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Excerpts from interviews (Titan's Xena Magazine)

 

Darien Takle (as Cyrene, in Xena: Warrior Princess) on Renee O'Connor:

Takle is also very fond of Lawless` Xena co-star, Renee O`Connor. "Rene's a sweetheart," she says, "and what I love about her is we`re sort of the same size. It`s so nice to stand next to someone not tall! You do get quite a sore neck," she giggles, referring to working alongside Lawless. "There are a lot of tall actors in New Zealand. Plus Renee is another total professional, and she`s very giving too. She`ll say, `If you want to do this in a different way, just say`."

 

Ted Raimi (as Joxer, in Xena: Warrior Princess):

There is one aspect of working with Lucy Lawless and Renee O`Connor that Raimi will especially miss. "When we started laughing, we couldn`t stop," he recalls fondly "Sometimes we`d piss the whole crew off. We`d just be howling with laughter and they`d be sitting there going, `Come on man! I want to get out of here!` Sometimes it`d be 20 minutes before we`d stop. Those are the kinds of wonderful things you remember."

The year had its lighter moments as well, such as a scene in Purity in which Joxer and Gabrielle have been put in the village stocks. For Raimi, filming that Scene highlighted Renee O`Connor`s professionalism. "Being in stocks, or having water poured on you it doesn't matter to me. But sometimes when you get a female actress of Rene's stature, they won`t do it because they don`t look good. But Renee is such an actor`s actor that she doesn`t care about that sort of stuff. I thought it was very bold of her to do that. Of course, Rene's so pretty that it doesn`t matter how you photograph her - she`s always going to look good. But mainly I was like, `Wow!` I`ve worked with a lot of actresses who would not do that."

Before his departure from the show, his fellow cast and crew members gave Raimi one final surprise. "When I left, Renee and Lucy put together this really nice farewell party for me," he recalls fondly. "I`d never had anything like that before. I was pretty choked up. I didn`t know what to say!"

O`Connor also enlisted everyone`s help on the set to make a very special parting gift. "Renee took a picture of everybody in the crew wearing that hat," he laughs. "They put it in a book for me so I wouldn`t feel like I was the only one suffering with it on. It was the funniest thing I`ve ever seen. Lucy`s wearing it. Rene's wearing it. Kevin Smith wears it. Everybody`s wearing it! It`s great!"

Allison Wall (as Minya, in Xena : Warrior Princess):

"I enjoyed working with Renee [O`Connor]," she continues. "I think it was in A Day in the Life that we had a scene where we just had to sit there while she read me a poem that Gabrielle had written. I remember that I had to be really impressed by this poem which was really rubbish! But we just had a lot of fun together adding to it all and delighting in its awfulness, pretending that it was fantastic!

Renee was really charming to work with. We were both interested in getting it right or finding funny little details.

 

Jay Laga'aia (as Draco, in Xena : Warrior Princess):

I remember Renee as this young girl, but when I met her again when we filmed Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire together, I realised that she'd grown up to be a beautiful woman!"

Laga'aia has had a lot of screen time with Renee O'Connor, in particular in the episodes A Comedy of Eros and Lyre, Lyre Hearts on Fire. "Oh, I have a huge crush on Renee!" he admits. "I think she is the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen. Renee is a lovely lady and actress.

"Renee has never changed. You would swear she was one of the make-up assistants because she's so unassuming and a very generous lady. I think she will [go on to] bigger and better things. She had already worked on other things before Xena, and she was able to take on a lot more dramatic stuff when Lucy was sick. I think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg with this young lady. She's still young and to have a cult following behind her is always good.

"She is always very genuine, always makes herself available and loves the idea of playing on set," Laga'aia continues of Renee O'Connor. "When she came out in her go-go outfit [in Lyre, Lyre] we were just gobsmacked! It was like, 'This is our little sister. She shouldn't be dressed like this... should she?' It was sort of embarrassing. You didn't know where to look because she was so gorgeous!"

 

**Katherine Fugate (writer of When Fates Collide, an episode in Xena : Warrior Princess):

"Renee really struck me, perhaps because I had no preconceived notions of her and didn't really know what to expect from her. The first day, she walked all the way over to me to introduce herself, without waiting for an introduction. I was impressed with that - truly not actorly at all. Then she discussed the script and its themes with me and any writer will tell you, it doesn't get any better than that, hearing someone get your themes. Usually, writers get comments on theme and invention from other writers, the directors, but not the actors. So when Renee let me know she had read every one of my drafts and discussed what the story meant to her, I was obviously doing cartwheels. "

"The best way to describe Renee is this: You know, how when you walk into a party and you see a bunch of strangers, but then one person catches your eye and smiles and you think, I'd like to meet that person. That's a good person. Someone who gets it. Someone you can trust, that sort of thing. Renee has that quality about her. You instantly recognize her as a good evolved soul. And someone sincere in all she does. There's a lot of artifice in Hollywood, mainly because people befriend you out of need - what can you do for them. So when someone befriends you out of genuineness, it stands out. Plus, Renee's on set behavior couldn't be more professional and structured and crafted. I'd fight to hire her in anything I'm involved with."

** From Whoosh! Interview With Katherine Fugate