Newsletter 18 (2000)
This interview is property of the DXF (German Xena Fan Club). Copying this in any way without written permission is prohibited. All rights are (c) by the DXF 2000.
Telephone Interview with Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite)
4th Xena-Camp of the German Xena Fanclub (DXF)
How did you get the role of Aphrodite?
I auditioned. (laughs) That happens. (laughs) That's the way we do it quite often in Hollywood. I knew the casting director already, because she hired me for another job on another show. And so she knew my work and she thought I might be right for the part, so she brought me in to audition and I met the producers... I don't know if you guys have seen the first episode I did, it was called "The Apple". It was very silly and very funny and I was very confused. I thought this show was an action show, I thought it was a serious drama and here was all the silly humour and Aphrodite comes in on a giant clam shell, you know. (laughs) So I was a little confused. But I love comedies, so I just went for it. And I got the part and I got to go to New Zealand which was so beautiful.
You have worked on both "Hercules" and "Xena". What are - for you as an actress - the differences between the two sets?
As an actress they're pretty similar, actually. It's more as a person, that they're kind of different. Xena feels like a much more female dominated set. You know, many of the producers are the same people, the head of the make-up department... actually, that's not true, the whole make-up department is different... but the same wardrobe person works on both shows, so many of the people are the same but the feeling is different, and I think probably because there aren't very many shows, that I worked on, anyway, in Hollywood, where so many women are in so many positions of power. It's a unique experience and I just love that about Xena. It's very cool.
Do you have a favorite Aphrodite episode?
Oh boy, right now, I think, "Little Problems" is my favourite one. Oh, have you guys, where are you at this point, are you behind us?
The fifth season is just starting...
So, yeah, it'll be in the fifth season.
Are you satisfied with the way Aphrodite has been developed on the series?
I'm very pleased with the way Aphrodite has been developed. I think it would have been so easy to leave her as just sort of a barbie doll, type of bimbo girl. And there's definitely that to her, I mean, she's very blonde and that outfit is ridiculous. (laughs) But they've also, you know, they've managed to give her a soul, and a heart, and a sense of humour and, you know, there's moments when she's falling in love, and there's moments when she's, you know, really felt for people. And during the next season, Season Five, which you guys will be seeing soon, she and Gabrielle will develop a real love for each other, which I was very, very pleased with. (thunderous applause, Alex laughs out loudly)
Do you have any influence on the development of the part or is it all done by the writers?
No, it's all by the writers, I have nothing to say about it. I never know what they're gonna do until I get there. But, you know, I have influence in how I play it, how I play with (what's?) written. .. I try to fulfill what the writers give me and I try to bring it alive as much as possible and give it a soul.
After Season 5 there are a lot of fans who see a close friendship between Gabrielle and Aphrodite. What do you think about this and would you like to see more of this in the future?
Absolutely, I think it's wonderful! I think, logistically, part of the reason that happened was just simply because Lucy Lawless was having a baby. So she had to be written out of many of the shows while she was off having a baby, so they brought me in. That's what they do a lot of times, when Lucy has to go somewhere: they bring in the guest stars and they give Gabrielle more of the central story and they bring in people like me or Ted Raimi to kind of support her. So, I think, logistically that's why that happened, but it was wonderful. I love working with Renee, she's fabulous. She's really, really a strong lady and I have all respect for her. It was fun, because Aphrodite is so ditzy in some ways and she's really not a Xena kind of girl, you know what I mean? She kind of doesn't belong in there, and, I mean, she's like the opposite of Xena and Gabrielle, really. So it was nice to be able to develop that relationship a little bit better. And I think it brought depth to both characters, both Aphrodite and Gabrielle, that they could sort of find this common ground and this respect for each other.
Will you be in the sixth season?
I'm definitely gonna be in the sixth season and I have no idea what they're gonna do to me. (laughs)
You don't know what the future of the Goddess of Love is, now that most of Mount Olympus is gone?
All I know is that she's still alive. (laughs) (thunderous applause) Yeah, baby!
There were some mixed reactions to the fifth season, some people were not satisfied with the direction the show was taking. One episode in particular caused confusion and a heated debate: Married With Fishsticks.
Oh yeah, the most hated episode ever.
What did you think about this episode?
Oh, I thought it was pretty silly. I mean, you know, I'm an actor, so I enjoy doing different things. You know, so it was fun to me to play a mermaid, it was fun for me to have to learn how to do this new kind of accent. But I definitely understood the fans' reaction. I mean I think when you turn on Xena you wanna to see a medieval action show with powerful women. You wanna see some fights, you wanna see, you know, dark leather and swords and stuff like that. You don't wanna see purple and blue and turquoise and a set that looks like it's from the "Flintstones."
Did you see the finished product?
Yeah, so I understand that. I mean, actually, Ted and I had great fun shooting it, because it was just so silly. But I have all respect for the fans and I totally understand why they don't like it. In a funny way I feel honoured to be part of the most hated episode. (laughs)
It was pretty obvious that you had a lot of fun. Are there any anecdotes from the set, especially working with Meighan Desmond?
Meighan, yes, she's wonderful, she's a sweet, sweet girl. She's from New Zealand, by the way. So, this one episode, they didn't finish writing it for the very last minute, so I didn't even see the script until I was down in New Zealand. So I didn't even know until the day before we started shooting, that I had to come up with this completely new accent. And, luckily I'm from the East coast and a lot of my family is from Brooklyn, so I'm a little familiar with that accent. But Meighan lives in New Zealand and I don't think she's even met anyone from Brooklyn. She and I had sort of take a crash course in accents and we rented... I don't know if you guys know the movie "My Cousin Vinnie", which is sort of famous in America for being a silly Brooklyn comedy. So we rented that to try to work on the accent. And she's a real trooper and she's a good sport. And one of my favourite things to do on the show is to fight, I just love it. And Aphrodite doesn't fight very often, 'cause she usually just puts the hex (?) on somebody, puts a spell on someone. But a couple of times they've let me fight and its always with Meighan. (laughs) So I have a special love in my heart for her, just for, you know, letting me kick her ass sometimes... (laughs)
Since Aphrodite is a regular character on the show, you spend quite some time in New Zealand. What are the differences between filming in New Zealand and the US?
There's funny little differences, that you would'nt really know. I mean, for example, every afternoon in New Zealand the whole entire production shuts down for, hmm, I don't know, twenty minutes, while everyone stops for afternoon tea - and Americans have never even heard of afternoon tea. (laughs) So there's funny little things like that. They say things differently, instead of saying "Rolling", at the beginning you go "Live Camera Action Rolling" and then "Action", instead of "Rolling" they say "Turnover", you just get used to these funny little differences. I love New Zealand so much. Since I have been spending so much time there for the last two years I now have very good friends there. So I am always really happy to hear that I'm going back, cause, besides doing the show, which I enjoy very much and I am pleased with, too, I also know that I'm gonna go to see a lot of my best friends.
So what's it like to work with Lucy Lawless?
Lucy is wonderful. I actually haven't worked with her that often. It's funny, I have been doing the show for years and years, but she and I actually don't really have that many episodes and that many scenes together. But she's a real Kiwi girl. She's like a real down-to-earth girl, she's really kind of one of the guys. There's no drama, there's no diva, there's nothing like that, she's just like a real hard-working, you know, funny, good-sense-of-humour girl. She's cool.
When you started on the show, did you know how active and creative the fandom was?
No, I had no idea. I didn't know anything about... Xena had just started, when I got my first part on Hercules. So, I didn't even really know what Xena... I had never even have seen Hercules and I had no idea what Xena was. I just thought Xena was like some spin-off. It's funny, because, I love... I've always sort of, you know, I wanna be... I am an actress, and I have really high aspirations like most actresses do, but I also love, like cult movies, you know, one of my dreams has always been to be in a John Waters movie, or a Russ Meyers movie, or something like that, like I just love that stuff. And I had no idea about this part, that that was actually what was happening to me. It's great, I love it.
You have your own website. Are you on the web a lot and do you get fan reactions?
A little bit, when I have time. I more get reports of what the fans are thinking and seeing from my friends, who are fans and also from doing conventions where I get to see a lot of the fans.
Have you ever read any fan fiction?
(laughs) Not very much, although I've heard that it's very popular. Congratulations to the woman who's going down there and writing that one episode, that's great. (thunderous applause) Do you guys write a lot of fanfiction in Germany?
Write on. Good luck. Keep going.
Are there any upcoming or current projects you would like to tell us about?
Yes, I did a movie with Famke Janssen and Vince Vaughn called "Made" that we just finished shooting at the end of the summer and that should be out in a few months. Funny little, like, Mafia comedy. And I did - you guys probably know who Claudia Christian is? She and I did an audio book together, like a radio play. She's done one already. If you look on her website you can see there's one called "Life with a Cat" and then I just did another one with her, which is a sequel to that, which will be out in a couple of months, hopefully. And then she and I are actually working on a couple of other dubbed (?), developing a couple of other projects for the two of us to do, but I can't talk about that, cause I don't wanna jinx it. But as soon as anything is ready to go, I'll put it on my website - you guys will know immediately.
Many Xena actresses and actors have guest-starred on "Cleopatra 2525" and "Jack of all Trades". Would that be of interest to you?
Absolutely, I would love to do that. It hasn't worked out so far, but I definitely am open to it and would love to do that. Actually, there's a similar kind of humour to the shows, but they are very different genres and I would love to experiment with that.
Is there anybody you would like to work with or a particular role you would like to play?
Oh boy... Sure, everything. (laughs) One of each? In Xena I would love to do one of the modern day episodes. I would love to do one of the musicals and I would love to make Aphrodite a rock star. (thunderous applause). Thank you. I'll tell them that you guys like that idea, too.
Can you sing?
Yes I can sing. A little bit.
But there are no recordings so far?
No, no... Keep you posted on that too.
So they should use you in the next musical.
I think so, too. Absolutely. I also have a long, long background in dance. I started dancing, when I was four years old. So I would love to dance, also. I mean, in most musicals they let you dance, too, so I would love to do that.
Have you ever been to Europe or to Germany?
I've never been to Germany. I'm dying to go. I have been to Europe, I have been to England and France, but that's it. I haven't been anywhere near Germany, but I'm dying to go.
We'd be glad to see you here.
(laughs) Thank you. Maybe if you guys do this again next year, maybe I can come in person this time.
This was the list of our questions. If there is anything else you would like to say, please do.
I just wanna say thank you so much. And you guys are what makes us able to do our work and we don't get the opportunity to thank you very often, but you guys mean so much to us, and to me especially, you mean so much to me, and I just wanna thank you guys. And I hope that you'll check out my website "alextydings.com" and stay on top of what I'm doing and let me know what you think and you can e-mail me and I actually read the stuff. (thunderous applause) Yeah! Thank you.(more thunderous applause)
Thanks again for being with us and answering all our questions.
DXF Xena Camp 4 Report (english only)
Official Photo Gallery DXF Camp 4
Lyrics of the Cabaret Program (German only)
Fanreports (german) on www.symbiont.de