Julia Stiles charmed America in 10 Things I Hate About You and has continued to win audiences over ever since. She’s outdone herself as the title character in the award-winning WIGS web series Blue, which was recently renewed for a 26-episode second season that debuts on the WIGS YouTube channel Friday. Julia also moved behind the camera to write and direct her own WIGS series, Paloma, which is set to debut later this spring. She recently took time out of her busy schedule to chat with BFTV about what’s ahead on Blue, the making of Paloma, and if she might return to Dexter.
“It was the very first scene that [writer-director] Rodrigo [Garcia] ever wrote that caught my attention,” she said of what drew her to Blue, the fan-favorite series in which she plays a single mother who is also an upscale escort. “It just summed up to me what’s interesting in follwoing a woman who leads this sort of double life. It all became too difficult for her to manage in that first scene where the client recognized her from high school. There’s a certain amount of tension that you feel.
“I also really liked the idea of approaching the subject of a woman working as a call girl from many different angles,” she continued. “Rodrigo focuses on Blue as a mother, as a daughter, as a friend. Psychologically, it was just really compelling to me. And to be able to really delve into a character for that amount of time – seasons one and two amount to almost the length of two films.”
As far as what’s ahead in the second season, “There’ll be some returning characters,” revealed Julia. “I think you see Blue unravel a little bit more. She’s not quite as good at balancing everything, particularly emotionally. It also struck me as somewhat humorous.” Season two also features a supporting cast including Mark Consuelos (All My Children), Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13) and James Morrison (24).
Yet it’s Stiles who is deservedly front and center, imbuing Blue with tremendous heart and palpable emotion as she navigates conflicts between her career choice and the rest of her life. Not only have audiences responded to her character, but the web series was cited by actor Jason Isaacs in his interview as one of the examples of the “human drama” that WIGS has become known for.
The first seven episodes of Blue‘s second season will be released this Friday, with later installments on subsequent Fridays through April 5. Check out an exclusive clip from the second season of Blue below. WARNING: Clip contains nudity and sexual content.
Julia so enjoyed her experience working on Blue that she partnered with the WIGS team to write and direct her own series for the channel, a four-episode story called Paloma. It stars Grace Gummer (Smash), Rhys Coiro (Entourage), and Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope). “It’s about a year in a couple’s relationship and how the presence of a third person can corrode that relationship. It’s also sort of a rumination on love,” explained Julia, who knows a thing or two about great writing: she’s worked with the words of William Shakespeare and Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet, and holds a degree in English Literature from Columbia University.
“I really loved working with [WIGS co-creators] Jon Avnet and Rodrigo, and I just felt like it was such a nice environment creatively to experiment,” she continued, explaining her decision to also take on directorial duties. “I had wanted to direct something again – I had directed a short film like five years ago – and I wanted to direct something I could manage. The idea just came to me and I thought ‘Why not?’”
“One thing that’s so great is that I learned so much about acting from directing,” she said. “Particularly being in the editing room, because you see how much can be done in editing. In having to communicate to the actors what I was looking for, it made me realize how much I can use that to my benefit when I’m acting.” But, she admitted, “I’d never be able to direct myself!”
Her work with WIGS is not the only thing keeping Julia busy. “There’s something that’s out on demand now, it’s called It’s A Disaster. It’s an independent comedy I made with some friends of mine,” she said, referring to the film in which she plays Tracy Scott, one of eight friends who meet for Sunday brunch, only to discover that the world might be ending. “I’m just so happy that it got distribution and people can see it. It’s sort of a lighter side of me that maybe is not so expected – and I just really liked it.” It’s A Disaster is a production of the LA-based comedy troupe The Vacationeers, and you can watch the film’s trailer below.
Dexter fans have wondered if Julia will reprise her role as Dexter Morgan’s fifth-season love interest Lumen Pierce – a role that netted her Emmy and Golden Globe nominations – as the Showtime series heads toward its apparent end. But Julia has not yet been approached to return. “I have absolutely no idea,” she said.
For now, fans can enjoy Julia’s work both in front of and behind the camera with WIGS. “I was really, really happy to work with the WIGS family,” said Julia, whose favorite WIGS projects include Audrey (with Kim Shaw and Arielle Kebbel), Denise (starring Allison Pill), Serena (with Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina), and Christine (starring her It’s A Disaster colleague America Ferrera), all of which you can find links to on the WIGS website. “There’s a real sense of community.”