A Little-Known Secret:
Lucy Lawless Interview
from Vteens.org

20 February 2004


By: Lisa Lombardo

February 10th, 2004 marked the release of Xena: Warrior Princess, Season Three on DVD. It has been a long-haul wait for avid fans anticipating this release. However, the wait was worth it as the collection features twenty-two original episodes (re-mastered in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound) and exclusive bonus material. In celebration of the DVD release, take a moment and enjoy an exclusive question and answer session with Xena leading lady, Lucy Lawless.

 Before we delve into speaking about Season Three, would you mind detailing how you were originally cast to appear as Xena?

How was I originally cast? I was originally cast when somebody else fell out. They had been preparing for the role for months, but had gotten stuck in London and no longer wanted to come down to New Zealand for the role. I was just this lucky local kid on the spot. At that time it was a three episode arc on Hercules, the silly girl gave it up, and I'm very grateful.

Before Xena, were you interested in mythology?

I don't think I was ever particularly interested in mythology. It was Aesop's Fables; they were just kid's stories to me. Now when people talk about vestal virgins or youngian archetypes, I feel like "yep, know her, met her, killed her." I feel like I know all of those characters personally. They're not thrilling to me, it's like "ah Caesar, he was a bastard, I dealt to him."

The show spanned for an amazing six seasons. Throughout Season Three was there a time while filming that was most memorable to you? How did Season Three differ from the other seasons?

Season Three was, I think, where the show began to peak in terms of popularity and momentum, and it's when we really fell into a groove. The high point of Season Three was "Bitter Sweet." "Bitter Sweet" was just amazing for utilizing all of those brilliant talents. The songwriters, I think, were just incredible. It has one of my favorite performances by Kevin Smith, the late Kevin Smith, who we all miss terribly. I just thought it was genius on so many levels. To put all of those storylines and all of that symbolism into a musical drama is unheard of. I think it's the most successful television drama, television musical that I've ever seen. I mean, dramatically that works so well. Incredible that we did it on such a tight budget and in such a tight time frame. I'm very proud of that one.

There were various special effects used in the making of Xena. How was it to film and then actually see it on a television screen? Were there times when even you were surprised by the final outcome and realistic feel of the stunts?

Well, the problem is that we're so accustomed to seeing brilliant special effects, that audiences, they now expect a lot. So, what you notice is when things don't work. Now with the genius of 'Lord of the Rings' everybody in television is just screwed as far as I'm concerned. I think 'Smallville' does it really, really well. You need to put a lot of money into that sort of thing. I think what people don't realize is how little money we had to work with and how much of what we had - everything - everything went on the screen. It wasn't lining anybody's pockets; that's for sure.

On the DVD discs for Season Three, you had the opportunity to contribute much of the commentary. Is that a process you enjoy?

Yeah, I love it. It's wonderful getting together with those guys. I'm not very good at coming up with anecdotes about what happened when. I love hearing Renee's perspective and Rob's perspective because they just look at life so differently than me and analyze things in a completely different way.

Kevin Sorbo had several guest appearances on your set. How was it to work with him?

Kevin's great, he's very professional and very charming. He's easy to work with.

If you had to describe Season Three to a 'new comer' of the Xena experience, how would you describe it?

Season Three was such a mixture. It's where the show started to really find its feet. So, it's a rollicking ride through comedy, and drama and musical. I think it's got some of the most surprising stuff going on there.

Before we wrap this up, is there anything you would like to add?

I just want to say "Thank You" to all the people who have loved the show so well. It obviously meant a lot to me and my life. It was a huge part of my life and I'm so glad that people continue to love it. It's still a little-known secret that show, and it's still something that not that many people truly understand…but WE know.