Rita: Showtime Pilot Starring Games of Thrones’ Lena Headey Gets Director

Fresh off Game of Thrones, Lena Headey is set to star in Rita, a subversive Showtime comedy pilot.

Lena Headey’s eight years in the role of the imperious, calculatingly cruel, shallow-end-of-the-gene-pool-fishing Cersei Lannister may seem to distance the actress from the concept of comedy, but that, indeed, is what the former Game of Thrones star has just procured, with a new TV pilot, with Showtime, called Rita.

Back in June, Showtime announced its pilot order for Rita, an adaptation of the 2012-2017 Danish series of the same name, in which Lena Headey will star as its title character, who’s described as “a headstrong, unconventional teacher and single mother who takes on every kind of authority – as well as her family – in a messy and unfiltered way.” Danish actress Mille Dinesen played the role in the original series.

In the latest news on Rita, Lisa Cholodenko has been tapped to direct the pilot by Showtime. Best known for helming the acclaimed Golden Globe-nominated 2010 ensemble-driven dramedy film, The Kids Are All Right, Cholodenko is coming off a directorial run on Netflix crime series Unbelievable. She notably earned a 2014 Emmy nomination for her work on the HBO miniseries, Olive Kitteridge. After a duo of short films, she made her directorial debut with the dark 1998 romantic drama, High Art.

Christian Torpe, creator of the award-winning original series, will serve as showrunner and credited creator for Showtime’s American reboot, and will write the pilot. Additionally, star Headey will enjoy some creative input, set to serve as executive producer on the pilot of the aspiring series, joined in that capacity by Showtime and Platform One Media.

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As Jana Winograde, one of Showtime Networks’ Presidents of Entertainment, lauded of the project in a statement this past June:

“Rita is a deliciously subversive character who will make you laugh and cry as she continuously challenges the hypocrisy around her. It goes without saying that Lena Headey is a force, whose essence is ideal to take on this wonderfully dynamic lead role.”  

Further reading: Game of Thrones: Lena Headey Disappointed With Cersei’s Death

Rita is quite the turn for Lena Headey, who, during her Game of Thrones run, fielded film appearances in Fighting with My Family, Thumper, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, horror franchise launcher The Purge, cult-favorite Dredd, and, in 2014, reprised her career-breakthrough role as Queen Gorgo from 2006’s 300 in sequel 300: Rise of an Empire. Fans may also remember her pre-Thrones TV tenure as Sarah Connor (a role that onscreen rival Emilia Clarke would play in 2015 film Terminator Genisys,) on Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Headey is also set to field a major film prospect as part of the cast of the 2020-scheduled female-led actioner, Gunpowder Milkshake, joining the likes of Karen Gillan, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino and Angela Bassett. She recently starred in the UK drama film, The Flood, and provided the voice of Maudra Fara on Netflix prequel TV series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

We will keep you updated on Showtime’s Rita as the news arrives!

Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.

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