‘Every Boy’s Dream, Every Parent’s Nightmare: The Xenia Seeberg Story’
Xenia Seeberg was born in 1972 in the small town of Geldern, Germany, and was educated in Dusseldorf, Milan, and at the Lee Strasberg School in New York and Los Angeles. She also studied with Joan Costopoulos - The Actor's Studio - in New York and with Agnes Pollner in Cologne, Germany.
A woman of many talents, Xenia (pronounced ‘Zenia’) is a classically trained dancer, has worked as a model and a singer – even had a record deal with EMI-Cologne DL, but her most prolific work has been in film and television. She has starred in several American/German co-productions, including ‘Hellchild / Hilda Humphrey,’ directed by Nick Lyon, and ‘Talking Feet,’ directed by Jean Marie Van Blome. Xenia has also assumed the role of television show host with ‘Cult,’ (95-96) and ‘POP Rocky TV’ (96.) Although best known this side of the water by a worldwide television audience for her starring lead role of "Xev Bellringer " in the science fiction TV series ‘LEXX,’ she has also had the leading role of "Angie Wilhelm" in ‘Geliebte Schwestern.’
Taking some time out with the highly talkative, highly self-reliant, and yet seemingly sexually subdued young lady herself, we cover all things Xenia. But we start with her new project, the co-titled ‘Hellchild / Hilda Humphrey’ short film directed by Nick Lyon: ”Originally, it was supposed to be called ‘Hilda Humphrey,’ so that was the working title. But Nick Lyon, the Director decided later on that the movie was going to just be called ‘Hellchild.’ I mean, if you watch the movie the line that always comes out includes the words “rebellious hellchild” so I guess that’s where he got it from.”
Being that ‘Hellchild’ is only 20 minutes long, what made you want to do it in the first place ? ”It was probably because in Germany a lot of people in the industry think that if you’re blonde and have blue eyes, big lips and big something else you can always play just the sweety nice cute girl or the girlfriend … all the boring characters. So, when this part came along and Nick Lyon asked me if I could do it, I said sure I can do it. It was to show everybody over there what I can do and yes, sure, it was probably a little provocative. It was just to show that I’m not quite the good girl always and that’s not the character that I’ve always got to play. But, ever since things have changed and I’ve now played parts like in LEXX. I mean, ‘Xev’ is a very rebellious character and she has a certain background that, other than that, she never really gets to practice on that too many times. I actually got the part in LEXX because of ‘Hellchild.’ We shot that in ’98 and the Canadian Producer of LEXX and one of the writers were casting all over Europe and they had already seen about 400 girls at the time and they hadn’t really found someone. And all of a sudden they came across my reel and there was two scenes from ‘Hellchild’ on my reel.”
You play a very sexual girl growing through stages of life … how much of that was actually you in real life though ? ”Not me at all. Very disappointing, sorry,” she laughs. ”The idea for the script was that it was meant to be some weird countryside in the States and the Director wanted to show it in all its worst aspects what life for a girl can be !”
Was there any one scene that you felt more uncomfortable with than the others ? ”Well, no. I’m an actress. It’s what we learn. No, I don’t think there was anything that was too hard to do. It was all very playful, I gotta say, but yeah, of course the abortion scene was kind of not that great because a friend of mine had already had an abortion. Of course, those kinda things go through your mind, but luckily I’ve never been through that. It must be because I don’t have a very sexual life, right ?” she giggles heartedly, and yet extremely sarcastically. ”No, that was a little strange, but other than that we had a whole lot of fun with that movie. It looks very silly and very sexual, yes, but I talked to a few people here that saw the movie and they said it made them incredibly sad. The original script was just like a comic book, just pictures and words here and there, and we were basically just skipping through those comic characters to make them come alive.”
What’s the sexiest thing you’ve ever done in real life ? ”Actually, what comes to my mind first thing is when I was still in acting school and we did one thing called the ‘Salome Dance.’ I had actually done this class before I shot ‘Hilda Humphrey’, and this ‘Salome Dance’ no matter if you were male or female, you had to do a dance. Like a sexual dance that brings out all your sexual energy, so you lose the fear of being a sexual person in front of the camera. So, all the girls were putting on a lot of make-up and dressing down to some bikini’s or lacy underwear and stockings and the boys undressed until, well, you get the picture. And I decided to do my ‘Salome Dance’ in a super-large turtle neck sweater and the baggiest pants I could find made of very thin material. So, you could still see the shape of my body and everything beacause it was incredibly loose, right and so in a way I was wearing more than I was on usual days of my acting class, but I still did the dance. And people were just amazed at how sexual this dance was with all my clothes on. It was weird because no one had told us that we had to take off all our clothes to be sexy, so that’s what came to my mind first there. I mean, when I walk down the street, probably a lot of people think that I’m a sexual person anyways, because of the way I look. So, therefore you don’t have to emphasis on that.”
Tell me about your character ‘Xev Bellringer’ from LEXX, because not only was she formerly the character ‘Zev Bellringer,’ but was also originally played by Eva Habermann ! ”Yeah, she played the part in ’96 for the first four episodes and I watched them all and so then I talked to the Producer after they had told me they wanted me and tried to find out just what I was getting myself into. But, after watching her and this character I had to decide where did I want to take this, because of course, I didn’t want to continue or just try to be the character that she was. So I said, okay, she goes through a transformation and so that’s how we ended up adding this protein from this pilot and melted down so that basically it was a new character. Because it was fine to have her background, but since my way of acting was completely different therefore I just knew I would want not to have that level of being a ‘Love Slave.’ I really wanted to take it further so that she became kind of a fighter because of what was given to her and her nature because she is really headstrong with all that. She always has a great sense of justice and I explored that character more and season after season and it became more layered. And so, for that matter, I think I like the last season the most.”
So, was that truly the final season of LEXX that we saw ? ”Yes, we decided before we even started shooting the last season that that should be the final one, but right now there’s so much talk of ‘we want a movie, we want a movie’ so who knows. The fans are like ‘please, please, please do something, this cannot end here’ but everyone’s happy now that the re-runs are on.”
Give me some inside, behind-the-scenes scoop on the last filming day of LEXX ! ”Yeah, we were incredibly sad, of course. And I guess we really don’t want to talk about September 11th which was terrible and why we stopped shooting for about three days. Because so many in LEXX at the time were drawn to watching those planes going to New York over and over again. But, we shot the last episode of LEXX in Thailand which was a nice end, which made it a little lighter, I guess and not quite as depressing. The last two months we shot in Japan first and then after that in Thailand so we didn’t actually shoot the last episode the last ! We shot the last episode sometime in October and then went to Japan and Thailand on the 15th or 16th or something (of September). We did a lot of on-location shooting during the last season. There was an island in the Caribbean, Arizona, Texas, Los Angeles, Bulgaria and there was England; there was so much. We were all over the planet,” she laughs.
It’s interesting to note that you haven’t done any ‘extras’ (commentaries, etc.) for the LEXX DVDs. Is there a reason for that ? ”To be honest I’ve never seen one of the DVDs. I know that they’re out there but I’ve never actually watched one. I never been asked to do them !”
That’s a little bit weird, isn’t it ?! ”Ah, yeah. Probably.”
What was it like growing up in Germany and when and why did you make the transition to America ? ”I was growing up in the countryside actually,” she laughs. ”very close to Holland and with my parents being from both German Capitals; my Dad is from Berlin originally and my mom from Bohn they decided to plant their seed in Geldern: this little tiny town on the Dutch border. So I grew up with lots of horses, but we didn’t live on a farm we just had a lot of horses ! So, I think I had a pretty happy childhood, yeah. As for moving here, I moved here not so long ago. I came here in April (2002) and had my first agency talks and then I actually moved here three weeks ago ! I was busy before then and have been doing this here since ’98. I was shooting in Canada or in Germany for the most part.”
What did you always wanna be growing up ? ”Well, the funny thing is, believe it or not, I was told by my grandmother’s cousin who was an actress in the ‘20s – she was 86 and I was 4 at the time – that I would be an actress one day. And I still remember that day so clearly, although she picked me up from kindergarten and she was already a little weird by then ! I had this strange feeling about her because on the one hand I was totally fascinated by her – she had very intense eyes – and on the other hand I was so scared of her ! So, she was on the edge of going insane, but I just really loved her and she died when she had just told me that I would follow in her footsteps of being an actress. But up until it actually happened I still thought that I was going to be a teacher for High School kids for Latin Philosophy and English ! Yeah, that’s what I studied for a while before I decided to become an actress and luckily had the chance to work as a model and so this is how I made my money for the acting classes. Because my parents would not have wanted me to become an actress, but now they’ve slowly but surely got used to it, I guess !”
Is it true that you’re an accomplished singer and have even released some records ? ”I was, yeah. I had a deal with EMI in Cologne and we had a single out and I decided I wanted to proceed with my acting career and so went to Canada. If you watch the movie ‘Hilda Humphrey,’ there’s a music video that I’m in on the DVD. It’s a remake of Depeche Mode’s ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ and it’s actually a very cool song and we shot that in Arizona. That was a lot of fun.”
So, any forthcoming musical projects for you ? ”Yeah, now here in California I’m actually working on a project with the Vertikals (Jim Alquist/James Armstrong) Southern California songwriters who have been musically associated with 'Jan and Dean', 'The Beach Boys', and 'The Turtles' for the past 25 years. We just got together last night and talked about the new project and we’ll probably be recording when I get back from Montana. I’ll be shooting a little movie in Montana shortly. And then I’m also talking to Tony Colten who is from England and has written songs for everybody like The Everly Brothers, Elvis Costello, Joe Cocker way back then, and even Eric Clapton. He heard my voice and now he wants to write a song for me !”
Tell me more about this new movie in Montana ”Well, that is something that I’m not supposed to talk about,” she laughs. ”It’s an independent movie, but usually before starting a production I don’t talk about it and they’ve asked me not to repeat anything.”
OK, well, give me a small little tidbit of info anyway ! ”It’s a comedy, like a ‘Scary Movie’ comedy. I’m actually gonna be playing a Witch,” she quickly adds sneakily.
You also have plans for a comic book too ? ”Yes, I do, because I thought that it would be perfect to take those characters (LEXX) and move on with them in comic books. Because people have been saying that 'they should all be in a video game or a comic book. Why don’t you do that ?' So, because I’m also writing short stories and stuff therefore I thought it might be a good idea. It doesn’t have to be the same group, but we could start there and we’ll take it off to some new adventures.”
QUICK FUN STUFF:
Do you have any tattoos ? ”Nope.”
Would you ever have any ? ”Nope, … but maybe I should say, maybe ! I’ve considered it various times, but I do like my body the way it is so I think somehow I don’t really need a tattoo. You get the sense of it being eternal and so I don’t want to be one of those people that have to have their tattoos removed for any reason. Maybe one day I’ll be ready for one.”
Describe yourself in three words ”I’m too complex ….. to do that,” she adds, not realizing that she’s just answered the question perfectly !
Standing naked looking at yourself in the mirror, what do you think is your best feature ? ”My eyes,” she instantly responds.
What is the most interesting thing to know about you ? ’What I’m not gonna tell you now,” she jokingly laughs. ”I don’t know you yet !," she adds with a definite snicker. 'But I am a very giving person and also that’s what the fans actually said too. We had this huge autograph signing session here at the Virgin Megastore last week and they were so happy as they expected somebody to be way more distant with them. But if fans come from all around the country, and even the world to see me, I spend quite a bit of time with each one of them. They just deserve that and I think anybody who just treats fans badly is just an asshole.”
Do you realize that you and Angelina Jolie have the same lips ?! ”That’s funny, because I got a script off her, like half a year ago and they wanted both of us in the movie ! And with all the interviews I’ve done, or whenever my picture appears somewhere in a magazine, they always, always, always make the comparison between us,” she laughs.
Which movie did they want you both for ? ”It’s a Canadian movie, but it’s only got a working title so far, but we’ll see what happens with it. But there is this one other thing that I can tell you because there is this movie that I started here in June called ‘Beyond The Limit’ and that one was done by a German Director but most of the actors were American. It’s like kind of a horror movie and he had like his own cult following, but it’s great.”
Have you got a contest question for us so that people can win a signed DVD and/or 8x10 ? ”Is that the contest to find the best, greatest American man for me,” she laughs.
Well, it wasn’t meant to be, but we can change it to that ! Why, are you currently single ? ”I am yes. I’m surprised you didn’t ask me that question,” she laughs. ”You asked me quite a few sexual questions there so I thought that that would be a much milder one to ask !”
Is it fun for you to be single ? ”Erm, of course it gives you quite a bit of freedom to move around a lot and do the things you want to do, But, yeah, this is hard, but being with an actress you’ve really got to have a lot of patience and you’ve got to believe in yourself. And you must have a very giving nature, I think otherwise it’s just hard. You never know where she will be next or even for how long. And even though I think I’m a very honest person on one hand, on the other hand I’m very unpredictable also. One thing I can say about myself, without being too obnoxious is certainly that I don’t think I’m boring.”
* To win a signed DVD of ‘Hellchild’ or a signed Xenia Seeberg 8x10, just let us know why YOU could be the ”best, greatest American man” that Xenia is looking for ! Just send an e:mail to me at with the subject title 'Xenia' and your answer in the text to:
To check out Xenia's personal web site, go to www.xeniaseeberg.biz
To buy the 'Hellchild' DVD check out the Amazon.com web site at: www.amazon.com
To buy the LEXX series on VHS or DVD check out the Acorn Media web site at: www.acornmedia.com
To read our DVD Review of 'LEXX: Complete Second Season' just click here and be whisked away !
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