Lucy Lawless says "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," the prequel miniseries to the Starz cable show "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," will feature sex, drugs and a girlfriend for her character.
Lawless, 42, rose to fame as the star of the series "Xena: Warrior Princess." On the "Spartacus" shows, she plays Lucretia, whose husband Batiatus owns the gladiator Spartacus. Lawless and the rest of the cast often appear in sex scenes.
"I was really never naked," Lawless told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a recent satellite interview. "Hate to tell you. The sex scenes are never about sex. They're always about power or abuse or love or treachery. Nobody ever went into a "Spartacus" scene looking worse than they went in. They know how to treat you."
She said "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," which debuts on Friday, features two "spicy additions" - Jaime Murray, who plays her character's girlfriend Gaia, and a brand-new "rock star champion" called Gannicus played by Dustin Clare. The new prequel, she added, focuses "the honeymoon phase" of Lucretia's life with Batiatus.
"She just is madly in love with him and I believe she's always madly in love with him her whole life," she said. She never dreamed of sleeping with another man - that was not what beautiful Roman women did. Her girlfriend shows up with a stash of opium and teachers her some very bad tricks indeed."
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" starred British actor Andy Whitfield as the title character. He left the show last fall to resume aggressive treatment of his Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
"He is going through a second round of chemo and he is responding well to treatment," Lawless said. "He's putting himself and his family first, as he should at this time. We really just support him, we love him so much so whatever he needs is all right by us."
Starz said earlier this week that Liam McIntyre, an Australian actor who appeared in the HBO miniseries "The Pacific," will replace Whitfield on the second season of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," whose premiere date has not been announced.
"He's going to re-imagine the role," Lawless said. "He's going to be everything he can be in the role. He's different but I think you're quickly going to accept and love him as well."
"Xena: Warrior Princess" was created by Robert Tapert, Lawless' husband and an executive producer of "Spartacus Blood and Sand," and ended in 2001 after six seasons. The show depicted a female warrior with a dark past fighting for justice in ancient lands and garnered a cult following. The character first appeared on "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys."
"We called it our lesbian spin-off," "Hercules" actor Kevin Sorbo told OnTheRedCarpet.com in May 2010.
Lawless said she hoped a "Xena" movie would be produced. Fans have been pushing for one for years.
"It could be either a complete comedy, a schticky comedy which could be really fun, in the vein of a Leslie Nielsen movie for example," the actress said. "Or it could be a very, sort of a 'Spartacus' kind of version, where it's just off the hook, gnarly action and really, really hot."