The initial pitch for the Netflix dramedy also included a small part for Alfred Molina.
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Russian Doll almost looked very different from the mind-bending Netflix dramedy audiences have come to know and love.

According to the series' star Natasha Lyonne, she and fellow show creators Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler first pitched Russian Doll as a three-season concept. Lyonne still has this pitch document, and thinks of it fondly.

"It's funny to look at that pitch document. It's so charming, because there's so much in it that is [different]. First of all, Jordan Peele plays heavily in it as a love interest," Lyonne tells EW of the Get Out filmmaker. She continues, "Which is just funny to think that it's such a pre-Jordan Peele, Oscar-winning auteur era, where we're just like, 'Okay, great. So he plays the boyfriend.'"

Russian Doll, Jordan Peele
Natasha Lyonne's initial pitch for 'Russian Doll' including Jordan Peele as a love interest.
| Credit: András D. Hadjú/Netflix; Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

In addition to Peele, the star says the pitch also featured a small role for Alfred Molina. "It's a very specific document, and it's almost like a time capsule, because it took so long, even from the time that [Netflix] ordered a script to green lighting us direct to series, and a year went by, and in that time, so much changed," she says. "I still look back at it and share it with [first-time] showrunners and stuff, because it's so sweet," adds Lyonne. "You can tell that our hearts are in it all the way, and it's also really interesting to see how much it's sort of deviated from itself, even in season 1."

The final product, of course, featured Lyonne as Nadia, a coder stuck in a seemingly infinite time loop wherein she kept dying on her 36th birthday, and Charlie Barnett as Alan, a lonely, uptight man inexplicably going through the same ordeal. It doesn't feature Peele or Molina, but some things did stay the same from page to screen.

"I guess, when it's most like itself is that it's anthological in nature, meaning we know that we're going to be kind of playing with these characters, but kind of rotating them in some way into a world that's not exactly a direct extension from season 1," Lyonne explains. "It'll be, at the very least, kind of a new game, and I will say that it was quite similar in that it always was that season 2 was going to deal heavily with [Nadia's] mom."

Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix, and this time features the misadventures of Alan and Nadia as they travel backwards through time. A season 3 is not officially in the works yet, but should it move forward, Lyonne has one very specific thing she wants to see.

Says Lyonne, "I've been incredibly open about my desires to become a cyborg, and I would love nothing more than to have a half-silver face with a red eye, and in season 3, just be walking around with my robot neck and stuff. Just imagine how great that would be."

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