Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, 1.02 - Lucy Lawless
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena 1.02 "Missio" - Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) © 2010 Starz Entertainment

Following the panel at the TV Critics Association for Spartacus: Vengeance, I caught up with Lucy Lawless, who continues to play Lucretia on the show, surviving the bloody gladiator revolt that took the life of her husband, gladiator owner Batiatus (John Hannah).

As I approached Lucy in the hallway outside of the main room, it appeared that a journalist was obsessed with an accident that occurred as long ago as October 8, 1996, when Lucy did a skit as her iconic character Xena on The Jay Leno Show.

I hear you are still going for physical therapy from that injury that happened years ago?

Spartacus: Vengeance - Lucy Lawless
Spartacus: Vengeance – Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) © 2011 Starz Entertainment

I just never got any help at the appropriate time, so now I work out at a rehab gym, because I don’t like those whiz-bang places that are full of people who want to date. I’m there to become better.

I noticed my posture was really slipping, so I got together with people of science, wisdom and experience at correcting such things as bad posture.

Wasn’t the injury in your neck?

Yes, that was part of it, but really I had a lot of other things going on in my body and my feet that were from childhood, so I can’t blame an accident for that.

How did the accident happen?

When you’re riding on a horse around film gear and your horse gets nervous, you’re nervous, you’re on concrete, it was just dumb luck and that’s the way it goes and I don’t dwell on that. (ie: let it go, lady!)

What kind of exercises do you?

Spartacus: Vengeance, 2.01 - Lucy Lawless
Spartacus: Vengeance, 2.01 “Fugitivus” – Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) © 2011 Starz Entertainment

I do weights, and just lately I’ve been getting back into doing a little bit of cardio. My husband (producer Rob Tapert) does this thing where you get your heart rate to 120 and then for about 30 seconds you go as hard as you can, and then wait for your heart rate to come back down and do it all over again eight times.

I have never felt the euphoria that people talk about, but just in the last two days I’m completely buzzing, because I got my heart rate up a little bit.

Your character looks a little crazy this season.

Well you would be crazy, wouldn’t you? Your unborn child has been unceremoniously killed, and you’ve lost your husband, you’ve lost everything, it’s sad. She may or may not be crazy, I’m going to let you decide.

Will you be playing that the whole season?

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena 1.04 - Jaime Murray and Lucy Lawless
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena 1.04 “Beneath the Mask” – Gaia (Jaime Murray) and Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) © 2011 Starz

No, because that would be very tiresome, very quickly. Somebody’s crazy, that’s interesting for about three seconds. But you quickly want to get back to the characters that you know and love. It took a bit of doing actually figuring that out, I found that extremely challenging.

Is the theme for the whole season the uprising?

Yes, that’s what historically happened with Spartacus.

Then where do you go for a fourth season?

Oh, you’re asking the wrong person. I don’t know.

Is there something about putting on those costumes that makes the work easier for an actress?

Clothes really inform, but I don’t know if it makes [acting] easier. Modern clothes are divine, except for the stupidity of high heels which I am wearing, but my character is informed by make-up, hair and wardrobe.

Do you miss John Hannah?

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena - Lucy Lawless
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena – Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) ©2010 Starz Entertainment

I do miss John Hannah. We had incredible chemistry, but I’m also having incredible chemistry with Viva Bianco, who plays Ilithyia, who is such a great woman and a great actress. She and I care about what’s good for the scene and what makes the scene more intriguing, so she has filled the acting void for me.

I was a bit afraid going on without John, but he’s the workingest actor in town and he wouldn’t even be available now. I’m lucky to have awesome, talented people to work with.

Have you been in touch with him?

He’s in London and he’s busy and I’m busy, that’s the way it goes in our business.

I love the what you said on the panel, that you would fight for your family with your last breath.

For your children, yeah.

Has your child ever been bullied in school where you had to protect her?

No, because bullying is not about your child it’s about the other person, you know what I mean? That hasn’t really occurred to an extent where I needed to get between my child and another child. It hasn’t been an issue.

I don’t know what I would do in that situation actually, but it wouldn’t be about beating up the child, it would be about what situation was that allowed that to occur.

About my husband, Rob, who is a genius on this show and many other shows, and as far as I’m concerned the alpha and the omega creatively. There’s the incredible Steven DeKnight and Starz who have supported this and risked all and put a great deal of money into this.

I like credit to be given appropriately and to be shared around, because there is a lot of credit to go around. So I protect my husband in that way.

If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?

I would probably be chained to an oilrig somewhere, because I would work for Greenpeace.

What do you personally like to do between scenes on the set?

I play my ukulele, but I have to keep it well away from the action because it’s so daft and it’s so fun that it’s a distraction.

What is it that the audience sees in you that makes them think you can kick butt?

Maybe that I can kick butts. I think people do find me tough. I’m tall, I kind of don’t care, or I look like I don’t care, and I tell the truth. I usually try to tell the truth gently, if it’s required, and I don’t volunteer things necessarily, but I think that may be what it is, I hold a lot back.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.

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