Lucy Lawless to appear at Supanova Pop Culture Expo

LANDING a role in Peter Jackson’s epic Hobbit trilogy, and the fan fervour that comes with it, can be an overwhelming experience for an actor.

For William Kircher, a seasoned star in New Zealand, it’s been a chance to show off his homeland and engage with fans around the world.

Kircher plays Bifur, one of the dwarfs who accompanies Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins on a quest to reclaim a dwarf kingdom from fearsome dragon Smaug.

“It’s been an incredible ride,” Kircher said.

“I’ve had varying degrees of fame in the past — you get a role in a show and you get recognised or are on a magazine cover.

“But you also realise that it doesn’t last forever. Once it’s finished you are out of a job like anyone else. Because of my age and experience, I’ve been able to take a very rational approach to it all.”

Best known in his native New Zealand as veteran cop B.P. in police procedural Shark in the Park, he’s also played a string of cops and criminals in shows such as City Life and Plain Clothes, and was George Cross recipient Stewert Guthrie in the film Out of the Blue.

But it’s Bifur who fans come to see at conventions.

“It’s an immense honour being one of the dwarfs in The Hobbit,” he said.

“Fans make the most exquisite costumes, all the make-up and weaponry. It’s quite fascinating seeing all these versions of yourself.”

He will be in town in April for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo along with actors including Xena star Lucy Lawless, the Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, the man in the Chewbacca suit, Peter Mayhew, and Mini-Me himself, Verne Troyer.

“I’m very much looking forward to coming to Melbourne. It’s one of my favourite places. I’ve got some family there too — typical bloody Kiwi!” Kircher said with a laugh.

The Supanova Pop Culture Expo will be at Melbourne Showgrounds from April 11-13.


There’s something about: Lucy Lawless, Actress


She was born in Auckland’s Mt Albert 45 years ago, the fifth of seven children for Frank and Julie Ryan, she a teacher, he a banker-turned-long-time mayor of the suburb. After dropping out of the University of Auckland and ditching her opera studies at 18, she embarked on an OE, only to fall in love with and then pregnant to Garth Lawless the following year. Her daughter Daisy was born the year the couple married, 1988.

As a kid Lucy dreamed of being a singer, but fell into acting the year after Daisy was born when she joined the cast of local television sketch comedy show, Funny Business. Her big break came in 1994 when American TV producer (and future husband) Rob Tapert cast her as a man-hating Amazon in Hercules And The Amazon Women, the pilot for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The following year she was cast as a warrior woman called Xena in the same series.

The character was so popular Lawless and Xena were given their own show, Xena: Warrior Princess just months later. In 1998, she married Tapert. They have two sons. Lawless’ post-Xena career was mostly cameos and bit parts until Tapert cast her as the oversexed Lucretia in his Spartacus: Blood and Sand in 2010.

Off screen, Lawless has developed a second career as a charity fundraiser and Greenpeace activist.

Lucy Lawless stars as the vampish Velma in Chicago at Q Theatre until December 15. (SOURCE)

How Xena plans to rise from dead

Xena may yet rise from the grave.

TV bosses in the United States are rumoured to be considering bringing back the cult show that turned Lucy Lawless into a worldwide pin-up and feminist icon.

And the Kiwi lead star knows how Xena: Warrior Princess Part 2 should kick off.

The original series ran for six years and 134 episodes until June 18, 2001. In the shock finale, Xena was slain and decapitated.

“The fans were always devastated that we cut Xena’s head off. We thought we were telling a strong storyline and it was hilarious, but it broke their hearts,” Lawless said.

With a possible relaunch in the air, she has mentally scripted a series-opening plot. “In my dreams it would be that Renee [O'Connor, who played Gabrielle] and I, and Ted [Raimi], who played Joxer, would come back and basically stick Xena’s head back on her and go on a quest,” Lawless said. “At the end you introduce this new Warrior Princess, hand it over and let them run with it. So we could put the family back together, give the fans what they want, reinvigorate the brand and hand it on to a new generation.”

Lawless is amazed by the continued dedication of her fans. “They will show up wherever you go, which is lovely because people are more inclined to cast you – that is how it works in our business – that is currency.

“If you stick with the fans, Dave Dobbyn taught me, they will stick with you. You would be nothing without your fans.”

Hundreds of fans have already booked tickets to see Lawless in the Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Chicago, November 1-24, at Q theatre.