Gracen Favour “l’m a very old soul” says Highlander: The Raven’s Elizabeth Gracen between the bullets in Paris. By Tony Crawley.
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Xposé #32
- just one of five set visits in this issue!

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The cameraman has a heavy blanket over his head, his assistant is crouched behind a police riot shield and the director is way out of it, comfy behind his monitor. Action!

Suddenly, bullets are flying – at least, lamps are exploding as if shot to pieces in this French chateau about 30 miles outside Paris. And Elizabeth Gracen – as graceful as her name implies – examines one of the villains shot in the 19th episode of Highlander: The Raven. And... Cut!

She picks up her Sunday papers and her script from the chair marked ‘Elizabeth Gracen Only.’ “You can imagine what the visiting actors think of me when they see that!” she says. “Very embarrassing. I’d prefer just an E.”

She leads the way through the cavernous chateau to her Sanctuary, that is Amanda’s Sanctuary now that The Raven has wrapped a dozen tales in Toronto and finishes the first season with 10 shows made in France – part-time home of the previous series, which is where Elizabeth first created the immortal, 1200-year-old Amanda.

“I was working in LA and a producer I’d worked with on The Death of the Incredible Hulk asked if I wanted to play this immortal female, thief and an acrobat… in Paris for a week… I was like, ‘Let me think about it!’ No, no, I just said, ‘Of course!’

“I got the script the day before I left: ‘Wow! This is gonna be fun!’ In Paris, Adrian Paul and I hit it off and I immediately got what Amanda was. I knew people in my head like her – several people in my past. She sorta reminded me of my grandmother… who always used to cheat at gin rummy! She’d make up the rules as she went along! ‘Honey, that’s the rules. Didn’t I tell you?’

“By the end of that season, that show was voted one of the most popular episodes. And they all wanted Amanda to come back again and again.” Elizabeth was willing. Amanda was an actor’s dream, “The best character I’ve ever played.” Yet she only saw her as a sidekick, never figuring on her own series.

Now all the fans – even her producers – suggest a series was inevitable as the statuesque ‘Creature of legend like the raven’ neatly fits today’s terrain of action heroines. But, hey, Amanda was around before Scully, Xena and Buffy!

“Well, except for the fact that she wielded a sword, Amanda was not then what she is now,” stresses Elizabeth. “But, yes, the potential was there! It’s been six years since I started playing her and the world of television – and of women in television – has changed in that time. I’ve a responsibility to women in the way I play her. I try to make her very human – definitely feminine. She’s kinda different to Xena. I haven’t watched Buffy, so she’s maybe more an older version of Buffy.” Oh, she’s definitely older...

Tony Crawley

Continued in Xposé #32


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