ImageLucy Lawless Heats Up Spartacus
by Michael Logan January 14, 2010 02:11 PM EST

First came Xena: Warrior Princess. Then Battlestar Galactica. Now Lucy Lawless could be headed toward her third straight international mega-hit with Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The new Starz series, heavy on sex, rough language and slo-mo CGI gore, stars Wales export Andy Whitfield as the famed Thracian rebel and Lawless in the plum role of Lucretia, a desperate, social-climbing conniver married to the downwardly-mobile owner of a gladiator school (John Hannah). Here Lawless dishes with TV Guide Magazine about everything from her bare boobage (she does her first topless scenes ever in Spartacus!) to the separation anxiety she's feeling now that she's half a world away from her BFF, former Dancing With the Stars contestant Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Awesome show! You sure know how to pick 'em.

[Laughs] Not everybody thinks so! I keep being asked, "Why are you doing the sword and sandals thing again?" But this is so different. The opportunity to do this series was not to be taken lightly. And who doesn't want to play Lady Macbeth?

You're married to Rob Tapert, one of the exec producers of Spartacus and your former Xena boss. Did he beg you to be in this, or did you beg him?

He said, "I would love you to do this, but there's no pressure." Rob's great that way. It meant moving back to New Zealand, the place of my childhood, and, honestly, I was so happy living in Los Angeles with my little life and all my friends, that I wasn't really ready to stop adventuring. But I'm so glad that I'm doing Spartacus, and so grateful for the quality of the role. Only Rob knows what to do with me.

You really think that? Battlestar Galactica handed you an extremely cool part.
That's true. Well, yes, I guess when you put it like that. But this is certainly a more grownup role that I have in Spartacus. And it's going nowhere good, which I love. Lucretia is living in such moral peril. She and her husband are really on hard times, and they're in a society where there's no Social Security, where no one's going to help you out, so she's determined to claw her way up. She latches on to the Paris Hiltons of Rome to raise her social status. She wants to be with the pretty girls but she's older. She hasn't had children, which is a terrible pain for her--she's desperate to have a child!--and at every turn someone's rubbing her nose in it. And, of course, she's carrying on a secret affair with one of her husband's top gladiators. She's in a lot of pain much of the time and that's so much fun to play!

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