Lucy Lawless, who plays Xena in the hit TV show “Xena: Warrior Princess,” has been a huge fan of the show since childhood. In an interview with The Advocate, she discusses her pride in Season 2 and what she would like to see happen for the character.
Lucy Lawless is a well-known actress who has been playing the role of Xena in the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess for almost 20 years. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she talks about her pride in season 2 and a future for Xena.
Lucy Lawless has taken on one unexpected job after another since her breakthrough performance in Xena: Warrior Princess, enabling her to explore horror, humor, drama, and fantasy. My Life Is Murder, her most recent small-screen production, gives her the opportunity to play one of her more realistic characters, but as the title suggests, things aren’t always easy for Lawless’ Alexa, who is charged with investigating an all-new and disturbing murder. This isn’t all doom and gloom, as Lawless recently said how much she enjoys portraying the role and how closely it resembles her own personality. Season 2 of My Life Is Murder debuts on Acorn TV on Monday, August 30th.
Season 2 is the sequel to Season 1 “For the first time in years, Alexa returns to her native New Zealand, and she can’t say no when she’s asked to investigate a strange unsolved murder. With Madison Feliciano (Ebony Vagulans) as her partner-in-crime-solving, as well as series newcomers like charismatic detective Harry (Rawiri Jobe) and café owner Reuben (Joe Naufahu), she quickly finds herself investigating other murder mysteries in surprising, glamorous worlds filled with intriguing characters who are hiding dangerous and deadly secrets.”
Lawless was recently interviewed on the series, upcoming projects, and the possibility of a Xena rebirth.
(Photo courtesy of Acorn TV)
: True-crime documentaries have seen a revival in popularity in recent years, and murder mysteries in general are a popular genre of narrative. Are you a self-proclaimed amateur detective? Are you constantly attempting to solve the mystery before the program informs you or do you let it develop when you’re watching a movie or a TV show, whether it’s a true-crime tale or simply when you’re watching a movie or a TV show?
Lucy Lawless: I’m Lucy Lawless. What do you think? Some of them, at least. Miss Marple, since I’ve seen all the English ones. “Oh, I’m not clever enough to put it all together,” I constantly say. And then I watch it three times and think to myself, “No, all the pieces are there,” but I don’t care because I’m just hanging out with these characters, and it’s so beautiful, especially the British ones, where they… Columbo, for example, is the most brilliant of them all. No, I simply enjoyed hanging around there.
I completely agree with you since I’m constantly incorrect and then feel stupid for it. So I simply sat back and let everything run its course. You got to play Alexa in the first season of your show, and you’re returning for the second. What do you like most about portraying her? Which aspect of the character is your favorite?
I like that it’s the most like me character I’ve ever played. I enjoy that I’m playing in my own accent for once, and not that I’ve ever wanted to, but at this point in my life, I’d want to. It’s a lot of fun to do less or, in certain instances, to dare to expose oneself a little bit. That’s one of the things I appreciate about it.
In a similar vein, Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings helped put New Zealand on the map for broader American audiences around 20 years ago. What does it mean to you to be able to film Season 2 and portray this distinct aspect of the country? There’s more to life than sheep and fantasy realms. What exactly did it imply for you?
It’s fantastic. Even New Zealanders are used to viewing themselves in this light. This is a show about the city, with the city as a character. She’s also very attractive. I’m ecstatic to present my hometown in this light, especially to New Zealanders who aren’t accustomed to seeing themselves in this light. We’re in a high-rise, and… We’ve all had that bloody “Shire” thing going on in our heads, right? However, many people’s lives do not reflect this reality. Trying to frame out the traffic cones in my town is a terrible pain when it comes to shooting. Even without COVID, it was not the easiest city in the world to shoot in, yet she comes out looking stunning.
With Season 2, clearly not all TV shows are guaranteed to continue beyond the first season, so when you found out you’d be returning for a second season, what was one of your top priorities for what you wanted to achieve in this follow-up season, both with your character and the show as a whole?
You’re a little worried since you’re not sure whether you’ll be able to provide the same results. Will you be able to meet the fans’ expectations? You’re switching nations and manufacturing facilities. Apart from my wonderful co-star Ebony Vagulans, you’re bringing in a bunch of new writers and a whole new cast. And for me, it was very nerve-wracking. But we managed to pull it off. I’m overjoyed to report that we succeeded; even if it’s not the same city, it’s as attractive. And we flood it with color, because it’s part of the armchair tourism, where you know you’re going to go someplace beautiful that will make you feel good for a time because people aren’t feeling well right now. It’s like, “Come inside my parlor,” because the world is frightening out there. It’s as if you’re drawing back and opening the door to a hidden, enormous garden where you’re welcome. Everything will work out well at the end of the hour, and you will feel happy, which I believe many people are lacking right now.
Every New Zealander I’ve ever met, every TV program I’ve ever seen, every movie I’ve ever seen, there’s always this distinct sense of humor that other areas of the globe simply can’t seem to replicate. Do you notice things in a script that say, “Oh, this is someone who really understands that part of the world versus playing an American character,” because you’ve been involved in so many different projects of so many different genres? When you read a script for a new character that is representing New Zealand, do you notice those things in a script that say, “Oh, this is someone who really understands that part of the world versus playing an American character,” because you’ve been involved in so many different projects
I wouldn’t even try to express it since, well, it’s implicit, if you get what I mean. You recognize them as such because the vocabulary is a bit different, and the irony and eccentricity are things we like. Whether it’s there any more than it is in America — yes, no, it is. Everything has a little touch of weirdness to it. And I think now we’re just becoming more comfortable, and I think the distinctions that you guys are more likely to want to notice that, like, your ear is attuned now, are becoming more apparent. Nobody could understand me when I arrived in the 1990s, but today you’re actively seeking out not only Australian, but also Kiwi content. How bizarre is Wellington Paranormal? Or What We Do in the Shadows, all of these things are classic Kiwi comedy from our contemporary Kiwi culture’s greatest exponents.
Season 2 gives you the opportunity to reconnect with co-stars you’ve previously worked with on other projects, and I’m sure you’re excited to see them when they arrive on set. Do you return to the character dynamics you used to have on set, where you had to overcome that familiarity? Or is there an underlying, unspoken connection, and you’re instantly on the same page, allowing you to pursue these new paths?
The latter is true, yet there is also a sense of relief. You suddenly, at the age of 53, reach a point in your life where looking back is a genuine pleasure, and re-meeting an old acquaintance is so much more rewarding than it was before. And you’re thankful, and yeah, it’s a really sweet thing, whether it’s Renee [O’Connor], Martin Henderson, Will Shatner, or individuals you’ve met before. It just makes you feel loved. It gives you a feeling of completeness and belonging. And having that expertise on set is a huge comfort when you’re tired of producing TV shows.
Can you envision a Xena reboot in 2021, whether you were involved or not, given that we live in a world of reboots, re-imaginings, and revivals? Because I imagine it would be like a Game of Thrones adaptation, with a million dollar per episode budget and a gritty, dramatic tone. Do you believe the first series’ restraint made it special?
I’m not sure how you came up with those terms. That’s insanely awesome. We were extremely constrained by the “restraint of the first series.” It was very… it was like seeing a masterwork of theater. This month, I see it [happening] more than three years ago, because I believe there is a new generation of individuals who aren’t constrained by the past. It may be beneficial to… I’m going to dismiss that notion since someone else, someone else, gave me a brilliant idea the other day. As a result, new individuals are emerging who will be able to reinvent it for a new generation. It’ll be completely unique, but it’ll be cool. I, for one, do. That guy, I believe, is on his way.
That’s very amazing, and it’s a lot of fun to hear. Because you have so many fans, whenever a new project in a major franchise, such as Star Wars or Marvel, comes along, they want you to be a part of it. Particularly with —
They don’t, in fact.
They do, in fact.
Yes, the fans, yes, the fans, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
But, with Taika Waititi doing Thor and Star Wars, is there a blockbuster franchise you’d like to join, or do you think it’s simply that, at this point in your career, you enjoy the more personal tales you’re doing with your TV series?
Naturally, you want to make a blockbuster. That’s a whole lot of gory joy. I have to admit, I’m a little tired of doing things. That was never my job, and I simply got by, but I despised it all. Which one do I prefer? Aside from My Life As Murder, I believe I have interests behind the camera, and I see myself… That’s where I think I’ll end up. I don’t want to be seen anymore.
Oh, I almost forgot. This year, I’m in a blockbuster; I’m in Minions. They’ve moved it back to next year, but it’ll be available soon. But I’m a part of it, a part of The Spine Of Night, which is this insane thing —
The animation was rotoscoped.
That’s correct, which was very… Because it was so strange, I had to support it and get on board. I thought to myself, “These folks are doing something unusual, and I believe it’s coming out in some way right now.” I’m not sure what it was. It will be released shortly. But, yes, those are my two blockbusters, but I’m also in Minions, which I’m really looking forward to.
We’ll notify all of the major studios, and she’ll record a voice from the comfort of her own home, but the blue-screen action-packed stuff can be left to someone else.
Yes, that’s correct. That will be given to the children.
Season 2 of My Life Is Murder debuts on Acorn TV on Monday, August 30th.
The length and clarity of this interview have been modified. Patrick Cavanaugh may be reached via Twitter.
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