Official Xena and Hercules Convention 2001
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Then Sharon asked Lucy to sing something in the style of Stevie Nicks, so Lucy sang her Burrito song from SNL, which was a lot of fun. Next Sharon asked them what their favorite costumes were. Lucy said it was the stringed bikini from Lyre, Lyre. She was too tall to fit into Renees costume, but Renees double was taller so she could wear that one. Renee commented that it had shocked Ted and Lucy said that yes, they had shocked Ted many times. She said he didnt quite know how to react when his best friends pregnant wife was coming on to him, and laughed. Renee said that the costume she liked was the one from If The Shoe Fits when she was playing the ugly barmaid with the blacked out teeth. She said that was a lot of fun to do. Then Lucy commented that she loved all the costumes. Renee said though that whenever they brought out the crucifixion rags they knew they were in trouble, and it always seemed like those were coming back. Lucy commented that Renee had abs of steel and that the baby must be having a hard time finding space in there. Renee confirmed that she was 5 months pregnant. Then she commented that every time they changed the costume, she could move more. Every stage of the costume reflected a change in Gabrielle. Lucy commented that her boobs didnt get smaller though. Renee laughed and said it was natural because of the pregnancy.
Sharon asked them about practical jokes on set. Lucy said that Renee was always trying to pull lame jokes on her, like putting crumbs in her chair, greasing the door knob or putting cling wrap in the toilet. Renee said yeah, and you always managed to ruin them. They never worked. She said that she thought it was Rob who grabbed the doorknob, and Lucy just brushed the crumbs off before sitting down. Lucy said that she had taken the fishnet costume from The God You Know and worn it out bowling. She said, I looked cool in the bowling shoes bowling my heart out. Then Renee commented that the rope dance was the hardest she had done with all the twisting and stuff. Shed never been that sore before. Sharon asked her if she was really dancing on shields and she said yes with a bunch of strong men holding her up.
Next Sharon asked Renee what her middle name was. Renee said it was Renee, which sort of stymied Sharon for a minute. Then Lucy mischievously said that her name was Evelyn. Renee sort of shot her a glance for letting the cat out of the bag, and then explained that her full name was Evelyn Renee OConnor and she was named after her grandmother. However, in order to keep it from getting confusing, everyone always referred to her as Renee.
Sharon asked if either of them had taken anything home from the set on the final day, like their costumes. Renee said she took her bathrobe and the moon boots because they were so comfortable. She loved wandering around her house in the moon boots. Lucy said that she had taken her costume home and the original chakram, because she liked that one better.
Then Sharon asked what were Xena and Gabrielles pet peeves about each other. Renee said that for Gabrielle it was that Xena never brushed her teeth. Lucy said that Xena was upset about Gabrielle using her chakram to cut eel.
Sharon asked Renee whether the pregnancy had affected any of the final shooting. Renee said that they had adjusted the costume at her request so that it came up a little higher in the middle, but they hadnt made any other changes. She said she had been worried that she would have to do reshoots of scenes and that they wouldnt match up. When Sharon asked them if they would keep up their physical fitness, both of them said that they were planning on staying fit. Sharon asked them about whether they were going to change their hair styles now that the show was over. Renee said she wasnt really worried about her hair and that she liked it short. Lucy said that shed probably let it return to her natural color because she didnt really want to mess with dying it every 6 weeks. She didnt feel the need to dissociate herself from the character and had gotten used to the look after all these years. She said shed had it cut a bit recently because it was getting a little ragged.
Sharon asked them what they would miss most about not being on the show. Lucy said it would be not having someone to cook for her all the time. She hates having to feed herself. Renee said she would miss having someone managing her schedule for the day and telling her where she needed to be. Then she sort of ribbed Lucy about how shed probably be shopping at Martha Stewarts website now that she had time to be more domestic. Lucy laughed and admitted that shed actually bought Marthas kit for crystallizing flowers but had never used it. Then she said that she should have kept her mouth shut since the kit was going to be Renees shower present. She went on to say that Renee was a great present buyer. When she first was on the show she was always buying presents for everyones birthday and things, and all the folks were quite confused by that. In New Zealand apparently, everyone is horrible about presents. Theyre not big on giving gifts. And then she and Renee joked a bit about some of the presents that Lucy had gotten for Christmas, including the hole-punch that her father had given her one year. Lucy said that one time she had pulled out a wound and slapped it on Renees back, which led them into talking about the guy that Lucy always sent her prosthetic wounds to.
Renee commented that they couldnt recreate Xena, that it was too surreal. Lucy said that they loved being able to make people laugh and cry. Sharon asked them about the scene from The Abyss, saying that it had affected her profoundly. Lucy said that they had sort of adlibbed most of the cave scene and that when she had seen the dailies she had teared up. Renee said that all she remembered was being really cold and wet during the whole thing.
Then Lucy and Renee wished all of the fans that had a birthday that day Happy Birthday. Lucy said that she wanted to thank the fans for being such a force for good with all the money they raised for charity. She said that it was heartening to everyone involved with the show, how much the fans were always looking for ways to help others.
Then Sharon asked about Lucy carrying Hal Sparks and David Spade at the Comedy Awards. Lucy said that at 150 pounds Hal Sparks weighed more than she does and that she was only able to do that recently because shed been doing her Pilates. Sharon asked if there were ever times when Lucy actually carried Renee or if it was always rigged. Lucy said she thought it was always rigged because of the problems she had with her back, but Renee said there were a few times when Lucy had carried her without a rig.
Then they were asked about the scene in Old Ares had a Farm where the three were in bed together. Renee said that was a tough scene to film because she actually ended up hitting Kevin in a really tender place. Lucy started kidding her, saying that Renee had been flopping her arm over and was hitting him in the face or the chest. Then they told her that for it to be funny she had to be lower and when she tried she actually nailed him. Renee looked quite embarrassed about that, but Lucy thought it was hilarious. Then Lucy said that it was really nice to fight against Renee in that episode because shes so good at the fights.
Sharon asked what it was like doing Haunting of Amphipolis. Lucy said it was fun. Shes watched Evil Dead 1000 times and so it was a great time to be doing an episode that was like it. But she felt sorry for Renee having to be in that horrible water. Renee said it was pretty bad. There were rotting artichokes, asparagus, vegemite and mayonnaise in the water. After a while she got used to the stench because she was immersed in it, but everyone else on the set was retching and wouldnt come near her after she got out of the tank.
Sharon asked them if there were any storylines that either of them wanted to develop that they hadnt had a chance to do. Lucy said that she wanted to do the Helen Keller story and Renee said she had an idea to have the seven virtues at war. Lucy said, however, that they both got so busy with the show and their other interests that they didnt have time to pursue their own stories. There was another question that prompted Renee to comment that Gabrielle wanted Xenas breastplate and that she was trying on the boots at night. To which, Lucy commented that We share everything.
This led very naturally into Sharon asking them about the subtext. Both Lucy and Renee said that the relationship was all about Love. Then Renee said that the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle has been amazing. Both of them seemed to struggle a bit to put their thoughts into words. Then Lucy said that once they were aware of the subtext and what it meant to the fans there were times when she felt they played too lightly with it, and she stated a couple of times that they hadnt wanted to make the subtext a grubby little joke. To her, these were two characters that love and respect each other and that's what was important. Renee said that they didnt want to label the characters. They just wanted to work on the relationship and that was what their focus always was. One of them brought up the poem that Gabrielle reads to Xena in an upcoming ep. Renee said that it was a beautiful poem that is attributed to Sappho and Lucy said that it brought tears to her eyes when it was read during the scene.
Then Sharon asked about what they could tell us of the final episode. Renee commented, Live by the sword, die by the sword. Lucy said that she had seen tiny bits and they were heart-wrenchingly, beautiful scenes. Renee then said that the characters come full circle. Lucy added that it wasnt easy shooting the final episode and Renee said it was beautifully shot and that she also cried. Then Lucy added that if it didnt kick ass to the end it wouldnt alter the last 6 years. She said, I dont know if I liked it, but I loved the way it ends.
Then Sharon asked them both if they would do it all again if they had a chance. Lucy said that if they could go back in time, of course she would do it again. If they had to pick up and do it now, it just wouldnt work. Theyve all changed and it would be impossible to capture that magic again. There would never be a way of getting that synergy back that they had. Renee commented that ignorance was bliss and Lucy reemphasized that it had been magic.
Finally, Sharon asked them if they would be willing to sing again. They both agreed and sang Last Dance again. When it was over Lucy hugged Renee and kissed her on the forehead. Then Rob Taperts head popped up between the two of them and he proceeded to hug them both. After that the rest of the guests came out and joined them on-stage (minus Hudson Leick who apparently had already left). There was thunderous applause and cheering from the crowd that was on their feet. After a bit everyone waved and left the stage.
Now for some additional impressions I had about Lucy and Renee together. It was fascinating to watch the two of them interact. Renee was obviously the shyer of the two and tended to focus a lot on Sharon as she asked the questions. Sharon was on the floor below the stage so as not to detract from Lucy or Renee, and she kept shifting to either side of the stage to help keep them moving. Lucy tended to pace around the stage and to step back from Renee when the questions were directed to her. I think this was to allow Renee to answer without being distracted. There were times when Lucy almost disappeared because she had stepped out of the light. But she never hesitated to jump in to the discussion to back Renee up or tease her a bit. She also on several occasions led Renee to either side of the stage so that everyone would get a good chance to see them. There were times when Renee jumped into the conversation to help Lucy as well. It was very obvious from the way the two interacted that they were very comfortable with each other. It was also clear that they were a bit protective of each other and kept an eye on how the other was doing. Another thing that came through clearly was Lucys quirky sense of humor. There were times when she was like a big kid having a blast with getting all that attention (the discussion of the nose ring comes to mind, along with letting the cat out of the bag about Renees full name). Renee tended to put more thought into her answers while most of the time, Lucy answered from her gut. On the occasions when the answers hit close to home though, it was clear when Lucy was feeling it. These were the times when Renee tended to sort of cover Lucys hesitation by answering until Lucy was ready to share her thoughts. In some ways it was like watching a pair of Ubers on stage since the bond between the two was so clear. Im looking forward to them releasing this on tape since it would be fascinating to watch it again and savor the experience all over again.
Now, on to the conclusion. After the tumult died down, they had the costume contest. Ebonie, Tsianina and Darien were the judges. As I had gone out for another break and chat with some of the Xenites that were outside, I didnt see most of this. However, the winning group was a set of three amazons and a Xena with baby Eve. The amazon costumes were stunning with exquisitely made amazon masks (yes, there was a Gabrielle in her queen outfit). Deb Abbot and her Cleopatra/Xena in chains outfit was a runner-up. After everything was done, a bunch of us who were in the preferred section hung out in the hope that we might be able to get autographs from Ebonie, Tsianina and Darien. We had a great time talking about the convention and everything that had happened. At one point the security folks escorted the stars to the restroom and then got them dinner (they had been signing for about 2 hours at that point). Then after the last of the waiting Gold patrons were lined up we were allowed to get in line as well. The three of them ended up staying until well after 10:30, but we all got autographs. It was incredibly nice of them to be willing to do that for the fans that had waited. After that was done, a small group of us went to dinner and finished off our con with a fabulous evening of conversation.
In conclusion, I have to say that this convention was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was great to be walking around Pasadena and to see other Xenites traipsing around with their wristbands and other Xena paraphernalia proudly displayed. Everyone was wonderful and there were many a conversation struck up while waiting on line or sitting outside taking a break. The efforts for charity were astounding and Im just blown away by the amount of money that was raised by the fans. The Creation staff was all polite and very helpful. The energy in the place was fabulous. All in all, I can say that this is an experience Ill never forget, and Im incredibly glad that I got a chance to be there and share it with all the other Xenites. Although the series is ending, I know that the Xenaverse will continue going strong. Battle On!