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Lawless graduates from locusts to vampire bats

 New Zealand Herald

26 October 2005


Lucy Lawless. Picture / Herald on Sunday
Actress Lucy Lawless is taking on vampire bats in her latest role, rather than confronting the vengeful gods of her former Xena: Warrior Princess series.

Lawless, 37, is appearing on CBS in the United States this week in a made-for-television movie, Vampire Bats.

She first appeared in a similar role, Dr Maddy Rierdon, in April, taking on a plague of genetically engineered insects in Locusts.

That movie's appeal to younger viewers drew CBS to make a sequel specifically to play against the ABC hit series Desperate Housewives, the MSBCN website reported.

Dylan Neal reprises his role as Rierdon's husband, and Timothy Bottoms and Brett Butler co-star.

Lawless said she had no pretensions about Vampire Bats having a serious message, although the two-hour tale did indicate industrial pollution mutated the bats into little monsters.

"It's really fun and the people who make it are fun. They don't take themselves too seriously," she said.

Producer Frank von Zerneck said Lawless was an apt pick to play "a smart, headstrong woman, very well-trained, with connections in Washington, who really takes charge."

"Lucy's got two feet on the ground; she's very, very strong and yet has a wonderful soft side that she reveals here. She's a dream to work with".

The production crew was forced out of filming in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, and Lawless spent hours in a car with "dramatic weather rolling over us, escaping to Baton Rouge, where she stayed with other crew members for a few days.

Most of the bats in the film are computer-generated: "Live bats are very hard to wrangle," she quipped.

Lawless stopped filming Xena in New Zealand in 2001 after six seasons.