The new NBC series Rise mixes a musical and melodrama with plenty of teenage (and adult) angst for a heartfelt and often inspiring show.

In the recent episode “Victory Party,” one of the storylines showcases Lou’s (Josh Radner) self-doubt when his lesbian sister-in-law Carol Gordon shows up. Her life choices have clearly taken a different and more successful path than her sister, Gail (Marley Shelton), and Lou is forced to confront that.

Carol is portrayed by New York-based actress Amy Russ, who you might recognize from other projects like Divorce, Orange is the New Black, The Blacklist, Royal Pains, The Sopranos, Till Proven Innocent and Oscar nominated film The Post. Amy is also set to appear with Paul Giamatti in Tamara Jenkins new film for Netflix titled, Private Life.

I recently caught up with Amy Russ to find out more about working on the new hit show Rise.


What can you tell us about your role in Rise?

AMY RUSS: I play Lou’s lesbian sister-in-law Carol Gordon, who has taken a different and more successful path than her sister, Gail. Lou and my wife push each other’s buttons, and I’m caught in the middle trying to keep everyone happy. I love my sister and want her to be proud of me, and I’m proud of my success. But at the same time, I don’t want to make her feel bad because I know she and Lou aren’t as financially secure as we are.


How was it working on this highly-anticipated new show?

AR: I was thrilled at the opportunity to be part of this new forward-thinking series. It’s refreshing that my character’s storyline isn’t about being a lesbian. Her orientation is a non-issue, and one of the many reasons I’m so happy I got to be a part of this project.

Any interesting stories from the set you can share with us?

AR: Marley and Josh were so welcoming - they made me feel right at home and I loved working with both of them. Josh had his guitar on set and would sometimes play in between set ups, which helped make the atmosphere relaxed and chill. Patrick is such a gentle spirit, and I really felt the trust he placed in his actors.

What do you think audiences will gain from the show?

AR: It’s a coming-of-age story that showcases family dynamics the audience can relate to. It also deals with social issues like class and money and how those things can affect opportunity. If you’re like me, you’ll be rooting for the underdogs and thrill when they aspire to more than their working-class lives might otherwise allow.


What’s been the biggest lesson you took away from the opportunity?

AR: The lesson for me is actually one I learned a while ago - and it was underlined throughout this experience. The lesson is trust that I’m enough. It sounds simple, but I think it’s something a lot of actors have to learn (sometimes repeatedly) over the course of their careers.

Got anything else coming up we can watch for the near future?

AR: I’m excited to be appearing alongside Paul Giamatti in the Netflix film, Private Life, directed by Tamara Jenkins, who also directed one of my all-time fave movies - Slums of Beverly Hills. The film centers around an author (played by Kathryn Hahn) who is undergoing multiple fertility therapies to get pregnant, putting her relationship with her husband on edge.

For more about AMY RUSS: www.AmyRuss.com
Connect on Twitter: @amyruss
Instagram: @amyrussny
FB: facebook.com/AmyRussNY
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