The actress chats about behaving badly in Spartacus, gayness in the ancient world, and whether or not she'll ever pick up Xena's sword again. By Noah Michelson

The first thing you notice when you meet Lucy Lawless -- even if you consider yourself 100% gay and completely immune to the charms of the opposite sex -- is how ridiculously, supernaturally gorgeous she is. The second thing you notice is how tall she is. And the third thing you notice (if you're not too captivated by the first two) is how easy and graceful her presence is. It's as if you could plunk her down anywhere -- a cocktail party, a Congressional hearing, Taco Bell -- and in five minutes she'd have the entire room under her spell.


Earlier this week the New Zealander, most famous for playing the titular role in the campy mid-'90s lesbian favorite Xena: Warrior Princess, sauntered through the halls of Out magazine oohing and aahing over cover shots of Lady Gaga and Donatella Versace and making jokes about "knowing a thing or two about what gays like" before sitting down to chat about playing the crafty, conniving Lucretia, who owns a gladiator camp with her husband, on the new series Spartacus. In the video above and the following interview, Lawless talks about behaving badly on screen, overdosing on simulated gore and sex, gayness in the ancient world, and whether or not she'll ever pick up Xena's sword again.

Out: Why were you drawn to Lucretia? Was it the chance to play a bad girl?
Lucy Lawless: Yeah, I never had the chance to play a bad girl before [smirks]. Why is that? Why is it that, you know, if you've got a bad girl in your script who're you going to call? Call Lucy. No, I was very drawn to this character because she's a whole lot of contradictions. She's very wicked and religious at the same time. She loves her husband more than life itself, almost as much as her own self. And she'd do anything to make him happy. So she's boffing a gladiator in order to get impregnated. She's having this really abusive relationship with Crixus the champion gladiator, and is also falling in love with him so she's very conflicted and playing a very dangerous game. Because, though Roman men could stop off to see a prostitute on the way home from the Senate, Roman women were not afforded the same freedom of exploration.


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News submitted by Lori Boyles