Lucy Lawless used a lot of sweat and swordplay to become a female action hero in “Xena: Warrior Princess.” She didn’t mind the swords.

“I always hated action,” says Lawless, accenting the comment with a smile. “But with ‘Xena’ I didn’t have any choice in the matter but to knuckle down and do it.”

Lawless has returned to the genre that brought her so much fame to star in the new Starz series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.” It launches at 10 p.m. Friday.

She finds her role in “Spartacus” interesting indeed, comparing the manipulative, scheming and sexually charged Lucretia to Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth.

The series features nudity and the idea made Lawless nervous. But she says the sexual element is an important part of the story.

“Lucy might not want to do it, but it is truthful and right for the character,” Lawless says. “In Rome, all bets are off. The nudity fulfills the scenes properly, and because of that, you just can’t hold back because of your own ego.

“There’s a lot of sex and violence in this, but there’s nothing gratuitous about it.”