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Lucy Lawless - Warrior Women

Galaxie Magazine

May 2004

Contributed by Ann

Interview with Lucy Lawless


HER ON-SCREEN PERSONA IS SO etched into the collective psyche of television viewers that it is hard to imagine Lucy Lawless as anything other than Xena, the sword-wielding, butt-kicking, ululating, leather clad Amazonian of mythical proportions. And it is probably safe to assume that because of this, Lucy was the first and only person that came to mind as the perfect host of the Discovery Channel documentary Warrior Women. Basically, the producers felt that the show — which details the exploits of Queen Budica, Wang Cong'er, Irish pirate princess Grace O'Malley, apache warrior Lozen and Joan Of Arc — needed a living, breathing
association to a role and a series that has been put to rest.

Lawless however, and thankfully, is not like most actresses. For her, hosting the documentary was a huge compliment and an opportunity not to be passed up.

"The series is about five amazing women who were largely written out of history because they were women." explains Lawless. "So for me, it felt like was able to play a part in redressing that balance a little. I knew it was one gig I would kick myself for turning down. It proved to be a great experience and I'm glad I did it.-

Calling from Los Angeles where she is currently based, Lawless chats candidly about Warrior Women. being Xena and moving on.

Having seen the publicity shots of you In Warrior Women, I must confess that It took a while to get used to seeing you as anyone but Xena. So, are the photos a glimpse of the real person behind Xena?

I'm sorry but I had to hang up the breastplate. Most people I come across on the streets or wherever are usually disappointed to find that I'm not seven feet tall and weigh 230 pounds but unfortunately, they're just going to have to live with that incredible letdown.

The consolation though Is that In at least one shot, you're wielding a sword!

Yes, that's true. I actually do own a few swords. I'm not a nut for them. But they appeared to come with the end of the show. I don't have a number of them, just four.

In order to shoot this series you had to travel the globe. That Itself must have been quite an event. What would you consider your most memorable experience making this series?

I have a lot of them but some of them are funny things like getting yelled and screamed at by reconstructionists. They are the people who on weekends dress up in old-fashioned clothing and reconstruct or play-act a day or event in history. They do it for fun but some of them, take themselves just a little too seriously. And if you don't do things their way, they completely freak out. These were the ones who were the source of much mirth for us.

Did you get a chance to get in on the act and role-play yourself?

A couple of times, I even got to wear the type of armour that was prevalent during the time of Joan of Arc. And because, obviously, I had done a lot of "fighting" before, it gave me some personal insight into what it would really have felt like to wear them, day in and day out. With the weapons too I got to feel firsthand how a certain sword of a certain time period was weighted. Well, that was just some of the things I can remark on.

Did you have to prepare yourself in any way before doing this series, like maybe brushing up on your history?

No. I just did six years of Xena. That was enough. All I had to do was to pack my bags. Really, what my job entailed was to learn very quickly a couple of paragraphs of text and then to present it in an informative and hopefully charming manner. The cardinal rule was that I shouldn't bore the audience.

You've done Warrior Women, appeared as a super soldier in an X-Files episode and In the upcoming teen comedy Eurotrip, you're clad In leather and latex.

What can I say, I'm cursed with a strong image but it is not something you should grumble about. People whinge and moan about that sort of thing but it they should be so lucky to have that problem. If you have some recognition, it puts you in a far better position than if you had no recognition at all. I don't feel limited by it. I can't afford to think that way. You've just got to go through life and be courageous. If you believe otherwise, then it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe I can overcome the image. If not, I'll have to die trying.

So would you say you've put Xena behind you?

Are you kidding? I can't even get her out of my kitchen! I have Xena bubbleheads sitting on top of my fridge and just everywhere. She just doesn't seem to die. We hacked her head off in the end but she's still around. Truthfully, I am fine with that. Xena was very good to me and she was really fun to play.

As an actress what did you take back from the six years of doing the series?

I am very comfortable with slapstick. I guess I really enjoyed the comedy. It was an aspect of the series that was a great and fun thing to work on. That was one of the best things I have taken away from Xena. You had a great mix of just about everything from musicals to drama.

What do you feel It was about Xena that captured the Imagination of so many people?

Very early on in the series, when director T.J. Scott came on board, he set a new tone for the series and took the show into some dangerous territory. There was this one episode where Xena watched her arch enemy sink into quicksand and did nothing to save her. At that point when I saw that I was blown away because on TV you never see heroes doing that. This really established Xena as the flawed hero so from then on there was no limitations to what the character was capable of. I love the concept of the flawed hero because it is so much more interesting to play.

In real life do you consider yourself to be a warrior woman?

Sometimes, I have to go into Xena mode in order to get my children to put their pajamas on and get into bed. Other than that, no. Xena doesn't exist unless the camera Is rolling.


Warrior Women Is a five-part series that uncovers the truth behind history's most charismatic females in a heady mix of historical sleuthing and provocative reconstruction. Shot on location in France, Ireland, Great Britain, China and the United States, Warrior Women promises to bring viewers history with attitude. Warrior Women airs from 3 to 7 May from 10 P.M. to 11 P.M. (Sln/HK time). There will be repeats the next day at 6 A.M. and 2 P.M.


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