Photo credit: Pierre Gautreau
Lindy Zucker has played a
host of fascinating theatrical and indie film roles (among them, an evil
clown), but AfterEllen.com readers best know the out Toronto actor as B.J.
Fletcher, bumbling-but-talented private investigator on the web series B.J. Fletcher, Private Eye.
Zucker is a comedy
veteran with a theater degree and plenty of improv experience, and she brings it
all to the role of B.J. We recently chatted her up about B.J.’s roots, the
importance of web series for queer audiences, and why it’s always a good idea
to have a giant tape recorder handy.
AfterEllen.com: You’ve done tons of theater and indie film. How does a
web series compare to that?
Lindy Zucker: Well, a lot of the
film stuff I’ve done has been independent, so it’s pretty similar. Doing a web
series, it’s obviously a lot faster — we’ve had to sort of juggle our lives in
an amazing way to be able to shoot this stuff, especially the amount of scenes
we’ve had and different locations. Because we have a new one that launches
every week, we’ve sort of been just running around like crazy people trying to
get it all.
Whereas on a film, you’re
shooting until it’s done — perhaps with or without a deadline in mind. But when
you have something you need to have up every Tuesday, you have to have it done,
and so it’s kind of wild to do. But it’s been good, we’ve had a lot of amazing
people volunteer their time and it’s working out well.
AE: So tell me, how did you become B.J. Fletcher?
LZ: Well, Regan [Latimer, producer
and director of the series] is a good friend of mine; we’ve actually worked
together in the normal world of box office, which is what most Toronto actors
are doing. She had been doing all kinds of little films and we wanted to work
together, and she told me about the [web series] contest [on AfterEllen.com].
I said: "Sure, let’s
work together. I’ll develop a character and you can write scripts." We
came up with this really ridiculous P.I. character who has really terrible
cases, but thinks she’s "bigger" than she is. So we came up with this
AE: Whose idea was it to use the giant tape recorder? Because it’s
LZ: [laughs] the tape recorder was
mine. We were trying to think of props and things, and it was actually my
grandfather’s tape recorder from, like, the ’70s. I suggested to Regan that
B.J. Fletcher does her own film noir-esque voiceovers on the tape recorder, and
then I showed her this tape recorder that I had, which is huge, and we all sort
of loved it. It’s just a ridiculous thing to carry with you.
Zucker (right) with co-star Dana Puddicombe
Photo credit: Jonathan Thomas
AE: The series has a lot of physical comedy — have there been any
injuries or really funny outtakes yet?
LZ: [laughs] Oh, there are a few.
Regan actually started to put together an outtake reel that we might put on the
site with the final episode of Series 1. There haven’t been any major injuries
— it’s a lot of physical comedy, and I haven’t done a lot of training in physical
comedy. I’m just sort of inclined to find like the wrong way to go over a table
or something, stuff like that.
So it’s a lot of bruises,
but nobody’s broken anything. We’re not leaping off of roofs or anything like
that. [laughs] There have been a few moments when we slap each other and there
are a few outtakes where the slap is too hard, but it just makes us laugh more
than anything else.
AE: You just mentioned "Series 1" — is there a possibility of
a Series 2 on the horizon?
LZ: We really want to make a Series 2, it’s just sort of — all of us for
various reasons are very busy this summer, but we’re thinking in the fall we’d
like to do it. It’s just a matter of trying to find a way to make some money
off that — we might do some fundraising. Just because we’ve done all of Series
1 for maybe fifty bucks.
For Series 2 we want to
be able to pay people. It won’t be, like, union rates or anything like that,
but something where we can take the time to do it properly, whereas now we’re
sort of working around our various jobs. We’ll see what happens [laughs].
AE: Fair enough. … It seems like you’ve been really involved with the
producing aspects of the show. Do you think the web series phenomenon is more
important for the lesbian audience, since we don’t see ourselves — very often,
anyway — on TV?
LZ: I’d like to think so. We
definitely don’t see that on TV, but even without the lesbian content of the
show, I don’t think we’ve ever seen a show where, as a woman, I would be cast
as an inept detective. It’s naturally a male role, even without the queer
content at all.
But definitely, it being
queer, it appeals to a lesbian audience, because obviously they’re not going to
see that on TV. They’re not going to see the lead lesbian not taking her clothes off, being in this weird sort of comedic
So, it’s kind of fun that
we can do that — I totally appreciate the audience we have, and that we can do
this sort of thing and we can make this queer series and people like it. Or
maybe people are just waiting for another horrible season of The L Word and they’re bored! [laughs]
I mean, queer audiences
are very dedicated, so it’s great. You have to respect their devotion, and we
try to give them something awesome to watch, and so far, people seem to like