Starting in January we started seeing a lot of very interesting photos turn up on our Facebook wall and all apparently about a mysterious new queer film/web series project from our friend and SGS contributor, filmmaker Wes Hurley who’s best known for his award winning documentary about Seattle’s iconic boylesque superstar, Waxie Moon, and the follow up narrative feature called WAXIE MOON IN FALLEN JEWEL which starred pretty much everyone in Seattle including Jinkx Monsoon in her film debut.
This new project is apparently titled CAPITOL HILL and it’s very much a typical Wes Hurley production complete with colorful costumes and sets, gorgeous photography and plenty of larger than life characters and plots. Naturally, most of the photos we saw featured scantily or oddly dressed drag queens, burlesque stars and hot go go boys all doing UNSPEAKABLE things to one another. Among the cast members we recognized: Waxie Moon, Mama Tits (out of drag), Robbie Turner, and Ben DeLaCreme. Check them out in the latest trailer:
We were so excited about this project that we immediately dialed up Mr. Hurley in the wee hours of the morning to grill him about this exciting new project as well as his NEXT film project, an autobiographical look at his life as a Russian immigrant to America.
Michael Strangeways: So, What’s the story on the webseries? It’s all over the Facebook!
Wes Hurley: We should be done shooting Season 1 by the end of this month (Note: January), plus another month for sound/music. But no definite release date yet.
(Note: They’ve announced the series will debut sometime in March.)
MS: Is “Capitol Hill” the official title or just the working title?
WH: It’s official.
MS: So, what’s the poo? What’s “Capitol Hill” about, in a nutshell? It seems…mysterious, judging by the photos and trailers.
WH: CAPITOL HILL is a series written and directed by me based on characters created by myself and Waxie Moon. CAPITOL HILL is a series inspired by 70s-80s television shows like Dynasty, Remington Steele and Charlie’s Angels (with a touch of Twin Peaks) and starring everybody in Seattle. Waxie Moon stars as Roses Smell, a modern-day Cinderella who follows her dreams all the way to the great big city of Seattle.
MS: So, I’m guessing by the photos I’ve seen that there’s a crime/mystery at the heart of the story. Is Roses the detective, the heroine or both?
WH: Roses is a TV show host who often finds herself caught in detective story type adventures and intrigue. She’s definitely both a detective AND the heroine.
MS: How many episodes are you aiming to do in Season One and will they be a specific length?
WH: The total length of season one will be about the same as a feature film, I’m not sure how many episodes I will end up splitting it into. I will know in about a month when I have edited most of it and see how it flows.But we’re shooting it all at once as we would a feature film.
MS: In other words, you could theoretically release this as a film? Will it be close ended? All the plot lines wrapped up in Season One?
And, any specific “Rating”? Will it be suitable for most audiences or are we gonna have some naughty language, violence, sexy situations and nudity?
WH: I plan to submit it to festivals as a film and premiere it in Seattle as a film but it was structurally written as a show with cliffhangers and telenovela type “Da da Daaa!!!” moments. It’s definitely a sexy (and a gory) show but nothing X-rated.
I want it to be accessible by anyone online so no graphic sex or anything like that. Until HBO decides to buy us out that is…LOL!
MS: CAPITOL HILL definitely has your signature stylish look that references the past and the present. Is it actually set in the past or just refers to it stylistically?
WH: Like WAXIE MOON IN FALLEN JEWEL (Mr. Hurley’s previous film) this show does not explicitly state when it is set, but we kind of think of it as an alternative universe where the fashion and design and general aesthetic haven’t evolved much past the 80s.
MS: The costumes look great…I’m guessing it’s Harmony Arnold doing them, who also did “WMIFJ”?
WH: Harmony Arnold IS back doing costumes. Erik Warren is doing makeup and special effects. My cinematographer is Vincent Pierce. And the set designer is Christopher Balder. There are so many amazing performers and artists in Seattle that I want to work with and this series will be an opportunity for me to include all the artists I like since it’s ongoing.
MS: Yes, you mentioned before, “starring EVERYBODY in Seattle.”
We seem to have missed our email asking us to be extras…ahem.
WH: Oh, there will be many many many opportunities for Mama Strangeways to appear.
MS: Good. Just so you know, Tranma’s quote is MUCH higher than Mr. Strangeways…and, she needs a much larger trailer with her own private Honey Bucket.
She has bowel problems.
WH: I’m very inspired with this project and can see it being made for a long long time and bring all of my friends on board.
Honey Bucket, the drag queen?
MS: No, dear…the portable toilet, not the portable drag queen/fake hooker.
This project excites us but we also know that you have an amazing sounding autobiographical project you’ve been working on as well…what’s the story on that?
WH: That’s my main project for the year. Basically my producers told me not to talk about it at all yet. They definitely have big big plans for the film and hopefully I can share more info soon.
MS: Oh, good.
Wait, you have PRODUCERS now? You’re an indie guy…how’d that happen?
WH: But yes the autobiographical film will be produced by Mel Eslyn and Lacey Leavitt and it will happen this year and be shot in Seattle.
MS: WOW! Those are REAL producers!
Not imaginary ones! That’s terrific!
WH: I know! I’m very excited to have them back my vision for this.
Also “Fallen Jewel” will be released on DVD this spring with special features including an introduction by Jinkx Monsoon.
MS: Sweet! Thanks for talking to us!
We can’t WAIT for CAPITOL HILL to debut AND for production to start on Mr. Hurley’s next project. (I read the outline for it over a year ago and it has potential to be an exceptional film.)
Is this the start of a Seattle Renaissance? The Age That Jinkx Started…we hope so.