By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood May 2, 2012 at 1:44PM
Producer-director Jon Avnet ("Fried Green Tomatoes," "Up Close and Personal") and filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia ("Albert Nobbs," "In Treatment") have launched a YouTube digital channel, WIGS, to showcase original series and scripted dramatic shorts. And they've lined up a strong acting roster: Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Garner, Julia Stiles, Sarah Paulson, Jena Malone, Rosanna Arquette, Catherine O’Hara, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dakota Fanning, Michael C. Hall, America Ferrera, and Allison Janney.
We must take note that two male directors, albeit female-friendly, are launching this digital channel devoted to exploring female characters. Avnet gently explored female friendship in "Fried Green Tomatoes" and relationships in "Up Close and Personal." Garcia took on the gender-bending "Abert Nobbs" in 2011.
Quickly moving onwards, there is a mixed bag of other filmmakers involved including Betty Thomas, Lesli Linka Glatter ("Now and Then"), Walter Salles ("On the Road," "Motorcycle Diaries"), Paul Brickman ("Risky Business), and Amy Lippman ("Party of Five").
WIGS is a YouTube Original Channel Partner; the partnership with two staid long-form filmmakers shows a continuing push from the web video platform to produce higher-end original content.
Trailers posted below promise mildly funny, vaguely naughty, middle-of-the-road humor and drama. The first WIGS series - "Jan" - premieres May 14, written and directed by Avnet and starring Virginia Madsen, Caitlin Gerard, Stephen Moyer, and Kyle Gallner. Like most series on YouTube, it doesn't necessarily entice, but might be worth a work-break diversion.
The next production is a short film from Garcia, "Serena," which stars Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina. The following series is "Blue" starring Julia Stiles, Sarah Paulson, and Jeanne Tripplehorn.