July 17, 1996
Interviewer: Kristina Bonilla
AN INTIMATE AT-HOME WITH X-FILES STAR GILLIAN ANDERSON
You know them as F.B.I. agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, battling spacemen and spooks in TV's quirky The X-Files. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have built a sci-fi following for the blockbuster series rivaled only by Star Trek. Here, Lifestyles talk exclusively to Gillian at her Vancouver home.
KRISTINA: You spent most of your childhood in London, where your father worked in film editing. Are you planning to settle permanently in Canada?
GILLIAN: My husband Clyde (art director Clyde Klotz, 33) is Canadian and our 14-month-old daughter, Piper, was born in Canada - but after the show ends we'll move to the States.
KRISTINA: I believe you were married after only four months.
GILLIAN: Clyde was an art director on the show when we started shooting. For some odd reason we ran into each other all the time. He seemed to spend a lot of time on the set, even for an art director. I had the distinct feeling he was hanging around because of me. We started dating and got married after a few weeks. It seemed like the natural thing to do.
KRISTINA: Are you still working together?
GILLIAN: No, Clyde wasn't connected with the series about the time I got pregnant. He had decided to take some time off and pursue some of his own interests: like teaching himself computer graphics and woodcarving. He's already carved a bed for us! And he is also working on another film project.
KRISTINA: How did you manage to work full time in an action series during all of your pregnancy?
GILLIAN: In terms of hardship, the only thing that was difficult for me was the level of exhaustion - especially towards the end. My feet were sore and swollen and, worst of all, I fell asleep and passed out in a few shots. They actually had a couch for me to pass out on between shots. I somehow manage to appear in all the episodes right up to the day I gave birth to Piper. Everybody was wonderful to me. I remember one episode where I had been kidnapped and was placed in the trunk of a car. I was highly pregnant at the time, I mean very visibly so, and I had to have a ladder to get up to the trunk and lower myself carefully inside. They covered my belly with a coat so they could get some shots of me inside the truck.
KRISTINA: Did you do your own stunts or did someone do them for you?
GILLIAN: There was a time before I knew I was pregnant that I did my own stunt work and only after the fact did I realize how dangerous it was. There was a scene in which I was shot at and had to simulate being hit by a bullet by throwing myself backwards on the floor. I think I did this scene at least ten time before they were satisfied, It wasn't the best thing for a pregnant woman to do.
KRISTINA: Were you hindered in any other way?
GILLIAN: Oh yes, the whole thing was weird. I guess it's something that happens to women when they get pregnant. They seem to become someone else, somebody that you don't recognize. And it's odd, this feeling of being somebody else - because, after all, I was cast in this role as "me," and, all of a sudden it wasn't "me" anymore. I just didn't feel in control. It was a real challenge to focus and feel comfortable within the character when I wasn't feeling completely like myself. I was much more vulnerable and out of sorts. I am not very fond of some of the episodes I did while I was pregnant, which was a good chunk of them.
KRISTINA: Has motherhood changed you?
GILLIAN: I think so. Before I became a mother I had a tendency to be very dark, to see things in a negative way. I was a little more aloof. After I had Piper I became more positive, more open, even more caring as an individual. I just think I've become a much nicer person.
KRISTINA: How do you cope with 12 or 13 hour work days and being a mom?
GILLIAN: We have a nanny full time and Piper spends three quarters of the day with me on the set.
KRISTINA: What kind of future do you envision for your daughter?
GILLIAN: I don't know what lies ahead but I hope she will grow up with strong sense of herself and her capabilities. I would like to see her go forward with her life and dreams, free of fears.
KRISTINA: Would you like to have more children?
GILLIAN: >Not at present, not for another four or five years.
KRISTINA: Your show won the Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy after only one season. To what do you attribute its huge success?
GILLIAN: The scripts are mysterious and exciting and the stories are wonderful. It has the special effects side to it as well. But I think what makes it a hit is the fact that it allows people to escape for a little while to another world, another reality far remove from their own.
KRISTINA: You and David Duchovny were recently proclaimed the "sexy stars of The X-Files" on the cover of a magazine. What is your reaction?
GILLIAN: I have a slightly different view. I think that what the audience finds appealing and downright intriguing is the platonic but sexually tense relationship between my character and David's character. It leaves a lot to the imagination.
KRISTINA: Other cast members have described you as something of a prankster.
GILLIAN: I do get pretty silly sometimes: particularly at two or three in the morning. One night, we had been working for hours on a scene that involved a stuntman playing a corpse covered with maggots - real maggots. One of the maggots fell into his eyes and no one did anything to help him so I plucked it out with my fingers. That's enough to make anyone punchy. I noticed there was a fire hose in a corner of the set and started spraying the crew and everybody.
KRISTINA: What roles would you like to play after The X-Files?
GILLIAN: I would love to go back to doing theatre - perhaps some more Shakespeare. I would also like to do feature films dealing with women who are strong, face their weaknesses and grow from them.
Transcript provided by Alfred and appears courtesy of Lifestyles.