Xena star Renee OConnor looks back on shows lesbian undertones
“Xena” star Renee O’Connor thinks the show’s lesbian undertones wouldn’t be hidden today.
The 50-year-old actress played the legendary hero’s trusted traveling companion, Gabrielle, in “Xena: Warrior Princess,” which ran from 1995 to 2001. O’Connor’s character and Xena, played by Lucy Lawless, had lots of Sapphic subtext.
While flirting and innuendo was as far as things went, O’Connor feels that if the show were filmed today, the characters would have let their Pride flags fly.
“I think that the opportunity to be forthright is more evident in all media now,” O’Connor told Page Six. “I just think it would definitely be embraced wholeheartedly.”
She noted that the show made “baby steps” toward change.
“I’m grateful that people aren’t looking backward,” she continued. “They just move forward. People have to break ground, and if that’s what ‘Xena’ was, at the time … yeah, it came at the right moment.”
The married mother of two recently had a “sort-of-reunion” with Lawless, filming an episode of the Kiwi actress’ comedy-drama “My Life Is Murder.“
O’Connor said their get-together in New Zealand was “better than I ever could have imagined.”
“I adore her immensely,” the “Adventures of Huck Finn” star enthused. “I didn’t realize just what a void I’ve been without her in my life all these years. You know, seeing her every couple of years is not nearly enough. So, it was just, like, wonderful returning to … a soulful friend.
“I just missed her so much. It was amazing. She’s an incredible actor, producer, human being and friend. To be able to work and stand next to someone who has all that gravitas is a profound, inspiring moment. I definitely treasured every day.”
O’Connor admitted that after “Xena,” she was typecast — “People really didn’t know where to place me” — but that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her love of the stage and Shakespeare.
“I started a theatre company just before the pandemic,” she explained. “So I definitely want to keep pursuing productions through this festival that I think are relevant pieces of work, some classical plays, Shakespeare, the things that are, you know, the themes that are important to our time. It can be presented, especially to a younger generation. That’s always a passion of mine.”
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