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Natasha Lyonne Originally Wanted Jordan Peele to Star in ‘Russian Doll’

The "Get Out" director could have appeared on the show in the "pre-Jordan Peele, Oscar-winning auteur era," Lyonne says.

Russian Doll. Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov in episode 201 of Russian Doll. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Natasha Lyonne in “Russian Doll”

Courtesy of Netflix

When Season 1 of “Russian Doll” dropped on Netflix in 2019, it elicited two reactions from many viewers: overwhelming praise, and befuddlement about how it could continue. The show’s innovative time loop device was a thoughtful riff on the “Groundhog Day” formula, but the debut season wrapped up so neatly that fans figured Season 2 would have to significantly change formats.

And change it did. Those who aren’t afraid of spoilers can read about the unique plot device that creators Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler implemented for Season 2. But according to showrunner and star Lyonne, the biggest change to the show may not have happened between the first two seasons, but between her original pitch and the filming of Season 1.

Speaking to EW about the new season, Lyonne reflected on her original treatment that she used to pitch the show to Netflix.

“It’s a very specific document, and it’s almost like a time capsule, because it took so long, even from the time that [Netflix] ordered a script to green lighting us direct to series,” Lyonne said. “In that time, so much changed.”

“I still look back at it and share it with showrunners and stuff, because it’s so sweet,” she said. “You can tell that our hearts are in it all the way, and it’s also really interesting to see how much it’s sort of deviated from itself, even in Season 1.”

One major deviation? Lyonne originally wanted to cast one of Hollywood’s top directors as her character’s boyfriend. “It’s funny to look at that pitch document. It’s so charming, because there’s so much in it that is different,” she said. “First of all, Jordan Peele plays heavily in it as a love interest.”

While it may be hard to imagine Peele taking time away from his horror empire to star on a sitcom, Lyonne points out that she originally pitched the show back when Peele’s name was still synonymous with sketch comedy. “Which is just funny to think that it’s such a pre-Jordan Peele, Oscar-winning auteur era, where we’re just like, ‘Okay, great. So he plays the boyfriend.'”

Season 2 of “Russian Doll” is now streaming on Netflix. 

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