Lucy Lawless adopted an old-fashioned method for saving energy: she put up a clothesline in her yard. "It's obscene for me to be drying towels when the sun is beating down for free," she explains. "And I don't care if it offends somebody's aesthetic." Lawless, last seen bleeding profusely in the conclusion of the first season of Starz' "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," reprises her role as Lucretia in the six-episode prequel, "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," premiering Jan. 21.

Devised as a placeholder when titular star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the prequel resurrects Lucretia's husband Batiatus (John Hannah), owner of the gladiator ludus. "You get to see our characters when they are in the honeymoon phase of their lives," says Lawless. It also introduces star gladiator Gannicus (Australian actor Dustin Clare), "this cocky dude who has no morals and no qualms, and yet you love him."

While producers were optimistic that Whitfield would recover in time to resume his role in season two of Spartacus, his cancer returned and they had to recast the role, with Australian actor Liam McIntyre. Lawless expects to appear next season in what she calls "the best role ever" — her wound, apparently, was not fatal — but doesn't expect to be around for long. "I fully expect to die," she says.

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