Leslye Headland

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Leslye Headland
Born1981 (age 37–38)
Maryland, United States
Notable worksPlay Bachelorette (2008)
Play Assistance (2012)
Film Bachelorette (2012)
Film Sleeping with Other People (2015)
TV series Russian Doll (2019)
TV series ‘’Almost Family’’ (2019)
Years active2007–present
Rebecca Henderson (m. 2016)
ParentsJulie Headland, John Headland

Leslye Headland (born 1981) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and director. She is best known for the play and 2012 film Bachelorette and 2015 film Sleeping with Other People.[1][2] She co-created the Netflix series Russian Doll, along with Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler. The series premiered on February 1, 2019.[3]

Background and education[edit]

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.[1][9] 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][10] Part of the inspiration for the Seven Deadly Plays came from her Christian upbringing.[11] Her final play in the series, Cult of Love, opened in 2018.[12] She has also written a neo-noir style play The Layover which received mixed reviews in 2016.[13][14]

Headland got her first job in the television industry in 2010 as a staff writer on the FX series Terriers.[5][15] She wrote and directed the 2012 film version of Bachelorette, which was her debut as a feature film director.[1] Dramatists Play Service published Assistance in late 2013.[16]


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.[17][18] 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][19] 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.[1][6] The series premiered on February 1, 2019.[20] 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?'"[21]


In 2012, the film version of Headland's play Bachelorette premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Headland directed from her own script; the film 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.


Assistance premiered in 2008 and was staged in 2012 at the New York theatre space Playwrights Horizons. Television rights were acquired by NBC, 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.[22]

About Last Night[edit]

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.

Sleeping with Other People[edit]

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 “elevated” pitch for the movie was, “Like When Harry Met Sally for assholes.”[23] The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Awards and honors[edit]

Headland has received the New Voices in Screenwriting Award in 2015 from the Nantucket Film Festival.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Headland married actress Rebecca Henderson in September 2016.[25][26]


Leslye Headland was brought up in a strict religious home and grew up watching the Marx Brothers and MGM musicals.[27] 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.[27] Later in life as she was completing graduate school in New York 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 life long artistic need to make a joke about what is truly painful.[27]


Much of Headland's work focuses on complex female characters and portraying women and women’s experiences in a truthful way.[1] Addiction is also a theme that plays heavily into her projects.[6] On 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]

Upcoming projects[edit]

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.[28] 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. [18] She is additionally anticipated to executive produce and direct the first episode of the upcoming Fox series Sisters. [29] Headland has alluded to being involved in a second season of Russian Doll, though no details on the season have been confirmed.[1][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kate Knibbs (February 2, 2019). "Leslye Headland Doesn't Mind Repeating Herself". The Ringer. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Pedersen, Erik (December 14, 2018). "'Russian Doll': Premiere Date & First-Look Photos For Netflix's Natasha Lyonne Comedy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 4, 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. ^ "Leslye Headland". IAMA. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  11. ^ Myers, Victoria (April 24, 2018). "Leslye Headland on Writing, Directing, and Creating". The Interval.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (August 25, 2016). "Off Broadway Review: 'The Layover' by Leslye Headland". Variety. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Leslye Headland. "Assistance". Dramatists Play Service. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Leslye Headland – Credits". TV Guide. 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (February 22, 2019). "Lelsye Headland, Will Ferrel, and Red Wagon Team at HBO Films For FIFA Hustler Story 'American Huckster'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  19. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 20, 2017). "Netflix Greenlights Comedy From Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland & Amy Poehler". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Yang, Rachel (February 1, 2019). "Listen: Russian Doll Showrunner on Challenging Female-Driven Narratives". Variety.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Fear, David (September 10, 2015). "Leslye Headland: Meet the New Queen of Raunch Comedy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  24. ^ "20th Anniversary Nantucket Film Festival Announces Signature Programs" (PDF). Nantucket Film Festival. May 14, 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  25. ^ Soloski, Alexis (August 18, 2016). "Look Out! Playwright Leslye Headland Has Her Eye on You". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  26. ^ Menza, Kaitlin (November 30, 2017). "A Cozy Celebration in Manhattan". The Cut. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  27. ^ a b c Headland, Leslye (August 25, 2012). "'Growing Up Cinephile'". The Film Experience. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ 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.

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