Many thanks to Peli for  part 1 of the transcript &  Casey for Part 2 and the scans


TV Times Magazine

August 1999

Part 1 & 2

Red, Hot Mama..

thm_ll-etc2.jpgShe’s happily married, has another child on the way and is still riding high on the hit series Xena : Warrior Princess. LL takes time out to count her blessings

Four years now, LL, 31, has enthralled audiences around the world as the fierce and fearless title-holder of Xena : Warrior Princess. Never before has television seen anyone quite like her  a woman as smart, strong, courageous and committed as any male hero in the history of television.

A native of Mt. Albert, Auckland, New Zealand, the actress, almost sic feet tall, with jet black hair and piercing blue eyes, first caught the imagination of television viewers with her portrayal of the statuesque, leather-clad Xena in several episodes of Hercules : The legendary Journeys.

Prior to that, she has guest-starred on Hercules as Lyla, Deric the centaur’s courageous young bride, and appeared as the menacing Amazon enforcer Lysia in the tow-hour action-packed telefilm, Hercules And The Amazon Women.


Xena : Warrior Princess not only made her a household name, it also "found" a husband for her in the form of Rob Tapert, the executive producer of Xena, Hercules and the new Young Hercules. Married last year, the couple who are expecting their first child in October, spend most of their time along with Lawless’s 11-year-old daughter Daisy from her first marriage, in Auckland where all three series are filmed.

How lucky to be starring in a hit television series that is also filmed in your hometown of Auckland, New Zealand!

Yeah, I know! It’s just luck. The producer, Rob Tapert, who’s also now my husband, was walking across the parking lot at Universal Studios one day when he met an old friend who told him he was filming down in New Zealand. When Rob told him he was thinking about filming a television series in South Africa his friend told him he should first check out New Zealand. SP Rob sent somebody down there to scout locations and they loved it. So that’s how Hercules came to be filmed there. It’s all been a staggering set of coincidences that brought me to the part.


Do you believe in fate?

Yes, I think out fate is already written, I believe that you have to have your own eyes open in order to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. SO it may feel like we’re creating our own destiny but I’m sure it’s already written for us.

Xena is such a strong character. Are you concerned you’ll never be able to escape the connecting between LL and Xena?

I don’t and I don’t allow that to be a part of my focus. I think that would be very defeatist. I don’t allow that to enter my way of thinking. Additionally, when people meet me I’m very different from the person they expect to walk in the door. It turns their prejudice on its head. I know that my agent finds it a lot of fun to pitch me for things, because he likes to say to people, "Whatever you think she is, whatever you read, she’ll surprise you when she walks in the room because she’s completely different." (laughs) So I hope I don’t let my agent down.

In 1997 you starred on Broadway in Grease as Rizzo. Did you take the role to show Hollywood you’re much more than just a warrior princess?

Actually the whole idea of me starring on Broadway was such a momentous occasion for me! I really loved it. I was so glad I did that! And I made some lifelong friends out of it. It was just something I always wanted to do. That was really the only reason why I did it, to be honest.

Life seems to be fitting into place very nicely for you.

Yeah, it is. But I work hard to make sure that it stays like that.

Besides one divorce, have you any other angst in your life worth mentioning?


Sure. But keep in mind I have selective amnesia. I seem to be able to wrap up and get closer on all my bad experiences so that they don’t haunt me for too many years. I don’t drag my old problems to new relationships. An days, of course I have problems, I watch VH1’s What happened To Teen Idols series and it just brings it home to me that nobody gets out of life unscathed.


Did you fear that maybe that could be you one day?

(laughs) Yeah, "whatever happened to that girl LL?" I’ll tell you what though, when I leave this business it will be my choice. I doubt I will end up like those people. I will tell you that in quieter moments I have stopped and soldered what would I rather be doing.

Why? Aren’t you happy?

The effort of show business is extremely wearing. So I have thought about what would I rather be doing, but I can’t think of anything else that I’m good at besides being a mother.

I find it fascinating that someone like yourself - with beauty, fame, money, a loving husband and daughter, and another child on the way - could feel depressed or unhappy.

Actually, it's frightening to me! If you feel that way I should be jumping off a bridge. Why am I so miserable? I have the man of my dreams and a fantastic healthy daughter, I'm healthy and I have a great job. I don't at the moment have to worry about my bank account and I live in my dream house. It's a stunning house! So why am I not blissfully happy? I think I'm one of the more successful human beings in this business because by and large I live in a state of joy. I really experience wonderful things. What I mean is, the sky is blue and I'm digging it! I don't take things for granted.

How is it working for the man you're married to?

Well, our jobs really don't overlap. I'm on the far end of production. He's more involved in the writing of the stories for Xena and working on studio deals and all of that awful stuff, whereas I'm on the set with my feet in the mud. So we don't conflict very much.

What's the most bizarre thing you've ever read about yourself?

(Long pause) Um.. (laughs) There's so much stuff that is silly! I don’t know really. You see, I don't get those clippings sent to me, so I really wouldn't know what they're writing. Plus I have a buffer zone of about 5000 miles between me and the gossip columns.

In my dealings with photographers I've always understood that it's kind of a two-way street. You do your poses and you move on. I realise that they are a part of the job. You can work with them to a certain extent without becoming a puppet. But I really shouldn't say anything because I really don't know anything about that world.


It's impossible to do an interview with you without discussing your huge base of "alternative" fans. As far as you can tell, has it increased or calmed down?

Um - I don't know if there's so much mania attached. It seems rather that they look at Xena as an icon of some sort. Rather than me, they seem to be more interested in the warrior princess character.


Would you agree that the writers of Xena know that they have a guaranteedthm_ll-etc7.jpg built-in audience if they play up the friendship between Gabrielle (played by Renee O'Connor) and Xena?

Not any more. We did that a lot in the beginning, and it's not that we don’t play it up at times, but it's not for "our alternative fans". We really do it for ourselves, because it just makes the scene a bit more funny to throw in some nuances. We try to please ourselves more than anyone else. Because when you start trying to please specific factions of your audience then you end up what we in New Zealand call Blanc Mange, which is something that's white, pasty and tasteless. So you can't design by committee.


Ms. Magazine once called you a feminist icon. How does it feel to be an icon?

I feel that Xena is an icon. But when that article first came out I sort of freaked out. I had no idea at the time the impact we were making. It shocked me. I thought that they were trying to hold me up as some sort of Barbie Doll for big chicks. I was very uncomfortable with being objectified like that. So I took a defensive posture toward that article.


Speaking of objectifying, what would you say is your greatest physical attribute?

(Long pause) Um - I'm thinking about my feet, my legs, my toes! (laughs)


Last question. Why is Xena spelled with an 'X' instead of a 'Z'?

(Producer) Irving Shapiro told my husband if you write it with an 'X' the kids will understand it. And it's true! It's more of a symbol, like a cross. It's like a strong icon. Visually, it means more to the kids.

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