Warrior Princess Is Rebranded As A Suburban Crime Fighter (I Newspaper UK) 25 September 2019

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I Newspaper (UK) 25 September 2019

My Life is Murder on Alibi (UK) 3/5 stars

Lucy Lawless achieved cult status in the 1990s fantasy classic Xena: Warrior Princess, but in Australian drama My Life is Murder, she joins the ever-expanding ranks of TV detectives, playing Melbourne-based investigator Alexa Crowe. Crowe used to be on the police force, but now spends her time making bread with a complicated German gadget called a Loobenschwegen. Screenwriter Matt Ford must have a fetish for wacky brand names, since later we got a walk-on appearance from the Schmilford vacuum cleaner.

Crowe claims to be retired, but that appears to be true only when she hasn’t been offered a crime to solve. It merely took a quick coffee with her former boss, DI Kieran Hussey (Bernard Curry), to get her interested in the case of a woman who had fallen from the 19th floor apartment of a male escort called Dylan Giroux. Did she fall, or was she pushed? Have a guess.

Gritty realism is emphatically not the objective here, as the show aims to mix a little leisurely sleuthing with ironic glances at issues and obsessions of contemporary life (though it’s set in Australia, it could be transplanted to almost anywhere). Thus, the Giroux case afforded space for some reflections on Crowe’s life as a single woman in middle age (“Paying for sex doesn’t make you lonely, it makes you practical,” she asserted), and there was some mild satire of “wokeness” when Crowe enlisted her researcher Madison (Ebony Vagulans) so they could pose as a lesbian couple pretending to be flat-hunting in the suspect’s building. “That’s sexuality appropriation!” Madison objected. “It’s workplace harassment!”

You wouldn’t recommend Crowe’s investigative technique to aspiring young police officers – she doesn’t bother with back-up, and here cut to the chase by simply booking an appointment for Giroux’s smarmy professional services.

Cramming a complete case into a 43-minute show (when you take the ads out) required a few short cuts. For instance, Madison can find out anything about anybody within seconds using just a phone and a laptop, like a one-woman fusion of Google and the FBI. It’s enjoyable, but feels a little lightweight.

Mindfood Magazine: Fighting The Good Fight 01 August 2019

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Mindfood Magazine

01 August 2019 Issue

Fighting The Good Fight

Written by Charles Parcell

She is best known for her breakout part, the feminist icon Xena: Warrior Princess. Now, actor Lucy Lawless is enjoying playing an ex-detective helping to clear the streets of Melbourne of bad guys while hanging out with middle-aged men in lycra.

Lucy Lawless is recovering from a cold. Fresh from fighting crime on the mean (and terribly chic) streets of Melbourne in her new dramedy My Life Is Murder, the star says she caught the “obligatory post-production cold”.

Crimefighting is actually good for one’s health, she claims. It’s when you stop that the ‘lurgies’ actually hit you.

I sympathise. No-one thinks about what happens to these heroes and heroines after they’ve had their adventures, do they?

“I know. You’re not thinking about us at all,” she laughs.

For example, one would hope Xena: Warrior Princess – the iconic role that Lawless is indelibly connected to – might have retired with her sidekick Gabrielle at the end of her adventures. Perhaps to grow organic produce on a farm somewhere? Instead, the female role model to millions of fans died in a grisly manner.

“But we’re not allowed to talk about that because it upsets the fans so badly. Which is understandable.” Unlike Xena, Lawless’s career is again on the rise as she plays the complex, contrary and compelling investigator Alexa Crowe in My Life Is Murder.

Following the death of her husband, Alexa has retired from the police force, but is called back by her former colleague, Detective Inspector Kieran Hussey (Bernard Curry), to investigate crimes the police can’t – or won’t – solve.

“I appear to have entered the ‘Miss Marple’ phase of an actress’s career. It’s partly my own doing because I’m a lover of true crime and law. In between jobs, I go and sit in the courthouse and watch the murder trials.”

Is that a joke?

“No, it’s true. If I find myself with a few days off, that’s where I can often be found.” The crimes in her six-part series take place in some unusual locales: everything from the world of male escorts and cooking schools to the world of the ‘MAMIL’: the “middle-aged man in lycra”.

“Yes – I had never heard that term, but it’s real, isn’t it? With men in lycra, we get to discover something about what turns my character on.” Intriguing.

Lawless raves about her co-stars: “the wonderful Bernard Curry, who is such a divine fellow”, as well as Ebony Vagulans – “I think she is such a star and the minute I met her, I knew she was the right girl to play [data analyst] Madison”. Lawless also fell in love with the city of Melbourne itself, with all its great buildings and public art. But now, the star of stage and screen is back home in New Zealand and sitting out on the steps in the cool winter sun as we speak.

New Zealand enjoys an international reputation for being an unspoiled paradise removed from the troubles of the world, but it has seen its share of suffering lately. “Christchurch has been through a great deal,” agrees Lawless. “Earthquakes and instability and what that does to a community. Insurance nightmares and then the mass murder of 50 innocent people minding their own business.

“I think it opened up a much better dialogue between New Zealanders of all faiths, if you’re to look for a silver lining from a really dark cloud.”

Are New Zealanders resilient? “I think all humans are resilient, but you never know until you’re tested. That one scarred us pretty bad.”

Today, the former warrior princess is fighting to save the planet as a climate ambassador for Greenpeace, spreading the world about climate change.

“For 30 years I have known about what’s coming, but it’s just been hushed up. I’m glad that your average person is starting to understand it a little, understand what climate change means … more frequent and more ferocious catastrophic events and that it can touch all of us and challenge all of our society structures, redefine boundaries of countries and statehood and cause untold refugees. It’s a very, very serious conundrum.”


Find out more about Lucy’s role on My Life is Murder by going to the AUSXIP My Life is Murder subsite

NZ Herald: Lucy’s Fascination With Crime and Justice 7 August 2019

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Lucy’s Fascination With Crime and Justice

New Zealand Herald
7 August 2019

Written by Mark Kennedy
Associated Press

 

The next time you find yourself in a courtroom, look around. There’s a chance you might spot Lucy Lawless there, too.

The actress is fascinated by trials and on days when she’s not working will often go to court as a member of the public.

“It just teaches you so much about life and your own society and justice and about yourself,” says Lawless.

Lawless, 51, attended a murder trial in New Zealand, jury selection for a grisly case in Louisiana and was at Jeffrey Epstein’s bail hearing in New York last month when the financier faced sex trafficking charges.

On that rainy day, she watched Epstein “shamble in”, acting shaky. “Sedate is not the right word. It was sombre. And methodical. And meticulous. And all over in 20 minutes,” she says.

Lawless’ fascination with crime has filtered into her latest project, the new crime TV series My Life is

Murder, coming soon to TVNZ. “This much more closely mirrors my own personal interests,” she says.

Lawless plays Alexa Crowe, an exhomicide detective who bakes bread, loves Crowded House, speaks German and corrects people’s grammar when she’s not chasing baddies. She is a fully realised modern woman — unfiltered, sexy, funny and prone to giving advice.

In a typical scene, a villain holding a knife orders Alexa to stand up. “Get up slow,” he snarls. She responds calmly: “I think you’ll find ‘slowly’ is the adverb.”

There are differences between Alexa and Lawless. One is the character’s love of bread, which on the show is a symbol of new life. Lawless is gluten intolerant.

“It’s kind of a joke that I’m always up to my elbows in flour. But I sure

earned my intolerance. For 40 years, I ate bread like a mad thing and I know what it tastes like alright.”

The show, set in Melbourne, Australia, explores closed worlds — undertakers, models, escorts and even bicyclist enthusiasts nicknamed MAMILs (middle-aged men in Lycra). The show also tweaks conventions, casting a woman as a mob boss or making Alexa’s neighbour a millennial rather than a crusty older woman.

“I just want to give people a little psychic holiday from all the grim stuff so they can recharge the batteries and go back out there and fight the good fight,” Lawless said.

Creator Claire Tonkin wrote Alexa with Lawless in mind. “There’s a lot of me in the character and that’s the advantage of having writers build something around you. I’m a very lucky woman,” says Lawless.

Matthew Graham, the general manager of Acorn TV, which specialises in offering British and Australian TV shows, says Lawless’ show continues the push for strong, relatable female leads.

“We love Lucy Lawless. We love her strength, her vivaciousness, her intelligence and her sense of humour. We think that My Life is Murder is the perfect vehicle to showcase all of that,” he says.

Lawless’ strength and humour were present when she burst into the public’s consciousness as Xena in a show that mixed dark mythology, action, campy humour and sly sexuality. It aired from 1995 to 2001.

“It was fun. It was about universal themes, of the triumph of the human spirit: love, courage and, of course, hate and fear underneath that,” Lawless says.

Lawless constantly hears from fans about how the show empowered them, especially from people who feel marginalised — minorities, invalids, and gay men and women. She once asked an African-American woman why it resonated with black women. That woman’s response: “African-American women feel that they need to be warrior women every day of their lives.”

Activism is something she takes seriously and calls the environment “my No. 1 commitment”. She was arrested in 2012 for protesting Arctic oil drilling with Greenpeace and says the movement needs to keep going.

“You get compassion fatigue. You go, ‘I’ve only got so much bandwidth, and this is making my heart hurt’ and the world’s really heart-hurty right now,” she said.

“So to keep us buoyant, we’ve got to start hearing about the great innovations and people who are doing good work and there’s tons of it out there.”

NY Post: Lawless Bakes Bread and Solves Crimes In New Series

Image637004535633923598L UCY Lawless says “serendipity” brought her back to TV as crimesolver Alexa Crowe in “My Life Is Murder,” premiering Aug. 5 on Acorn TV.

“I was in New Zealand raising my kids, and now that my kids don’t seem to need me in the same way, the time was right,” says Lawless, 51, who shot the 10-episode series on location in Melbourne, Australia. “[Series executive producer] Claire Tonkin contacted me on the day that I happened to be in Sydney for Gay Pride. I said, ‘You’ve got an hour and a half on Sunday if you want to meet.’ She was the right person at the right time with the right idea and it was time for me to step up. And I was close to home if my [17-yearold] son needed me.”

In the series, Alexa is an investigator who left the Melbourne police department following the death of her husband. Content with baking bread at home, she’s unofficially recruited back into action by her former boss, Detective Inspector Keiran Hussy (Bernard Curry), who teams her with ambitious upstart Madison Feliciano (Ebony Vagulans) to help solve puzzling murders. Their pairing adds a touch of whimsy to the series since they’re both obsessive — Alexa over her new German breadmaking machine and Madison over her high-tech vacuum cleaner. “Alexa has been hiding from the world baking bread, which is kind of a metaphor for a new life and doing something organic and wholesome,” says Lawless. “She has not progressed since her husband died and she went into a bit of a grief hole. Ironically, it’s getting involved with murderers again that brings her back to life … so she can climb out and process her grief properly. “And Madison is in love with her vacuum cleaner,” she says. “When we were developing the story I was like, ‘C’mon, we can’t have two women in love with their machines!’ They were like, ‘No, this is great [for] the lean-in factor.’ There are little curious things that make you go towards the show because they’re peculiar, but believable.”

Lawless, a New Zealand native, shot to fame nearly 25 years ago as “Xena: Warrior Princess” (1995-2001), and says there are similarities to that series in Alexa’s relationship with Madison and Xena’s friendship with sidekick Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor).

“The thing that differentiates Alexa from any other character I’ve played is that she’s sexually quite liberated,” says Lawless. “Her first murder case [in the series opener] involves a rent boy and there’s a kind of ‘will she or won’t she?’ effect. But I do see parallels with ‘Xena’ in that Madison is totally my sidekick, like Gabrielle, so there’s a ‘girl power’ element.”

Lawless says she’s open to the idea of resurrecting “Xena” — but it won’t involve her husband, series co-creator Rob Tapert. “Look, they tried to do it and get my husband in on it but he said ‘I honestly cannot think of a way to do it better than I already did it’ … He’s afraid he’s going to make some really sh—y version,” she says. “I made this comment during an interview like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’ and got like 100 e-mails: ‘Give us a call!’

“I did see a promo with Linda Hamilton for the reboot of ‘Terminator’ and I was like, ‘Yes! They nailed it!’ It was admiration and jealousy and I was like, why are they not doing that with Xena? Bring back me and Renee as the ages we are now and hand the baton over. I’m not signing a six-year [TV] contract to play Xena, but as a movie? Great!”


Find out more about Lucy’s role on My Life is Murder by going to the AUSXIP My Life is Murder subsite

Video: My Life is Murder Season 1 Episode 3: Lividity in Lycra

Cycling groups are the ultimate opportunity for networking and power broking. But when the CFO of a hospitality empire dies on his morning ride, Alexa must infiltrate the world of lycra and butt pads.