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Life Behind The Scenes and Beyond
By Ghia Vitale
Rebecca Henderson is an actor who plays Lizzy, the best friend of Natasha Lyonne (protagonist) in Russian Doll. As of February 1, 2019, Russian Doll will be available on Netflix. Check out this exclusive interview to learn more about Rebecca Henderson, her character, her life behind the scenes of the show, and more.
In this interview, Henderson opens up about her acting experience, past, and personal life. She plays a quirky, queer character in Russian Doll. However, there’s a personal element to this production for her. Her love life was actually connected to this show in a big way: She’s married to Leslye Headland, one of the show’s creators, directors, and writers. That fact alone makes me want to know more.
Let’s get this interview started!
How would you describe the character you play in Russian Doll?
Lizzy is one of the best friends of Natasha Lyonne’s character, Nadia. Lizzy is creative, weird, earnest, and absolutely loves her friends. She dates hot young women.
What made you gravitate towards this role?
Russian Doll is about a woman who seems to be dying over and over again, but her immediate world/friends have no idea that it’s happening. I really liked the idea of playing a character whose ignorant existence makes the main storyline deeper, funnier, and more existential and dramatic. You have to see Nadia exist in a world that doesn't know what's happening to her. It's hilarious and very scary.
What's your favorite thing about Russian Doll?
I really loved working with so many amazing women. Most of my stuff is with Natasha Lyonne and Greta Lee. We're really different actors, so it was super fun energetically to act with them. Natasha has been doing this forever which was wowing to be around. Greta is a hilarious master-improviser. She had me giggling all the time. Also, I’m obsessed with the DP, Chris Teague. Full-on genius. I love being around him. He makes everything look like you're working with a massive budget.
Has there been any unique challenges in terms of your role and/or working on Russian Doll?
I’m married to Leslye Headland. She’s one of the creators of the show, the showrunner, wrote much of it, and directed half the episodes. Even though I was on the show, one of the major challenges was that Leslye would often get home at 7:00 am from a night shoot while I was waking up for the day. Then she would sleep the day and go back to work as I was settling in for the night. I missed her!
Is there anything you'd like the world to know about you and Russian Doll?
The show is awesome? I don’t know! I want everyone to watch it! I can’t wait to hear all the different reactions. It’s been getting excellent reviews which is icing on the cake, really. I’m so proud to be a part of it.
Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?
Hmmmm.... Well…. I have a Pitbull-Great Dane mix and two ginger cats. They cannot be in the same room. I’m completely obsessed with my animals. I’m 5’9”. My parents are British, but I was born and raised in Canada. I came to New York to do my MFA at Columbia University and I never left!
How did you get your start in acting?
I was a synchronized swimmer in Canada for many years. When I left swimming, I was just kind of a lost teenage soul. I found a lot comfort at school primarily in theater class. I loved the community and the people, and I still do.
What other projects are you working on that we should we check out?
I’m going to SXSW in March with Mickey and The Bear, this wonderful indie film I worked on in Montana starring James Badge Dale and Camilla Morrone. It was written and directed by a fabulous young woman named Annabelle Attanasio. And this summer, I’m doing a play called Moscowx6 at MCC in New York. It’s a brilliant and hilarious modern adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters by Halley Feiffer and directed by Trip Cullman. I play one of the sisters, Olga, with Cristin Milioti as Masha and Tavi Gevinson as Irina.
If you’re curious about the show, watch Russian Doll on Netflix. Thank you, Rebecca Henderson, for answering our questions!
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