Russian Doll immediately drew audiences in with its high-concept, time-bending narrative and stellar performances. While we’re dying for a second season of this critically acclaimed show, join us for a special look inside the writers room of this Netflix Original Series with creators and executive producers Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne, and Amy Poehler along with executive producer and writer Allison Silverman and writers Jocelyn Bioh, Flora Birnbaum, and Cirocco Dunlap. Moderated by Jenelle Riley from Variety.
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About the Panelists
JOCELYN BIOH is a 1st generation Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. She has her B.A. in English and Theatre from The Ohio State University and MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts. Jocelyn is a commissioned playwright with Manhattan Theatre Club and the Atlantic Theater Company and she is a Resident Playwright at Lincoln Center. Her plays include: the multi-award winning School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play which had two celebrated runs at MCC Theater in New York City and will be produced at 11 regional theatres all over the country in 2019 and 2020. Nollywood Dreams (Upcoming: MCC Theater 2020, Kilroy's List 2015,) as well the new musical GODDESSin which she is the book writer. As a TV writer, Jocelyn has worked on Russian Doll(Netflix 2019,) as well as being a staff writer on Season 2 of Spike Lee’s acclaimed series She’s Gotta Have It and is a writer/co-producer on the upcoming mini series adaption of the novel AMERICANAH. As an actress, Jocelyn's stage credits include: In The Blood, Everybody (Signature Theatre, Lucille Lortel nomination) Men on Boats (Playwrights Horizons,) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time(Broadway; Tony Award Winner for Best Play, 2015), An Octoroon (Soho Rep, Obie Award Winner for Best Play, 2014), Booty Candy (Wilma Theater), Seed (Classical Theater of Harlem, Audelco Award Nominee), and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet (City Theatre). She also originated the role of "Topsy" in the world premiere of Neighbors (The Public Theater, Audelco Award Nominee). TV: Former Cover Girl spokesmodel, “Russian Doll” (Netflix) “Crashing” (HBO), “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “The Detour” (TBS), “The Characters” (Netflix), “Louie” (FX), and “One Life to Live” (ABC). Film: “Ben Is Back”
FLORA BIRNBAUM is a writer and director based in New York. She is currently serving as a Story Editor on the new limited series Angelyne produced by EsmailCorp and is developing an original series Boundaries with Sharon Horgan’s Merman. In 2018, Flora was awarded a Sundance New Voices Fellowship and her digital series Cleansed, which she created, wrote, and directed, premiered at the SXSW film festival in the independent pilot competition. Her past credits include Netflix’s Russian Doll.
CIROCCO DUNLAP is a Consulting Producer on Adult Swim's upcoming series BIRD GIRL, as well as BIG MOUTH for Netflix. She was also a Co-Producer RUSSIAN DOLL for Netflix; previous writing credits include Simon Rich's series MIRACLE WORKERS and MAN SEEKING WOMAN as well as Amazon's THE TICK. Cirocco has also written features 20th Century Fox and Fox Animation, and her short film EVERYTHING IS OKAY screened at SXSW in 2018.
LESLYE HEADLAND began her career writing and directing the Seven Deadly Plays series (IAMA Theatre Company). The series includes Bachelorette and Assistance which both transferred to NY. Bachelorette was the basis for her directorial film debut starring Kirsten Dunst. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Her other film credits include writing the 2014 remake of About Last Night starring Kevin Hart and writing/directing Sleeping with Other People starring Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie which also premiered at Sundance in 2015. TV writing/directing credits include: pilots for HBO, ABC and NBC, as well as Terriers (FX), Blunt Talk (Starz), SMILF and Black Monday (Showtime), Heathers (Paramount) and Russian Doll (Netflix).
Emmy Nominee NATASHA LYONNE executive produces, directs and stars in Netflix series “Russian Doll,” which she co-created with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland. Animal Pictures, Lyonne’s production company with Maya Rudolph, has a first-look TV deal with Amazon. Lyonne directed an episode of the upcoming final season of “Orange Is the New Black,” in which she stars as Nicky Nichols. She most recently guest-starred in IFC’s “Documentary Now” and reprised her role on “The Simpsons.” In 2017, she made her directorial debut with Kenzo film Cabiria, Charity, Chastity, for which she also wrote the screenplay. In 2017, she produced and starred in IFC Midnight’s Antibirth, directed by Danny Perez, co-starring Chloe Sevigny. Lyonne is well known for her performances in Slums of Beverly Hills, But I’m a Cheerleader, and Everyone Say I Love You. Stage credits include Blood from a Stone, Tigers Be Still, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and Two Thousand Years.
AMY POEHLER is one of Hollywood’s most versatile and sought-after talents with credits including that of actress, writer, executive producer, and bestselling author. She currently appears as co-host (alongside Nick Offerman) and executive producer of the hit crafting competition series Making It, which is currently in production on its second season. She will next produce, star, and make her directorial debut in the much-buzzed-about Netflix comedy film Wine Country, set to debut this May. She also continues to produce the award-winning online website “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls,” which showcases real girls who are changing the world by being themselves.
Off-screen, Poehler has multiple projects in development and/or production as part of her successful production company Paper Kite Productions. She serves as executive producer of the critically-acclaimed Netflix series Russian Doll starring Natasha Lyonne. She is also co-creator, executive producer and will lend her voice to FOX’s upcoming animated series Duncanville which centers on the life of Duncan (voiced by Poehler), a spectacularly average 15 year old boy, his family friends. Forthcoming projects include Adult Swim’s half-hour comedy pilot Three Busy Debras; the film adaptations of the feminist young adult novel Moxie, the children’s fiction book The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, and the Rebecca Makkai-authored The Great Believers; the forthcoming Riki Lindhome comedy Tails; and an untitled basketball comedy feature for Universal that she will also star in.
Poehler is perhaps best known for her starring role on the Emmy-nominated NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, which completed its seventh and final season in February 2015. Her portrayal of Leslie Knope earned her a 2014 Golden Globe award for “Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical, or Comedy,” the award for “Best Actress in a TV Comedy” at the 2014 American Comedy Awards, and a 2013 Gracie Award. For her work on the show, Poehler also received six consecutive Emmy nominations, two additional Golden Globe nominations, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations.
In the film world, Poehler co-starred opposite Will Ferrell in The House and opposite Tina Fey in Sisters. She also lent her voice as the character “Joy” in Disney Pixar’s Oscar-winning smash hit Inside Out. Her additional film credits include Wet Hot American Summer, They Came Together, A.C.O.D., Free Birds, Are You Here, Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and Mean Girls. Her voice has also been heard in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Monsters vs. Aliens, Horton Hears a Who!, and box office hit Shrek the Third.
Poehler’s first book, “Yas Please,” was released in October 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The book went on to spend over 23 weeks on the list.
After her much buzzed about portrayal of Senator Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Presidential Election, Poehler completed her eighth and final season of Saturday Night Live (and her fifth as the co-anchor of “Weekend Update”). That year she received her first Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” for her work on Saturday Night Live. This was an unprecedented nomination, making her the first performer in SNL history to land a spot in this category. She went on to receive a second nomination for her work on her final season the following year. In December 2015, Poehler returned to the SNL stage to co-host the show alongside Tina Fey. The duo’s performance led them to win the 2016 Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.”
Poehler joined the SNL cast from the Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch/improv troupe that she co-founded and continues to be heavily involved in. The group has opened theaters which are regarded as the premiere sketch/improv comedy venues in New York City and Los Angeles.
Poehler co-hosted the Golden Globe Awards alongside Tina Fey for three consecutive years from 2013-2015, a role that was consistently met with much critical acclaim. She has also made memorable appearances on television ranging from Arrested Development and Wonder Showzen, and she was also a voice on The Simpsons.
She currently splits her time between New York and Los Angeles.
ALLISON SILVERMAN’S writing credits include “Russian Doll,” which she executive produced, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “At Home with Amy Sedaris,” “The Office,” “Portlandia,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and “The Colbert Report,” which she launched as co-head writer and later helmed as executive producer and showrunner. Her work has been honored with three Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards. Allison was a recipient of the 2009 Muse Award presented by New York Women in Film and Television.