Leslye Headland
Born1980 (age 42–43)[1]
Maryland, United States
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter, director
Years active2007–present
Notable worksBachelorette (2008)
Assistance (2012)
Bachelorette (2012)
Sleeping with Other People (2015)
Russian Doll (2019–present)
(m. 2016)

Leslye Headland (born 1980) is an American film and television director, producer, screenwriter, and playwright. She is known for the play and 2012 film Bachelorette and 2015 film Sleeping with Other People.[2][3] She co-created the Netflix series Russian Doll, along with Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler.

Early life and education

Headland, raised in suburban Maryland,[4] graduated in 1999 from Staples High School. She received her BFA in drama from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 2002.[5]


Upon graduating college, Headland spent six years working as an assistant at Miramax, a year of which was spent as Harvey Weinstein's personal assistant.[6][7][8] Her experience during that time is what inspired her 2012 play Assistance,[2][9] though she also stated she was not physically assaulted by Weinstein nor did she ever witness any incidents.[10] As a playwright, she is best known for her Seven Deadly Sins cycle: Cinephillia (lust), Bachelorette (gluttony), Assistance (greed), Surfer Girl (sloth), Reverb (wrath), The Accidental Blonde (envy), and Cult of Love (pride).[7][11] Part of the inspiration for the Seven Deadly Plays came from her Christian upbringing.[12] Her final play in the series, Cult of Love, opened in 2018.[13] She has also written a neo-noir style play The Layover which received mixed reviews in 2016.[14][15]

Headland got her first job in the television industry in 2010 as a staff writer on the FX series Terriers.[5][16] She wrote and directed the 2012 film version of her play Bachelorette, which was her debut as a feature film director.[2] The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.[17] Bachelorette co-starred Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher as three troubled women who reunite for the wedding of a friend played by Rebel Wilson, who was ridiculed in high school.

Headland's play Assistance premiered in 2008 and was staged in 2012 at the New York theatre space Playwrights Horizons. Television rights were acquired by NBC in 2013, to be executive-produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay; Krysten Ritter of the ABC series Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 was set to both star and executive produce.[18] Dramatists Play Service published Assistance in late 2013.[19]

Headland is the screenwriter of the 2014 remake of the film About Last Night, itself an adaptation of the 1974 David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago.

In 2015, Headland directed Sleeping with Other People based on her own script, which starred Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie. At the premier of the film, Headland said in an interview with The Wrap that her "elevator" pitch for the movie was, "Like When Harry Met Sally for assholes."[20] The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Headland has directed episodes of the television series Heathers (for which she also served as an executive producer) and two consecutive episodes of the 2016 Starz TV series Blunt Talk, starring Patrick Stewart.[21][22] She has also directed episodes for SMILF and Black Monday.

Headland directed four episodes and co-wrote three episodes of Russian Doll, which she co-created for Netflix with Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler.[6][23] Russian Doll is the first television series that Headland co-created, and she was the last of the three women to come on board for the project.[2][6] The series premiered on February 1, 2019.[24] On the female driven narrative of Russian Doll, Headland stated, "It was really important to explore a show about a female protagonist that asked spiritual and existential questions, as opposed to a show that was about a woman finding romance, a woman finding balance between her personal life and her love life... those are all worthy endeavors and excellent shows are made about all of those things, but we were just thinking 'What hasn't been done?'"[25]

Headland was hired by Netflix to direct the upcoming film Tell Me Everything, a thriller about marriage based on the young adult novel of the same name.[26] She is also set to executive produce and direct a film based on the novel American Huckster: How Chuck Blazer Got Rich from-and Sold Out-the Most Powerful Cabal in World Sports for HBO Films starring Will Ferrell.[22] She is additionally anticipated to executive produce and direct the first episode of the upcoming Fox series Sisters.[27] Headland has alluded to being involved in a second season of Russian Doll, though no details on the season have been confirmed.[2][6] In 2019, she signed a deal with Fox 21 Television Studios.[28]

On April 22, 2020, it was unofficially announced through Variety that Headland would be the showrunner and writer for an upcoming Star Wars series on the Disney+ streaming service. The series would be female-centric and would take place in a different part of the Star Wars timeline than other projects in the franchise.[29] On May 4, 2020 (Star Wars Day), it was officially announced that Headland will write, executive produce, and serve as showrunner for her own Star Wars series for Disney+, entitled The Acolyte, which takes place during the final days of the High Republic.[30][31]

In June 2023, she was announced as the director of the upcoming adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid's 2017 novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.[32]

Influences and themes

Leslye Headland was brought up in a strict religious home and grew up watching the Marx Brothers and MGM musicals.[33] Headland notes that Alfred Hitchcock's film Rear Window was the first time she saw the camera as a tool and realized what a director did.[33] Later in life as she was completing her BFA at New York University, Headland notes the difficulty and dark time faced due to the 9/11 attack and names David Fincher's Fight Club as the reason she has a lifelong artistic need to make a joke about what is truly painful.[33]

Much of Headland's work focuses on cultural vandalism.[2] Addiction is also a theme that plays heavily into her projects.[6] Regarding her work Headland has stated, "I'm attracted to stories about people who have created prisons for themselves and are trying to get out of them."[6]

Personal life

Headland is a lesbian and married actress Rebecca Henderson in September 2016.[34][35]



Year Title Credited as Notes
Writer Director Producer
2012 Bachelorette Yes Yes Yes Co-producer
2014 About Last Night Yes No No
2015 Sleeping with Other People Yes Yes Yes Co-executive producer
TBA The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo No Yes No [32]


Year Title Credited as Notes
Writer Director Executive
2010 Terriers Yes No No 2 episodes
2016 Blunt Talk No Yes No 2 episodes
2017 SMILF No Yes No 3 episodes
2018 Heathers No Yes Yes Executive produced pilot only, directed 4 episodes
2019 Black Monday No Yes No 2 episodes
2019 Almost Family No Yes Yes Directed: "Pilot"
2019–present Russian Doll Yes Yes Yes Co-creator, wrote 3 episodes and directed 4 episodes
2022 Single Drunk Female No Yes Yes 2 episodes
2024 The Acolyte Yes Yes Yes Creator, upcoming Disney+ series

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2012 Locarno International Film Festival Awards Variety Piazza Grande Award Bachelorette Nominated
2015 Nantucket Film Festival New Voices in Screenwriting Award Won [36]
Tribeca Film Festival Awards Audience Award, Narrative Sleeping with Other People Nominated
2019 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Russian Doll Nominated [37]
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Russian Doll (for "Nothing in This World Is Easy") Nominated
2019 Gotham Awards Breakthrough Series – Short Form Russian Doll Nominated [38]
2020 Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Nominated
Nebula Awards Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Russian Doll (for "The Way Out") Nominated [39]
2020 Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy Series Russian Doll Nominated
New Series Nominated

See also


  1. ^ Lizzy Goodman: Leslye Headland Is Now Gunning for Our Sex Lives. elle.com, Jul 29, 2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kate Knibbs (February 2, 2019). "Leslye Headland Doesn't Mind Repeating Herself". The Ringer. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  3. ^ Samantha Rollins (February 1, 2019). "For 'Russian Doll' Co-Creator Leslye Headland, Comedy's Next Frontier Is The Question Of Life Or Death". Bustle. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ McGee, Celia (July 13, 2010). "A March of Deadly Sins, One by One". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Leslye Headland". Primary Stages. 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f VanArendonk, Kathryn (February 5, 2019). "Leslye Headland on Russian Doll, Her Harvey Weinstein Play, and Why New York is a 'Graveyard'". Vulture. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Tran, Diep (May 30, 2018). "Leslye Headland on Sin, Certainty, and Harvey Weinstein". American Theatre. Theatre Communications Group. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  8. ^ D'Arminio, Aubry (February 28, 2012). "Harvey Weinstein's former personal assistant writes tell-all play (sorta)". Entertainment Weekly.
  9. ^ Isherwood, Charles (February 28, 2012). "Heads Will Roll When Calls Don't in This Office Culture Gone Wild". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "'Russian Doll' creator Leslye Headland on show's success and all-female writer's room". ABC News. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  11. ^ "Leslye Headland". IAMA. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  12. ^ Myers, Victoria (April 24, 2018). "Leslye Headland on Writing, Directing, and Creating". The Interval.
  13. ^ "Cult of Love: World premiere 'Cult of Love,' final installment in Leslye Headland's 'Seven Deadly Plays' cycle, concludes 10th anniversary IAMA season". IAMA. April 18, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  14. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (August 25, 2016). "Off Broadway Review: 'The Layover' by Leslye Headland". Variety. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  15. ^ Lee, Ashley (August 23, 2016). "Leslye Headland Explores One-Night Stands' Lasting Impressions in New Play 'The Layover' (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Grose, Jessica (January 6, 2015). "Real Talk About Working as a Woman in Film: 'Keep Doing it Until You Realize How Much You Suck at It'". Elle. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  17. ^ "Bachelorette: Sundance Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  18. ^ Gioia, Michael (February 19, 2013). "Krysten Ritter Will Star in NBC Adaptation of Leslye Headland's Assistance; Seth Numrich in Talks for AMC Pilot". Playbill. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013.
  19. ^ Headland, Leslye. "Assistance". Dramatists Play Service. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  20. ^ Fear, David (September 10, 2015). "Leslye Headland: Meet the New Queen of Raunch Comedy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  21. ^ "Leslye Headland – Credits". TV Guide. 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  22. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (February 22, 2019). "Lelsye Headland, Will Ferrell, and Red Wagon Team at HBO Films For FIFA Hustler Story 'American Huckster'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  23. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 20, 2017). "Netflix Greenlights Comedy From Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland & Amy Poehler". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  24. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (January 9, 2019). "'Russian Doll' Trailer: Natasha Lyonne Relives Death On An Endless Loop In Netflix Comedy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  25. ^ Yang, Rachel (February 1, 2019). "Listen: Russian Doll Showrunner on Challenging Female-Driven Narratives". Variety.
  26. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (October 10, 2018). "Netflix, Sugar23 & Anonymous Content Set Leslye Headland To Adapt and Direct Thriller 'Tell Me Everything'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  27. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 13, 2019). "Fox Orders Drama Pilot From Annie Weisman & Jason Katims Based On Australian Series 'Sisters'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  28. ^ Thorne, Will (2019-12-17). "'Russian Doll' Creator Leslye Headland Inks Overall Deal With Fox 21 Television Studios". Variety. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  29. ^ Otterson, Joe (April 22, 2020). "'Star Wars' Series From 'Russian Doll' Co-Creator Leslye Headland in the Works at Disney Plus (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  30. ^ "Academy Award Winner Taika Waititi to Direct and Co-Write new Star Wars Feature Film for Theatrical Release; Oscar Nominee Krysty Wilson-Cairns to Co-Write Screenplay with Waititi". StarWars.com. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  31. ^ "Future Lucasfilm Projects Revealed". StarWars.com. Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  32. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (June 29, 2023). "Leslye Headland To Direct Adaptation Of 'The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo' For Netflix". Deadline. Retrieved August 19, 2023.
  33. ^ a b c Headland, Leslye (August 25, 2012). "Growing Up Cinephile". The Film Experience. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  34. ^ Soloski, Alexis (August 18, 2016). "Look Out! Playwright Leslye Headland Has Her Eye on You". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  35. ^ Menza, Kaitlin (November 30, 2017). "A Cozy Celebration in Manhattan". The Cut. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  36. ^ "20th Anniversary Nantucket Film Festival Announces Signature Programs" (PDF). Nantucket Film Festival. May 14, 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Leslye Headland – Emmy Awards, Nominations and Wins". Television Academy. Retrieved August 13, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  38. ^ THR Staff (December 2, 2019). "'Marriage Story' Sweeps Gotham Awards; Full Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  39. ^ "Ray Bradbury Award 2020". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus. Archived from the original on 2021-02-07. Retrieved 2020-05-30.