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Madge Mucker | September 09, 2005

Xena Star Lucy Lawless Among Those Who Fled Hurricane Katrina

A wise decision by Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless, who was in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached, may have saved her life. Lawless was in New Orleans filming Vampire Bats, a CBS made-for-TV movie. Lawless and executive producer Jill Tanner were staying in the heart of the city while shooting the film.

"I'[d] been staying in a lovely little house in the French Quarter, and at first I planned to ride out the storm," Lawless said. Then she "turned on the television and saw 'category 5,'" Lawless told Entertainment Tonight. Luckily, the actress decided to flee New Orleans when she learned how strong the Hurricane was becoming. "I rang the producer and said, 'Let's get out of here. This is crazy'."

Lawless and the film producers hit the road to evacuate, only to become bogged down in the massive traffic of thousands of people trying to get out of the way of the hurricane. "The traffic was going one mile per hour sometimes," she said. "Then it was two miles per hour, then five. It took nine hours for what should have taken 50-55 minutes."

Their plans to evacuate to Los Angeles proved impossible in the face of the massive evacuation. "We lowered our sights and thought we'd get to Houston. Then we found that was impossible and thought, 'Hell, let's try to get to Baton Rouge.' Our choices were eroding by the hour."

Eventually they managed to reach Baton Rouge, where they found a place to stay with the relatives of crew members. As of this report, their area was still without power, but did have telephone service. "We are relying on the kindness of strangers," Lawless said.

Lawless expressed deep concern for residents of New Orleans who were not able to evacuate. "All those people in incredibly low-lying areas are in such threat. I just worry about them... I love this town, I love the heat. I was afraid of coming, working in sweltering heat and swamps, but it's just been pure joy. I would move here if I could work here all of the time."

Saturday Night Live alumni Cheri Oteri goes gay for comedy/thriller

Former Saturday Night Live star Cheri Oteri will play a villainous lesbian bodybuilder in Southland Tales, an indie-ensemble film from director Richard Kelly, the mind behind the cult favorite Donnie Darko.

Set in a futuristic Los Angeles as it teeters on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster, this is Oteri�s first high profile project from leaving the NBC mainstay.

While on SNL, Oteri was credited with fellow cast members Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon for stealing the show back from the men. Oteri is best remembered for her �Spartan Cheerleader� skit and her Kathie Lee Gifford spoof.

D.E.B.S star Jill Ritchie has also signed on to join the cast, which includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Seann William Scott in the lead roles. Ritchie will play a porn star and the best friend of Gellar's character.

The film began shooting this month in Los Angeles. Richard Kelly is directing. SNL alumni Amy Poehler and Jon Lovitz will also appear alongside Miranda Richardson, John Larroquette, Bai Ling, Joe Campana and Wallace Shawn. Oteri's feature credits include Dumb and Dumberer, When Harry Met Lloyd and Scary Movie. Ritchie was last seen in this summer�s Herbie: Fully Loaded.

Previous edition
Lucy Lawless wants to take Xena to the big screen [26/08/2005]



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