A Quickie With Lena Headey

British actor Lena Headey may not be a lesbian, but she has
enough lesbian fans — and tattoos — to practically make her an honorary one.
She first caught the eye of most lesbian viewers when she played Luce, a
florist who falls for bride-to-be Rachel (Piper Perabo) in the romantic comedy Imagine Me
& You
(2005). But she had her first lesbianish role as Sally Seton
in Mrs. Dalloway (1997), where she
kissed Natasha McElhone.

Since then, Headey has played key roles in several major
films, including most notably Queen Gorgo in the blockbuster 300 (2006). Last January, Headey took on
her most iconic role yet: Sarah Connor, the character first made famous by
Linda Hamilton in Terminator (1984)
and its sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment

Many fans of those movies remember Hamilton’s ripped physique in Terminator 2, and as a result, Headey
took some flak from critics for being too thin when Terminator: The
Sarah Connor Chronicles
premiered. At a press conference in July,
executive producer Josh Friedman joked, “Anyone that thought she wasn’t
physically ready to do the role hadn’t been hit by her on the set like I had,
and I just hope that all those doubters have the opportunity in the

Headey quipped, “I have gigantic biceps this

After the press conference, I met up with Headey at the Fox
network party on Santa Monica Pier, where we huddled together in a photo booth
in an effort to talk over the blaring music. We chatted about Sarah Connor,
Headey’s latest tattoos and kissing Piper Perabo.

AfterEllen.com: I was
surprised that you got all those negative responses last year. Were you reading
AfterEllen? Our readers love you!
Lena Headey:
I did read AfterEllen. I love
AfterEllen, because you’re nice to me. Yeah, that was unexpected for me. I was
thinking, seriously, people can’t be that narrow-minded. … It just became such
a big talking point too, which was ridiculous.

AE: Did you feel like
you suddenly had to work out way more?
No! Not at all. I’m a fairly healthy size. I just happen to be a little
bit skinny because that’s how my body works, you know what I mean? So I was
told there was no issue. I just wanted them to stop being so ridiculous.

AE: I think that
you’ve really made the role your own. When you were starting it, how did you
want to differentiate yourself from Linda Hamilton?

LH: I didn’t really honestly think
about it so much. I just thought, here’s a woman who has got a really difficult
situation for lots of reasons. It’s just that. She’s another person. I didn’t
think about Linda Hamilton; I didn’t think about her playing Sarah.

What I love about it is — which I’ve yet to explore, which I
hope I’m going to get to — is all the layers of her insanity, which I think she
has. I think it’s all very controlled … it’s her in control and her being on
top of everything, and I think what would be really cool is to see the
crumbling underneath.

AE: Is there anything
in particular that you want to do with this character? What do you wish you
could do more of?
I want more range, you know. I mean, I love all the action stuff, it’s
fun for me, but like Josh [Friedman] said … he was like, “I don’t want to
always see you with a shotgun in your hand.” And I was like, “I

And I just want to explore her. Like I think she’s neglected
herself for such a long time, thinking about [her son, John Connor] and
thinking about surviving and running, and if she f—s up then the whole
world’s gonna die, do you know what I mean? That’s her issue every day when she
wakes up … and every night when she goes to bed.

AE: That must be very
Yes! I think there would be some really cool stuff to do with her kind
of slight madness.

AE: Are you working
on anything else right now? Is it just Sarah Connor?
Well, I just directed a little movie, which I wrote, which is [dryly] brilliant, honestly [laughs]. It’s a
comedy, and my friend produced it for me, and helped me get it in some
semblance so we could make a movie. I loved it, and I’m at the moment writing
the feature for it, and I hope to get it financed by next spring.