Fan-favorite actor Lucy Lawless is a geek icon thanks to her work as the title character in the long-running “Xena: Warrior Princess” TV series. Since the show wrapped in 2001, she’s kept busy on TV with numerous roles on such series as “Battlestar Galactica,” “Spartacus,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Starting later this month, she’ll join force with fellow icon Bruce Campbell to bring Ash Campbell back — this time on television — in “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” when it premieres October 31 on Starz.
At New York Comic Con, Lawless sat down with CBR TV’s Jonah Weiland for an lively discussion about playing Ruby on “Ash Vs. Evil Dead,” working with Campbell, and her real feelings about being an action hero. She also discusses Hollywood’s continued problems getting a “Wonder Woman” movie off the ground and whether she’s interested in being a part of NBC’s proposed “Xena” reboot.
In the first half of the conversation, Lawless talks about how much fun it is working on “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” opposite the effervescent Bruce Campbell, who exactly her character of Ruby is in relation to the world of “Evil Dead,” and why she isn’t exactly keen to kick ass and take names on film.
On whether working on the set is as fun and loose as the trailer:
Lucy Lawless: No, it’s not. [Laughs] It’s never serious business, but it can’t be loose because otherwise you can’t make your day. You’re on a schedule, you’re on a TV budget. It’s bloody cold, you’re shooting in some really inhospitable — we call it a studio, no no. It’s a friggin’ shed. And there’s rain and there’s wind all the time. it’s always winter. Anyway, it’s a lot of business, but I adore working with Bruce, and… it’s summer in my heart.
On who Ruby is on the series:
Ruby’s father was Professor Knowby, he was the original holder of the Necronomicon in the movies. Her whole family was wiped out by Bruce and his stupid Deadite plague, so she’s got a big-ass chip on her shoulder. Now that he’s released them again, she wants to put him in the ground. She teams up with Amanda Fisher, played by Jill Marie Jones, and they’re kind of gal pals and gunning down Bruce’s character, Ash. She is not a fan at all. I think she’s strangely attracted to him though — in a hateful kind of way.
On how she really feels about shooting action scenes:
I hated action from the first day of “Xena,” and never learned to like it. It was part of the job, mind over matter, so you just suck it up and do it. The better you get at it, the quicker it will be over. So that was about just doing the damn job and not complaining. So I’ve never loved action. I was so happy to not do any through “Spartacus.” Everybody was like, “Don’t you want to get down there and fight?” I’m like, “Hell no!” I’m sitting here eating Turkish Delight and murdering ladies in pretty dresses. And in this series, there’s a little bit of action, but it’s nothing like “Xena,” and good riddance. I hate action.
In the second part of her conversation with CBR TV, Lucy Lawless gets frank about Hollywood’s struggles to make a “Wonder Woman” movie and why the movie industry foolish for being gun shy. She also talks about NBC’s proposed reboot of “Xena: Warrior Princess,” whether she’d liked to be involved, and what she would do next with the Xena given her druthers.
On why Hollywood is afraid to make a “Wonder Woman” movie:
I don’t know, ’cause it’s dumb. They should bloody well do it and scoop that poor man — that audience, men love a tough woman. They love it. They’re not gonna lose money if they come out and make something bloody gnarly. They’re not gonna lose money on it. I don’t know. They’re being pussies.
On whether she wants to be involved with the “Xena” reboot:
Too early to say, because if they don’t honor the original, you know the covenant with the fans, then I wouldn’t touch it with a forty-foot flagpole, as Bruce would say. Too early to say. And then, their concern is that I would overshadow whoever was playing [the lead role], which may or may not be legit, but do I want to be used as some sort of warm prop for somebody else’s show. What’s in it for me? And if it wasn’t honoring the intention of the show — like it’s full of T&A, that immediately breaks the covenant with fans — that is not part of female empowerment, that is not part of self-realization, it’s not part of, you know, good over base instincts or everything that the show was about then yeah, I would not want to have a part of it.
On what she wants the future of “Xena” to look like:
I think that character, and the relationship of Xena and Gabrielle, it’s not done, we still need everything that was about, so I totally support them in making it. But how that is realized is a much bigger question. I hope it’s great. I hope that the fans have that again. And the TV series aside, what I would love to do is a little bit like “Ash vs. Evil Dead” where you get the original cast together — get Renee O’Connor, me, Bruce and Ted Raimi — and do a spoof, do a comedy one-off movie. That would be so fun.
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