“It seemed like the best idea, but it was also very scary of course because it was the last one, so hopefully you stick the ending,” Natasha Lyonne tells Gold Derby about making her directorial debut for television with the first season finale of “Russian Doll” (watch the exclusive interview above), which Netflix renewed for a second season this week. Lyonne is a past Emmy nominee for acting as Best Comedy Guest Actress in 2014 for “Orange is the New Black” and now contends to be nominated as a director, as confirmed with the release of the 2019 Emmy ballots this week. There is much precedent for her potential nomination, with Bill Hader most recently receiving a nomination in the same Best Comedy Directing category last year for his directorial debut, on the first season of fellow acclaimed half-hour dramedy “Barry,” which he co-created, wrote, executive produced and starred in, just like Lyonne.
On the red carpet before speaking on stage at an industry event celebrating the female “Rebels + Rule Breakers” of Netflix at their “FYSEE” space for Emmy voters, Lyonne explains about choosing to direct this episode titled “Ariadne,” “I know the architecture of ‘Russian Doll’ so intimately from living it and then writing it for five months and building it out for all those months prior, so I thought that it was smart and safe to go with the finale to direct because by then, it would be far enough along and it was well served.”
Lyonne is one of three directors and seven writers on “Russian Doll,” all of whom are women. “I wanted to see a character that was almost genderless in a weird way, without some of the historic tropes,” she explains about having “all female writers and directors… to tell a story of a female character.” The hyphenate says about how they shaped her character Nadia Vulvokov, “She’s a woman in her mid-to-late 30s, so she’s struggling with questions of motherhood. Should I have a baby; should I freeze my eggs? Again, I was so eager to eliminate that whole conversation. There’s an unspoken intuitive language that women have in working together, like, oh, that’s right, we’re not telling that traditional story of femaledom.”
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