Why We Do It: Natasha Lyonne
Wednesday, September 2 at 4pm
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Four-time Emmy nominee Natasha Lyonne is a gifted actor whose creative versatility and talent continue to grow after more than three decades in the industry. Lyonne pushes boundaries as a producer, actor, writer, and director.
Lyonne, alongside Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, co-created the eight-episode Netflix series Russian Doll which premiered in February 2019 and received three Emmy awards, a total of 13 Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and a Gotham Award nomination. Lyonne wrote and directed for the series which stars her as Nadia, a young woman on a journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City. The show was picked up for a second season by Netflix.
In 2019, Lyonne returned as Nicky Nichols in the seventh and final season of Netflix original drama series Orange Is the New Black in which she also directed an episode.
Recently, Lyonne directed and appeared in an episode of Awkwafina is Nora From Queens, premiered on Comedy Central in January 2020. Lyonne also directed an episode of the second season of Shrill starring Aidy Bryant and an episode of the upcoming Hulu series High Fidelity starring Zoë Kravitz.
In November 2018 it was announced that Lyonne launched a production company with Maya Rudolph, Animal Pictures, which has a first-look TV deal with Amazon. The newly formed production banner will develop and produce a slate of original series, in addition to feature and documentary projects.
Next up in film, Lyonne can be seen in the comedy Irresistible, written and directed by Jon Stewart and co-starring Steve Carell and Rose Byrne. Additionally, Lyonne will star in the Lee Daniels film The United States Vs. Billie Holiday, about the legendary jazz singer.
In 2017, Lyonne made her directorial debut with Kenzo film Cabiria, Charity, Chastity, featuring the Fall/Winter 2017 collection. She also wrote the screenplay for the 11-minute film which stars Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, and Leslie Odom Jr. among others. In 2017, she produced and starred in IFC Midnight’s Antibirth, directed by Danny Perez, co-starring Chloe Sevigny. This independent farce horror hybrid which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2016, was released wide in the US in 2016, and released in the UK in 2017.
In 2014, Natasha earned a Primetime Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Orange Is the New Black. Recent television credits include guest stints on the critically-acclaimed Portlandia, Girls, Inside Amy Schumer, The Simpsons and IFC’s Documentary Now.
Lyonne is well known for her acclaimed performances in Slums of Beverly Hills, the beloved comedy directed by Tamara Jenkins, and co-starring Alan Arkin & Marisa Tomei; the coming-of age comedy, But I’m a Cheerleader, with Clea Duvall and RuPaul; and Woody Allen’s romantic musical comedy, Everyone Say I Love You. Additional film credits include: Pee-wee’s Playhouse, The Grey Zone, Zig Zag, Girlfriend’s Day, Addicted to Fresno, Sleeping with Other People, Hello, My Name is Doris, He’s Way More Famous Than You, Girl Most Likely, All About Evil, Blade: Trinity, Die, Mommie, Die!, Party Monster, James Mangold’s Kate & Leopold, Scary Movie 2, American Pie, America Pie 2, Detroit Rock City, The Intervention, Yoga Hosers, Show Dogs, Handsome, and A Futile & Stupid Gesture.
On stage, Lyonne starred alongside Ethan Hawke in The New Group’s darkly comic Off-Broadway production of Blood from a Stone, written by Thomas Nohilly and directed by Scott Elliott. Natasha earned critical-acclaim for her adept portrayal of the couch-ridden, heartbroken Grace in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Tigers Be Still, written by Kim Rosenstock and directed by Sam Gold. In 2019, Lyonne co-presented Jacqueline Novak: Get On Your Knees with executive producer Mike Birbiglia. The comedy showed at The Cherry Lane Theatre and received rave reviews. Natasha’s other stage credits include roles in Love, Loss, and What I Wore, an intimate collection of monologues and stories by Delia and Nora Ephron, and the familial drama, Two Thousand Years, directed by Scott Elliot and written by the legendary Mike Leigh.