EXCLUSIVE: Lawless on being an actor and an activist + video
Thu, 14 Jun 2012 5:25p.m.
By Imogen Crispe
Actor Lucy Lawless took part in an illegal Greenpeace protest in February despite the risk a conviction could hinder her acting career.
Lawless and seven others pleaded guilty in court this morning to unlawfully boarding a ship during a four-day protest aboard oil drilling ship the Noble Discovery.
In an exclusive interview, Lawless told 3 News her acting future is still up in the air because of the conviction.
“If I was not allowed to travel that would probably badly affect my acting career.”
Lawless and her American producer husband Robert Tapert travel frequently for film projects.
“It would really be a shame if what happens here prevents me from selling what we do so well.”
She says they have several shows “on the boil” that they hope to film in New Zealand.
Her current bail conditions don’t yet hinder her travel as she prepares for a trip to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development next week in Brazil.
The only restrictions so far are she can’t go to the Port of Taranaki.
Lawless says regardless of the risks she is glad she took part in the protest.
“It still was worth it, to me it was really worth it because I feel like I have to fight like a tiger for my babies,” she says.
“[Unsustainable attitudes are] really going to rob my kids of a viable future so I don’t see that I had any choice but to go into this.”
Lawless rejects the title of an activist, saying she just identified with the cause and decided to act.
“I’m not an activist, I’m a middleclass person, I’m a mother of three, I’m an actress, but I felt compelled to get on board because I don’t see anyone else looking out for my kids.”
Despite her strong beliefs, Lawless says her activism and her acting career are still separate.
“They are completely distinct from one another. My acting career doesn’t necessarily care about my activism,” she says. “But I will say that being involved in this has been a defining event in my life, certainly a shift inside me about how I’m going to move forward… I want everything to be in line with a better future for my kids.”
Acting does, however, help fund her non-profit work.
“My currency in whatever activism or charity work I do really rides on the back of having an acting career, so I really have to get back to [it]. And that’s what I love to do.”
Lawless says she doesn’t regret her actions and will just have to wait and see how it affects future travel.
“No regrets whatsoever I’m really proud we stood up for what we know to be right.”
Lawless and the seven other protestors have been granted bail and will reappear in court on September 14.
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26/06/2012 10:36:45 p.m.
I think that being a mother, a very popular actress and an activist is truly an INSPIRATION for all and especially for young people like myself. I just hope that there were more people like her, she knows what she wants and she isn`t afraid to achieve it, she is just great role model.
15/06/2012 10:53:36 a.m.
David Kashfi wrote:
Lucy has shown impressive determination and bravery as well as concern for the environment. It is my hope that her sentence, if she is convicted, will be as light as possible and will not effect her ability to travel to other countries nor harm her acting career. Trespassing on a ship for an environmental protest should not be punished harshly.
15/06/2012 8:50:10 a.m.
The people who say she is a criminal may change their minds when they feel the need to stand up against something they feel is wrong. Civil disobedience is a right, Ghandi is remembered as a hero, not a crook. The only people benefiting from unsustainable oil use are the wealthy, so unless you are super wealthy then why would you have a problem with her protest? The next generation will not tolerate ignorance and blindly following principles of wealth protection. We don't need to use oil, so why do companies not look at an alternative, there is only one reason and it is because they are making billions of dollars from taking resources which belong to all of us anyway and then selling it back to us. I see a lot wrong with this. Lucy will be remembered as a hero in years to come. Unsustainable wealth protectors will be remembered as criminals.
15/06/2012 7:49:27 a.m.
So you people defending Lawless think it's OK for anyone to break the law in support of their beliefs? Do you also think that celebreties should be excused aconviction because it may hinder their travel prospects? What about the average convicted person, surely a conviction would hinder THEIR travel prospects too? Celebrities should consider the consequences of their actions before carrying out illegal acts that may attract a criminal record. Not complain about it afterwards.
15/06/2012 7:42:35 a.m.
If a group of NZ'rs broke into Lawlesses home and camped there for 4 days, I bet she would want to see them them convicted of a crime.What she has done is no different.The protest wasn't even an NZ protest. Look at the names and countries they were from. It was an international organised event with foreigners representing foreign interest, who just happened to have a USA celebrity along (who was born in NZ). There was more media than protestors - standard with these types of protests.No doubt the same bunch of criminals would be protesting a satelite launch, as a satelite orbiting of the right type can map underground oil reserves better than any drilling operation. The only thing about satelite imaging is its expensive, and takes time, and where they think oil is on the map, it still needs a hole drilled to 100% confirm its there. SEASAT and LANDSAT were the first satelites that did substantial 3d geological mapping back in the 70's, and the information from them was quickly classified even if it was crude data at the time. The resolution of those scans was around 1.5 mtrs a pixel for the latter Landsat where the satelites in the mid 80's (under the Star Wars program under Reagan, who also financed what become the 'internet' today) had improved their scan to under 0.5 mm (over 3000x the resolution). Our airport scanners today are basically higher resolution scanners of the same type which can penetrate through objects without blasting them with something like radiation to make an image (like x-rays, MRI, Ultrasound). Where was Greenpeace when all the existing drilling in Antartica has been done? Oh wait? tens of thousands of holes have been drilled in Antartica already without Greenpeace doing anything! Greenpeace has even been down there themselves drilling! Even with the Christchurch earthquake they have drilled 100's of holes as drilling is all part of geological surveying.
15/06/2012 5:57:06 a.m.
Thank you, Lucy, for taking a stand for something you believe in, the environment. Oil is a non-renewable source with toxic byproducts that have caused significant damage to our climate, our air, our water, and our sea life's ecosystems over the last two decades. The more aggressive the drilling, the more damage. We have alternative energy sources, they're just not being developed as a priority. Oil is one of the richest industries, accustomed to enjoying their profit, while paying lobbyists to help ensure that politicians keep environental policies that might affect them to a minimum. They have no concern for the environment, UNTIL AFTER an oil spill happens. Even then, it's about brand damage control to maintain their image through a crisis. It comes down to the fact that we will have to transition to alternative energy, why not start doing it now so we can avoid drilling in risky environments like the Antarctic? That way the cost can also be distributed over a period of time instead of one day we run out unexpectedly, with no contingency plan. She recognizes that we all use oil, but that we can start doing something about it now and avoid drilling in risky places. Prevention is key. Good for Lucy for being the voice of thousands who could not be there.
15/06/2012 3:39:41 a.m.
How nasty Claire & Cyril. Standing up and doing something against global warming is a bad thing? So what if she is using her name to get noticed because the ordinary citizens of the world don't seem to care or dont know what is really going on in regard to environmental issues!
15/06/2012 1:40:51 a.m.
Good for Lucy. She has integrity and will fight for what she believes in. Unlike others who criticize anonymously from their computers.
15/06/2012 12:47:36 a.m.
Michael P. Shipley wrote:
It is true that governments, banks, and corps around the world are engaged in unholy alliances that hurt the environment via over consumption of resources so Lucy is right that there is a big problem with that but what she is doing isn’t the best way to stop it. The best way is to disconnect the government, bank, corporate alliances. The way to do that is to elect small government libertarian politicians. She would have more effect on the problem if she focused on that.
On the subject of her trial, only violent crimes should be a tried in criminal court. Any non violent offense such as trespassing should be a civil matter, not a criminal one.
15/06/2012 12:15:31 a.m.
Lucy should have thought about her career before she broke the law.But apparently in NZ the courts and the police don't really care about that long as her career does not suffer.Lawless is not above the law.NZ police/laws are laughable and just makes NZ look weak.Lawless is NOT a middle class person,she is a millionaire. what a joke.She and the others should pay for their dangerously reckless behavior and thumbing their noses at the law.She and the others broke the law and they should be held responsible.NZ court system is weak and pathetic.Lawless is still mental.
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