Lena Headey Snags Post-'Game of Thrones' Lead in Showtime Drama

The actress will play the title role in 'Rita,' a drama about a teacher, in her first on-camera role following the end of the HBO megahit.
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Lena Headey

Lena Headey is moving from HBO to Showtime for her first on-camera role following the end of mega-hit Game of Thrones.

The actress is set to play the title role in Rita, a drama pilot about an unconventional teacher. She also will be an executive producer on the project, which is based on a Danish series. Headey's casting comes on the heels of Netflix's Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, for which she has joined the star-studded voice cast.

In Rita, Headey will play a headstrong, unconventional teacher and single mother who takes on every kind of authority — and her own family — in a messy, unfiltered way. Christian Torpe, who created the Danish series, is writing the pilot.

"Rita is a deliciously subversive character who will make you laugh and cry as she continuously challenges the hypocrisy around her," Showtime Entertainment president Jana Winograde said Thursday in a statement. "It goes without saying that Lena Headey is a force whose essence is ideal to take on this wonderfully dynamic lead role."

Showtime's take on Rita will be the second attempt to get a U.S. version of the show up and running. Bravo produced a pilot in 2013 from Grey's Anatomy's Krista Vernoff with Anna Gunn in the lead role, but it didn't go forward.

Headey joins fellow Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau — her onscreen brother/lover on the drama — in moving quickly to a new job. Coster-Waldau is starring in the FX pilot Gone Hollywood, about a group of talent agents who form their own firm in 1980s Los Angeles.

Rita is a co-production of Showtime and Platform One Media. Torpe, Headey and Platform One's Elisa Ellis executive produce.