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Movies OK, but Julia Stiles prefers even smaller screen

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By David Martindale
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Julia Stiles likes watching and acting for TV on the Web.

    Amy Sussman / Invision

    Julia Stiles likes watching and acting for TV on the Web.

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 said, "on their devices and on the computer."
Her new approach as a viewer coincides with her professional conversion to TV on the Web.
A little more than a year ago, Stiles was approached about playing the title role in a Web-based drama series called "Blue," to be made available to viewers at and
"At first I was a little bit reluctant about the idea," she said. "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 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 said. "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."
"I still like the bigger screen, and I still go to the movies," Stiles said. "I like to sit in a dark theater and enjoy the projection of film."
But watching this content online will become better, she said, "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.
"What sold me was the first scene of the first episode in Season 1," Stiles said. "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 said.
"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."

Watch it
Seasons 1 and 2 of "Blue are available at and
Story tags » Television

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