Natasha Lyonne, one of the most notoriously trainwrecky actresses of Generation X, appears to finally be traveling the long road back to sobriety and respectability and may soon be starring in her own Fox sitcom about that journey. The height of Lyonne’s career was in the late 1990s, when she started in the critically acclaimed indie film “Slums of Beverly Hills” as well as playing the character Jessica in the first of the smash hit “American Pie” movies.
After that she became one of those actresses known more for her off screen antics, substance abuse problems etc. than any of her roles. In 2001 she was arrested in Miami Beach after hitting a road sign with her rented car and then trying to flee the scene. According to the police report, she refused the Breathalyzer with the words, “I’m a movie star. Can I talk to my entertainment lawyer?” (a line which she says was meant to be a joke) leading The Smoking Gun to name hers the Most Entertaining Celebrity Arrest Report of 2001.
Things continued to go downhill from there as Lyonne developed a heroin addiction. Bizarrely, the gory details of the extent of Lyonne’s problem became public primarily due to an April 2005 article written for (now defunct) Jane magazine by Lyonne’s fellow Gen X acting stalwart, Michael Rapaport. In it, Rapaport told the story of how he became friends with Lyonne and rented an apartment to her in a building he owned in Manhattan. When other tenants in the small building started complaining about Lyonne’s increasingly erratic behavior, Rapaport flew in from Los Angeles to confront her and was shocked by the state he found both her and the apartment to be in. After the talking to from Rapaport, Lyonne’s erratic behavior continued, most memorably when in a verbal altercation with a neighbor she threatened that she would molest the neighbor’s dog (another remark she now claims was a joke) as did the trashing of the apartment. Rapaport eventually kicked her out of the apartment in January, 2005 and in the Jane article claimed she had done $16,000 worth of damage to the apartment.
Losing the apartment led to a rock bottom period of near fatal health problems, homelessness, and incredibly sad Gawker Stalker sightings. Eventually, by around 2008, Lyonne did get sober and healthy (a period detailed in this excellent profile/interview with her from that time) and has gradually been getting back into movies and film since, with memorable recent roles in The New Girl and Weeds.
The pilot she’s shooting for Fox will be a loosely autobiographical single camera comedy about a woman who’s just gotten out of rehab and moved in with her conservative brother and his family. Hopefully, she can find a role for Michael Rapaport.
‘American Pie’s Natasha Lyonne to Star in Fox Comedy [The Hollywood Reporter]