Today, we’re featuring Lucy Lawless, circa 1997. She rose to TV fame as Xena on Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and also starred as Betty Rizzo in the 1994 Broadway revival of Grease. The actress has also appeared on TV in The X-Files, Tarzan, Battlestar Galactica, three Spartacus mini-series, and most recently NBC’s Parks and Recreation.
Does he like peeling onions? Michael Hurst looks bemused by the question – he is eating a home-made salad of piquant appearance – so he pauses, fork in mid-air, and tilts his head. What’s being referred to is not preparing vegetables; it’s the amount of research the veteran actor and director does as he readies himself for a role. Continue reading
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)
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.
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