June 25, 1998
Scully Heats Things Up
By Peter Howell, Toronto Star Movie Critic
Gillian Anderson says X-Files agent should eventually resolve sexual tension with Mulder; take more active role in tracking down aliens
INQUIRING MINDS want to know about FBI sex and alien goo, and Gillian Anderson is willing to oblige.
But first, a public service warning: If you are among the three fans of The X-Files who haven't yet seen the new movie, and you don't like spoilers, then stop reading this now.
For God's sake, man. I mean it. Seriously.
The truth is in here, sort of. Anderson, a/k/a FBI Agent Dana Scully, is on the phone from L.A., the soon-to-be home of the TV version of The X-Files.
Emboldened by the movie's top-ranking $31-million opening weekend, she's willing to give her version of the truth, or at least as much of the truth as X-Files creator Chris Carter has revealed to her. She had to read the script of the movie from Carter's laptop computer, because he was too paranoid to print out a hard copy.
Anderson has some strong opinions on where the show is going and where she wants it to go.
"I tend to be a bit of a ball-buster in my life," she says. (Don't you love it when Scully talks dirty?)
She figures that now that she and fellow FBI slimebuster Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) have almost had their first kiss, it will soon be time for them to go all the way. Huh-huh, huh-huh.
"I'm very curious as to where Chris is going to take it," she says.
"I don't think we can take a step backwards from here. We need to address it at the beginning of the next season somehow, and make a conscious universal decision in terms of where it's going to go."
Anderson doesn't say for sure if she and Mulder will share more than just soda pop and psychic tremors "but I think that fans would be sorely disappointed if at least in the last season, the last show or the next movie it weren't to take place. That we actually do the deed."
Hot-blooded Chicago mama that she is, Anderson, 29, readily agrees there's something not quite right about a couple that spends five years flirting.
"I don't think there's anything real-world about two people who are obviously attracted to each other not kissing until the fifth year of courtship," she says.
"Forget it! There's nothing realistic about that. We're much too hedonistic as a race."
As most fans now know, because the movie reveals it, Mulder finally took his mind off space weirdos long enough to attempt to kiss Scully. But the smooch was interrupted by a pesky bee that stung Scully.
Now that they've learned about the bees, it's time to learn about the birds, too. But Anderson doesn't mind prolonging the tease a bit longer, if only to keep the TV show alive through its upcoming sixth season.
She never saw the 1980s series Moonlighting, starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as two hot-and-bothered detective partners, but she knows the series wound down shortly after the stars hit the sheets.
"I think the same thing would happen to us," she says.
"I definitely think part of the attraction is in the tension that's there. Mulder and Scully can touch fingertips and it sends the same kind of shock through the audience that making love would in another series. It plays over a longer period of time and the tension increases and sustains."
"If we were to consummate (too soon), I think it would be almost disappointing for the audience. Then the hand touches wouldn't mean anything anymore."
Anderson also thinks the next season of The X-Files will find Scully stop being so skeptical and finally start to believe Mulder's theories about an impending alien takeover of Earth.
"I think it's definitely time for the scripts to head more in that direction," she says. "It's time for her to be more of a consistent believer."
Judging by the show's fans on the Internet, who have logged 15,000 recent posts about Scully in various news groups, the tease strategy has paid off.
One male fan group is selling T-shirts which read "I Love Scully For Her Mind." Anderson didn't know about this, and breaks into laughter at the news.
She doesn't joke, though, about a part of The X-Files movie that troubles her: Scully's victim status.
After five years of proving in the TV series that she's Mulder's match intellectually and physically, Scully's role in the movie is reduced to being a damsel in distress who is rescued by her heroic male partner.
She reluctantly agreed to what she sees as a downgrading of her role.
"I wasn't crazy about it at the beginning," she says.
"Chris kept convincing me that the fact that I save Mulder in the end, that I wake up and cuddle him to warmth and life, that that is my saving him."
Did she buy that argument?
"Well, it's interesting," she says, trying to be diplomatic. "Scully has moved forward so much over the past few seasons I felt it was a little bit of a step backwards. An unnecessary step backwards for the character."
Scully at least gets to keep her one-liners. One in particular has sent Webheads into full geek mode, trying to ponder the significance.
It's the comment she makes after Mulder rescues her: "I got you bigtime."
Was it all a hoax? Is Scully part of the alien plot? What's up?
"I just thought it was fun," Anderson says.
"I don't think there's anything to be read into it. We were just having fun with each other."
For the record, Anderson says she and Duchovny get along really well.
"It's remarkable what ends up on screen," she says. "It's just a consistently strong relationship. It's just constant tension and it's great."
Anderson doesn't have script approval rights or even advance knowledge of scripts for either the TV series or the movie. She has no idea about rumours The X-Files will eventually cross paths with Carter's other thriller show, Millenium, or with a previous cult show about FBI agents, Twin Peaks.
But she does have a veto over things she doesn't want to do "when I feel strongly about something."
She used it at least once during the filming of the movie.
"There was a fall that was supposed to take place in the movie, that I didn't think was appropriate or necessary to symbolize my disorientation. I just thought it was another way for Scully to appear victimized."
Anderson managed to express her non-traditional sense of femaleness in other ways. She doesn't like wearing makeup ("I usually wear it only on the show or when I'm going to an awards show or premiere") and she didn't flinch at showing Scully in a less-than-flattering light.
At the end of the movie, long after her rescue, Scully's face still shows signs of strain and bruising. Most actresses would demand makeup to cover the marks, no matter how fake it looked.
That just drives me insane," says Anderson. "I hate that. I am more of a realist."
"It drives me nuts if I have to wear makeup in a scene where I'm in bed, for example, and you actually see it."
"I like things to look as naturally as possible."
She also likes movies, both making them and watching them. She has three films in the works, with bit parts in Chicago Cab and The Mighty, and a leading role in the currently filming Dancing About Architecture, which co-stars Sean Connery and Ellen Burstyn.
The last movie she saw was Truffaut's The 400 Blows, which she recently rented on video.
"I'd go out to a movie every night if I could," she says. "But I don't have the time."
But dammit, Jim, there seems to be nothing but time for The X-Files. When are those crazy aliens going to stop fooling around and invade Earth?
Anderson laughs when I point out to her that when The X-Files begins its sixth season next fall (with a seventh a good bet, as well as at least one more movie) the show will have gone on as long as World War II.
She drops another tantalizing hint that maybe, just maybe, the various alien factions in the show will finally get it together and start blasting the White House, like their faster-moving Independence Day cousins.
"They're waiting for the right time," Anderson whispers, as spooky as Scully on a graveyard chase.
"They're waiting for the right president to be in office before they annihilate."
Hmmmm . . .
Transcript appears courtesy of Toronto Sun.