Lucy Lawless on Embracing the “Cheese” of Xena

“I happen to like cheese. I think it’s one of the best things on Earth.”

Lucy Lawless As Xena

Many dream of jumpstarting a career in entertainment with a massive smash hit. But while being part of a hugely popular movie or show can open doors like never before, it can also wind up closing some in the process due to the industry’s tendency to box talent in to what they’ve done well before.

On the one hand, it’s understandable. Take a moment to dreamcast a book-to-film adaptation or the next installment of your favorite franchise. I’d like to bet someone – if not everyone – in the mix is there because they’ve done something similar before and they were quite good at it. And hey, if that line of thinking leads to some spot-on casting, great! But, it does make it less likely for those projects to discover new talent in the sector and it can also make it especially hard for an actor to broaden their range beyond their breakout hit.

Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess
Image via USA

With that thought in mind, I opted to ask Lucy Lawless about her post Xena: Warrior Princess experience during her episode of Collider Connected. When Xena came to a close, was she only being offered similar roles? And if so, was that something she wanted to change of embrace? Here’s what she said:

“I think I realized quite early on, I don’t have any choice but to embrace it because, A, she was good to me – the character I mean, Xena. The show gave me everything, my family, my friends.”

So yes, Lawless very much embraced the idea of being synonymous with a show that gave her so much, but it is something that made some in the industry look at her in a very particular way. She continued:

“I didn’t think I would be boxed in, but I was boxed in in a peculiar way where people think that, ‘Oh, she’s from that 90s show. It was cheesy. I didn’t really watch it. It was cheesy. She’s cheese.’ And I happen to like cheese. I think it’s one of the best things on Earth. [Laughs]”

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Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor in Xena
Image via Universal

Not only did Lawless celebrate cheese all-around – as one should – but she also made a point to highlight the importance of pushing to do new things whenever you can:

“So yes, I did get boxed in. I kinda didn’t realize it at the time. It was only in retrospect. But I seem to have just climbed out. You know, you just endure. Just endure. Keep walking through new doors. Keep doing things that scare you because, by golly, if you live to be 80, you’re gonna look back on all of this and go, ‘Wow, none of that mattered, but boy did I have a good time.’ So be brave.”

Wondering what project required the most bravery from Lawless? You can find the answer to that question and so many more in our full Collider Connected conversation below:

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