A good interview by Ellen Gray from Philly.com:

"All of us are nude every day," declared the famously frank New Zealander in an interview here last weekend to discuss her new series, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," which premieres tomorrow night on Starz.

SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND. 10 p.m. tomorrow, Starz.

PASADENA, Calif. - It's not as easy as you might think to talk about nudity to an actress you've just seen topless on screen, engaging in the kind of sexual high jinks that make much of what we see on even premium cable seem tame, but Lucy Lawless went easy on me.

"All of us are nude every day," declared the famously frank New Zealander in an interview here last weekend to discuss her new series, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," which premieres tomorrow night on Starz.

Produced by Lawless' husband, Rob Tapert ("Xena: Warrior Princess"), "Spartacus" features the former "Xena" as Lucretia, wife of the gladiator school owner Batiatus (John Hannah) who acquires the newly enslaved Spartacus (Andy Whitfield).

A sort of ancient-Rome Lady Macbeth whose ambitions for her husband know few bounds, she's also remarkably free - by modern standards, at least - about sex, as is just about everyone else in "Spartacus."

Even Lawless admits being a little surprised by just how free.

"I've all week [in interviews] been defending" the series from suggestions that it crosses a line, she said, mimicking herself saying, " 'I take issue with the words "soft core" and "soft porn" or whatever.' And then I saw the premiere the other night, and went 'Oh, my God! That's what they were talking about!' So I have to be honest and say that I was a little surprised myself."

Lawless added that "the show finds its groove in about Episode 5. Every series takes a little while to figure out what's the tone of the show, where its boundaries are." Still, "they are really provocative. Even I, having been through 13 episodes . . . was quite provoked and shocked by the premiere. But it certainly lets anybody who's prudish or squeamish know this is not the show for you . . . If you're not up for Episode 1, you won't be up for Episode 13."

The actress, who's about to set a whole new standard for fitness among 41-year-old mothers of three, said, laughing, that "I think I would have been stressed by the idea of doing any form of nudity at any age." But "if you're an artist of any sort whatsoever - if it seems important to the role or telling the story, or authentic, or historically accurate, then I don't see that you would have an excuse not to do it."

As for Lucretia, "who wouldn't want to be playing a woman who's the rod in her husband's back and is pushing him to new highs, or new lows, depending on your point of view?"

Plus, "I knew this was going to be a new kind of television. I knew it from the way Rob talked about it, from the images and influences he was taking out of history and from modern technology," she said of the series, which Tapert describes as "a green-screen show" where all the exteriors are filmed indoors.

Read the full interview.



News submitted by Barbara Davies.