When talking to the team from The Americans about the show's abundant wigs, we asked creator Joe Weisberg and executive producer Joel Fields if they have a favorite. For Fields, that question was an opportunity to bring up the show's legendary Felicity wig, named, of course, for the character Americans star Keri Russell played on the iconic WB TV show.
"They name the disguises in the hair and makeup trailer, and amusingly, there’s one wig they call the Felicity wig, which Keri has not worn yet, but amusingly everyone else on the how has worn for photographs, including myself and Joe and most members of the crew have been forced to put on the Felicity wig," Fields explained.
The Felicity wig—which, we should note, is long-haired Felicity, not controversial short-haired Felicity—has become something of a legend on The Americans set, as Michael Ausiello revealed during a set visit. The show even has a wall filled with a variety of people wearing the wig. Russell, who plays Russian spy Elizabeth, even brought the wig to The Tonight Show to put on Jimmy Fallon.
Peg Schierholz, the show's hair department head, told us the story behind the wig. During season one, she explained, people wrote to the show saying they "really wanted to see Keri as Felicity again." So when the show came back for season two Schierholz and Russell decided to make a go at it. "I tried a piece on her and we got it styled into something close to what Felicity looked like and took a picture of it to send around and the Js loved it," Schierholz said. "But she had this look on her face, looking out of the corner of her eye like, we’re not really going to do this, are we?"
But the Felicity wig regained life when Russell's costar Matthew Rhys saw it and wanted to try it on. "He looked like Robert Plant, of course," Schierholz said. After Rhys' go in the wig, it was everyone else's turn.
So will the Felicity wig ever make it on the show as one of Russell's character's disguises? "I’m trying to find a place for it that’s right," Schierholz said. "There was one spot where I was tempted to use it and it turns out I couldn’t, because Felicity as a killer I’m not sure that people really want to see that." May we suggest an episode in which Elizabeth has to choose between murdering two KGB defectors named Ben and Noel?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.