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Cult Times
August 1996
by Andy Dougan and Neil Blincow

Three years ago few people had heard the name Gillian Anderson. Today she is hot property: at any one time her face is on the cover of dozens of magazines, casting agents are desperate to secure her for tv and movie roles, and she has presented a number of factual shows most recent being the BBCís Future Fantastic.

However, for the moment Gillianís own future lies with The X-Files. A fourth season has recently entered production in Vancouver, and a movie is hotly tipped to begin shooting next year. She is contracted to the show until the end of the fifth season; after that it is unlikely that the characters of Mulder and Scully will continue with the show (contract renegotiations would probably make them too expensive).

But life after The X-Files is not something that worries Gillian Anderson. After all, her career is only just beginning

When you were a teenager you lived in England. What do you recall of that time?

I was bullied at the school I went to in north London and in the end it turned me into a bully. I went to Coleridge School in Crouch End, north London where I took a lot of stick probably because I was American, even though I did speak with an English accent. But I was also very independent and very bossy, which didnít exactly help. I wasnít a particularly bright student I was too much of a daydreamer. And I certainly wasnít science mad like Scully. I didnít pay attention. I talked a lot and got punished a lot.

Itís been said that during that time you became a punk. Is this true?

There is a very rebellious nature inside me that will always be there, that kicks in when it needs to. I was a teenage rebel and heavily into punk. When I was about 12 or 13 I was taken by all these punks, and went back to the States with a stud in my nose.

How did your parents react to that?

I used to walk around my dad looking the other way so he wouldnít see it. But my parents were very liberal and Iím grateful for that.

What made you want to dye your hair and pierce your nose?

I was going through a rebellious stage, and I felt this displacement. Moving to such a small town after growing up in London gave me a feeling of powerlessness. The punk thing gave me back a feeling of power, like I was making a statement. Weíd walk down the street and give the finger to anyone who stared at us. I did it to express my anger because I had a lot of it and I was not very good at dealing with my emotions. But acting has certainly given me a way to express myself. At first I had no interest in acting but then I became keen and felt at home. Would you say the punk thing is a phase youíve grown out of? Itís nothing Iíve necessarily grown out of. Body piercing still intrigues me. But I donít wear anything other than earrings at the moment. Iím sure the X-Files producers would have a fit if I did. How did you feel when you left England? I had trouble adjusting when I got back to America. Again no one could understand my accent and I was teased. What was your first reaction to the script for the X-Files pilot? My first reaction was a very positive one. I wasnít in the habit of reading or auditioning for television scripts and it was actually the first one I had looked at in a while. So I had a strong reaction, considering it was television and I really liked it a lot.

Was Jodie Fosterís character in Silence of the Lambs the inspiration for Dana Scully?

I donít know, youíd really have to ask Chris Carter about that. I know that there were a lot of comments in that direction and he may have pulled some of her characteristics into the character of Scully, but youíd have to talk to him about that.

What did you think of David Duchovny when you first met to make the pilot episode?

We hit it off straight away. We almost fell into a rhythm while we were reading together and it felt really comfortable.

Has your relationship developed over the three years that you have been making the show?

The first two years on the show were so completely about coping with this phenomenon that David and I didnít nurture our relationship. But now we seem to be putting more attention towards that.

The X-Files has become one of the hottest properties on television, and is popular across the globe. Why do you think it fascinates so many people?

The scripts are mysterious and the stories are wonderful. I think what makes it a hit is the fact that it allows people to escape to another world, another reality far removed from their own for a little while.

How do you feel about your status as a Ďthinking manís sex symbolí?

I think thatís quite a compliment than being a Ďstupid manís sex symbolí or an Ďunintellectual manís sex symbolí. I donít know Itís very sweet.

Do you believe in UFOs and the paranormal?

Although Scully is a skeptic Iím not. It makes sense to me that people have seen aliens but when some of them start to talk about being actually abducted by aliens, part of me shuts down.

You took a little time off during the second season to give birth to your daughter, Piper. It must have been hard fitting in the duties of being a mother with the long days shooting The X-Files

Iím sure I did have post natal depression, but there was just no time for it. Iím a much happier person since Piper came along. Nothing else seems quite so important any more. I wish I had more time for it, because I really am enjoying it. After I had Piper, I became more positive, more open, more caring. I think Iíve become a nicer person.

Do you read your fan mail at all?

I used to before I had a baby. I read and responded to almost all my fan mail, but now I just donít seem to have the time.

What sort of things do you enjoy in your free time? Not that you have any of course

If we do anything, weíll go to a movie and dinner and spend time with our daughter and thatís about it.

Are you happy to be working on a long running series, or would you prefer to be able to do other projects?

In terms of steady work, itís brilliant. But sometimes you canít help feeling that wonderful parts are passing you by. I guess thereís no point in wasting energy thinking about not having been able to do Sense and Sensibility or whatever.

What are your plans for the future beyond making the series?

Making The X-Files has been the most joyous and the hardest time in my life, but I think what Iíd really love to do next is go back to doing theatre who knows, maybe even Shakespeare.

Thereís been a lot of talk of an X-Files film being made after the completion of shooting for the next season

It sounds like theyíre going in that direction. It would be nice. Hopefully theyíll wait a couple of months after weíve wrapped and we could have a bit of a break. But yeah, that would be fun.


Transcript provided by Darren Smith and appears courtesy of Cult Times.



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