Picture it—Patricia Heaton as Judy Garland.
The late Hollywood legend happens to be the inspiration behind Evelyn Anders, a boozy chain-smoking former television star and B-movie actress who Heaton plays in Versailles, a new comedy web series debuting Monday on web-based My Damn Channel…
The eight-part series, cocreated and directed by Heaton's husband David Hunt and his writing partner Rodney Vaccaro, centers on Evelyn's two grown children Colin Tickler (Hunt) and Summer Tickerler-Hoogerhyde (Eve Gordon) as they desperately try to escape their mother's legacy by hosting a public access sports talk show from the basement of their local library.
"How Evelyn's abuse plays out on Colin and Summer is both horrifying and hilarious," Hunt says.
Think Arrested Development meets Mommy Dearest with some Christopher Guest and John Waters flicks thrown into the mix. Yeah, it's sort of twisted.
Evelyn is not winning any Mother of Year awards. In one scene, she drunkenly falls over and takes down the family's Christmas tree. "She wasn't playing drunk," Hunt cracks about Heaton's performance.
Heaton laughs, "Oh, yes, it was 10 in the morning and I had already had a few cocktails." (They actually did shoot Evelyn's scenes in their own living room).
Hunt and Vaccaro created Evelyn after hearing Garland rambling on audio tapes she apparently recorded to document her life. "We played them and we just plotzed," Hunt says. "You can hear the cocktails clinking and the big drawer of her cigarettes."
Evelyn is borderline drag queen, a comparison that Hunt and Heaton fully embrace. "Brett Freedman, who does my hair and makeup and did me as Evelyn kept piling on the hair and piling on the lipstick and piling on the lashes," Heaton says, laughing. "I said to him, 'It's like you can't put too much makeup on me," and he turns to me and says, 'That's because you're a man.'"