Xena Battles Double Life
(Evening Post)

7 May 2001

AS THE fourth season of Xena: Warrior Princess comes to a close, a book has revealed the pressures Lucy Lawless felt in her role as the Amazonian goddess.

The finale of this season of Xena: Warrior Princess - there are two more seasons to go - is a special episode in a contemporary setting. Lawless plays a modern woman who is tormented by nightmares and visions that suggest she is a reincarnation of Xena.

Her husband Harry (Ted Raimi - Joxer) dismisses her claims, saying she's obsessed with the television show. She visits a psychiatrist played by Renee O'Connor (Gabrielle) and is shocked to discover that she is actually the reincarnation of her hero's comic relief, Joxer.

Or is God of War Ares (Kevin Smith) up to his old tricks again?

In the recently published book Living Life Out Loud, Lawless reveals to Auckland psychotherapist Kay Douglas how playing Xena pushed her to her physical and mental limits.

Lawless explains in the book how she had a crisis of faith during the gruelling fourth season. "I couldn't stand it any more. I felt so constricted and constrained in every way and work was unrelenting, extremely physical." In her book, Douglas interviews several prominent New Zealand women who have struggled to achieve their goals.

Xena: Warrior Princess debuted in September 1995 as a spin-off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and soon generated an international following. It has been shown in 115 countries, and Xena has become an icon among gay men and women because of her ambiguous relationship with her sidekick, Gabrielle.

Now that the sixth and final series of Xena has finished filming, Lawless is spending time with her husband, Xena producer Rob Tapert, and her children.

She is fielding offers for various roles, and recently guest-starred in an episode of comedy Just Shoot Me, which screens this week. In it she tarts up her image and puts on high-heeled shoes to play a professional escort for magazine photographer Elliott.

After finding out that his partner Maya already has a date for a charity auction, Elliott asks Nina to organise him a companion in the hope that Maya will feel jealous. He doesn't find out that she is an escort until it is too late.

Lawless, 33, is a devoted mother and a driving force behind a campaign against child abuse. She said of her role in the campaign: "I'm not an expert and I have nothing to offer but my profile and the energies that I have outside of work and family. But one of the priorities in my life is to contribute in some way, and this is a cause which moves me and 3 million other Kiwis." *


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