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AUSXIP Interviews Lucy Lawless

Exclusive Interview with Xena / Battlestar Galactica Star Lucy Lawless

by MaryD and Christa
- 20 April 2008


Lucy Lawless, star of Xena Warrior Princess and now Battlestar Galactica graciously agreed to be interviewed in between working on the Adam Sandler movie "Bedtime Stories" and preparing for her UK Concert debut in London
next month. Since I personally love The Actor's Studio...we did our own version with Lucy. It's a wide ranging interview covering a great many topics including Lucy's expections for her acting career, being challenged for her role on Darkroom, what the fans mean to her, her singing, acting again with Renee O'Connor in Bitch Slap and her upcoming movie Bedtime Stories.

Many thanks to Lucy for taking the time out from her busy schedule for this interview. I hope you all enjoy the interview - it's Lucy at her candid best.

When you started out what were your expectations for your career?

I thought I'd be doing Shakespeare! I dreamed of going to the Old Vic' in London or R.A.D.A  but early motherhood made  me do an about-face. Plus even if I hadn't had a baby early, I didn't know how I would ever afford to go. I had never known anyone who had blazed a trail ahead of me, so it was very much a case of following my nose towards an acting career.

Did you always have ambitions of working in the US? Did you ever entertain the idea of working in the UK, Canadian, or the Australian entertainment industry?

I never thought about America. London was always the big acting beacon for me. All my acting heroes were English.

You've worked in film, television, and theater. Is there one that you enjoy more than another, or do you just enjoy the variety?

Do I really have to choose? I think we working actors do whatever is in front of us. Though i disdain to work with nasty, cheap, venal people. Life is way too short.

When actors talk about working on stage compared to film or television. It's normally about the differences of what it gives them or teaches them. What are your thoughts about stage work? What does being in front of a theater audience give you or taught you?

It's taught me don't try to do a play when you are pregnant. I did 'The Vagina Monologues' when expecting my third child. It was impossible to remember my lines and i could hardly get through a performance.

You have played a variety of roles since Xena ended. How do you go about picking your projects?

I often do roles just to help out a friend. I try to do a good job. Generally speaking, I only want to work with people I love and respect.

Of all the things that have happened to you professionally, what moments stand out for you and why?

I adored playing Dorothy in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'. The magic of doing a musical took me right
back to my high-school days. It is seriously the most romantic thing in the world to sing those songs on
a stage with some handsome, talented cast, and everything is so sparkly and the choir is behind you. it is the BEST!

Your role in Darkroom was unlike any role we've seen you play. What drew you to the role?  You have been quoted a few times saying "I don't play wives". What was special about the Cheryl character?

I wanted to try my hand at playing someone who was a victim and an addict. i always play tough chicks but this woman was truly beaten down by her addiction and her abusive relationship. This was the first time I was truly scared about fulfilling a role. I did not know if I would be believable in the role. But from an acting perspective, I was pretty pleased with the result.

We have heard you talk about working with Anthony Quinn, but you were also in an episode of The New Adventures of the Black Stallion in 1993, did you work with Mickey Rooney? If so what was he like?

I didn't have much to do with him. I do remember that he had an enormous tongue that he would swirl around and scare the crew by showing all his fillings every couple of minutes. Almost like a nervous thing -like people crack their knuckles.

Can you tell us a little about Bedtime Stories and your role of Aspen?

I am playing Guy Pearce's twisted girlfriend, Aspen. We are out to stomp on Sandler's character's dreams. She is a bitchy ex-model type, who has attached herself to a man to get ahead in the hotel trade. She drives her man like a car.

The problem with working at Camp-Sandler is that you are ruined for working anywhere else. It is seriously the most fun crew I've been with since Xena. Comedy is always more fun than drama to work on.

You're also making some cameo appearances on the new Eric Gruendeman project Bitch Slap. You playing Mother Superior to Renee O'Connor's Sister Batrille, What's in store for the fans that have waited so long to see you and Renee work together again?

Ren and I have a great shorthand. We understand one another perfectly.  I definitely want to work with her again. Plus, she is one of my favourite humans on the planet. A lot of water has gone under our bridge.

Any plans to work with Rob [Rob Tapert] again? You have hinted about it in the past? What kind of projects would the two of you like to do together?

Yes, one day.  At the moment our careers are diverging but that's healthy. Our relationship would fall apart if we depended on the other to make our projects happen.

You've written and performed your own material when it comes to singing. Have you ever considered writing and performing your own material for film or television?

No, I have tried but that is not my grace. I have talent but it is unable to be marshaled like that. I have to be at the end of the creative process, not the beginning. That's just the way it is.

Is there a story out there that you would like to tell on screen that hasn't been done yet?

Nope. Don't think like that.

Has working on the concerts lived up to your expectations?

It has been a great way to meet the fans. I try to give them something of myself or tell them something that they can't find out anywhere else. Each show is unique.

What does it give you creatively that acting doesn't

It gives me the pressure to produce from the bottom up, creatively. I love it and hate it.

You did some judging on New Zealand Idol
, would you like to do more of that kind of work. Looking for and helping new talent?

Nope. Not my gift. I have to be on the front line myself. I can only exist on the edge.

What is your favorite song and why?

My favourite song at present is 'G.L.O.R.I.A.'  by Pattti Smith. I am going to perform it in London. All my dykey fans will be very happy. And the whole set is influenced by it.

How did you get involved with the Starship Foundation?

I got involved over one particularly gruesome death of an abused infant, Graphically reported in the NZ Herald. The case was so prominent and so tragic that here was no way that we New Zealanders could look the other way. Along with some other famous Kiwis, we started a movement to fund  a Multi-agency-Center in Auckland under the auspices of the Starship Foundation, the funding arm of the national Children's Hospital, popularly known as 'The Starship'. It's called Pua waitahi and the model is working well, though sadly, the centre will never close due to lack of use.  Of all the things I have ever been a part of (however small my contribution), this would be the greatest.

Are you surprised by the support your fans give the Charities you choose?

I am so grateful to all my fans for their support over the years of my charities and others. i never ask the fans to give.

Instead I encourage them to enrich their own communities and world in their own way. I am so completely humbled by 'Feel the Love' Day. I think it is a powerful example of how my fans do not so much celebrate the tv show 'Xena', so much as practise the spirit of the show, which is all about looking after the little guy, respect for self, others and our planet. What's not to love about that?!

I'm going to "borrow" from The Actor's Studio and ask you the top 10 questions:

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?


What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?


What sound or noise do you love?


What sound or noise do you hate?

a kitchen fan. bad frequency for me. Can't hear anything else.

What is your favorite curse word?


What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?


What profession would you not like to do?

chicken-sexer.  Reportedly the most stressful job of all. Ahead of even flight-controller.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"Where have you been?! You're on in five minutes!"

Many thanks to Lucy Lawless for granting AUSXIP this interview. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Important Links

Official Lucy Lawless Fan Club - Lawless Ink
Lucy Concert - Tickets and Information
Starship Children's Health
Flawless Diva - Lucy Lawless Music
AUSXIP Lucy Lawless
Rob Tapert Online