Lena Headey Nabs First Post-Game Of Thrones Leading Role In A New Cable Drama

Game of Thrones Lena Headey Cersei Lannister HBO
(Image credit: Helen Sloan / HBO)

The Game of Thrones cast is moving on. It has been over a month since the show’s series finale aired. Earlier this week it was Maisie Williams, and now comes another star who has landed their next project. Lena Headey has found her first leading post-Game of Thrones role, and it will take her back to premium cable!

She is not headed back to HBO. For her new venture, Lena Headey has signed on to star as the titular lead of the Showtime dramedy pilot, Rita, per Variety. If picked up, its episodes will span an hour. So far, Rita has a pilot production order. Much like the Game of Thrones prequel, its future is currently shrouded in a bit of mystery.

Not as mysterious is who Lena Headey will play. As you can imagine given Headey's star power, she'll be front and center as the titular Rita. Who is Rita? Well, she is a single mother who works as a teacher. She is described as an “unconventional” one.

Said to be “headstrong,” Rita is willing to confront every sort of authority. That includes her family. She'll do so in a “messy” and “unfiltered” manner. At first, it may not seem like it, but Cersei Lannister and Rita sort of have a lot in common.

Lena Headey’s Game of Thrones character was also strong-willed and keen to confront authority. She took on the High Sparrow and made herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. It does not get more confrontational than that. Still, this sounds like a breath of fresh air for Headey.

The actress has previously said that she wanted people to remember she has played characters besides Cersei Lannister. Has she ever! Two years before Game of Thrones started airing, Lena Headey starred as another major already-existing fictional player. Headey played Sarah Connor in the short-lived yet memorable (in my opinion) Fox series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. After two seasons, the series ended in 2009.

Lena Headey is also well-known for her role playing Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, in the 300 franchise, and for playing Madeline "Ma-Ma" Madrigal in the 2012 cult favorite, Dredd. Headey’s work in the 2009 thriller Tell-Tale opposite Josh Lucas remains a personal favorite. As well as her turn in the movie Zipper, which is currently streaming on Netflix.

Speaking of Netflix, Lena Headey has joined the impressive vocal cast of the streamer’s series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. As this is a voice role and not a live-action one, Headey will not be seen.

Christian Torpe is writing and executive producing the pilot for Rita. The Showtime series is based on Torpe’s Danish series. In addition to starring in the pilot, Lena Headey will also executive produce along with Elisa Ellis. I think the series sounds like a compelling platform for Headey, so an update on its status post-pilot will hopefully arrive soon.

Lena Headey has had a lot to say about Cersei’s ending on Game of Thrones. She also shared something intriguing about Cersei’s pregnancy on the show. The actors who brought the Lannister siblings to life are doing well post-Thrones. Headey’s co-star, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, also found his next TV project. Like Headey, his too is in the pilot stages.

Stay tuned to learn if Rita gets going. While you wait for an update, there is no shortage of summer content to watch on television. Relive Lena Headey’s performance as Cersei in the final season of Game of Thrones, which is already available on digital.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.