‘Russian Doll’ Co-Creator & Star Natasha Lyonne Talks Her Favorite Scene to Shoot

'Russian Doll' renewed for Season 2 on Netflix

Talk about a killer party. Nadia can’t leave her own birthday celebration without dying.

On the upside: She keeps getting reborn… back at the party. Is this hell? Or a cosmic opportunity to learn a lesson? We went to the Russian Doll’s co-creator Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black), who plays Nadia, for answers.

You’ve said Russian Doll was inspired by troubles in your past, including addiction. How much of it is a metaphor?

Natasha Lyonne: It’s vaguely autobiographical. It deviates from reality in obvious ways, namely in that I’m not actually a time traveler. [Laughs] We explore this idea of dying again and again and not knowing how to make it stop until you reconcile the past. The story is personal and born from this firsthand experience of a life that often was unfortunately close to death.

Was it therapeutic to film?

Oh, yeah. Russian Doll feels like a fair representation of where I’m coming from. I think inside my tough-guy exterior is a vulnerable person who very much wants to connect.

Chloë Sevigny plays a key role later in the story. Why did you want her for it?

Chloë has been my rock through so many dark times. It felt like there was safety in handing it over to her because she’s such a great actor and also because our relationship is so deep.

Did you have a favorite death scene to shoot?

In Episode 7, there’s one that is more internal, and something happened to my physiology where I actually became light-headed. It was very bizarre. But I was like, “Shake it off. You don’t want anyone to know you just had an experience like that, for insurance purposes.” [Laughs]

The season wraps up in eight episodes — any plans for more?

It was such a beast to make, so one thing at a time. If they want me to make another one, I’m sure they’ll let me know.

Russian Doll, Available now, Netflix