It’s the little web series that could: after two seasons, Sydney-based gay drama The Horizon has clocked up more than 10 million views on YouTube, making it Australia’s most-watched online series.
Fans will be pleased to know that season three will be uploaded onto YouTube on November 8, with season four in the works too.
We caught up actor Patrick James, who plays the series’ resident caustic drag queen Wilma Bumhurt (or ‘Dennis’ when not frocked up).
“I’m the only original cast member since day one, so to see the growth and change in the cast has been amazing. It’s been great to watch the coverage and exposure of the series grow in that time – having great people like Gretel Killeen and Belinda Giblin on board will hopefully help more people pay attention,” said James.
Since its humble – and decidedly low-budget – beginnings in 2009, the series about the lives and loves of a group of queer Sydneysiders has picked up viewers from around the world – and sponsors closer to home, meaning viewers should enjoy a noticeably slicker season three, with higher production values.
Those who watched season two will remember that Wilma saw out the final episode in style, delivering an emotional monologue at her father’s gravesite before launching into a techno version of Ave Maria. What a way to end a season – and James revealed it made for an interesting day’s shooting.
“We filmed that in the Vaucluse Cemetery, and [writer/director] Boaz Stark was due to pick me up from Alexandria. At the last minute his car broke down so I had to catch a cab. There I am, all dragged up, going across Sydney in peak hour. I had to learn Ave Maria as well, so I had that blasting out of the taxi and I was singing along. My poor taxi driver!”
Remarkably, James had no prior drag experience before he was cast as Wilma.
“Not at all I went for the role of AJ but they asked me to read as Wilma. It’s the most liberating and challenging role I’ve ever had to do. Filming 18-hour days in heels definitely gives me killer calves,” he chuckled.
“Being a drag queen pays dividends – it forced me to stay fit; I actually lost seven kilos while we were filming.”
As for what viewers could expect from season three, Blake said fans would see more saucy bed-hopping (“We can get away with a lot more, being on the web…”), but that it would be tempered with emotional story arcs – particularly for Wilma/Dennis, as his family relationships are fleshed out.
“I get in touch with my mother in season two, and that will be investigated more in seasons three and four – the ups and the downs of that. You’ll see more of Dennis than Wilma in these seasons, too. We provide a bit more contrast with Dennis, so we could explore why he does drag a little more.”
info: Horizon series three launches on November 8. thehorizon.tv/