When not protesting for Greenpeace, Lucy Lawless is also New Zealand’s best export as an actor. She talks to Catherine Forbes about her role’s hidden agenda in TV’S steamy Spartacus. FROM the day she first appeared on our screens as Xena: Warrior Princess, Kiwi actress Lucy Lawless has been kicking some serious butt – both professionally and personally.
One of our most successful acting exports, Lawless can often be seen rubbing shoulders with Hollywood's elite, but she remains true to her beliefs, evident last week when, along with other Greenpeace supporters, she scaled a Shell oil drilling ship bound for the Arctic.
When she's not making news headlines or raising money for sick kids through her role as an ambassador for the Starship Foundation, Lawless can currently be seen on the box in Spartacus: Vengeance, reprising her role as Lucretia.
Here she talks about what fans can expect this season and how the best is yet to come.
What do you love about playing Lucretia?
I love that Lucretia's got several facets of her being operating at all times and at full speed, because the people close to her are the most dangerous. She has to survive and also she has an end game, she has a plan in mind. There are short-term plans and then she has a very long-term plan. You might try to guess it, but you won't. You won't see this coming.
How is Lucretia different in season two?
Lucretia is absolutely bereft. She has lost everything; her beloved husband, the only person she ever loved. She's lost her child, the nuclear family. She's lost her status; she's lost her home; she's lost her mind, or has she?
What struggles does Lucretia face now she has lost everything?
Roman women without a strong male in their lives were lost. It's like a long cold suicide because her only option to make a living – she has no friends to fall back on – is prostitution. I think that would give you three years, five years max, and just a miserable end. These are her options to survive and gain any kind of status. She's going to have to claw her way back. But she's been sharpening those claws for years now, so she'll be all right.
What makes Liam McIntyre such a great Spartacus?
Liam has got the heart of a lion and I think it's his goodness – he's different to Andy, and we wouldn't want him to try to be the same. That's not interesting, not possible. His goodness is at the heart of his hero. That will carry him through the introduction phase. People went crazy for him this year – he is a wonderful human being.
Are boundaries pushed even further this season?
The show is so massive I never get to work with half of them (the cast), because the rebels are off rebelling, as they will. And I'm scrambling for survival in the Ludas, what's left of it. There are whole worlds I never get to visit, but I'm mesmerised. My husband is watching dailies at home and it blows my mind what they are managing to put on screen. It's epic this season; way bigger than the first two and they were huge. We're going to blow the show's horizons wide open.
Do you still get surprised when reading the scripts?
The last two episodes of Vengeance blew my mind. I wish I could tell, I desperately want to tell you about it. I thought that now that my character is bananas that there would be no more sex for me. Wohoo! I thought it was a get-out-of-jail-free card, but sadly, no. But it is nothing like any kind of encounter she's had before. They manage to knock your socks off every single script.