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'Bats' just entertainment, Lucy Lawless says
28 October 2005Friday, October 28, 2005By Dave Walker TV columnist
The cast and crew of "Vampire Bats" had about a week of shooting left when Hurricane Katrina forced evacuation.
Star Lucy Lawless waited until midmorning on Katrina Sunday to leave.
"As we were inching away from the city, it was already coming down," she said, during a conference call with reporters. "It was very controlled panic by hundreds of thousands of motorists on the road.
"We thought we'd get to L.A. Then we realized we'd be lucky to get to Austin. Then we realized we wouldn't get to Houston. Then we realized we wouldn't make it to Texas."
Lawless' party, which included "Vampire Bats" producer Jill Tanner, made it to Baton Rouge, where they stayed in a bed and breakfast for a couple of days with a large group of hardy fellow evacuees.
"The people of the South are amazing," she said. "I want the rest of the country to know that. The people of Louisiana were unfailingly generous, and that part of American culture really is worth saving."
The last week of filming commenced almost immediately in Nova Scotia, where the "Bats" producers were finishing another made-for-TV movie.
Lawless, like millions of Americans, was deeply moved by the TV coverage she watched of Katrina's aftermath.
Though she was here to shoot a popcorn-movie horror flick, the real horror she saw occurring in a place she'd come to know well (while shooting the "Locusts" and its sequel) made an indelible impression.
"When you're filming something in increments, you only believe in the horror while the cameras are rolling," she said. "There are hours and hours in between shots sometimes when you're laughing, you're playing.
"The real catastrophe has a lasting effect on me and everybody else.
"I wondered about why I'm doing this. It doesn't seem important, making fluffy pieces of entertainment. Eventually I got to a place of peace about that. I actually realized that everybody needs it.
"I don't have look for the deep and meaningful in what I do. The fact that people derive some sort of enjoyment (from) it is enough."