WIGS, the No. 1 channel for scripted drama on YouTube, today announced that Season Two of fan-favorite series Lauren, which explores the consequences of dealing with sexual assault in the military, will premiere on Friday, May 3 (9:00 AM ET/6:00 AM PT) with four new episodes.Four additional episodes will be available on Friday, May 10 (9:00 AM ET/6:00 AM PT), and the final four episodes will debut Friday, May 17 (9:00 AM ET/6:00 AM PT).
Starring Troian Bellisario in the title role, Lauren tells the story of a third-generation soldier who reports her own rape and ongoing assault by her superiors to her female commanding officer Major Jo Stone, played by Jennifer Beals.
Stone is forced to navigate the fine line between seeking justice for Lauren, while remaining loyal to the institution to which she has dedicated her life. Although fictionalized, Lauren is a brutally honest portrayal of the endless red tape and cold bureaucracy that many victims of sexual assault experience while serving in the military.
The series is directed by WIGS co-creator Jon Avnet (“Black Swan,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Risky Business”) and written by Writers Guild of America Award nominee Jay Rodan and Avnet. It also stars Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”), Raymond Cruz (“Major Crimes”), Sean Harmon (“NCIS”), Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24,” “Forrest Gump”) and Justine Ezarik (YouTube channel iJustine), as well as Sarah Jones (“Vegas,” “Alcatraz”), who will be reprising her self-titled role as a military veteran from WIGS series KENDRA.
“Before working on LAUREN, I was oblivious to the struggle of those sexually assaulted while serving our country,” explained Bellisario. “There are thousands of young women and men who are harassed or assaulted by their fellow soldiers and forced to keep their pain a secret – or worse, if they bravely come forward, they can be punished for seeking justice. Lauren's story represents a powerful and important issue, an issue to which attention must be paid. If we truly do ‘support our troops,’ we must put an end to this.”
“I wanted to be involved with the series because I want to be involved with stories that can make a difference – where a narrative might be able to move the cultural paradigm, even just a little bit, toward a collective awareness of one another’s experiences,” added Beals. “The creative experience of making the invisible visible enriches me. Working with Jon and Troian, I always feel like I’m learning something new and vital.”
“It was a pleasure to direct Jay Rodan’s script of "Lauren," with Troian and Jennifer reprising their starring roles,” said Avnet. “Their commitment to this story, about the issue of rape in the armed services, and the failure of many in the military to address it, is very meaningful. The addition of actors Brad Whitford, Raymond Cruz, Mykelti Williamson and Sarah Jones is a big bonus and allows us to explore the consequences of a sexual assault and the damage and suffering that it causes.”
"Lauren" won a Silver Medal for Drama at the 2013 New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards, and Bellisario took home a Gold Award for Best Performances by an actress.
WIGS was launched in May 2012 by director/producers Jon Avnet (“Black Swan,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,“ “Risky Business”), Rodrigo Garcia (“Albert Nobbs,” “In Treatment,” “Big Love”) and Jake Avnet, and is now the No. 1 channel for scripted drama on YouTube, with more than 32 million views to date and more than 144,000 subscribers.
The channel offers high-end original series, short films and documentaries, all starring female leads.
Popular series on the WIGS channel include Blue, about a single mother trying to protect her son from the consequences of her secret career as an upscale escort, starring Julia Stiles, Mark Consuelos, Kathleen Quinlan and Uriah Shelton; Serena, a story of lust, temptation and forbidden love, starring Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina; and Jan, about a young woman whose first job goes awry, starring Virginia Madsen, Stephen Moyer and Caitlin Gerard.
In February of 2013, Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) entered into a multi-year pact with WIGS. The programming, marketing and distribution partnership is designed to expand the breadth of offerings through the WIGS channel, and test and nurture dramatic concepts and talent in the digital realm.
Additional WIGS offerings have included such actors as America Ferrera, Alison Pill, Dakota Fanning, Jimmy Wolk, Allison Janney, Walton Goggins, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall, Sarah Jones, Jason Isaacs, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Messina, Lois Smith, Gary Cole, Jena Malone, Gary Dourdan, Sarah Paulson and Eric Balfour. Writers and directors include Paul Brickman, Betty Thomas, Lesli Linka Glatter, Rose Troche, Mitch Albom, Ami Canaan Mann, Scott Turow, Amy Lippman, Neil LaBute, Leah Rachel, Mattie Brickman, Patricia Cardoso, Mykelti Williamson and Lee Krieger.
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