ImageWellington, Dec 18 NZPA - New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless says there's a "truckload of blood," in her new cable television series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, being filmed at Auckland.

""Life was very cheap then," she said of the Roman era in which the sword-and-sandals series was set.

Lawless told the Jacksonville Observer the series was set in hard times: "You're looking for the triumph of the human spirit in a sea of degradation."

The former Xena: Warrior Princess star is working long hours on the series created by her husband, former Xena producer Rob Tapert. The show, to debut on the Starz channel in the USA next month, has Tapert, Sam Raimi and Josh Donen as executive producers.

The show stars Australian actor Andy Whitfield as the gladiator Spartacus, and Lawless as Lucretia, whose husband (John Hannah) owns a gladiator camp. That's very handy for Lucretia, who is sexually voracious and fancies gladiators.

Asked how it was to shoot steamy sex scenes with her husband wandering around nearby, Lawless said: "He doesn't wander around on those days. He's not interested in being part of that equation on set. He's in the office working - on visual effects or editing or whatever. It's not emotional, you know, these scenes. Everybody is very professional and just wants to get the job done."

When she's done for the day, she heads home to Julius, 10, and Judah, 7, her sons with Tapert.

"My kids are of an age where they've had a lot of one-on-one with mum time. Now they've got their own social lives," she said. "They know I'm coming back. They can do without me for 12 hours.

"While it wasn't part of my plan to leave America -- I was having a great life with all my wonderful friends -- it's good for the family," Lawless said.