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Gillian Anderson AOL Chat, Promoting "all things"
April 7, 2000

Host: Joining us right now is Gillian Anderson. Thanks for coming to chat.

Gillian: Hey, everybody! I'm here. Thanks for waiting...

Question: What motivated you to write and direct an X-Files episode? Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve?

Gillian: I had been asked recently if I would ever consider writing one, and I initially thought that I might attempt to write something with one of the other writers. Then I was asked if I ever had an idea myself, and I described something that was more of a couple of images. And the motivation for the episode was based on those images. So someone asked if I wanted to write one. So, I sat down one evening and wrote the entire outline for episode. And I think that it majoritivily what I had envisioned. There are certain areas where you have to let go... and let go. :) There are certain pieces of dialogue which had to be taken out for timing purposes. But I think it still makes sense.

Question: Did you write the entire outline of the script in one sitting, or was it gradually developed over the course of the year?

Gillian: I wrote the outline in one sitting. And then I wrote the script, the first three acts, over about five months. Then continued to tweak it until we started shooting.

Question: where did the inspiration for your episode's story came from? luv you!

Gillian: Just from those two images I had. The rest came seemingly out of nowhere... LOL

Question: Gillian, Can you give us any background on "all things"? What's your favorite part in the episode? --Agent Amy--

Gillian: I think my favorite parts have to do more with camera work, with particular shots and transitions from one scene to another scene. I hesitate to speak too much about it... I feel like I've been describing it in interviews for the past couple of weeks, and I'm kind of at a point where I just want people to see and have their own reactions and responses to it.

Question: Did you ever write scripts while in school?

Gillian: Never.

Question: what authors do you read? what kinds of books?

Gillian: I think I've only actually read like two or three books over the past seven years... which makes me kinda sad. The last book that I read from start to finish is "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb. Most of the time it's difficult for me to allow myself the time to read. Between the episodes and other scripts, and the rest of my life, if I do read, it's usually more spiritually minded books. And one of my favorites of those over this past year has been a book called "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron.

Question: Gillian, I am looking forward to Sunday's episode. Did you like writing and directing? And also , what actors/actresses have been the biggest influence on you?

Gillian: I did enjoy it very much. It was an incredible learning experience for me and an insight into how hard and complicated the task is for writers and directors. I feel like I learned so much in the whole process from beginning to end. I think influentially, let's see, actors... Well, the usual response from female actors Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates. Kevin Spacey I love... Stephen Tucci. I love it when actors take it upon themselve to create material. I love what Sam Mendes has been doing. I love what Stanley Tucci has been doing. I think that Paul Thomas Anderson is very talented.

Question: After so many years of playing Scully, was it easier or harder than u thought to write for the character? LGW

Gillian: Easier to write for the character. Scully has become so much a part of myself, and it was just second nature for me.

Question: Are you going to be watching the show with everyone else on Sunday?

Gillian: I am. Some friends are throwing a little gathering for me and we're all going to watch together.

Question: How long does it take for you to learn all those medical terms in the show. Seems like one can easily get tongue tied.

Gillian: I guess I do kind of learn them... It kind of depends. I study the script the night before and show up at work and work on them throughout the day... continue going over them and over them. Working on getting my mouth around them.

Question: What did you think of William B. Davis' script? Was it fun to work with someone who was obviously eager to work with you?

Gillian: Yeah, it was. I thought it was good. It's tricky... I'm not sure in the end how much of it was his. Our scripts are syphoned through Frank and Chris. Sometimes they let them be, sometimes they readjust them.

Question: Is the title of your episode based on the ee cummings poem?

Gillian: No. It's not. The title is close. It speaks to that which is innate in everything, and the unity of life energy and all of us and of all things.

Question: What is the first thing you are going to do after the X-Files wraps up shooting for the season?

Gillian: I'm attempting to take the summer off, especially if we come back next season. I'm going to be doing some travelling... I hope. :) Try and relax. Read a book. :)

Question: Do you have any pets??

Gillian: Oh, yes... :) We have a dog and two bunny rabbits, some coy fish and a horse.

Question: How did you decide on doing "The House of Mirth"? It is so different from your previous works. ~Karey

Gillian: I've always wanted to do a period piece, and I loved the book and was in awe of Edith Wharton, of her writing. I'd been a fan of Terrance Davies previous work, and it seemed like a good idea.

Question: Hi Gillian. Can you tell us if there is any validity to the rumors you may be in Episode 2 of Star Wars?

Gillian: Not so far. I haven't been approached. I would love to play a Jedi, but there is no validity as of yet. But, you're welcome to push for it for me... LOL

Question: Was it difficult to direct an episode in which your character is so prominently featured or was that helpful to you?

Gillian: It was not helpful AT ALL. It was a mistake... LOL It was difficult to split my focus in so many ways, and I hadn't forethought that as much as I could have. It was also a challenge to stay present in a scene that I was in, and at the same time remain on the outside enough to give notes to the other actors as a director would.

Question: Have you given any thought about going back and doing stage work?

Gillian: Very much. I was considering doing different pieces over the summer, and have been looking for the right project, and will eventually --- probably either in New York or London.

Question: Wow! You go girl! You're so talented..the foirst woman to write and direct an episode of The X-Files.

Gillian: Thank you. :)

Question: Are we going to see a different side of Scully in this week episode?

Gillian: Yes, we are. And I think it may shift things slightly for future episodes as well.

Question: At the NY xfiles expo two years ago, you said you would feel weird directing David Duchovny in an episode. When you actually did it, was it as strange as you thought?

Gillian: It wasn't THAT strange. I didn't write him in very much of the episode so it wouldn't be too strange. But he was very acquiesent.

Question: We're all in love with Scully's knee-length fitted black jacket! Can you tell me who the maker is?

Gillian: She has a few, and I couldn't tell you any of them. I think that Thari is one of them. The others... I couldn't tell you.

Question: Do you plan on doing any more animation films; you did an excellent job in Princess Mononoke

Gillian: Thank you, and I would love to. It would depend on the project.

Question: What is it like to know that you are the first women on XF to do this, I know what if feels like to be in a boys club, I played football my Sr. year of high school. I just wonder what it felt like to you?

Gillian: I've been in the middle of a very powerful boys club for the past seven years, and have gotten used to it... as much as anyone can. I actually found everyone, especially the men, to be incredibly supportive, gentle and agreeable from the moment we started working on this together. And the crew was just phenomenal. And at no time did anyone ever roll their eyes... which was great. And they all did exactly what I said! LOL

Question: I would like to know what your dream role is--any character from any play or piece of literature that you could choose.

Gillian: I have many. Many and none. I love some of the contemporary female roles that have been written in films. I loved all the characters in American Beauty and Shakespeare in Love and Magnolia. Historically, I'd love to do Lady MacBeth. I love to do Hedda Gabler. And eventually, I'd love to do Blanche.

Question: is most of this script your own words or did you conference a lot with Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter to get the right feel for the dialogue? I imagine that you wrote most of the dialogue since you know Scully so well.

Gillian: I wrote most of it. And then the next step was to go through it with Frank and determine which order of scenes was most effective and what the right tone for each of the scenes. And then I went back and I rewrote, and we kept going through that process for a while. Brainstorming and me re-shifting. Then Chris stepped in and rewrote. Then, I went back and tried to get it back to my original idea... :) Which worked. :) A lot of it was a matter of lack of time I had after a certain point. So, once and a while there were short scenes that we would both write, then come together and hash out the best version. This was way at the end, when there were a couple of weaker scenes that needed some fixing. Then, Chris actually wrote the final scene, because we'd left it up to the last moment. And I was already in prep and didn't have time.

Question: Gillian - Do you plan to do more projects involving writing and directing in the future? - Becca and Erin :D

Gillian: I would love to. I'm not sure what form that will take... whether it will be from scratch, or adapting a novel, or directing someone else else's script. But, I would love to do more of it.

Question: Can you give us any hints as to whether or not this will be the last season? ~Mystic

Gillian: If I knew... I'd give you a hint. :)

Question: Gillian, when you began directing all things, did you discover that you had learned alot from watching the Directors on your show for the past seven years? Heidi from Phoenix

Gillian: Yes. I was very nervous that I didn't know anything, until I started to work out my shot list and I realized that I knew a lot more than I thought I knew.

Question: Did you enjoy working with your sister on the episode Christmas Carol? ~ Melissa

Gillian: Yeah... I did. :) She just visited... actually they just left yesterday, and I was thinking about that. It was fun, and I think she did a great job. I think it was exciting for her at the time.

Question: What is your favorite Hobbie?

Gillian: I think the only hobby I have, and it's one that I've started since January, is riding.

Question: What has been you're favorite episode thus far this season?

Gillian: That's a good question. I've actually missed the last six episodes, and it's the first time I've ever missed some. But, with the whole writing and editing and such, there just wasn't time. In fact... I'm not sure I can remember what we shot this year... LOL

Question: Gillian, your the best!! Thanx for bringing one of my role models to life every week! I'm so glad your writing an episode..My question is when did you find the time to write?

Gillian: I have no idea... :) I wrote inbetween scenes in my trailer. I wrote a little bit on weekends, as much as I could. And as much over Christmas as I could.

Question: We will lobby Lucas for you! Gillian for Jedi! What type of music do you like?

Gillian: I've been listening to a lot of soundtracks lately. I like the Magnolia soundtrack, and one for The Hurricane. And I'm listening to Annie Lennox's new album. And Moby. In fact, I use one of his tracks in my episode. And Red Hot Chili Peppers. And this album called Ron Rocco.... guitar music. I like a lot of world music.

Question: In the show filmed like "cops", was alot of that improv? It seemed that is was hard for you to keep a straight face at times (or was David trying to crack you up?). How much artistic license do they allow you?

Gillian: I don't think it was trying to keep a straight face or cracking up. It was just so intense and nothing like what we'd done before. And everything was reacting in the moment on a whole new level than what we're used to that there may have been a feeling that we were flying by the seat of our pants. Because we were. :)

Question: Have you had the opportunity to work with real F.B.I. agents,as tech advisors for your show?

Gillian: Technical advisors we work with when there's specific medical procedures that we need to adhere to.

Question: to Gillian, Is there one material item that you can't live without?

Gillian: My daughter. I'd say she's material... LOL

Question: Are you nervous about what the public's reaction will be to your directing debut?

Gillian: No. I made this episode for myself, for many reasons. To see if I could do it, and as a vehicle to express some philosophies that I believe in. I've done the work... and I've let it go.

Question: Can fans expect a second X-Files movie?

Gillian: Most likely. Almost certainly.

Question: WOuld you say you are more skeptical or less skeptical than Scully at this point in the show?

Gillian: I've always been much less skeptical.

Question: Did anyone pull any practical jokes on you during the filming of '"all things?"

Gillian: No.

Question: When did you get your DGA card?

Gillian: I'm qualified now. I applied for it as of this episode.

Host: Thanks for chatting with us tonight Gillian.

Gillian: Thanks everybody for coming. I hope that you enjoy the show. I want to remind everyone that througout the month of May on the Gillian Anderson website is an auction of X-Files memoribilia. The proceeds of which will go towards NF Inc. Thank you!

Host: You can catch Gillian's directorial and writing debut this Sunday night at 9PM on Fox.

Transcript appears courtesy of TV Guide and AOL.

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