If you thought keeping track of all the time loops in “Russian Doll” was a little overwhelming, then just imagine how much work sorting through those threads was for star/co-creator Natasha Lyonne. But just because it was tough doesn’t mean Lyonne, who was nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series on Tuesday for her performance in the first season of the Netflix series, didn’t love that aspect of the complex project.
“The multiple timelines is part of what made me so thrilled for so many people on our team to be acknowledged today because that really was the detail-oriented, big-boy work of our show in so many ways: keeping the rules of our particular game very, very specific,” Lyonne told TheWrap.
Co-created by Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, the series follows a young woman named Nadia (Lyonne) on her journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party in New York. Nadia suffers through multiple time loops that end in her death throughout the eight-episode first season, an aspect of “Russian Doll” that wasn’t easy to keep track of.
“And Michael Bricker, who was nominated today, our production designer, was a key figure in that,” Lyonne said. “For us in the writers’ room — for myself and Leslye and Amy and Allison [Silverman] — it was a huge undertaking and it looked like a ‘Beautiful Mind’ in there. And by the time it got to Michael Bricker, it got those red threads that make it look more like a serial killer had gotten involved with a ‘Beautiful Mind.'”
She added: “He would actually find errors and say, ‘You know, if I’m gonna make this in such and such a way, it would make more sense if we did dot dot dot.’ And it would be another layer of writing.”
Netflix renewed “Russian Doll” — which was nominated for 13 Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series, on Tuesday — for a second season last month. While Lyonne is pretty tight-lipped about where things are headed for Nadia and her good friend Alan (Charlie Barnett) in Season 2 after that big cliffhanger, she did tell us things get even darker for the dark comedy.
“Well I can’t say much, we’re in early days,” she told us. “I can say that Amy and I were in my apartment just 48 hours ago, so we’re definitely starting to get into it. And it’s very exciting to get to dive into her brain as a collaborator, that is a great joy in my life. I’m pretty excited about some of our early conversations and to see where they really lead by the time we start putting pen to paper in a dedicated way, once we get back into the room.”
“But the early notes are pretty heavy,” Lyonne added. “So it definitely does not become a show about dating in New York, I will say that. That is an anti-spoiler, an inverse non-spoiler. Not gonna become that. No shade on that! I’m just saying. It also is not going to be one of the prequels to ‘Game of Thrones.’ So two things it’s not. I’ve now, by process of elimination, have given you a lot.”
See the complete list of 2019 Emmy nominees here.