"Hockey is the sexiest game ever," said Lucy Lawless.
"It is when you're singing the national anthem," I blurted.
"Shaddup," said Lawless.
Better back up. The former
Princess star was heading back to her native New Zealand when I caught up with her at the Toronto airport earlier this month. Lawless was taping her last scenes on Tarzan, the Toronto-produced WB series that just got
cancelled. (The final episode airs Nov. 28 on Global).
The 35-year-old actress was here a few days a month throughout the fall, but that was long enough to get a handle on Canadian humour.
"They give you a hard time in the nicest possible way," she said of Torontonians. "They'll sock you in the jaw and you'll just love it."
Lawless, pretty and decidedly un-warrior-like in a pale green leather jacket and a sporty new 'do, says our true nature comes out at hockey games. (Her hubby, Detroit-native Robert Tapert, a former Xena executive
producer, has turned her on to the Red Wings.)
"The crowd is half the entertainment," she says. "I was just aghast the first time I went to a hockey game. There's so much drama in the bleachers."
There was plenty of drama a few years ago when Lawless sang the national anthem at an NHL game. After her rendition, she lifted her arms to wave to the crowd -- and her breasts popped out of her costume.
BOOBS IN THE MEDIA
She's been trying to live the incident down ever since. Some boobs in the media just won't let it die. "Just being Canadian," I tried to explain.
Besides Tarzan, Lawless was in town to promote Warrior Women, a documentary series profiling history's ballsiest broads.
Starting Sunday, the five-part series will air nightly at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel. Other programming will push Discovery's Warrior Women Week to Nov. 28.
The series spans 2,000 years of history. Among the real warrior women profiled are Boudicea, the red-headed queen who almost brought the Roman Empire in Britain to its knees; Wang Cong'er, the inspiration for the Disney
heroine Mulan; Lozen, an Apache warrior and Geronimo's ally, and Joan of Arc, the 19-year-old who led the French to victory over the English, only to die at the stake.
Lawless was especially inspired by the story of Grace O'Malley, the Irish pirate queen who mastered sail and sword and won the respect of Queen Elizabeth I. "Even though they spoke different languages, the Queen rather
liked her," says Lawless. "She was sexually liberated and had a young lover -- she was the Demi Moore of her day."
Lawless admits she knew very little about these women before the series. Traditionally, she believes, women have been largely written out of history. She hopes a series like this is a step toward restoring their place in
For her part, Lawless says she's finished playing warrior women. She makes a few cameos in battle scenes in this series, which was shot on location in France, Ireland, Britain, China and the United States.
Now that Tarzan is toast, Lawless hopes to turn to comedy. The WB has signed her to a development deal and she's been talking to the folks there about a Larry David-type project.
"You have the best time when you're doing comedy. You laugh a lot," said Lawless. "Even at Canadian jokes."