Hudson as Callisto: What's Not to Leick?
(A Report From the Valley Forge, Pa. Convention, March 3-4, 2001)
by Hartriono B. Sastrowardoyo
Hudson came on stage, noting that she had appeared in New York the week prior and also that she had a cold. The cold only added to Hudson's usual profane, irreverent self, as evidenced by her presentation: "I'm sure you guys don't want to hug me." [pause] "You guys don't care!" She imitated wiping her nose with the back of her hand then intoning, "Yay! Callisto snot!"
She then segued to "I always chew gum, and this one man in England asked me, 'Can I have your gum?' And he would take the gum from my mouth - and sometimes he would eat it actually - and then he would carefully save it. We're going to auction it off later," she joked.
"Mom didn't come," she announced, to the audience's 'aaawwwws'. "I know, I'd be much meaner if she was here. They were afraid of the snow, and didn't want to get stuck in it. Unlike you guys. You're not even my family.
"What have I been up to? I'm standing here wearing a wig and high heels and my toe rings hurt. What, you didn't like that answer?
"Xena. What was it like to play Xena? It was dreadful. Lucy Lawless is such a different human being than I am. You can see it in our acting. She's very stationary and steady, and I'm all over the show. For me to change my style, and try to do a straight line like her, it's very difficult for me. Plus, there's not a lot of room for me to come up with creative stuff. It's already been done.
"She already has a character, and you're watching her. When I first got the job, I was like, 'I don't want to play Xena. Everyone wants to see Lucy play Xena. That's why Lucy is Xena.' When I got the job, Lucy and I did have fun with it, though. I had more fun trying to teach her to play Callisto. I don't know if she had fun trying to teach me how to play Xena. Renee [O'Connor] helped me out a lot, and that was very helpful."
"Do I like playing Callisto? Of course. Where else can you scream and throw fits and get paid for it. And then people like you come and thank me for it. It's so bizarre! 'Thank you for being so ugly on TV, and hateful.'
"I love doing action films. And I love to be hateful. It's fun. Actually, I don't really have a preference. It's wherever life takes me. I like the opportunities. Does it have to action? No. I'd like to try a drug addict prostitute. That should be a lot of fun. And it would. Because it's interesting and dramatic. To play something normal, I would have a very hard time.
"I scream a lot. Do you want to know if it's me, it's real, do I like it, does it hurt my throat? It does hurt, but it's fun, and it feels really good. It gets all the stress out. Do you want to try it?
"What was my relationship like with the cast? It was a good working relationship, but we were never close. I would come in, do my job, and then leave. I wasn't there long.
"What's my hobbies?" [to herself] 'What are my hobbies?' " Do I have anything interesting about me? Not really.
"What's my favorite episode? Let's see. The one where I became a demon and where I became a god. You know, where I crawled out of the cavern and Gabrielle grabbed my hand - how delicious was that? And then I strangled her and she went 'Aaahhhh!!!' Because I killed her husband. He had to go. He did. Xena paid me," she said, acknowledging the subtext with a smile.
Another audience member asked, "What was it like to kiss Kevin Smith [Ares, God of War] ?" Hudson's reply: "I kissed Kevin Smith?! Where was I? When I played Xena? No . Several times?! I remember kissing Xena. That was real nice. You know what, I was so nervous at the time, I had so much on my mind. I don't know. I think it was nice kissing Kevin. I'd like to try it again, though.
"The meanest thing I ever did as Callisto? I think the meanest thing I ever did that was most enjoyable was tricking Gabrielle. We were at the campfire, and she said to me, 'Why are you like this?' And I gave her this sad sad story on how difficult it was to be without a sister and mother, and then I turned around and asked her how it was with her husband dead. I think that was pretty bad. And I loved that. I loved it when I read in the script. I was reading it on the plane and went 'Ohhh! __That __ was good!'
"Do I do my own stunts? No, but I beg to do them. There was this scene in Hercules, where he flips Callisto, and she does this backflip. And I was like 'Let me do it.' Because Kevin [Sorbo] did it to the stunt double. 'Alex let me do it, let me do it. I can do that.' And they were like, 'Nope.' Some of things I can't do. When you see my face it's me, but when you see the back of my head it's my double.
"What's it's like wearing the Callisto outfit? A little on the chilly side. Plus they have body paintings in the morning. You're in the makeup trailer, you're butt naked, it's not sexy (you can fantasize all you want), it's freezing, it's winter, they come in with a bucket, a sponge, and a big thing of coverup. And they start slobbering this makeup all over you. First thing, four or five in the morning. And you put on your outfit, there's this girl that ties you up in it. Is it comfortable? No. It's okay. But fighting, it'll chafe, especially when you're using the sword.
"How did I get into acting? Um, I slept with a lot of directors. I had second thoughts about saying that, because you [the young girl asking the question] seemed too young for that to be appropriate, but I said it anyway. That's not true, I maybe dated one director. I went to Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, and after that I moved to L.A. I had a lot of auditions. A lot of it is luck, a lot of it is hard work.
"Do I think I'm like Callisto in real life? In some ways, yes, because only I can play that role. How can I play her without knowing what she's about? I'm not all Callisto, because that would be no fun. And those candy kisses I threw you would come much harder. But I'm not. I'm a sweet, innocent, little angel. You know it's true, right?"
Lastly, Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris, Star Trek Voyager) got on the question line and asked Hudson, "Do you think Tom Paris is the sexiest character on television?"
Her response: "Of course he is." After the audience died down, she finished, "That was a good answer, wasn't it? I've never seen you before or know who you're character is."
Robert continued, "I was told to ask you . Is your character and Xena 'together'?"
"Do you have more gum?" (Robert was chewing gum as well.)
"Depends on how you answer the question."
"Were we together?"
"Yes, are you 'together'?"
"I don't know what you mean by that," Hudson replied innocently.
"You know, 'together.'"
"Explain what you mean by that." Robert came up on stage and said, "You know, 'together.' You see, on our show we have this Klingon, who is very mean, and -"
"Are you 'together'?" Hudson asked.
"Yeah, we got together this year, and that's what this person wanted to know."
"You haven't seen my show, have you?" was her answer. Well, maybe Robert hasn't, but Hudson's playful banter makes her show on stage a must-see at any convention she's at.
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