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The Character Everyone Forgets Antony Starr Played On Xena: Warrior Princess

There are a number of ways to get your start as an actor, but a few of them are more tried-and-true than others. You could begin by getting a part on "Law & Order," for example, or one of its many spin-offs. 

However, if you're in New Zealand instead of New York, like a young Antony Starr, that's a little tougher. There are options, both locally or (relatively) nearby in Australia, but Starr, best-known today as Homelander on Prime Video's wicked superhero saga "The Boys," actually got his start on an American production that was shooting its ancient world in his home country well before Peter Jackson filmed "The Lord of the Rings" in the same area: "Xena: Warrior Princess." In true "Law & Order" fashion, they even had him back to play multiple parts. 

In the first of Starr's episodes, he played a bit part as a centaur, whom Xena (Lucy Lawless) saves with some quick first aid. Starr recalled this in a 2020 GQ interview: "[They] put me in tights and made me stand in front of a green screen pretending to be a horse with some weird skippy gallop." That's not bad for his first gig in show business, but it was his second episode on "Xena" that proved to be Starr's real baptism into TV production.

Antony Starr played an Old Testament hero on Xena: Warrior Princess

In the Season 2 episode "The Giant Killer," Starr played David, as in Old Testament David, stepping up to the front lines to face down the menacing giant Goliath (Todd Rippon). The episode plays around the edges of the classic Biblical story — Goliath is an old friend of Xena's, now working for the Philistines. David's rise to leadership is more directly tied to the outcome of this battle, but it does little to thwart its central thrust. David kills Goliath with his sling and becomes the leader of the Israelites afterwards.

For Starr, it was his first time at the center of any kind of production, giant or otherwise, and he was nervous. "I arguably don't know what I'm doing now, but really at that point I had zero clue," he told GQ. "You could see it in the episode; it was really bad. I saw Lucy Lawless out in Auckland maybe a couple of years afterwards and she very politely said, 'Oh, that episode was very highly rated, well done.'"

Considering it took Starr four more years to land another television role, his instincts about his performance on "Xena" are probably right. After more than a decade working his way up through small parts in films and larger roles on New Zealand or Australian television, Starr won the lead role on Cinemax's "Banshee," and eventually his part as Homelander.