Gillian Anderson Gets "Jovial" about Duchovny, Fans--and Those Net Pics
by Bob Strauss
Straight, cool-headed and surrounded by demons. That's the attitude that has turned The X-Files' Dana Scully into TV's most popular heroine. But it also describes the real-life actress who fronts for Scully.
Gillian Anderson exudes a sense of control at all times. The petite, steely-eyed single mom (she loves to dote on daughter Piper Maru) maintains a composure that's as alluring as it is formidable. She'll say something outrageous but phrase it so you only hear what she wants you to. She'd be the perfect spokesperson for an interplanetary conspiracy.
Which is probably why the 29-year-old actress is so right for the show that has raised paranoia to a televised art form. Born in Chicago, brought up for a number of years in London, she got the X-Files gig pretty much straight out of acting school because of what creator Chris Carter calls her "gravity and sense of bearing."
Now her calm-yet-clammy charisma is being put to the test with The X-Files: Fight the Future. Though there's some actual movement on the interpersonal front--Scully's control over her intense feelings for Mulder slips a bit--the real changes are reserved for Anderson's own life.
First, there's the show's move from its Vancouver base of five years to L.A., and then there's her very different role as an alcoholic biker chick in the upcoming The Mighty.
Anderson appears eager about the future. Not too eager, though. That just wouldn't be cool.
INTERVIEWER: It looked like you got beat up pretty badly making this movie.
GILLIAN: No, not too badly. I got dragged through some stuff, but I don't think any of it was so uncomfortable that I...well, maybe I'll take that back. It becomes very technical when you're in the middle of it--all about the head position and when to let the goop out of your mouth.
INTERVIEWER: What was the goop?
GILLIAN: Some kind of gelatin in water. Not nice.
INTERVIEWER: Sounds like just another day at work for you. Were there many noticeable differences between shooting the movie and making the TV series?
GILLIAN: The thing that stands out the most is the amount of time it took. We're used to shooting seven to nine pages a day for the series, and for the film, we did an average of about two. We generally shot 12 hours a day on the movie, whereas we do about 16 hours a day on the series. It takes a lot longer to set up shots for the movie, so the breaks in between were longer. I had more time to spend with my daughter. To tell you the truth, I felt like I was on vacation, even though I was shooting a movie.
INTERVIEWER: I've heard your daughter likes coming to the set and playing with all the icky effects stuff.
GILLIAN: She sees them as the latex creations they are. Sometimes she plays with them like dolls, and sometimes, she sees the human beings that are underneath these creations. She's not bothered by them and enjoys talking to them.
INTERVIEWER: You're not afraid this will warp her consciousness?
GILLIAN: She doesn't seem to be negatively affected, so I see no reason to withdraw her from them. It seems to have lessened her fears in life, in fact.
INTERVIEWER: While we're on the subject of warped minds, have the show's more emphatic fans ever been a problem for you?
GILLIAN: No. The only time I ever think about that is when I'm asked questions about it. What I am not flattered but, I guess, impacted by the most is the fact that so many young women see Scully as a role model. People have told me specifically how her strength and her drive and her passion have helped them get through difficult times in their lives.
INTERVIEWER: But there are also the young men, like the ones who take such satisfaction in morphing pictures of your head onto nude women's bodies on their computers. Does that alarm you?
GILLIAN: Y'know, whatever gets your rocks off, as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't bother me. If I felt it was actually harming anybody, I might say something about it. But from what I understand, it's not. It's just people having fun and getting off. Besides, I have no control over it anyway.
INTERVIEWER: Are you into the Internet at all?
GILLIAN: I would like to be, but I'm not. I don't have the time. But if I log onto the Internet at some point, it will be to learn another language or to look up something about butterflies. It's not going to be to read my fan page.
INTERVIEWER: What do you do in what little spare time you've got?
GILLIAN: I have a daughter, and that's where my time off goes. I'd rather spend that energy there than on anything else. But I had a boyfriend for a year who taught me how to surf. I would like to do that some more. Hopefully, I'll have the time when the show relocates to L.A.
INTERVIEWER: Any time for dating? I know you've gone out with a few guys who've worked on the show.
GILLIAN: No. Not seeing anybody regularly.
INTERVIEWER: Good for you.
GILLIAN: It is good. Thank you.
INTERVIEWER: As long as you don't take it to the gratification-denying extremes Mulder and Scully do.
GILLIAN: When would there be time for us to hang out in a bar together? It takes Mulder and Scully 49 minutes just to chase down the aliens. And after all the time we spend together at work, why would we want to spend more time with each other eating at Denny's? Half of the attraction in their relationship is from the tension, that it's not consummated. There's a wonderful moment in the film when they get near that, but if we keep having those, or if we actually did end up gettin' down and dirty on the floor, then it's done. Then what happens? The next time we touch hands, it's not going to have the same effect.
INTERVIEWER: Would doing romantic scenes with David Duchovny be a problem? There have been numerous reports that you two don't like each other very much, and David never gives the standard "Oh, she's just great" line when discussing you.
GILLIAN: I would say the perception that there's animosity between us is incorrect. It's much more complex than that. It's a complicated relationship. We work very well together. Sometimes we have a lot of fun in the process, make jokes and pull pranks. Sometimes it's just showing up for work. But we don't socialize. That's basically it.
INTERVIEWER: You don't come off as a girl who pulls pranks.
GILLIAN: Well, normally I'm pretty jovial and lighthearted. As I get tired, I tend to get more serious and more focused. More like Scully, I'd say.
INTERVIEWER: You're very un-Scully like in The Mighty. You play a middle-aged, alcoholic biker babe. Did you specifically want to get away from Scully for a little while?
GILLIAN: Yeah. After playing this one character for so long, my interest is in doing as many different characters as possible as many times as possible. But the movie I'm presently making, Dancing About Architecture, is difficult because the character is closer to Scully than anything I've done. I find that no matter how I respond to something in the role, if it's even remotely like Scully, I freeze or else get incredibly nitpicky.
INTERVIEWER: Are they at least paying you better now for gobbling up so much of your consciousness? I know you resented the fact that Duchovny was initially paid more than you were.
GILLIAN: That situation has been rectified.
INTERVIEWER: It has been reported that you got $4 million to make the movie.
GILLIAN: I was paid very well.
INTERVIEWER: So, there was no resentment meant when your Emmy Award acceptance speech failed to mention many of your X-Files collaborators?
GILLIAN: None. The situation was that I had been involved in a slew of awards shows and had it in my mind that I had thanked certain people here and thanked other people there, and I hadn't mentioned my family, so it was time to mention them. I wasn't aware of the protocol of thanking people in the business specifically during the Emmys and paid dearly for that.
INTERVIEWER: All that said, do you feel trapped in any way by the X-Files' success?
GILLIAN: No. The scripts that generally come my way have very little to do with Scully. People are basically interested in seeing me do other stuff, so I'm grateful for that. And I'm proud of the show. I'm proud to be involved in something that has such high production values and is so intelligent.
Transcript appears courtesy of E! Online.