The Happy Warrior...
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
“IS my slave here?” Lucy Lawless asked a publicist while crossing the lobby of the London Hotel here. Ms. Lawless wore stiletto sandals that brought her frame above six feet. She glanced over her shoulder as the publicist took two paces for each of her strides. Hotel clerks and guests looked up or swiveled in their chairs to watch her pass.
“Ever since I cut my bangs again, people have been like, ‘Oh! Xena!’ ” she said, referring to “Xena: Warrior Princess,” the TV series in which she starred — with bangs — as an Amazonian vixen. With her skimpy armor and high-pitched battle cry, she kicked and karate-chopped her way to sci-fi cult status.
Near the elevators, the two women were intercepted by another publicist holding a bag of workout clothes and shoes for the actress, who promptly went to change into them.
Ms. Lawless was in town to promote “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” a series on the Starz network where she — once again — plays a fearsome dominatrix from yesteryear. The show had its debut Jan. 22, and its production is very much a family affair: her husband, Robert Tapert, is an executive producer (as he was for “Xena,” where the couple met), and her daughter from her first marriage, Daisy, who is 21, works in the sound department.
Ms. Lawless, who is 41, also has two young children with Mr. Tapert, and the family has moved back to her native New Zealand from Los Angeles for the series. “Xena” was also filmed there.
Since that show wrapped in 2001, Ms. Lawless has done turns on “Battlestar Galactica” and “The X-Files” and has been raising her children, she said.
Like “Xena,” “Spartacus” is set deep in history and coated in fantasy. This time, Ms. Lawless plays Lucretia, a social climber in ancient Rome who favors orgies, back-stabbing and hot gladiators.
On the roof of the hotel, Ms. Lawless met up with several other Spandex-clad “Spartacus” cast members, including Andy Whitfield, who plays the title character, and Peter Mensah, who plays a gladiator trainer. They were there for a group workout.
Lesley-Ann Brandt, who plays Lucretia’s head slave, greeted Ms. Lawless with a hug. They danced together — pumping their arms and wiggling their hips — without music near a poolside cabana to keep warm.