario Cantatore/Invision/AP)
From left, Bret McKenzie, Jane Seymour, Stephanie Meyer, Jared Hess, Keri Russell and Jerusha Hess attend the Austenland party at Purple Sage during the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Benjamin Cohen/Invision/AP)
Actress Keri Russell attends the premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1' at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Keri Russell attends the FOX Upfront presentation in New York on Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Actress Keri Russell attends a screening of 'Extraordinary Measures' hosted by The Cinema Society on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Keri Russell arrives at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Keri Russell holds her award for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series for her role in "Felicity" during the 56th annual Golden Globes in Beverly Hills, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 24, 1999. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
US actress Keri Russell arrives for the world premiere of "Mission Impossible III", in Rome Monday, April 24, 2006. Many of the scenes were shot in the Eternal City. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0198 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Keri Russell during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on January 20, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0198 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Keri Russell and host Jimmy Fallon play 'Inflatable Flip Cup' on January 20, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: (L-R) Naomie Harris, Keri Russell and Naomi Watts attend the Altuzarra for Target launch event at Skylight Clarkson Sq on September 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Target)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 18: Keri Russell attends the photocall for the film 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' (german title: 'Planet der Affen - Revolution') on July 18, 2014 at Oberbaumbruecke in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 18: Actress Keri Russell sighted at the Hotel de Rome on July 18, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Chad Buchanan/GC Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 16: (L-R) Matt Reeves, Keri Russell and Andy Serkis attend the 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' (El Amanecer del Planeta de los Simios) premiere on July 16, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 068 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Keri Russell during an interview with host Seth Meyers on July 10, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 19: Actress Keri Russell arrives at the 4th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 19, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 17: Actress Keri Russell attends the 2014 Summer Party presented by Coach and Friends Of The Highline at The Highline on June 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 04: Actress Keri Russell attends the Sundance Institute Vanguard Leadership Award honoring Glenn Close at Stage 37 on June 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Actress Keri Russell attends 'The Americans' season 2 premiere at the Paris Theater on February 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20: Actress Keri Russell is seen on February 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Demis Maryannakis/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01: Actress Keri Russell attends the 66th Annual Writers Guild Awards East Coast Ceremony on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: Actress Keri Russell enters the 'Good Day New York' taping at the Fox 5 Studios on August 15, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 13: Keri Russell attends Meet The Filmmakers: 'Austenland' at the Apple Store Soho on August 13, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Kyra Sedgwick and Keri Russell -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 08: Actress Keri Russell attends the premiere of 'Austenland' at ArcLight Hollywood on August 8, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 08: Actress Keri Russell attends the premiere of 'Austenland' at ArcLight Hollywood on August 8, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 08: Actress Keri Russell attends the premiere of Sony Pictures Classics' 'Austenland' at ArcLight Hollywood on August 8, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Keri Russell appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 26: Actress Keri Russell attends FX's 'The Americans' Season One New York Premiere at DGA Theater on January 26, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Actors Keri Russell and Jeremy Piven attend the match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Novak Djokovic of Serbia during Day Thirteen of the 2011 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Actress Keri Russell arrives at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 29, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 14: Actress Keri Russell arrives at the 'Leaves of Grass' screening after party during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival held at Cheval on September 14, 2009 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by C.J. LaFrance/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - DECEMBER 18: Keri Russell arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Bedtime Stories' at the El Capitan Theatre on December 18, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LONDON - DECEMBER 11: Keri Russell arrives at the UK Premiere of 'Bedtime Stories' at the Odeon Kensington on December 11, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 24: Actress Keri Russell arrives at the 80th Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 24, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Keri Russell during 6th Annual Tribeca Film Festival - Premiere of Waitress - Red Carpet at AMC Loews Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Actress Keri Russell at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on November 15th, 2007. (PHOTO BY MUNAWAR HOSAIN / FOTOS INTERNATIONAL / GETTY IMAGES) Reproduction by American tabloids is absolutely forbidden by our contracts with all agencies.
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 12: Actress Keri Russell appears on MTV's 'TRL' at MTV's Times Square Studios in New York City on November 12, 2007. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 27: Actress Keri Russell attends the 17th Annual Gotham Awards presented by IFP (Independent Feature Project) at Steiner Studios November 27, 2007 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 10: Actress Keri Russell attends the after party for the Actors Fund reading of 'All About Eve' at Bond 45 on November 10, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Will Ragozzino/Getty Images)
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