Julia Stiles moves to TV-on-the-Web projects
FORT WORTH, Texas — Julia Stiles recently pulled the plug. No more cable television in her home.
The New York-based actress has come to the conclusion that all the TV she wants to watch is readily available online.
“This is the wave of the future, the way that people watch shows more and more,” Stiles says, “on their devices and on the computer.”
Her new approach as a viewer coincides with her professional conversion to TV on the Web.
“At first I was a little bit reluctant about the idea,” she admits. “I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t really know how the programming on YouTube would develop. But I was intrigued also by the idea.”
Now she’s completely hooked. Episodes from the second season of “Blue,” about a single mother leading a secret life as an upscale escort, are rolling out now. What’s more, Stiles wrote and directed a four-episode series titled “Paloma,” which will premiere later this spring on the WIGS site.
Stiles hasn’t sworn off traditional acting jobs, mind you. She co-starred in “Silver Linings Playbook,” one of the most celebrated feature films of 2012, and did a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, “The Makeover,” that aired earlier this year on ABC.
But Stiles also sings the praises of TV on the Web like it’s the greatest filmmaking innovation since the introduction of sound.
Here, to her way of thinking, are some of the plusses:
“The turnaround is faster,” Stiles says. “In movies and with television shows, the amount of time it takes to get something developed and financed and then set up and shot and out in theaters or on TV is so long. It can take years.
“The exciting thing about what we’re doing is we can accomplish so much so quickly. I wrote ‘Paloma’ in September and it’s already finished. We shot (Season 2 of) ‘Blue’ in November and December and it’s already being aired.
“And in terms of quality, we used very professional crews and good production values, and the cameras are pretty sophisticated.
“Also, you get a lot more creative freedom. When you’re working on a studio film, because there’s so much more money at stake, there are a lot more people to answer to.”
As for a downside, the only thing she can think of is that viewers are still selling themselves short by watching quality TV shows and movies on cellphones and undersized computer monitors.
“I still like the bigger screen and I still go to the movies,” Stiles says. “I like to sit in a dark theater and enjoy the projection of film.”
But watching this content online will become better, she adds, “as the technology gets better.”
It didn’t take long for “Blue” to build a loyal Internet following. The show’s success reinforces Stiles’ belief that good storytelling will find an audience, no matter how it’s delivered to consumers.
“What sold me was the first scene of the first episode in Season 1,” Stiles recalls. “It was such a great premise, which is this girl leading a double life, constantly dealing with how to manage that and control it, even though the two worlds are going to collide.
“In Season 1, she is with a client and as things get hot and heavy she realizes he recognizes her from high school. I thought the idea that she’s trying to keep something so secretive was worth exploring.”
In the new season, Blue’s son starts acting out in school, so mother and son must begin therapy.
“I would imagine that a lot of mothers don’t like the idea of their sons in therapy because the first person the therapist is going to look to blame is the mother,” Stiles says. “But a mother like Blue, who has such a web of lies that she’s tangled in, the last place she wants to be is a therapist’s office.
“The idea that somebody trying to keep secrets would be asked questions about her past is a perfect set-up for dramatic tension.”