More live-blogging of the Xena Convention in Burbank! To see all Xena Con posts, click here.
It’s the third and final day of the convention. I’ve just updated yesterday’s entry about Lucy and Renee’s appearance with photos, here.
I missed Steven Sears’ second appearance — but I had a good reason which I"ll get to later. Right now, it’s time for Zoe Bell!
For those who don’t know her, she was Lucy Lawless’ stunt double, as well as Uma Thurman’s in "Kill Bill." She’s doubled for Sharon Stone and did some of the stuntwork in "Catwoman," and was featured in a documentary about her, "Double Dare." She’ll also be acting and doing her own stunts in the upcoming season of "Lost."
Fan: What is your favorite stunt from the Xena episodes?
Zoe: "After three years of working on it, every day I was doing stuff… some was basic, front flip, land on stomach, front flip land on your back." She said she doesn’t remember episodes, but there is an episode where everyone is wearing pig masks, and "I did a double flip off a 2-story castle. It was my first harness work. I was 19. I was s****ing my pants. The wires ran down to 16 big stunt dudes, and they have to stop before I eat s**t on the ground. I hit the ground, and I’m like dude! That was so f***** cool. I’m 19, I just got paid to jump off a 2-story building!"
"The stunt double before me, the basic technology wasn’t what it was later. Pulley systems, everything. By the time I walked in there was a certain — finesse might be pushing it. But an extension of the technology. Spinning stuff, working sideways. We were always changing and trying new things."
Fan: Did you sustain injuries from the harness?
Zoe: Yes. "I ended up with dents and bruises all over me. I’d come home and my boyfriend was like, that’s wrong. And I’d tell him, what can I say? They pay me."
"The two injuries I recall, one was right at the beginning. I misjudged something. I thought I was invincible. I got my heels caught in the harness, and my dad is convinced I had a fracture, but I’d rather not know if I actually broke my back or not." It didn’t effect the treatment so she opted not to know.
Fan: Will technology make stunt doubles extinct?
Zoe: "We’re a dying breed. (Laughter) Yes, you can use some CGI now, especially for the highest risk work. But CGI unconsciously registers as not being flesh. People respond differently to CGI than to real people in a chase or stunt. I think it’s going to be a long time before that’s replaceable. But sometimes I see something done with CGI and I think, I could have done that. But by the time they’re able to replace us entirely, they’ll be able to replace the actors, and that’s a sad state of affairs. And I’m not worried about it."
Fan: How got your start in stuntwork?
Zoe: "I just fell into it." (Groans) Started out doing gymnastics. Competing when 9 years old, which is late — most kids start at 5. Competed until she was 15, and when she gave it up, she was bored. So I started Tae Kwan Do, and through that I met a lot of stunt guys. She saw stunt work on TV, and it was popping up in different areas of her life.
Her dad was a doctor and was working in an ER, and a stuntman came in, and her dad came home with his phone number for me — although it’s an odd thing, to have your dad treat a guy with a head concussion and decide that’s something you ought to do.
Her first part was a show called Amazon High, where a cheerleader goes back in time and cheers the bad guys to death with pink sparkly Converse. (From Christie: I’ve never heard of this but I can just picture it.)
Then she got the part in Xena, she was all excited. She’d never been in a harness ever. "Do I practice or something?" They just patted me on my little head.
Six months later it was all second nature.
Zoe: Yes. Her brother passed away a few months ago, but aside from that she’s in great health and working all the time.
Next up is actor Brittney Powell, who played the role of Brunnhilda. Sharon Delaney introduced her character as a woman who fell in love with another woman — Gabrielle — and it was treated as absolutely normal by everyone in the show. That a woman falls in love with another woman and it’s not remarkable.
Brittney comes out. "Last year was my first convention and I fell in love. You guys are so amazing!" She connected with people who are now helping her with her fan site and Yahoo group, and she’s had a year full of gratitude. The Xena fandom has given 12.2 million dollars to charity, with gratitude in your hearts. "Like I said, last year I fell in love with you guys."
She told the story of her recent breast reduction surgery due to back problems. In the past, they’d acutioned off one of her bras from the show.
"I just want to say thank you to everybody. Like my new boobs? And yes, we’re going to auction off my bra. And it’s really pretty."
She brings out her son. "His name’s Tyson. He’s nine. He’s feisty. He’s smart."
Tyson says hi, but doesn’t want to demonstrate a stunt move for his mom — but the audience cheers him on, and he does.
Fan asks her what she’s doing now, but the writers’ strike has her on hold. She may be doing a BBC production called "The Burlesque Diaries." She demonstrates a little bit of glove-stripping and boa-draping.
Also a project for "Adult Swim." "It’s kind of farcical humor, and the character I play is kind of like CSI, but we’re a professional occupational safety hazard team. Like when a forklift stabs a guy to the heart, we show up and cause more havoc than should be humanly possible. Then my character, who is a genius and putting herself through school as a stripper and is kind of an idiot savant."
Fan: Will you be at the London convention in May?
Brittney: Ask the powers that be, but she wants to. She wants to bad.
Fan: When you auditioned for the part on Xena, did they tell you it would be a lesbian role? Would you have auditioned for it anyway?
Brittney: "I didn’t, but I would have, yeah. I mean, have you seen Gabrielle?"
Now she is auctioning off her bra. The one she’s wearing. Which she describes in great detail and with many hand gestures. The crowd is very appreciative. (From Christie: I believe the auction is to benefit single mothers with kids with cancer — I’ll update later with the exact name of the charity.)
Bidding hits $600 and she’s jumping all over the stage in delight.
$700. "I see some people with some determination. And I do sign it, and the winner gets to unhook it."
Fan: With my teeth?
Brittney: As long as you take your time.
Bidding goes to $750. Then $800.
Going once, going twice… ONE THOUSAND!
Someone asks about her underpants, and she says, "You are assuming i’m wearing any."
$1300. $1500. $1600. $2000. $2100. $2500. $2600. $3000. $3100.
She offers to take the two high bidders home and let them pick a bra of their chocie, and the winning bidder gets to take it off of her, and "yes, you can use your teeth."
$3300. $3500. $3600.
Going once…. $3700.
"I am visualizing the removal by teeth."
"Before we go any further, thank you guys."
"It’s a real cat fight."
$4300. $4400. $4500.
There is only one minute left.
Going once. Going twice.
Adam from Creation: "Come on, $5000 is such a round number."
Brittney: We’re at $4800. Going once. Going twice. SOLD.
Applause. Standing ovation.
I’ll do one more wrap-up post with the photos from Zoe’s stunt demo and a banquet being held later tonight. Other than that, this wraps up the Xena convention live-blogging for 2008. Thanks to everyone who hung out with me, and thanks to Creation Entertainment for making their wireless connection available to us and helping us bring this to you.