Whoosh! Issue 21 - June 1998

Exclusive to Whoosh!
By Bret Ryan Rudnick
Copyright © 1998 held by author
742 words

Author's Note: Who else but Renee O'Connor could play the part of Gabrielle? We see the character, but what of the actress who portrays that character? What follows is an up close and personal look at Renee O'Connor at work on the set. These observations were gleaned during my stay on the XENA set as an extra in the season three cliffhanger SACRIFICE.

On the Set With Renee O'Connor

I'm not looking for an Amazon King at the moment, thank you

Renee O'Connor and the author on the set of SACRIFICE.

[1] How I got to be on the set of SACRIFICE is another story for another time. Suffice to say that having got there, it was a rare opportunity to see people at work whose efforts I have come to admire. This set of people extends far beyond those we see on our screens every week, but the topic of this particular article is the actress who brings Gabrielle to life, Renee O'Connor.

[2] Renee came to the set later than most of the other players on this particular day. She arrived just after lunch. She only had a couple of scenes to do this day, one of which did not make the final cut of SACRIFICE I.

[3] When she did arrive, she was very quiet and unobtrusive. There was no fanfare, no heralds, and no entourage. One moment Renee was not present in the small area off to the side where Lucy Lawless, Hudson Leick, Kevin Smith, Jodie Rimmer, and Stephen Ure were sitting. The next moment, she was there.

[4] The first thing I noticed about her was how very studious she was. From the moment she arrived, she had her script book open and she was very intently reading. She had a pen and made many notes in the margins, underlining certain passages, commenting on others. Well before she was in front of the camera, she was making a very serious study of what she had to do.

[5] When she did film her scenes, she was the consummate professional. She was consistent, prompt, and focused. It was the norm to do two or three takes on a scene, even if everything went very well, but no one had to worry about repeating any of Renee's scenes because of her work. She took that very seriously.

[6] During a break she came over to meet me and was very nice. She seemed quite interested in who I was, what I was doing, how I liked New Zealand, was I getting on all right, and so forth. Every nice thing I had ever heard about her proved nothing less than the truth, and in fact, the reality is vastly superior to the reputation. We had an absolutely delightful chat. She is very smart, very courteous, and a genuinely warm human being.

[7] It was a pleasure to be able to work with her, however tangentially. Her professionalism, courtesy, and kindness to all around her is inspirational, and we are all lucky to be able to see the results of such dedication.


Bret Rudnick Bret Rudnick
Whoosh! Staff
IAXS Executive Committee
"You can never have too much money or too many Amazons"
When he's not working for a big Science/Engineering company that (amongst other things) designs, builds, launches, and operates exploratory spacecraft, Bret writes fantasy novels and short stories. Bret is a man of many skills, having also previously been an Olympic-qualified archer, a drummer in the Butch Grinder Band, a news reader for Public Television Station KVCR, and a Deputy Sheriff for the County of San Bernardino, California. He also collects Japanese swords, armor, and art. He and his dog hunt down stray Bacchae in New England.
Favorite episode: HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110), WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206), and THE QUEST (37/213)
Favorite line: Xena: "What's this?" Gabrielle: "I'm... an amazon princess?" Xena (rolls eyes): "Great." HOOVES AND HARLOTS, 10/110; Xena after being goosed by Joxer: "Are you suicidal?" WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP, 30/206; Joxer: "Ha. Ha." A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222); Autolycus: "I'm not just leering at scantily clad women, you know, I'm working!" THE QUEST (37/213)
First episode seen: CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104)
Least favorite episode: GIANT KILLER (27/203)

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