Lucy Lawless - Ask Men Interview - March 2004




Lucy Lawless
We Love This Warrior Princess

Interview by

March 2004

why is she famous?
After kicking butt and conquering fans as the title role in Xena: Warrior Princess from 1995 to 2001, Lucy Lawless returns to television in the WB's Tarzan and hits the big screen in the comedy Eurotrip. Who knew she could crack bones and crack us up?


quick bio
Shockingly, the woman now known as Lucy Lawless graced planet Earth not as Lucy Lawless, but as Lucille Frances Ryan on March 29th... (we were about to reveal the year, but Xena showed us a new meaning to the term carpal tunnel syndrome by crushing our hands).

After attending Auckland University, where she studied German, French and Italian, as well as opera, Lawless migrated toward acting, enrolling at the William Davis Centre for Actors' Study in Vancouver, Canada in 1991, but not before winning the title of Miss New Zealand in 1989. Subsequently, People magazine included her on its list of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World, in 1997.

Although she's best known as the title role in the long-running series, Xena: Warrior Princess, Lawless has also appeared on Saturday Night Live, The X Files, The Simpsons, Just Shoot Me, and The Bernie Mac Show. She currently stars in the WB's Tarzan, as a newspaper publisher who also happens to be Tarzan's aunt.

Lucy was kind enough to let our hand go, allow blood circulation to return to normalcy, and sit down with us to chat about the success of Xena, her comedic side, as well as how she landed in DreamWorks' latest film, Eurotrip.



the interview

Q: We have been fans of yours for sometime thanks to Xena: Warrior Princess; how did you get involved with the film Eurotrip?

The guys who made it, who also made Road Trip and Old School, had seen me on Saturday Night Live. They just decided that they were going to write a part for me, so they wrote it, and it suited me to do it and I am so glad I did. I am thrilled to be part of it.

Q: Your performance on Saturday Night Live sparked a lot of interest, I guess because people didn't expect you to have that comedic background coming from Xena. What led you to comedy?

I started out in sketch comedy in New Zealand, when I was 9... not 9, younger than that. I realized that you could get away with a lot of stuff if you just acted stupid in class. It would defuse a lot of the tension. That is where I got my first comedic spark.

Quick fact ?
While practicing a scene for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Lucy fell from a horse and fractured her pelvis. Maybe that has something to do with Lucy's nickname "Unco," which is short for Uncoordinated.
Lucy Lawless, Credit: UPI

Q: So you were the class clown, is that right?

I discovered the value of just playing stupid.

Q: So many people know you as Xena; how hard is it to break into comedy when people have pegged you as the "Warrior Princess"?

We actually did quite a lot of comedy on Xena. The whole show was very tongue-in-cheek. The whole show had a really sly sense of humor. We had great, funny guys on the show. It also had an element of pathos -- a lot of pain goes into comedy. I don't know, it seems to be happening okay for me. The right people have noticed. I hope that you'll be seeing me doing this a lot more.

Q: Do you think your hardcore Xena fans realize that the show was comedic?

Oh yeah, I think that's why it was a success.

Q: You have also appeared on The X Files, Just Shoot Me and The Bernie Mac Show; what goes on while taping these kinds of shows?

They were all good experiences, I love being on the set. I feel like the fish is back in the water the minute I walk back on set. I've got no complaints, man, I wish I had something juicy for you!

Q: New Zealanders have a reputation for being humble and hospitable, friendly people; has this helped you in Hollywood?

Some people like it, other people just don't understand it. If you are too low maintenance here, people think you aren't serious or something. I am like, "Do I have to act like a complete bitch to get your attention?" I guess I am going to have to, I guess you have to be high maintenance, then they understand you.


Quick fact ?
Lucy Lawless originally wanted to be an opera singer, until age 16. Her vocal chops surely came in handy when she starred as Rizzo in a Broadway adaptation of Grease.
Lucy Lawless, Credit: UPI

Q: If you were a guy for a day, what is the first thing you would do?

I would take a long shower.

Q: With or without the breast plate? Thanks so much for your time Lucy, we wish you the best of luck in future movies and on Tarzan.


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