The creator of HBO's In Treatment and the producer of 2010's Oscar-nominated film Black Swan have teamed up to create a YouTube channel that showcases scripted series, short films and documentaries that feature female characters as leads.
Developed by Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, WIGS (the name stands for "Where It Gets Interesting") is currently the No. 1-rated scripted channel on YouTube. Its first seven "series" (all named after the central character) have featured actresses including Jennifer Garner, America Ferrera, Julia Stiles, Jena Malone and more.
"To have female-centric stories that people have access to is certainly an anomaly," actress Jennifer Beals, who stars in the eighth episode, "Lauren," told reporters last week on a conference call.
"It's exciting," the television veteran said about working on the online-only series. "One of the things that really attracted me to the project was the notion of doing it for the Internet. There's a certain playfulness and a certain feeling that there are no real parameters yet in this platform, because it hasn't been around long enough."
The three-episode arc "Lauren," which premieres Monday, features the former L Word actress as Major Jo Stone, a commanding officer in the military who's faced with a moral dilemma when one of her subordinates (the title character, played by Pretty Little Liars' Troian Bellisario) comes forward to report a sexual assault.
Having done her own independent research on gender and social dynamics in the military prior to being approached for the project, Beals said she was particularly drawn to the subject matter of "Lauren," and how it deals with two women from different generations serving in the Armed Forces. "My character ... thinks within the parameters of the institutions and all the culturalized patriarchy that that implies," Beals told reporters. "She comes from a generation who felt that if they were to be the victim of any kind of sexual assault, it behooved them to silence themselves so that they wouldn't experience a second trauma of being belittled or punished further."
"And then [writer Jay Rodan] has this other character, the younger character, the staff sergeant, who ... really thinks in terms of justice, plain and simple," Beals added. "I thought it was interesting to play that kind of complexity."
And as for how Major Stone stacks up to Beals' character, Bette Porter, on The L Word? "She could kick Bette's ass in about two seconds," the actress says.
Not all of the WIGS episodes deal with such weighty subject matter. Ferrera's story, "Christine," for instance, takes place during a speed-dating event.
Check out all the WIGS series on YouTube.