Excerpts from Exploring X:
Behind the Scenes on the set of
The X-Files' big screen premiere
by Craig Reid
...In a sense, the film is going to be an extension of the show, as compared to being a takeoff. I asked Gillian Anderson, as one of the core characters of the show, if there would be anything different with Scully in the film that she hasn't or wouldn't have done on the show.
"Not really," she matter of factly quips, "There is a little bit more action and more gun stuff. But you know, it's a big version of an episode, which I think is necessary at this point, because we are drawing in people who not only have seen the show and are devoted, but also people who have never seen it before. I think if it were tremendously different from the series, [then] if they were to tune into the series after seeing the movie they might be disappointed if they had some [different] kind of a first time reaction.
"Plus, I am not really getting to do more with the character, because Scully is who she is. Perhaps the differences from the show lie more in that there is this extension of going in and doing more with the special effects. I am basically treating it as something in and of itself. We don't really need to know what happens up until this point. I mean, we have episodes that have nothing to do with something that has happened in previous episodes, and so it kind of feels like one of those."
In an early episode of The X-Files, Scully nearly kissed Mulder when Eddie Van Blundht impersonated Mulder in an attempt to seduce the unsuspecting Scully. That moment in the show surely lacked the true passion one might have hoped for these two to relieve the intense sexual anxiety that appears to be growing between them. I ask whether there is any chance this might come to a head in the film? Anderson bats her eyebrows coyly before carefully addressing my question.
"Uh, yes, there is more of a romance. We will find ourselves in a situation that will pull us closer together. I would add that I think Scully has also evolved more in the film over the scope of the show. Her's and Mulder's relationship has become more equal, and I think she has become stronger and more independent over the seasons."
I wonder if they will show her real tattoo on screen.
Speaking of the other side of Gillian, what about that singing career we have been reading about? She had recently collaborated with the British techno group HAL in recording her first single record, "Extremis." She laughs, embarrassed, but then quickly cautioning, "It is not a singing career. It was a one time offer, and I really just did it to have a bit of fun. I purposely didn't do a lot of press around it because it is not about me putting out a single, it's just, again, about having fun. Yes, it did receive a lot of press, but I had hoped that nobody thought that I was taking myself seriously."
She wryly smiles, "You really don't want to hear me sing. But what I do take seriously is the work I do for a disease called neurofibromatosis [a progressive genetic disorder that afflicts her brother Aaron], as well as the work I do for the Women's Feminist Majority and Proposition 209. I am greatly concerned about violence against women and children."
Some of the advantages she has found with working on the film as compared to the series is that physically, they work fewer hours, and there are longer waits between setups, which allows them more time to rest and do other things.
In Gillian's case, that is being a mom. Anderson adds, "What was different, of course, is that the entire crew is from down here (Los Angeles), and we are working with entirely new people. But there is still a continuity working with Dave and Rob (Bowman) which really helps. I think it would have made the transition more difficult if it was a new director. I actually don't have any major scenes with other characters from the series. But it is an 'X-File,' and so everything about it feels familiar. I'm still playing Scully, and there haven't been any rude awakenings or awkward moments."
When asked what keeps her going after five years, she attests, "I am on contract, but I think it's also knowing that out there is an audience that is really dedicated to the show. Many of them have children. I'll do the show as long as it is good, and for as long as it keeps the audience's attention. I do get tired of it all, but you have got to find ways to recommit yourself and spark new interest. Once in a while a really good scriptwill come along and there will be a new motivation for doing good work, and sometimes I really enjoy playing Scully and I like her very much. Although I must admit at the beginning of this film's development I would rather have been working on something different than doing this 12 months a year compared to 10 months of working on this show. I tried to get excited about it, but when I finally read the script, well, I liked it a lot."
AT ONE POINT IN HER PAST, Anderson had aspirations of becoming a marine biologist but got sucked into acting, perhaps having something to do with the fact that her family runs a post-production company. I seemed to recall hearing her name on the East Coast theatre circuit, and that she went to Cornell. I pushed the investigation by asking her. "I wasn't actually a student at Cornell. The National Theater of Great Britain had started a program where they were bringing in 23 people from around the States to study there, so they had the teacher do that stuff at Cornell. That's when I was there. I also have done some stage work at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut."
Bingo! Two years ago, I had lived in New Haven for about five years. It's wild how these things come together. I then query Anderson about how, even though she has no scientific background, she keeps up with her character's knowledge. Also, what does she draw on from her past that helps her identify with Scully?
"I pretend - meaning, I act. It's all about the ability to pretend. I mean, as a kid I was a great liar. But as you can see right now, I am tired, but I can pretend to be awake. But really, we have been working hard, so my brain is a little bent and so I have to get focused on the material, and when I do that I am really more like Scully. So when people ask how much of me is Scully and the reverse, I don't know what to say. I'm a goofball and Gillian is as intelligent as [Dana], and of course she is taller than I am."
I close by asking if she would like to do any more X-Files movies in the future. She looks up with her tired eyes, but her face softens as she relates, "Maybe every four years. That would be fun if it's successful."
Transcript provided by Alfred Tow and appears courtesy of Sci-Fi Flix.