EXCLUSIVE: Animal Pictures principals Maya Rudolph and Natasha Lyonne are going their separate ways on the producing front, in an amicable situation, Deadline can exclusively reveal.
Sources ascribed the split to a desire on the part of both producers to entertain differing creative paths and pursuits. While papers are still being drawn up, we’re told that Rudolph has agreed to allow Lyonne to continue to use the name Animal Pictures, which she will attach going forward to her new company. How the creative there will differ, in relation to Animal Pictures 1.0, is not yet clear.
Rudolph and Lyonne affirmed the news in the following statement shared with Deadline: “Moving forward, Natasha will operate under the name Animal Pictures while Maya will produce independently. We will continue to support each other and remain committed to the various projects we’ve developed together and have in the pipeline. We are excited for each other and what the future holds.”
The pair are said to be quite proud of what they’ve achieved together, since Animal Pictures’ 2018 founding, and look forward to continuing to support each other moving forward. Projects already launched, which they’ll continue to work on together as EPs, include the acclaimed, half-hour Peacock mystery series Poker Face starring Lyonne, Apple TV+’s workplace comedy Loot fronted by Rudolph, and the adult animated sci-fi comedy The Hospital, created by Cirocco Dunlap, which Amazon gave a two-season order last summer. Rudolph and Lyonne also still have a few projects in development that they will continue to produce together, though they will not be putting any new ones into motion as a team.
The duo launched Animal Pictures alongside veteran indie producer Danielle Renfrew Behrens, who served as President. They recently landed Season 2 renewals for both Loot and Poker Face, also scoring four Emmy noms via the latter, including Best Actress for Lyonne. The five-time nominee plays human lie detector turned investigating do-gooder Charlie Cale, in the show created by Rian Johnson. Rudolph’s series Loot, meanwhile, created by Emmy winners Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard, has her playing Molly, a billionaire who turns to philanthropy after divorcing her philandering husband.
Additional credits for Animal Pictures include Netflix’s critically acclaimed, Emmy nominated comedic mystery series Russian Doll, co-created by and starring Lyonne, which launched its second season last year; the coming-of-age Hulu rom-com Crush, starring Rowan Blanchard, Auliʻi Cravalho, Megan Mullally, and Michelle Buteau, which marked the feature directorial debut of Sammi Cohen; and the music doc Sirens, about an all-female metal band from Beirut, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Animal Pictures entered into a multi-year first-look deal with Apple TV+ last summer, having signed on prior to that for a first-look TV deal with Amazon Studios. Among the projects that remain in development for its founders are Extra Ordinary, based on Mike Ahern & Enda Loughman’s Irish indie feature of the same name, and the show Desert People, created by Lyonne and Alia Shawkat, which is inspired by Shawkat’s real life.
Lyonne will soon be seen starring opposite Elizabeth Olsen, Carrie Coon and Jovan Adepo in Azazel Jacob’s indie drama His Three Daughters, which was recently acquired by Netflix at TIFF for just under $7M, in the streamer’s fourth big deal out of the festival.
Rudolph, meanwhile, will return to voice multiple characters in the as-yet-undated eighth and final season of Netflix’s animated series Big Mouth. She’s also been set for a voice role alongside John Krasinski, Ryan Reynolds and many more in the Krasinski-helmed fantasy comedy Imaginary Friends, which Paramount releases May 24, 2024.