Lucy Lawless Talks Her Return as a Hero in Acorn's 'My Life Is Murder'
In My Life Is Murder, an Australian crime show streaming on Acorn TV, the New Zealand actress plays cop turned private investigator Alexa Crane. Alexa may not have the brass breastplates or sword of Xena: Warrior Princess, but she is very much “a good guy, who seeks justice” says Lawless.
Lawless talks to TV Insider about her roles new and old and a reboot of Xena.
Who is Alexa Crane?
Lucy Lawless: Many shows these days have detectives or cops who are morally questionable, like Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes had a heroin addiction. Alexa’s a bit of a misanthrope, but always working for good. It’s about time we had one of those. She has flaws, but she’s not a villain in disguise.. It’s kind of a relief to play somebody who's real and relatable because people have been hungry for that right now.
She’s sexy, fully realized and unfiltered. She’s got a cat, but whatever that sad trope is, the cat chose her. (The feline, Dr. Thunderbolt, has its own animated digital spinoff.) Alexa is very contrarian and she doesn’t care about what everyone thinks of her. It’s so appealing.
Alexa was a homicide detective. Why did she retire early?
Her husband was a cop who was killed in the line of duty. She left to lick her wounds and decides she’s just going to make bread and get back to something wholesome and organic. She cuts herself off from the world — but her friends won’t allow it. They help her form a little pseudo family and that becomes really rich storytelling.
So she becomes a PI working with this new family of choice?
Her former colleague Kieran (Bernard Curry) from the police force, draws her back in to help solve cold cases. She only picks the ones that are a little gnarly. He forces her to take on a sidekick Madison, a data analyst, played by Ebony Vagulans. She was the last person we saw for the role and when she came in, my attraction to her as my costar was immediate. She just had this X-factor.
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Is there a murder a week to be solved?
Yep, and you can depend on it being solved. We all know that in a real murder case, there’s no true justice because the world is never going to be put back the way it was. In television you can have a sense of wholeness at the end of the hour, because the world has been fit to right in some way.
Are you happy to be starring in your own show in Australia, not too far from your New Zealand home?
Yes. But Melbourne is really a new city for me; I’ve only been there maybe twice and I would only see the hotel where a convention was being held. I spent five-and-a-half months filming and it never failed to delight.
There’s a big convention planned in L.A. later this month to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Xena: Warrior Princess. Are you going?
I am for old time’s sake because this is the original fanbase and they are an amazing force for good in the community. [Note: Renee O’Connor (Gabrielle) is also set to attend.] The group wanted to raise money for my charity, but then we figured out enrich one’s own community aligns most with my values.
They have a Steal the Love Day and they commit random acts of kindness, like a Brazilian doctor doing free cleft palate operations for a week, and someone began teaching guitar in prisons. It’s what you do in your own community that carries that sort of greater good Xena: Warrior Princess ethic.
Season 5 of the Acorn TV drama includes a twist that changes everything.
You probably get sick of Xena questions.
I don’t. I was just the lucky kid on the spot who got the gig and it was an amazing ride and here I am talking to you all these years later.
That’s good to hear. Do you think there will ever be a reboot of the show of some sort ?
I have been talking about this quite a bit. I've seen Linda Hamilton in the [Terminator: Dark Fate trailer] and was so impressed; I actually felt jealous because they had the gumption to use her at the age she is now and then hand over the baton. That’s the way to do another Xena, because people feel weird about me and Renee [O’Connor) being replaced. I feel less weird about that, but it would be really fun to feel what is to be that character at my age now. It’s intriguing as an actress.
You look great at "your age," and terrific as a blonde. Isn’t this close to your natural color, not Xena’s brunette?
My hair is technically dark ash blonde, but it’s been dyed so many times, I can barely remember!
Finally, you’ve been an activist for years for the environment, among other causes. Are you still doing that?
That’s my major commitment, because I’m all about justice. Climate change is a gross injustice to our children, the way we are leaving the world to them. Equal civil rights and marriage rights [for the LGBTQ+ community) is also about justice.
You’ve won awards for being an LGBTQ+ ally, haven’t you?
Well, it’s not hard to be a friend and they literally are my friends. But yeah, life is good and we need to make sure it continues to be good for our kids and that means getting serious about climate change and the environment in general.
My Life Is Murder, Series Premiere, Monday, August 5, Acorn TV