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Agent Scully's new mission
By Vicky Roach
From: National Features
The Daily Telegraph, Australia
September 14, 2011

It'S probably FBI Special Agent Dana Scully's fault, but Gillian Anderson says her sense of humour is much better developed than people give her credit for.

"I often get asked why I play so many tragic heroines, but comedy has always spotted my career," says the trans-Atlantic actor, who makes an unexpected appearance as the head of MI7 in Rowan Atkinson's spy sequel Johnny English Reborn.

"Something that people don't realise is that a good percentage of The X-Files were comedy episodes - maybe even a fifth of them."

So while Anderson admits the James Bond spoof represents a departure for her - she had never done a broad comedy - it wasn't as much of a stretch as folk may imagine. Especially with an old hand like Atkinson in charge.

"Rowan clearly knows what he is up to and it was fascinating to watch his process, the technicality and precision of that."

For Anderson, even the idea of playing the MI7 head was funny.

"I found the concept quite hysterical, because I don't feel like I am that person. I am five foot three. The idea of me being anybody's boss cracks me up."

While the rest of the world perceives Anderson as ever-so-slightly intimidating, she doesn't see herself that way.

"I need to talk to my almost 17-year-old and find out whether I am ever that scary," she laughs.

While it's tempting to think of Scully as the prototype for the strong characters Anderson has continued to play since The X-Files were finally closed, the actor isn't so sure.

"To be honest, it feels like (the series) veered me away from what my original intention was. I have always been a bit of a cinephile. The X-Files was such an extraordinary opportunity and led to a degree of fame people only dream of. But fame was never my intention, and so it feels like since the series ended is when I started to get on track with the things I had initially intended to be a part of."

Since Anderson spent her formative years in London, where she now lives with her partner and three children, it's perhaps not surprising that she feels most at home there.

Most of her film work has been in the UK, where she has worked with leading directors including Terence Davies, Michael Winterbottom and Kevin Macdonald. And she has cornered something of a niche market in Charles Dickens.

Six years after Anderson appeared in the BBC's Bleak House, she has just finished playing Miss Havisham in the Beeb's sexed-up version of Great Expectations, which she shot simultaneously with James Marsh's IRA thriller Shadow Dancer opposite Clive Owen.

"I'm perceived differently in the UK," she says. "I don't think in the States people know quite what to do with me."

They probably wouldn't put her in what could be her next project - a 15th century zombie comedy called The Curse of the Buxom Strumpet, co-starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench.

Anderson also isn't entirely ruling out another television series, a la David Duchovny in Californication.

"I have talked about it from time to time, but it really has to be the right combination of things. And that combination hasn't reared its head yet."

She confirms talk of another X-Files film - alluded to during a charity event in LA, which she attended with Duchovny and series creator Chris Carter.

"(Chris) said it was something that might be on the cards, which was completely new information to me," Anderson reveals. "But we said from the beginning that if there was another one, we would both like to be involved. I have no idea whether there is actually a script being written, but it's a nice idea."

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