Julia Stiles
Credit: Andrew Evans/PR Photos

Sex work is complicated. Effectively portraying it on film and TV? Even tougher.

Enter Blue, Julia Stiles’ new twelve-part web series about life as an escort. Director Rodrigo García (Albert Nobbs) examines all the different roles Blue must play to different people — a prostitute is just one aspect of the woman behind the lingerie. “It’s all going to blow up in her face,” Stiles said. “[The show] explores the stigma associated with [being an escort]…She’s got to weave a tangled web of lies.”

The show airs on YouTube original content channel Wigs, which has been promoting itself with web series featuring strong female characters. Jennifer Garner just wrapped a show, and upcoming series will feature Dakota Fanning and America Ferrera.

In Blue, the show kicks off with a motel-room meeting between Stiles’ character Blue and a former classmate. That striking opening scene is what drew Stiles to the project in the first place. “I’ve always been fascinated by what happens when people pay for sex and what happens when they do it,” she said. “I was really impressed with how [García] approached [the sensitive subject] with such empathy and compassion.”

While playing an escort may give some actresses pause, Stiles, who was last seen on TV during her Emmy-nominated turn on Dexter, was instantly interested. “What was fresh and appealing to me [about the character Blue] was that she’s not just one role,” Stiles explained. “You get to see a full, well-rounded person. She’s a mom, a daughter, a friend, an escort, and an accountant.”

Each episode lets you peek into a different part of her life, with a special focus on her relationship to her teenage son. “We protect each other, but we also push each other’s buttons,” she said. “I think eventually Blue is going to lose her patience [with him]. Because that’s what happens sometimes with moms who are tired and compromised.”

Stiles teases that upcoming episodes will feature the return of Cooper (David Harbour), the client from the first episode. The show airs new installments every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning — six have aired so far. Check out the (NSFW) first episode below:

In addition to more Blue, which Stiles says is headed toward a big reveal at the end of season one, she touched on two movie projects she currently has in development. She’ll play Jennifer Lawrence’s sister in the upcoming Silver Linings Playbook, and she’s in ensemble comedy It’s a Disaster, which premieres today at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

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