April 13, 1995
Interviewed by Bruce Bambury
BRUCE: Hi, Gillian. When this show first hit the airwaves it didn't look like it was going to last the season (Gillian laughs). Did you have confidence that it was going to work?
GILLIAN: You know, at the time I had no idea what was going on. I was basically here doing what was put right in front of my nose and I had no concept or idea how long it would run and I don't think at the time I really even cared. I had a job and somebody wanted me to act and I was happy with that, so I don't think I thought about it that much.
BRUCE: Well, there are two things that I think make The X-Files a success and one is the writing, which I think is terrific, and the other is the characters which you and your partner play in this. I'd like to know how you decided to make Scully and Mulder so deadpan, what was behind that, what kind of conversations did you have to come up with that X-Files look and that Scully and Mulder deadpan, quiet, whispered conversations, that way of dealing with things in the program?
GILLIAN: (laughing) I'm not sure how to take that.
BRUCE: It's a compliment, it really is.
GILLIAN: I don't know how it happened. I think a lot of it comes through in the scripts. Chris Carter from the beginning had a very strong perception of who these characters are and he has a very specific formula that he wants us to keep to. He never really talked about a deadpan nature between the two of us and David and I certainly never had discussions about that specifically but...
BRUCE: Is that a way of not overplaying the Gee whiz it's aliens thing?
GILLIAN: I guess so. It was both of our, as we were exploring our characters and exploring the feel and mood of the show as it was first starting, we kind of settled into that rhythym. I guess in knowing that we would have to investigate and react to so many different unbelievable situations that we kind of settled into this you know, we didn't want to take it too far all the time and I don't think it was a consience thing that happened, I think we just, you know, with feeling the mood of the show and how the characters were written and you know the fact that we're exhausted half the time, it just kind of came out that way.
BRUCE: At the beginning before they cast you, didn't they have in mind some kind of sex bomb - like a Sharon Stone part or something like that?
GILLIAN: Somethin' lahk thet (southern accent).
BRUCE: What makes you think they decided to go with you instead?
GILLIAN: I think, I guess it was Chris Carter. When I actually went into the first audition, I haven't actually talked about this. I didn't have any money and I didn't have any clothes other than vintage stuff, and I borrowed a suit from a friend of mine who is, I don't know if she was bigger than me, but she looked very good in oversized suits and clothes, so I walked into the first audition for The X-Files in a very oversized suit and looked somewhat frumpy in that way so that's how the Fox execs first saw me. It was hinted to me that I come in with a little bit of a shorter skirt and something a little bit more form fitting and I think I kind of took a middle ground there, but I think ultimately it was Chris Carter who felt that I was speaking to the character that he had written and he really pushed for me to have the role.
BRUCE: And she is, Scully is a complex character and she understands a lot of scientific theory, she has a mind that works in extrapolating ways.
GILLIAN: She is much more intelligent than I am.
BRUCE: Oh, I doubt that. But don't you think she's a great role model for young girls?
GILLIAN: Oh, absolutely. I think it was pretty early on I started to get a hint that young girls and actually girls of all ages were considering Scully as a role model and I just really enjoyed that and I thought that it was probably one of the most wonderful things that could happen in that Scully is very intelligent and she went ahead with her education. She has a very moral mindframe, she's honest, she's in pursuit of justice ,you know, all of these very postive, very strong elements and qualtities in a female. So I was very delighted to hear that women were responding to those attributes.
BRUCE: Now I hate to ask this question but I know a lot of peolple are wondering about it. Will Scully and Mulder cross that professional line and become romantically involved?
GILLIAN: I think, you know, I've been asked that question before and I've heard Chris respond to the question and the fact is that Mulder and Scully are two very dedicated people who are obsessed with their work and in that, come the stories and the episodes that we shoot every week and were we to veer away from the spine and the through line of the episodes, which is about a professional relationship, it would tip the balance in an unfortunate direction I think.
BRUCE: Scully is the sceptic but in real life you're kind of a believer aren't you?
GILLIAN: Yeah, more or less.
BRUCE: Tell me what about happened in your house in Vancouver.
GILLIAN: Oh god (she laughs). This has come back to haunt me. What happened - nothing - it was actually blown into something a lot bigger than it was. It was just a feeling that I had when we first moved in, within the first couple weeks that we moved into this house, I just started having a feeling that... there was just a strange feeling. I felt like there was somebody literally sitting on my shoulder and I talked about it with my husband a few times and I talked about it with some people at work and somebody recommended that I have a Native American Indian come in and ...and what's the word..
GILLIAN: No...that's not the word.
GILLIAN: Yeah, I guess cleanse is one of the words. Basically cleanse the house of anything that might be lingering from the past.
BRUCE: Did it work?
GILLIAN: It seemed to. I didn't have that feeling anymore afterwards.
BRUCE: Well, it's the kind of feeling that maybe millions of people have after they watch The X-Files, Gillian. I'd really like to thank you for talking to us today.
GILLIAN: Thank you.
BRUCE: And thank you for showing what television can be.
GILLIAN: Thank you very much. I'll spread that around to the crew.
Transcript appears courtesy of the CBC Midday.