julia stiles talks dressing like a high-end hooker (on screen, of course)
The actress is branching out with Blue, a racy new YouTube series.
Chances are you have a favorite Julia Stiles movie. The actress has been an on-screen fixture since the early '90s, outlasting (and outperforming) many of the actresses who started at her age.10 Things I Hate About You, Save the Last Dance; Mona Lisa Smile; The Bourne Ultimatum—all movies made better by her presence. Now at 31, Stiles career is still going strong, but instead of just making the obvious Hollywood choices, she's branching out. Her new series, Blue, isn't playing in theaters, or even on your TV screen. It's exclusively available on WIGS, a YouTube channel for women. In it, Stiles plays the title character, a struggling single mom whose secret life as an escort may or may not implode. You'll have to watch to find out, which is really, really easy since the series is delivered in seven minute segments. Believe us, once you watch one, you'll need to see the rest.
We talked to Stlies about all things Blue, including, but not limited to, what makes for proper escort attire anyway. Read on.
Lucky: Did you have any reservations about diving into a YouTube channel project?
Julia Stiles: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I’m kind of scared of the internet and all of the programming for the web, it was very much a new frontier, but, sometimes the things that are the scariest are the things you’re supposed to confront. For me, I was hooked upon reading the first episode. I really wanted to work with Rodrigo Garcia, and I loved In Treatment, and I really liked his early film Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her. The writing was really, really good, and ultimately that’s the reason to do anything, if it’s a big movie, small movie, a TV show or a play or whatever. So I thought, why not?
Moms who lead secret lives as escorts always seems to be in the news. Did that put you off, or did the ripped-from-the-headlines feel make it more intriguing?
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of people paying for sex, and I think many people are, and that’s why there are so many stories about the subject matter. I think the thing that makes Blue interesting is that you see her in other aspects of her life. To me, it shows that there are other sides to her. She’s living a secret life and has to keep it a secret. She has to weave a tangled web, and when is that going to be exposed, and how? From the first episode, her client is somebody that recognizes her from when she was growing up. The question is—it comes up later in one of the episodes—"Why are you paying for sex?” So it's about why the client paying and also, why is the girl there? The irony is that Blue gets paid more as an escort than I did for the webshow. I’m clearly in the wrong profession. But I think there’s got to be a deeper reason beyond that, because money is tempting, but at what cost?
It also seems like it’s not the only way she could make money, though it might be the only way she could make that amount of money, She’s shown at work as being a professional person. And the first episode proves she can obviously can do a math equation!
Right, it’s quick money but it’s definitely at a price spiritually, and we do begin to address that in the very end. There’s sort of a cliffhanger reveal. But there’s a psychological reason too, and a lot of it has to do with what she thinks she’s good at, I think.
Do you ever read the online comments from viewers? With YouTube, you can do that immediately.
No, I can’t. That’s like a Pandora’s Box. I completely understand how people in the theater say that they don’t read reviews, but it’s one thing to have a critic commenting who’s supposed to have some sort of authority over whether or not a play is good or if your performance is good, as opposed to people writing things anonymously. It would be really nice to read positive comments, but I’m sure there are negative ones, too. I just can’t open myself up to that. Ignorance is bliss, in this case.
Do you ever have an urge to interact with your fans on your own, like start a twitter account?
Sort of, but not really. I have a blog which I never thought I would start, and it is just like a sketchpad where I can throw up videos and little short stories and sometimes talk about what I’m working on. This is the thing that’s tricky about the internet—sometimes it is really interesting to hear from people immediately, but then there’s a lot of junk out there, too. I’m kind of living in the 18th century.
Blue's fashion when she's in escort mode is sexy, but not trashy. What do you think of it?
It's sort of client specific. I did talk to a couple of women who work as call girls and I asked them “what do you wear?” It is sort of based on what the client wants, and they dress up because you don’t want to disappoint if you’re getting paid. We got a lot of Agent Provocateur, but it’s also a lot of stuff that she can hide in her bag cause she’s keeping a secret. Apparently, if you’re in a fancy hotel, you can spot a call girl very easily, so they kind of advise not to dress up too much—it’s kind of a delicate balance between that and what the client is asking for.
How can you spot one easily?
People in fancy hotels have their eye out for that sort of thing, I guess. It’s like…it’s hard! I guess a young sexy woman with revealing clothing on. It’s a little je ne sais quoi. I could tell you if I saw it.
Your next project, Silver Linings Playbook, takes you back to traditional movie making. Can you tell us a bit about your character?
She’s kind of like the matchmaker; she’s the one who introduces Bradley Cooper character and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters. She’s overbearing and everyone makes fun of her behind her back. She wants to be a good sister but interferes too much. The whole story is a romantic comedy about two very dysfunctional people who find each other, and Jennifer’s character is the opposite of my character who doesn’t accept her for who she is.
Working with somebody like Jennifer Lawrence who is still starting out, did you have advice for her about managing the transition she's going through?
She’s a really smart cookie so I almost needed advice from her, honestly. She had been working everyday on that film, and I showed up after they had started shooting, so I kind of needed her to guide me.
The first 12 episodes of Blue will become available over the next few weeks, with new episodes premiering on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Episodes one to eight are currently available worldwide in English and Spanish on youtube.com/wigs, youtube.com/wigsespanol and watchwigs.com
Keep up with the Lucky team on Twitter: Follow @LuckyMagazine