Official Xena and Hercules Convention 2001
After Tsianina left the stage, they set up for the charity auction. I took a break at that point. When I came back, they were just wrapping it up having raised another bucket of money for charity. They ended up the auction with the Xenaversity banner that went for $13,000.
Next up was Darien Tackle. As soon as she heard her name she bounded on stage (causing them to skip the intro video I suspect). Her first comment was, I dont want to go home, I just want to stay here! She was obviously enjoying her visit to the States. She said this was her first time to mainland America. Shed been in Hawaii though. She said it was very different here. Youve got people here. She commented that New Zealanders are shy. They dont tend to approach actors when they see them. But Americans are open, nice and very approachable.
She was asked if her new CD was available. She told us that it wasnt yet, but that the autobiography CD was out in the dealers area being sold somewhere.
Then someone asked her how she felt about how Cyrene ended on the show. She said that as an actress, she wasnt satisfied with how Cyrene ended. She said it was hard to tell her kids that she was going off to get burned at the stake. She commented that the role had changed a lot. It started off serious and then got a little silly at times. She enjoyed doing comedy bits with Lucy, like slapping her hand when she was reaching for the fruit. She thought that was a typical mother thing to do. She really liked Takes One To Know One because of all the different people she got to work with.
She said shes played a lot of strong women, like Edith Piaff and Eva Peron. That prepared her to be the mother of Xena, who has to be very strong to raise a kid like her. She said she was honored to be the mother of a warrior. She was disappointed that she didnt get to wear leather though, but figures that can be arranged elsewhere <G>. Then she commented that her Dad had died 3 years ago. She said she believes as long as you keep people alive in your heart, they are with you. She said her Dad was a big fan of Lucy and she thinks he was here with us that day.
Next she was asked to sing again, so she sang a French song for us. She really has a great voice.
Someone asked her as Cyrene what it was like to raise Xena. She said that women are all great heroines and to have a daughter like Xena is just fabulous. She said that Xena was always collecting things, building huts in trees and staying in them for a week, but was overall a good girl.
Then she was asked about Haunting of Amphipolis. She said it was an incredible ep and that she believes in ghosts. She commented that it was a harrowing episode for her because her marriage had just broken up and it was going to be her last episode. She does, however, like being a ghost now.
Earlier in her time someone had asked her who Xenas father was. At that time, shed refused to answer. However, just before she wrapped things up, she told us that Xenas father was the milkman <VBG>.
Next up was Rob Field who is one of the two main editors of the show. He was asked how he felt about the show ending, and he said that maybe hed get a chance to take a real vacation. The last one hed had was three hours and fifteen minutes because RenPics was feeling generous at the time.
Someone asked him if it was true that they had used wire removal artists across the United States for Fallen Angel. He said that there were many wire removal artists involved in that episode, but that most of them are in New Zealand. Then he explained that wire removal artists are the ones who paint out the wires that are used to make it look like people are flying and doing incredible stunts.
Next he was asked if we would ever get to see longer versions of the eps that had the scenes that had been left on the cutting room floor. He said that first off, everything was digital, so there was no film to cut. Also, no one has mentioned to him if they are going to do longer versions of the eps at a later time.
Then Rob showed us a 6-year retrospective of the show that the other editor had put together. It really rocked. After that, he called two young fans on stage who were dressed in costumes and gave them posters that had been signed by Lucy. Then after much persuasion, he ran the sixth season bloopers. They were great and I hope that well see them in an upcoming fanclub kit, since Sharon indicated that they would be doing another one for us.
Finally it was time for the event that everyone had been waiting for. After they got everyone seated, they ran the video salute to Xena and Gabrielle, which was to the song Time of Your Life. Then Renee came onstage to great cheers from the crowd. She was obviously nervous, but Sharon jumped right in and said that she had heard that even though they werent going to get to do the Sappho musical episode, she had heard that Renee and Lucy had been practicing some of the songs. She then asked if Renee would be willing to share with us. Of course the music was cued, so when Renee agreed, they started up Last Dance. Renee sang the first verse and it was easy to see that she was kind of nervous about that but gamely doing her best. Then we heard Lucy join in, and she walked on to the stage to another round of thunderous applause and cheering. Despite everything Renee has said, she can sing, she just has a bit of a time finding the tune <G>. It was clear that they both were a bit overwhelmed at the reception they got though.
After they were done, Lucy said that she had wanted to sing Wind Beneath My Wings with Renee doing ballet around her in a tutu. But, Renee told her that she was pregnant and wouldnt be appearing in any tights. Lucy was dressed in her punk outfit from her Spiderman cameo, though she didnt have the wig on. Renee was wearing black slacks and a sky blue translucent long-sleeved top. Both were looking gorgeous and relaxed, and Renee was practically glowing <G>. Lucy commented that shes sworn off stiletto heels after HOD and was enjoying wearing whatever she wanted to. She went on to say that for the dance in HOD they had her in 6-inch high heels and Renee was in flats. Then they asked her to sort of scrunch down so they could get them both in the shot. So she was sort of walking around like a preying mantis (which she proceeded to demonstrate for us). She said it would have been okay if they had just used the close-up camera but they had a wide camera on them also. So in the shot you see her sort of stalking around Renee. Renee commented that she had had to fight in those heels and was amazed that Lucy could do it. Sharon asked them where the comments about Renee being taller than Lucy had come from, and Lucy said that sometimes they sort of joke around in interviews and say things that are silly like that.
Sharon asked Renee how she got hooked up with the show. Renee said that even though she had worked for RenPics before, she had had to go through the auditioning process. Lucy piped in and said that even though Renee had to audition for the part, Gabrielle had been written with Renee specifically in mind. Sharon asked Renee when she had first met Lucy. Renee commented that she had initially met Lucy when she was in Los Angeles getting some training in martial arts. Lucy said that she didnt remember that meeting. Sharon commented that there were a lot of things that Lucy seemed to forget, like kissing Kevin Smith. Lucy said that she doesnt really remember nibbling on Kevins chest or kissing him because its all choreographed and doesnt really make that big of an impression on her.
Sharon asked Renee what she had thought initially of playing Gabrielle. Renee said that she didnt expect the role to continue more than that first season. She figured she would give it her best and then shed be back in the States after a year. Sharon asked Lucy if she would have been willing to come to the States if the role had been offered to her but it was filming over here. Lucy said that she knew that it was the role of a lifetime, and if that were the only way for her to get it, she would have been willing to uproot and come to the States to have it.
Renee was asked about her first experiences on the set. She said that things were quite hectic and that Lucy apologized for not having a chance to really get to know her when she first got there. After about a month, Lucy invited her over for dinner and they spent quite a bit of time catching up and getting to know each other. Lucy commented that she remembered that meeting. Then Lucy commented that it was her responsibility to hold it all together and Renee agreed, saying that Lucy set the tone for everyone on set. Lucy then said that she couldnt have done it without Renee.
Sharon asked Renee what she thought about her characters evolution. Renee chuckled and said she certainly didnt expect Gabrielle to become the battling bard. Then Lucy said that she felt it would be horrible to be stuck in a never changing role as the sidekick, so she had really pushed for them to develop the role more. She wanted to make sure that everyones needs were being met.
Sharon commented that Renee had worked with James Garner in one of her earlier roles and that Lucy had worked with Anthony Quinn. What had it been like to work with such greats early in their careers? Renee said that James Garner had a dry wit and was wonderful to work with. Lucy said that shed enjoyed working with Anthony Quinn but really didnt understand how big his reputation was when she was working with him. Sharon asked how Renee got started acting and she said she had gone to a performing arts school when she was younger and that sort of set her on the road. Then Lucy commented that shed seen Renee in one of those crime shows shed done where she was playing a hooker. Renee was a bit embarrassed by that and they laughed about it. Lucy asked her what it was about her playing a hooker all the time when she looked so innocent. LOL!
Sharon said that they had both commented on how their acting styles were very different, and asked how they had learned to work with each others styles. Lucy said that what they had figured out was that they could support each other by talking to each other and listening to what the other said.
Sharon asked them about how they worked through all the stuff that their characters had happen to them. Renee said that the important thing was that they had to relate it to what it would mean for them personally and keep it as real as possible, even when the circumstances were really out of this world.
Since they were talking about acting and how they related, they proceeded to show us ways that actors can detract from the other instead of supporting. These included gesturing behind the actor when theyre speaking their lines or shifting when they are speaking to each other so that the other actors back is to the camera. It was very cute watching them demonstrate these things since Lucy was hamming it up quite a bit. Then they mentioned that they always tried to be there to do the off lines for each other. They also did a lot of off lines for the other actors in the episodes, but sometimes it was easier for the supporting actors not to have the leads reading those lines for them, since they would get nervous. The thing that was important though was to be there for each other so they could get the best performance for the show.
Sharon asked them if there was ever a time when they had thought of quitting acting. Renee commented that 2 years before starting Xena, she had thought briefly of giving up acting, but shes glad that she didnt. Lucy mentioned that she had also had a crisis of faith a few years before Xena, but she saw Whoopi Goldberg on the Oscars when she told aspiring actors to stick with it, and she was encouraged to continue. Then Renee asked Lucy if she really had gotten her nose pierced, and Lucy said sure after all it was a very discrete hole (I think she was just kidding actually, since she had an impish tone when she said it).
I dont remember what prompted it, but Lucy said it was around the 8th episode when they began to get letters about the subtext. They had had no idea that was how it was being viewed and they had a bit of a laugh about it. Renee said that it took them a while to become the close friends that they are. Lucy said that it was around the 5th season when they really started to try to blend their acting styles a bit. They found out that by really listening to each other, they were able to find bits of each others style that worked. Then she mentioned that Renee has been working on her acting skills with an actors group. Renee said that she couldnt ask Lucy to help her with that because she cant do a flat reading to save her life. Shed tell Lucy to read it flat and Lucy would always start acting it out. Then she said that Lucy always uses her instincts. Lucy said that she acts from a place where she tries to just be it. Its all about getting to a place of true listening. Lucy said that she couldnt imagine a part that she couldnt play, especially after all the things that Xena has done. She did say that doing Just Shoot Me was quite a different experience for her. Shes used to having the camera be up close, and she knows how to act effectively for that camera placement. Because JSM is such an ensemble show and is shot with stationary cameras, it was very difficult for her to adjust and figure out how to act to those cameras effectively.
Sharon asked Renee about her experiences being a director. She said the scheduling was the biggest thing that caught her by surprise. Making sure that everything stayed on schedule was a real challenge. The first time it was hard because she was so new and learning a lot of things as she went. The second time the scheduling was hard because of all the stunts and effects they had in the episode. Sharon asked her if she thought that being an actor helped her as a director. Renee said she really didnt think it did. Lucy commented though that Renee being an actor helped her pass on her knowledge about tenses and motivations to the actors. She said that directors who have been actors understand how actors have to doublethink. They have to think both about the outcome and the emotions and motivations they are trying to portray. Directors with acting experience are better at giving the motivations and letting the actor figure out how to achieve the outcome. Directors who dont have that perspective tend to only talk about what actions they want to see and its harder for the actors to figure out whats driving them there.
Sharon asked Lucy about the band that she had mentioned being involved with and whether she was planning on doing anything more with that. Lucy said that she just mucks around with her friends with the band. Shed like to keep singing and maybe playing some instruments, but doesnt really think it will be anything serious.
Then Sharon asked about how the show had affected each of them. Renee said that the growth of Gabrielle goes hand in hand with her own growth. When she first arrived on set, she was a naïve young girl from Texas. Ive grown up on the show. Sharon asked them whether they had taken away anything from their characters. They were both a bit stymied by that. Lucy said that everythings changed for both of them. Then Renee commented that really shes taken more from Xena than Gabrielle, and Lucy agreed that shed gotten more from Gabrielle than Xena since its the character youre acting against that affects you the most. She said that Renees become more assured and willing to take charge, and that shes become more sympathetic and flexible. Sharon asked if Renee had been calling home a lot about decisions when she first got to New Zealand. Lucy laughed and said that Renee always makes all of her decisions. Renee agreed and said that shes always made decisions for herself.
Renee mentioned that it took them a while to get used to each others styles. Lucy would ask Renee about doing something and shed want to go off and think about it. Lucy was much more about being spontaneous. Then she told a story about a time there were some gatecrashers hanging around the set. She looked up and there was Lucy wearing a ball cap and beard and wearing androgynous clothes. She was walking like a man and at first Renee didnt recognize her. Lucy went up to the folks and challenged them about being on the set. At first they were taken aback until they figured out that it was Lucy and then everyone got a good chuckle about that.