Spartacus interview #1 (of 5): Lucy Lawless

A tv interview article by: Karyn Pinter

This year’s San Diego Comic Con definitely proved that if you’re willing to fight for it, you’ll get to see something good. Stepping up and fighting for a spot in the press room for the upcoming season ofSpartacus was certainly worth the experience. I’d like to present a press round table in five parts. Part one is with the stunning and ever delightful queen of all nerdom, Lucy Lawless, who of course portrays the conniving lady of the ludus, Lucretia. 



Question: So did you know you were coming back for season 3 after being stabbed in the babies? Literally. 

Lucy Lawless: Um, well, I always thank you guys for actually bringing the character back. They shot it two ways and they made the decision posthumously. So I was all like "thanks to you who show up and are willing to talk to me they thought like 'we can't afford to kill her.'"

Question: So was it just the movement of your hand that was uh...

Lawless: That was the clincher.

Pinter: That was the argument between me and my husband.

Lawless: Yeah.

Question: Did you threaten to kick Rob to the couch? Like "I come back for season three or...”

Lawless: You know what, um this would be season two technically because the other one's a prequel. But um, no, I never do that. It's like that man will do what's right for his show and I respect and like that about him. So if it wasn't right to keep me alive - what we do on the show, unfortunately is really burn people out. So, and that's what makes it really rich too like "burn me up, use me as much as possible and then we let 'um go." So that inevitably will happen to all of us. 

Question: Are you hoping the child will live, or no?

Lawless: That who?

Question: The child, the baby will live?

Lawless: Yeah, yeah. I'm hoping for that. I don't know how that's gonna go down but...

Question: So will it give the character fuel to be...

Lawless: Oh it'll give me a great deal of fuel, cos then she would have lost her whole... the promise of a nuclear family. She would have lost all support, all male support. She would have nothing in Ancient Rome. You know? Without a man to prop you up. And um, no money. No family, so what's she gonna do to survive? I don't know. And raising that kid? *scoff* The school, the insurance, no. Darling, that's no. I must tell you, the child. It's a no go. He poked me in the tummy. 

Question: You and Ilithyia are close friends, right?

Lawless: Close, close et tu brute, I say to her. 

Question: Can you tell us what's going to happen with her?

Lawless: But our relationship certainly gets much more tangled. Extremely intense. And um, I love that Viva Bianca is the actress that I get to work with for that. 

Question: She's fantastic.

Lawless: And she's even more fantastic as a human being. But anyways, rocker, great actor. So um, we really like to mess with the audience's mind. 

Question: I know.

I don't think I've ever hated and loved a character so much.

Someone: As Ilithyia?

Question: Yeah. Like, oh my god, what a bitch.

Lawless: I know! She's fantastic! Well, and in real life the Romans... the more richer they are the more fabulous they are in real life it seems to be. And um... anyway when you get to see the show... the show's called Vengeance and for good reason. And my character's got a lotta... lotta... lotta payback to dish out. 

Question: Can you talk just a little bit about... you know, you're kind of the villain... but you also have…perspective. That's what I need, is you have like a middle plate. A very likable side to Lucretia, a very believable side to her. What she's going through, but then … not admirable.

Lawless: Not admirable by our standards. Well you can't always judge the *something*. Um, yes she does, and thank you. I like to keep her... you know what it is? I try to think... some people think that acting's about being somebody else and I don't. I think this is how I would be given the same circumstances. And I do it for my own enjoyment to be honest with you because I would do this even if i was paid 800 bucks a week. And I'm only getting a little bit more than that. You know I would do it even if it was just a living wage because I live to have that alternative lifestyle. And sometimes it harrowing. The stuff we've done in this season, the stuff we have in store for my character is so shocking even to me and I'll kinda go there.

Question: You've got a family right? So what about your kids? Do they watch it?

Lawless: You're child obsessed! All my children have survived to at least 8 years old and they're doing good. And they've never seen the show. Just bits and pieces. One of my kids loves horror and he can totally handle it that's my youngest one. My daughter works on the show in post editing. Yeah...

Question: She's 8?

Lawless: No, no, not the 8 year old no. She's 12. No she's 23, and she's off at the Halo panel.

Question: What's it like on Spartacus compared to working on Battlestar?

Lawless: Oooooh. Everything's different. This is much more colorful. You know when you're out in space it's very cold, it's very inorganic. And the weirdest thing - we shoot in warehouses. Very no frills, but the fact that you have a very big green screen so it has the very similitude of nature so it keeps the mood really light. Whereas when you're in the darkness out in space everything's a little bit repressed. Totally nice people, totally funny everything but it represses the human spirit. I say don't go to space if you have the chance. Don't do it, it's not as fun as you think.

Question: What's your experience with Comic Con? Like these are your people, they've seen every show you've been on basically. They're your people. I mean XenaX-filesBattlestar, everything that you've done. What are people reacting to most now, these days? Are they talking about Spartacus or your past?

Lawless: Well no, certainly SpartacusXena is kind of the big rock of my fame with a little bit of Battlestar in there cos that has serious, my serious Sci-Fi career. Um, Simpsons they still talk about 

*everyone laughs*

Lawless: Even a little bit of Larry David. I don't... I've done some really fun nutty stuff. 

Question: How has this show really changed your life?

Lawless: Well it got my family back together. Now we're back on one country. We were living in two countries and it's very difficult to raise kids that way so... I'm so happy I can't even tell you. So when your kids are happy - you'll be pleased I'm saying this - when your kids are happy you're happy. 

Question: How are the costumes for you in this one? A lot better than you know, the short Xena skirt? You get to be mostly fully clothed?

Lawless: You know, I got used to that short Xena skirt, that was all right in the end. Uh, these are pretty constricting actually.

Question: Really?

Lawless: Yeah, you can't do much in these and you've got like 4,000 pins in you and sometimes you're really sick and you wanna lie down and you got... you remember that terrible poster with the guy with the pins sticking out… bed of nails. But, they're so beautiful and it creates a world. It's fantastic. 

Question: Compared to, you know, being back on Xena. Is it hard to not do much of the action yourself?

Lawless: No! I always, always hated that but I wasn't in a position to go with that emotion so I just... Bruce Campbell taught me. Cause they would say "Bruce your fights up" and he'd go "EXCELLENT!" So I went "that's a good technique" if you say "EXCELLENT! I was hoping you'd say that!" instead of "aw..." it changes the way you feel about it and it keeps you in ah forward propulsion. If you cannot change it be really happy about it alright? So, so that was a good thing... try it, try it in your own lives. So when they say "it's time to do your taxes" just say "EXCELLENT!" 

Question: How much of Lucretia's back-story did you do prior to Gods of the Arena?

Lawless: None. 

Question: Er...?

Lawless: Um, none. But I magically... the universe, the cosmos, whatever drives artistic endeavor... it all seems to mesh up beautifully. It kinda helps that the writer's are brilliant. It's just worked out really well. I did nothing really. Cos again, it's about me in the situation. So it's... I did a little bit of research for this one so... because of the way we find her... but I found in the end it was not very helpful. 

Question: What about the costumes? You gonna wear anything interesting this season? 

Lawless: Yeah. Yeah! Well, you won't be at the panel, I suppose you'll be working. But you get to see Lucretia unveiled in the um... they're gonna show the um trailer. So you get to see Lucretia and you get to see a little bit of what's going on. 

Question: Will John Hannah be showing up at all? Like flashbacks maybe?

Lawless: Uh, well not so far, I don't know. You'd have to ask Steven. I don't know. He's the busiest actor in the world. He'll be unavailable for the rest of his life. But he had a good time. He was lovely. 

Question: He was fantastic.

Lawless: He would always say "oh my god" and he's done thirty years of television and never had a roll with so many firsts in it. It's the first time he's ever done a love scene or... and he's in a bath with like all these naked girls and he's going "oh my god!" 

Question: Is there any romance for Lucretia in the future?

Lawless: Not so much. Oh! You know what, I lied. There is romance. 

Question: You can't tell us anything? Give us any clues?

Lawless: Romance... well it's all maneuvering. It's not really romance because it's all about power, but uh, she continues to use sex as a weapon. 

Question: Thank you so much. 

Lawless: My pleasure, thank you for coming guys.


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