Official Xena and Hercules Convention 2001
PAGE 5 of 8
Saturday, May 5th
Before Sharon came on to start the day, they showed a video to I Need A Hero that was a mix of Xena, Wonder Woman and Supergirl clips. Then they followed that with Here and Now which was a Hercules and Iolaus video. Then Sharon came on stage and introduced the video for Livia/Eve Walking on Broken Glass. This was followed by Its My Life which was a video for Virgil. Then she introduced Adrienne Wilkinson and William Gregory Lee.
They both came on stage and Greg hugged Adrienne and said We really dont hate each other, and Adrienne agreed. The first question was for Greg about whether he would be on Dark Angel again. He said that the upcoming episode would have him on it as well as a few others. Then Adrienne was asked which she liked playing better, Livia or Eve. She said she enjoyed playing Livia, because she was a much more interesting character. She did say though that she really enjoyed Eve cussing Michael Hurst out in You Are There. She told us how the extras didnt know that was going to happen and they were very surprised when she started in on Michael. Also, poor Michael had to do the fall over and over again, but she said he was a great sport about it and seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Greg related a story of his strangest encounter with a fan. He said he was walking down the street one day and someone came up to him and asked him if Lydecker was still after him. He told the fan yes, instead of trying to explain that it was just a TV show. He also said that being on Dark Angel was what kept him from coming back on Xena. He said he wasnt sure what ended up happening to Virgil but he thought it would have been great to have had an opportunity to explore that more.
Adrienne was asked what was the hardest part about getting the role. She said that she didnt know how to fight. But she was a dancer and that helped her figure out what to do since the fights are choreographed like dances. Greg said that Renee really helped him to learn how to fight. He said shes really great at it and helped him learn how to sell the hit. He said thats shes the best at selling the hit.
Greg said that originally he wasnt supposed to be Joxers son. His character had a different name, but when he got to the set he found out that his name had been changed to Virgil and he was now Joxers son. He also mentioned that Whos Ghurkan was the most enjoyable episode for him since he didnt have to worry about the tension with Eve and he could relax and have more fun with the character.
Adrienne was asked about where she got the rage for Livia. She said the director just kept telling her to make it bigger. She really doesnt have all that angst in her. She said that her mother called her after seeing the first episode and wanted to know if it was her fault that she had all that anger. She had to reassure her mother that there was nothing wrong. She commented that the entire time she was on Xena, she didnt have to wear heels, which was quite enjoyable for her. She also related that she didnt originally know she was cast as Xenas daughter. In fact, she thought she wouldnt get the role when she went to the audition because she felt she looked too much like Lucy. As it turned out that was exactly what they were looking for.
Greg was asked what he brought to the character. He that his contribution was Virgils clear love of his father. He felt that was a really important aspect of his character. He was originally only cast for two appearances, but they kept calling him up and bringing him back for more eps. He also mentioned that Ted is very animated and it was easy to pick up his characteristics when he needed to include them in Virgils character.
Adrienne was asked if she had seen the show before she got cast. She said shed only seen bits and pieces, but when she was hired, they sent her 3 eps to watch. The first was Callisto, then there was one that focused on Evil Xena and the final one was the first ep. with baby Eve (I think she was referring to God Fearing Child). She said that she decided to play Livia like an angry teenager, even though the character is actually 25 years old. She felt that that captured the sense of abandonment that Livia would have felt after growing up without a mother. She also mentioned that she didnt really get an explanation of Eves birth. Another thing she commented on was the fact that she and Renee are really the best of friends, but it seemed like every time she turned around, Gabrielle was hitting her. She wondered if Gabrielle was jealous of Xenas attention to Eve. She commented that she really would have liked to see the dynamic between Eve and Gabrielle explored more. She also mentioned that they cut a lovely little scene between Eve and Virgil out of Whos Ghurkan. It was a scene where the two characters reconciled over the fact that Livia had killed Joxer, but they just didnt have time for it in the episode. She reiterated that she loved playing Livia, and really didnt enjoy playing Eve because she wasnt as multi-faceted as Livia. It took them quite a while to get the right note for Eve and she seemed pretty one-dimensional most of the time.
Greg tried to coax Adrienne to sing but she wasnt willing to do it. Then Adrienne commented that one of the things she really had wanted to do on Xena was dance, since that was her background. She said that Renee didnt really like to dance that much on screen and it seemed like all the time during the sixth season that she had to. She just wished shed gotten a chance to do a bit of dancing.
Greg commented that one of the biggest surprises for him in being involved with Xena and Dark Angel was the level of dedication among the fans. He said he loves doing the job but is just amazed at the reaction he gets from fans. Adrienne agreed and said that it takes adjusting to get used to the adoration. Were not worthy, she said.
When asked when he started acting, Greg said his mother claims hes been acting all his life, but he really only started when he was 20. He also mentioned that he was from Virginia. Adrienne said she also started acting when she was 20. Greg was asked who represented him and he said STV Partners was his agency. He was also asked who his favorite Star Wars character was and replied it was Han Solo. He also admitted to having a tattoo, but wouldnt show us where it was.
Both actors commented on how beautiful it was working in New Zealand. The people are really friendly and giving and theres so much to see. The county is stunning. Adrienne said she was inspired every day by getting to do all sorts of wonderful things and that everything was a great game.
Adrienne was then asked to do her war scream. She admitted that she could never remember it and they always have to play it for her before she does it in the recording studio. She did give it a go though and did a pretty good job. The actors were asked, if they were a fruit, what would they be. They hemmed and hawed a bit and then Greg said he would be an apple. Adrienne said that there was really not good fruit to be because you could read anything into it. You might as well pick the horny fruits and get it over with. <G>
Finally, a fan gave Adrienne a teddy bear and then Greg and Adrienne hugged again. Adrienne said about Greg that Hes so cute and we like each other, and then they left the stage.
After that I decided to go to the Whoosh discussion on Six Seasons of Xena: What Went Right and What Went Wrong, instead of staying for Tim Omundson. They had Jim Lundgren (ign.com Xena reviewer), Brent Rudnick (Whoosh interviewer and Graphics Editor), Katherine Fugate (writer for When Fates Collide), Deb7 (fan reviewer), Beth Gaynor (Rate-A-Xena and Woolgatherings) and Philip Tracy (freelance journalist LA Weekly and Village Voice) on the panel. Jim talked about how the relationship, however you chose to define it, was the driving force behind the fascination with the series and that the Fifth season suffered because that wasnt as central to the story. Brent had done some analysis of ratings and shared that with us. It was interesting that Seasons 1 and 2 showed steady growth in viewership, there was a slight drop in Season 3, but Season 4 regained some of that, and then Season 5 showed a marked drop in viewership. Season 6 has shown an improvement as some fans returned to the show. Katherine talked about how she hadnt started out watching Xena, but her sister kept encouraging her to do so. She started to watch the show and got hooked. Then her mother developed cancer and she had to essentially drop everything and take care of her in her final days. She took a bunch of Xena videos with her and watching them helped her through the process when she didnt feel like she could carry on as the strong caregiver that everyone expected her to be. Because of the contribution the show made to her life, she decided that she wanted to give something back and decided that she wanted to write an episode of the show. She said that Renpics must have been quite surprised when her agent contacted them and told them that a features writer wanted to write an episode for a syndicated TV series. She also said that she considered the episode her gift to the fans, and hoped we would enjoy it. At this point, I headed back to the main auditorium so I could watch Last of The Centaurs with the rest of the fans at the con.
I have to say that watching a Xena episode with thousands of other Xenites is quite a unique experience. Its quite a rush when you have a bunch of other fans reacting and cheering Xena on, instead of watching it by yourself or with a small group. After the episode, they showed some trailers for upcoming sci-fi movies including, Return of the Mummy, Planet of The Apes and Tomb Raider. The audience was quite excited about Tomb Raider (as am I <G>). Then they set up for the Charity Auction and I went to take another break and check out the photo line.
When I came back, I was told that one of the new Chakrams that had been used by Lucy had sold for $40,000. This topped the price of her sword that was sold a couple years ago (it was purchased by Chris Cogstan (sp?), who bought the first chakram and subsequently, the sword). After the auction wrapped up, Sharon introduced the Alti video, which was a rocking video, to the song, Control Your Soul. And then Claire came on stage.
Claire came out and said that Creation had told her not to swear on stage. Her reaction to that was Fuck them! As the audience was cheering that sentiment, she said, I fucking love you guys! Then she told us she had a surprise for us, and pulled out a tape recorder. She held it up to the microphone and played it. It was really hard to hear, but she told us it was Danielle Cormack and Kevin Smith saying Hi from New Zealand.
She was asked how many more shows she would be in. She said just one more. Then she commented that just when she gets it right they fucking cancel the series! Someone asked her what it was like to be inside of Xena. Warm, she said. Then she commented that she couldnt believe that she actually had to say that. She and Lucy were quite amazed that had actually been written into the script.
She commented that Creation is never inviting me back Fuck Them! To which the crowd responded enthusiastically. Claire commented that she had learned a lot from Alti. Before, she had always wanted to be small, since she was such a big girl. Playing Alti helped her be a big strong chick that could stand up to things. She said that when she first got on set, she was having trouble owning the character of Alti she was sort of slouching around. Lucy came up to her and told her to just go for it and own who Alti was, so she did.
Then Claire mentioned that this was the first convention that both she and Hudson had been at together. She hoped she met up with Hudson, because she thinks she could kick Hudsons ass. Next someone asked her to say Xenas little bitch in Altis voice which she did.
She talked about not liking to work on sit-coms. She mentioned that she had been on the show with the Olsen trolls. They had hired her because they didnt have enough money to get a supermodel. She was walking around the set one day, and the twins were talking. She heard them commenting to each other that she wasnt a supermodel, which certainly didnt endear them to her. She does like doing sit-coms though when they are well run, like Fraiser.
When asked what her most favorite work is to do, she said whatever she could get, especially when she doesnt have to take her clothes off. She said that she and Alex had talked about that since they had both done shows where they had been naked, and now the shots were all over the Internet. She had done a Red Shoes Diaries and was told that there was only one love scene in it. What they didnt tell her was that every time the guy in the show thought about her they had him daydreaming about that love scene, so it ended up being shown 7 times and was just awful.
She commented that before Alti she didnt feel comfortable being in a dominant role, even though that was what she was most often cast as. Now, though, shes much more comfortable with all of that. Then she commented that she was probably going to miss the show as much as we are because shes become quite a fan of the show. She said shed probably be bawling her eyes out with the rest of us on Sunday when Lucy and Renee were on stage.
Someone asked her what it was like driving the car in Send in the Clones. She said she loved it. It was great doing donuts in a big muscle car. She said that they had shot that on second unit and there was no one else around. They let her just have a lot of fun with it, since they really werent all that worried about her hitting anything. The car cost about $2000 and they ended up destroying it anyway, so she had a blast doing it.
Then someone asked where the Alti look came from. She said she had pulled a picture of a high fashion model from a magazine and took it to the make-up people. The makeup was used to enhance the power of the Alti stare, since that was what she thought was Altis most powerful weapon.
She was asked what her inspirational roles were. She mentioned she was a big fan of The Graduate and Anne Bancroft. She liked the whole idea of what Mrs. Robinson got up to. Then she said she wanted to be a flight attendant when she was younger.
Someone asked her if doing the voice hurt. She said it really didnt unless she had to do it for long periods of time. It was really fairly easy for her. She did mention that she had stolen the voice from the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
When asked what she was currently up to, she said that she was directing short films for the Internet, but that sort of fell through. Now shes working on short films that can be released straight to DVD. Shes trying to put something together with Claudia Christian. She also mentioned that all you needed was a digital video camera, some stolen software and you could make a DVD. She had wanted to do a series called Con Artists, but shes let that go and moved on to something else.
She was asked whether she knew if they were going to be doing a Xena movie. At first she said no, she didnt know for sure. Then she said that actually yes she did know, but she couldnt tell us.
Someone then asked her if she still played golf with Lucy. She said not really. Now they shop together. She said that they really are neither of them good golfers. So, theyd get together to golf, look at each other and say, fuck it, lets shop.
One thing that was very clear from the things that Claire was saying was she was very conscientious of the lesbian fans of the show. She said she wanted to give the person that had bought the Chakram for $40,000 something special, so she called Chris on stage. When Chris got there, Claire gave her a big kiss right on her lips. Then she said that shed be doing more of that later that evening with Alex. This, of course, got big cheers from the audience. Then, after thanking the fans for their support, Claire commented again on how much she was going to miss the show and left the stage.
Next up was the music video for Aphrodite, to the tune of Barbie Girl. Then Alexandra Tydings came bouncing onto the stage. She cavorted around on the stage for a bit and then commented on being blown away by the number of people there.
After regaining her composure a bit, she told us that she had recently done an episode of Sheena and that she hasnt worked in America lately. She said that it was quite a different role from Aphrodite, since she played a thief, had her own hair and got to wear clothes. She had a number of wild experiences on the Sheena set. She told us that she had to run through the woods and jump over a log. They did this a few times and she felt like she had it under control. The next time through she was trying to make it look like she didnt know where she was going, even though she did. She was running full out and came to the log, and when she went to jump it she caught her foot on the log and fell face first into the dirt. After that they all called her Grace.
Another time she had to act with a cobra. She said that cobras are method actors. When she got the script she was quite disconcerted to also receive a whole page of instructions on how to work with venomous animals. She said that before they use a cobra or other snake on stage, they milk their teeth of the venom. Other times, they have removed the poison sacs, but theres no way to tell if theyve grown back without operating on the snake again. In the scene she had to do shes walking along beside Sheena and trips, falling down and finding herself face to face with a cobra. Sheenas then supposed to tell her roll to her left, and then grab the snake and kill it. The way its set up, they have the snake behind a piece of plexiglass with two handlers, who have golf clubs, on each end of the glass. She was thinking that the golf clubs were not really going to do anything if the snake came after her. So they tell her that they are going to let the snake out, and not to worry since it will probably be madder at the handler than her. They released the snake and she fell down in front of it and the snake immediately focused on her, not the handler. After staring her down a bit, it struck at the glass trying to get her. She was sure that it wanted to get through the glass at her. After that take, they all stood up to discuss what needed to be done and the snake stayed completely focused on her. Then the next take, they told her to roll to the left, and she was just sure that the snake was going to follow her, and all there was to protect her were the wranglers and their clubs, since the plexiglass didnt extend very far. So they give her the cue, and sure enough the snake went after her as she rolled. Obviously, it didnt get her but it certainly made quite an impression on her when all was said and done.
As Alex started to take questions, one of the fans asked how it was for Aphrodite to kiss Gabrielle. She said that she had a good time. Then someone asked her about her costume. She commented that it was very cold, especially when they are outside and its raining and all she has on is essentially her underwear. Very uncomfortable. She did comment that playing Aphrodite has been a blast though. Her first episode, Kevin Sorbo was directing, and she got to surf onto the beach in a giant clamshell. That was a blast.
Then someone asked her to pose for a sexy picture and she made as if she was going to take her shirt off. Again she was asked how it was to kiss Renee and she responded, Fabfuckingtastic! She said she had a lot of fun in that episode, especially doing her model on heroin walk <G>. She also commented that Renee is gorgeous!
She then explained that she was wearing New Zealand pants, which are very tight on the top and have big bell-bottoms that start at the knee. She said that they are very comfortable. Someone asked where the Valley speak came from. She told us that initially it was the writers who put it in, but after a while she got really good at the Valley talk and shed make suggestions for what Aphrodite would say. For instance, her comment about that was so 5 minutes ago, came from seeing it on Buffy. Next someone asked her what the dumbest thing was that shed ever done. She said she wasnt going to give us that one.
Someone else asked how it was to play a dumb character. She sort of stopped for a second and then said that she didnt see Aphrodite as being dumb. She thinks Aphrodite is manipulative, crafty and very clear on what she wants, but certainly not dumb. She speculated that Americans have trouble seeing a sexy blonde without thinking that shes dumb. Personally, she thinks that Aphrodite is brilliant, since she often gets what she wants.
Next someone asked her about practical jokes on the set. She said that she and Renee were always trying to play them on Lucy, but they didnt have a lot of success. She told us that she and Renee were sitting in a tavern together, and since all of them have really short skirts on, it can be a bother if they sit on something. There was all sorts of icky set food on the table in front of them, and she and Renee were gathering up crumbs and putting them on Lucys chair and giggling to each other. They had managed to put quite a number of crumbs on the chair. When Lucy came in, she just automatically wiped off the chair and sat down, completely ruining the joke.
Alex mentioned that she has a fan club website up at Alextydings.com. She also said that she and Claudia Christian were trying to create a show for them both to be in. Then she talked about how marvelous the whole Xena phenomenon is and how groundbreaking it has all been. Finally, she told us that Claire had called her up a bit ago to arrange for their costume fittings for the Revue that evening. She was surprised, since she didnt realize that it was going to be such a big thing, but she was very excited about what they had planned for us during the revue. After that she thanked us and left the stage.
I didnt stick around for Ted Raimi, since I was meeting friends for dinner. As I was waiting outside, I hooked up with Joanna Sandsmark who mentioned that there was going to be a showing of The Bitter Treat in one of the hotel rooms at the Sheraton, and invited me and my friends to join them. DJWP and the rest of the crew that put the video together did a wonderful job. It was so funny to watch the ep and hear the words that Joanna had written instead of the original verses <VBG>. Then after dinner we returned to the convention center for that evenings cabaret.