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TV Guide
(Houston Chronicle)

24-30 April 2005

Lawless bugged even without 'Locusts'

Scan contributed by AJ

Lawless bugged even without 'Locusts'

In "Locusts," a CBS movie thriller pre-miering Sunday, April 24, Lucy Lawless stars as a Department of Agriculture official desperately battling a deadly breed of voracious, bioengineered insects that have escaped from a government tab.
The former star of "Xena: Warrior Princess" has her mind on a different kind of bug. She's hoarse and coughing from some sort of bronchial crud she picked up on the TV movie set.

"I have been plagued by it, like a swarm of locusts, since we were filming in Louisiana, and I've just really succumbed to it now," Lawless says, her voice at half-strength or less.

Even under the weather, however, the New Zealand-born actress is still a striking beauty, and fans are looking forward to this, her largest TV role since the syndi-
cated "Xena" ended its run in 2001 after six successful seasons.

"I play a young gal who has come into the Department of Agriculture as the undersecretary, which may not sound as sexy to you as it is in reality," Lawless says wryly of her character, Dr. Maddy Rierdon, "and she discovers that one of the scientists, her mentor, has run amok with a program and it all gets out of hand. This dangerous bunch of hybrid locusts escapes from the lab, and the movie is about us hunting them down, with a conspiracy angle to the story as well.

"These are bionic locusts bigger, faster, stronger and I don't want to give away too much besides saying that they start eating meat," she adds, then laughs as her interviewer draws the obvious conclusion.

Lawless hasn't actually been in seclusion these past four years. There have been funny little cameos in a couple of films ("Spider-Man," "Eurotrip") as well as guest appearances on shows ranging from "The X-Files" to "Two and a Half Men." There was also the matter of the shortlived 2003 WB Network drama series "Tarzan," which the actress joined in progress during feverish attempts to salvage the sinking show.

Most of her self-imposed hiatus was focused on rearing the baby she had in 2002, one of two sons with husband Rob Tapert, an executive producer on "Xena." After her extended and physically demanding run as the barbarian warrior princess, a little time off seemed like a pretty sweet idea.