If you haven’t yet checked out the WIGS Channel on YouTube, you’re missing out on the cutting edge of scripted series. Julia Stiles has already completed a season of the channel’s series called “Blue,” and season two premiered March 15 with a release of the first seven short episodes.
In “Blue,” Stiles plays the title character, a single mother trying to make ends meet by working as an upscale escort. I participated in a conference call with Stiles to hear about the second season, as well as her latest project for WIGS.
Stiles on deciding to do a dramatic series on YouTube:
At first, I was a little bit reluctant about the idea of a web series only because I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t know really how the programming on YouTube would develop. But I was intrigued also by the idea because I thought this is kind of the wave of the future and the way that people watch shows more and more – on their devices and on the computer.
Why she was attracted to “Blue”:
What really sold me was the first scene of the first episode in season one. It was just such a great premise and setup for a show, which is that this girl leading a double life is going to be constantly dealing with how to manage that and how to control it and that the two worlds are going to collide.
In season one, she is with a client, and as things get hot and heavy, she realizes that he recognizes her from high school. I just thought that … a character that’s living with a huge secret was worth exploring.
On how an Internet series differs from traditional television and film:
The turnaround is faster, whereas in movies and with television shows, the amount of time it takes to get something developed and financed and setup and shot and out in theatres or on TV is so long. I mean, it can be years, and the exciting thing about what we’re doing with WIGS is that we can accomplish so much more so quickly….
In terms of technically, it’s really not that different. We use very professional crews and good production value, and the cameras are pretty sophisticated.
On what we can expect in season two of “Blue”:
[An] interesting thing that we approach in season two is that because he [Blue’s son, played by Uriah Shelton] started acting out in school, they both have to go to therapy. I think probably a lot of mothers don’t like the idea of their son having to be in therapy because the first person the therapist is going to look to blame is the mother.
But a mother like Blue, who has such a web of lies that she’s tangled in? The last place that she wants to be is in a therapist’s office being asked questions about her past. So, it gets interesting.
On the challenges of playing “Blue”:
It sounds counterintuitive, but I learned that I’m a lot more modest than I even thought I was…. When we were coming up with story ideas, I said, “We have to be realistic about this girl’s job, and some of the experiences she has with her clients have to be dangerous. Otherwise, we’re just not being realistic.”
And so, he [series creator and writer, Rodrigo Garcia] wrote scenes where the clients are not so nice to her. And then, we would get to the set, and I’d be like, “Oh, sh**. Well, I signed up for this.”
On “Paloma,” a new series for WIGS that Stiles has written and directed, which will air on YouTube later this year:
When Rodrigo was talking to me about a second season of “Blue,” we were discussing story ideas. I said, “Would you guys be open to the idea of me directing something?” And they said, “Yeah, absolutely. Go write it.”
It’s four episodes, and it’s basically a rumination on love and how delicate love is. It’s a year in a couples’ relationship and how the presence of a third person can destroy that relationship even if there’s no infidelity or foul play…. Grace Gummer is in it. Garret Dillahunt plays her boss. Rhys Coiro plays her boyfriend.
On her aspirations to spend time behind the camera:
I had directed a short film many years ago … and I got hooked. I think the biggest trick is finding ways to practice, and I thought it was too big of a leap to jump in to a feature. Plus, it’s very hard to get feature films made. But when I started working with Jon [Avnet, Executive Producer of “Blue”] and Rodrigo, I thought this is a great platform and a great opportunity to try my hand at directing again.
Watch episode one, season two of “Blue” below, or check out season one. Also, read my article about Stiles’ recent Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, “The Makeover,” for which I interviewed director John Gray and screenwriter C. Jay Cox.