Big oil protester Lucy Lawless was in a Shell commercial?

The Shell oil drilling ship targeted by "Spartacus" star Lucy Lawless and fellow Greenpeace activists set forth Tuesday on its mission to the Arctic, as the protesters prepared to face a New Zealand court over their illegal occupation.

Meanwhile Lawless continued to brush off revelations that she appeared in a TV ad for Shell two decades ago, pointing out that she had changed her feelings on environmental matters since then.
The 43-year-old New Zealander -- who became a Greenpeace ambassador in 2009 -- was charged with burglary Monday, along with six others, after ending their three-day action aboard the Noble Discoverer at Port Taranaki.

They will appear in the New Plymouth District Court on Thursday, the Taranaki Daily News reported.

Although any conviction is likely to be dealt with by a fine, it could impair Lawless' ability to travel to the US -- where much of her TV work is based -- in future, according to a legal expert cited by the New Zealand Herald.

During the protest the group occupied the ship's 174-foot drilling derrick and unfurled banners to speak out against the vessel's voyage to look for oil in waters off Alaska -- arguing it is one of the world's last pristine environments.

On Tuesday the Noble Discoverer departed on its 3,730-mile  voyage to the Chukchi Sea, where it will drill three exploration wells. The Daily News reported the protest had delayed the journey, but only by a few days.

Lawless nevertheless said she was pleased with her efforts, which focused worldwide attention on the issue.

And on Tuesday she retweeted comments she made earlier when confronted with revelations she had acted as a pump attendant in a Shell TV commercial in the early 1990s, ahead of her breakthrough success in fantasy action series "Xena: Warrior Princess," which ran from 1995 to 2001.

She said she was two days into the ship protest when she remembered being in the ad.
Describing her brief role in the commercial to reporters, she said, "I was pumping gas and somebody, and I don't think it was me, said, 'It's the fuel of the future.'"

"I don't think it was my character but I always remember that line. And ah, sadly it isn't the fuel to take us into the future, we've got to get something clean."

Greenpeace NZ executive director Bunny McDiarmid said it was no surprise Lawless had changed sides, according to the Daily News.

She added that 20 years ago "climate change was hardly a speck on the radar" but that Lawless had realized "we have to stop drilling in the Arctic if we're going to have a future."