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On The Warpath

Sky TV Guide

February 1997

Scanned/Transcribed by MaryD

On Sky 2 she's Xena, the warrior princess...but off-screen Lucy Lawless is really a bit of a softy


Lucy Lawless bit her lip with anger as she sat at the restaurant table and watched a man hitting his girlfriend outside in the street. Her screen character Xena would have shown this brute a thing or two, but Lucy didn't know what to do. In Xena: Warrior Princess, which begins a new series on Sky 2 on Tuesday 25 February at 8pm, Lucy is invincible as heroine Xena, but in real life she is no better a fighter than anyone else.

'I wanted to intervene, but I can't really fight. If you look closely, you'll see that I am covered in bruises from filming.' Instead she sneaked over to talk to the woman when she came into the restaurant.

'I told her she did not have to stand for that,' recalls ' Lucy, proving that although she may be no warrior, she still hates to see women getting a raw deal. "There's a widespread women's movement going on and we are getting stronger,' she explains. 'Xena's a great role model. She's all woman, but she's also hugely powerful.'

Although Lucy is nowhere near as tough as Xena, fans of the show seem to believe otherwise. 'I hardly ever get hassled when I'm out,' she says. 'I think that's because people see me on screen, looking formidable and beating the hell out of anyone who crosses my path. I've noticed that no one dares to answer me back these days!'

Lucy fell in love with the idea of playing Xena as soon as she read the script for the series. She'd already starred in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, but at that time she was working as a travel presenter and wanted to do more acting.
'It came at the right time as I'd just split up with my husband and was trying to work out how I was going to manage to support my daughter Daisy on my own. I was on a camping holiday at the time and the casting director tracked me down. Two days into my holiday, I was flying off to America for an audition. I haven't looked back since.'

Warrior workout

Before the filming commenced, Lucy embarked on a gruelling exercise regime in a bid to turn her body into that of a
warrior. 'I felt I didn't really look the part,' she says. 'I'm 5ft l0in, but I wasn't bulky enough.'

So for eight months, Lucy worked out in the gym for two hours every day. She looked like a different person, but she felt unhappy. 'I'd become obsessed with my body and working out,' she explains. 'I knew it wasn't healthy, and in the end my back gave out, so I had to stop punishing myself. I started walking and working out with hand weights. I lost some of the muscle, but I decided I looked just as good.

'Now I think I've got the balance right. Playing Xena isn't about physical strength, it's more about attitude and I'm hoping a bit more of that rubs off on me!'

Catch Lucy Lawless ss site goes Into battle In Xena: Warrior Princess, Sky 2, Tuesdays at 8pm.