Anderson wooed back to TV for 'Bleak House'
Gillian Anderson fell in love with Charles Dickens' "Bleak House" after she was offered the part of Lady Dedlock. "My first response was, 'I don't do television anymore,' (but) I started reading, and it's an amazing novel," said Anderson, best known for nine seasons of starring as Special Agent Scully on "The X Files."
Set in Victorian-era London, the suspenseful tale centers on a thorny inheritance lawsuit laced with multiple plot lines: a murdered man, an orphan's mysterious past, the passion of young lovers, and Lady Dedlock's own dark secrets, which she fears her husband's lawyer will learn.
"She seems fragile, but she is actually quite tough," Anderson said of her character. "I enjoyed her tremendously, even wearing the corset. It was a very good corset, constrictive but not painful. But I still had to decide if I would eat two bites of lunch, or loosen it and eat more, then put it back and feel disgusting the rest of the day."
Anderson worked with Charles Dance and Alun Armstrong on producer Nigel Stafford-Clark's production, which airs as part of PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre."
"Nigel knew the book and teleplays back to front, and the intricacies of every character," she said.
The real challenge in playing Lady Dedlock, Anderson said, was to express her pain differently "scene after scene after scene. That sounds simple, but it's true. Especially for characters so loaded with history and secrets, you have to pay intricate attention to the emotional state they're in and hope the choices you're making are appropriate ones."