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EXCLUSIVE: Lawless on being an actor and an activist

Thursday 14 Jun 2012 4:57 p.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.

3 News

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