Still a war­rior

Cult ac­tor Lucy Law­less con­tin­ues the fight in The Code

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By DEB­BIE SCHIPP

WHETHER it’s swing­ing a sword as war­rior princess Xena, schem­ing as Lu­cre­tia in Spar­ta­cus, or climb­ing atop a ship and get­ting her­self ar­rested, Lucy Law­less is for­mi­da­ble in a fight.

And in her role of re­mote in­dige­nous school teacher Alex Wisham in new po­lit­i­cal thriller The Code, Law­less, 46, is again a force to be reck­oned with.

The Kiwi ac­tor rose to in­ter­na­tional fame as the ti­tle character in Xena: The War­rior Princess, which ran from 1995 to 2001. Sub­se­quent roles in­cluded

Bat­tlestar Galac­tica and Spar­ta­cus, and she reem­braced com­edy as Diana in Parks and Recre­ation and in the off­beat NZ hit Flight of the Con­chords.

Un­til The Code, straight-shoot­ing Law­less, as ir­rev­er­ent as she is en­thu­si­as­tic, had never taken an act­ing gig “across the ditch”.

“It’s my first role in Aus­tralia. I saw great writ­ing and grabbed it,” she says.

“If I had waited, bloody Cate Blanchett would have taken it.”

The Code is the story of two brothers who stum­ble on a se­cret the power bro­kers of gov­ern­ment in Can­berra will kill to keep.

Two Abo­rig­i­nal kids are hurt in a car ac­ci­dent. Some­one should have called for help and didn’t. Some­one is wrongly blamed.

That some­one just hap­pens to be one of Alex Wisham’s stu­dents.

As Xena, Law­less wore leather over­laid with metal ar­mour, with a sword her weapon of choice.

As Alex, her weapons are fear­less­ness, pas­sion for her stu­dents and jus­tice. The steel is on the inside. Her past is her Achilles heel.

Law­less says Alex is like no character she has played, but also the one most like her­self.

“It’s im­por­tant she not be the white su­per hero,” Law­less says.

“Oh, and she has a love tri­an­gle – with Aaron Ped­er­sen’s character and a younger man … how awe­some is that?”

Since film­ing The Code, Law­less has been do­ing a bit of the­atre, writ­ing a news­pa­per col­umn, go­ing to court, and serv­ing her “pun­ish­ment” of 120 hours com­mu­nity ser­vice in a de­men­tia ward – “the most fun I’ve ever had”.

The sen­tence came in 2012 after Law­less – (add ecow­ar­rior to the CV) – climbed onto an oil drilling ship with a group of Green­peace ac­tivists and stayed for three days protest­ing against oil ex­plo­ration. “I thought about it for a cou­ple of min­utes and then said, ‘ Yes’,” she said at the time. She pleaded guilty to tres­pass­ing, served the com­mu­nity ser­vice in a hospice work­ing with the el­derly and “loved it”.

“No mat­ter where you put me I’m go­ing to suck the life out of it,” she says.

Law­less hasn’t been ar­rested lately.

“I’ve been try­ing to keep my nose clean. Now it’s back to work,” she laughs.

Back to work means head­ing State­side for her new “bad-ass” role of Agent Is­abelle Hart­ley in Mar­vel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

“I split my time be­tween NZ and the US – that’s just the re­al­ity of my life. And some­times the re­lief of get­ting back onto a TV set is im­mense be­cause it’s just another planet,” she says.

Of Xena, the role that put her on the map, she says, “It gave me and my chil­dren ev­ery­thing … my house and a name use­ful for other jobs and causes”.

“Some­times I re­gret that when Xena was at her height … I wish I’d just busted up a ho­tel room, like a rock star. But there was never a mo­ment. It prob­a­bly comes with be­ing a mother from a very young age.

“Maybe my rock star ho­tel bust­ing days are ahead of me.”


Stand­ing firm: Be­low, Lucy Law­less as Alex Wisham in The­Code and in­set in her star-mak­ing role as Xena War­rior Princess.

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