Lucy Lawless reveals the naked truth about
her new role in The X-Files - and how she manages to look so
those sexy swimming scenes.
These are happy times for the woman best known as Xena, Warrior
Princess. Lucy Lawless is happily married, pregnant with her
third child and she's recently discovered "the truth is out
there". Yes, the Kiwi actress has landed a starring role in The
Lucy joins the show for the first two episodes of its ninth
season - and possibly more as it turns out her character has a
history with Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick).
"Oh yes, The Xena Files," teases Lucy. "You didn't know what it
stood for all those years, did you? But the show's producer has
just been leading up to this moment where he could finally get
the eponymous character in and, here in the ninth season,
they've managed to carve away half of their budget to secure me
for their opening couple of shows. So here I am!"
So The X-Files has been The Xena Files all this time then?
"Don't tell anybody," she jokes. "Yeah, it's a conspiracy, a big
cover-up, you see. But now it's out in the open."
The truth is, Lucy was thrilled to land a guest role on the
show, playing a character called Shannon McMahon, who she
describes as "a loose cannon".
Since the final episode of Xena wrapped, she's been enjoying
having time to spend with her husband, RobTapert, and children,
Daisy (12) and Julius (two). But she was ready for a new
Lucy wasn't entirely a stranger to X-Files producer Chris
"Some years ago, he was very nice to me when he didn't need to
be - this was purely in a social setting," she explains.
"So when he rang me up and asked me to be in their season
opener, I said, 'I'd love to be on your show.' It was really a
personal thank you to him because he had been very gracious to
me and to my co-star on Xena, Renee O'Connor.
"Actually, I was on holiday in Hawaii and Chris phoned and said,
'Would you come and do our opening couple of episodes?' I said,
'I'd love to do that for you, Chris'. "And he said, 'Well, there
is one thing - you've got to spend half your time buck-naked.'
Buck-naked? "Yes. I keep thinking it's
butt-naked but it's not, is it? It's buck-naked. My character
swans around in water - it's always water scenes. Naked water
sports with strategically placed bubbles and a really awesome
"Not that there's anything wrong with mine! But, you know, you
just want one of those women with kick-ass bodies who spend
hours at the gym every day. And I ain't one of those. But I love
the women who are. So I got this wonderful woman to double for
me. It's The X-Rated Files," she smiles. "We decided we had to
spice it up this year!"
Lucy was already more than familiar with the show, thanks to her
daughter Daisy. "The X-Files is a must-see at my house," she
admits. "Daisy's seen every single episode she possibly could.
According to Daisy, I was finally cool when I got a part on The
The high kicks and Xena yelps that have become Lucy's trademarks
weren't much use to her on the set of The X-Files. She had to
focus on a much more understated style of acting.
"The first day, I was totally confused because they'd say to me,
'Now, can you walk 10 metres in those high heels and then the
shot is over'. I'm going, 'Don't you want me to slug someone or
kick them in the head?'" she laughs.
"To me, it was so ludicrously easy physically that I felt really
under-utilised. But the acting was hard. It was a challenge
because it was a whole different style and I had to dive into
this ultra-naturalistic, buttoned-up style of acting. I really
Working with actors like Robert Patrick, Gillian Anderson and
Annabeth Gish was also a great experience but Lucy admits she
found the serious mood on the set very different to the
light-hearted atmosphere she enjoyed while working on Xena here
in New Zealand.
"At first, I found it very serious and I'd get the giggles
because I come from a set where no one took anything seriously,
ever. It was a rule. So I just looked like this naughty kid,
guffawing away in the corner to myself," she admits.
While she's keen to continue flexing her acting muscles, Lucy
admits her priorities have shifted now so she'll be picking and
choosing roles carefully. "I've got children who need me and
maybe I'm looking for a different type of life," she explains.
"But they have a way of luring you back in with great parts and
great scenes and The X-Files has been a great adventure for me."
Her family brings Lucy joy - and just a little bit of stress.
"I've got this beautiful daughter who's 13 and experiencing all
the joys and horrors of being in those early teen years and I
have a boy who's a terrible two-year-old.
"He's so funny and cute that I don't get horribly angry with him
but he's so naughty. He's like a tank. I should have called him
Sherman instead of Julius. I rue the day I called him something
imperial like Julius because he's like, Julius, Destroyer of
Nations: 'This nice vase - bang!' He just makes me laugh because
what do I care about antiques? But yeah, Destroyer of Antiques."
With another baby on the way, Lucy's going to have her hands
full. She probably wouldn't have time to return to a show like
Xena - which meant long days on location - even if she wanted
to. So will the warrior princess ever be reincarnated?
Lucy shakes her head. "I'm really proud to have been part of a
show like Xena but I think she existed in a moment in time and,
if we brought it back, it would be overwrought. Renee and I are
certainly not the young girls we were when it started. So I
don't see that as being a possibility.
"My dream is to do two movies a year and raise my kids. I'm
doing everything I can to help myself. I'm having a good life.
By the time I'm 80 or 90 - God willing I live that long - I
think I'll look back and go, 'I really went for it. I didn't let
myself down. I wasn't afraid to try and fail'." • Kenneth