We sat down with Capitol Hill series creator and director, Wes Hurley to find out more about his hilarious web series that just released it's 13th episode and features our very own Colby Keller.
BSD: Capitol Hill the series is named for the eclectic neighborhood in Seattle, correct? Why did you choose this for the title of your web series?
WH: Yes, "Capitol Hill" has been the neighborhood known for its gay, queer and artist communities for decades now. Since the series is an homage/parody of soap operas I wanted a title that's a name of a place like "Dallas", "Falcon's Crest", "Melrose Place", that also sounds kind of vague, relates to Seattle but doesn't tell you anything about it. The show's relationship to the actual neighborhood not at all literal. We're not portraying the actual Capitol Hill neighborhood in the show. But we are celebrating local performers and community by casting them in this heightened glamorous and somewhat surreal world. Also I like how different audiences will have different relationship with the title. For Seattleites or folks who are familiar with the neighborhood, it's almost like an inside joke. But for the rest of the world it just sounds like a soap opera title.
BSD: You've worked with well known drag artists and porn performers as well as conventional actors in the series. What do these outsider performers bring to the project?
WH: With "Capitol Hill" I wasn't interested in portraying "reality" in any shape or form. It's a magical warped world drawing from gay culture and my own depraved imagination. So I'm very interested in creating characters for performers who exist outside of mainstream film/theater, be that drag, modern dance, performance art, cabaret, pro-wresting, burlesque or porn. Each one of those performers has their own unique presence that adds to the heightened aesthetic I'm creating. John Waters did that with people who weren't performers at all and he let them fill these larger than life roles. Unlike John Waters, I'm not interested in non-performers but I am interested in amazing performers who don't necessarily fit the mold of a traditional Hollywood actor.
BSD: What are you favorite web series to watch?
WH: Let me just say a disclaimer: I'm not trying to be shady. I love that people are making stuff, telling stories and putting it all online. But I'll be honest I don't watch web series. I hate the idea of watching stuff on my computer - anything longer than a funny cat video or news clips. I really wanted to make a TV show but I didn't have connections to the industry to have one produced. So I made "Capitol Hill" and I put it online. Now "Capitol Hill" is actually on TV in four countries and will get expanded to more soon. So it's a TV show after all. Although, many people do refer to Netflix and Amazon content as web series. In which case, I love "Transparent" and I'm thrilled to have Alexandra Billings from that show join our cast.
BSD: How has the writing and production of the project changed since you completed the first episode in the series?
WH: When I wrote season 1, again I was kind of thinking of it as a TV show so it was three 30-minute episodes. Then I showed it to people who actually watch webseries and they said I was insane - 30 min is too long for anything to watch online. So I split them up into 6-12 minutes episodes. Now I know that I'm writing in really short form - which is neither good nor bad, just different than what I expected in the beginning. Our production crew grew significantly between Seasons 1 and 2. It's still a no-budget gorilla production by Hollywood standards. But for me it's been a huge change. We went from having 2-3 people on set for Season 1 to sometimes 20-30 people on set in Season 2. It's amazing how many talented and generous folks joined us in the past year. It's like we have this wonderful creative family and it keeps on growing.
BSD: What was the best part about working with Colby? And the worst part (be honest!)?
WH: Colby is the nicest, most down to Earth guy, who just happens to look like he's visiting from Valhalla. Which is nice to find out because he's so loved around the world, he's like the biggest sex symbol in our gay culture right now and it hasn't gone to his head at all. But seriously it's a painful how gorgeous he is - even better looking in real life and has such great energy about him. And it's almost intimidating to be around someone so beautiful, nice and intelligent. That would be the best and the worst part - like damn! does he have to be this perfect!!! I feel like Gollum next to him.
WATCH ALL OF CAPITOL HILL HERE!