'Russian Doll' Season 2: Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny & Amy Poehler on Living Up to Expectations (Exclusive)
Russian Doll returned with its sophomore season on Wednesday after a three-year hiatus. With the show having been "off the air" for several years, Natasha Lyonne, co-creator/executive producer Amy Poehler and cast member Chloe Sevigny spoke about the pressures of living up to expectations from the groundbreaking first season.
"Having never been a musician, I can only imagine that it's similar to a sophomore album," Lyonne told ET during the New York premiere on Tuesday night. "I guess it's healthy for getting it done. You definitely try to make it work."
"Natasha Lyonne is someone you want to bet on for any kind of season," Poehler praised. "She’s such a giant and she’s such an incredible talent and when we finished season 1, we had really big thoughts about what season 2 was going to be. We just kind of had to wait our turn with a lot of shows during COVID so what’s happening tonight is pretty special."
For Sevigny, who plays Nadia's mother, Lenora, it was all about making sure she was doing her part in bringing Lyonne's season 2 vision to life.
"I want to deliver for Natasha and fans love the first season. It felt like a lot of pressure to really deliver and I think we do," the actress said. "I think the fans are going to be fully satisfied. It's just as immersive, just as funny, just as heartwarming, just as moving, just as surprising. It's a wild ride and I'm so happy to be on it."
Set four years after Nadia (Lyonne) and Alan (Charlie Barnett) escaped mortality’s time loop together, the new season of the Netflix series finds Nadia and Alan digging deeper into their pasts through an unexpected time portal located in one of Manhattan’s most notorious locations. At first they experience this as an expanding, era-spanning, intergenerational adventure, but they soon discover this extraordinary event might be more than they bargained for and, together, must search for a way out.
For the Russian Doll team, going back into the past in season 2 was exhilarating.
"If I could live in any era, I like turn-of-the-century New York when people were coming to New York to start a new life from different places all over the world and America meant all things wonderful and the land of opportunity," Sevigny said. "I think that was such an exciting time to be."
"I’m an '80s baby so I’m afraid to change anything 'cause we've all seen what happens in Back to the Future! We don’t want that," Poehler quipped. "I think I would probably worry a little less about what everyone thought of me, which is what most people would do back in the '80s, but I think one of the things I like the most about season 2 is we show New York and I would love to see New York in the '60s, '70s, '80s. I would love to."
Lyonne also spoke about the significance of having an all-female writers' room, an accomplishment she was proud of.
"In the first season, it was almost coincidental. I think we were all the way stacked up minus one position and we were like, 'Hell, let's just go for it. Let's be all the way in,'" she explained. "Nadia’s a bit of an antihero. You often see that with male characters that they have this sort of complexity where they do have a family unit but... they have a whole host of dreams and problems. And weirdly I think that the female writers' room, all of us being so bogged down, we don't really think of her as a girl at all in some ways, which is the weird flip of it. It's weirdly to just try to make her a person."
As for the future of Russian Doll, Lyonne shared her thoughts on whether she saw Nadia's story continuing past this season.
"I appreciate the zest of the zeitgeist letting us know whether there should be or there shouldn't be [another season], but I do think that it feels like for Amy and [co-creator] Leslye [Headland] and I, it does feel like we have a lot of stories to tell and maybe there will be, maybe there won't. But it doesn't feel like there's a shortage of ideas."
Russian Doll is streaming now on Netflix.
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