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Australian TV Week
Jan 30 - Feb 5, 1999

Gillian Anderson: Happy and Single

Despite rumours of romance, Gillian Anderson insists she's blissfully happy at home with the company of four year-old daughter Piper...

The first thing that surprises you about X-Files star Gillian Anderson is her dazzling smile and goofy laugh. Not just how often she flashes her pearly whites, but after four years of watching her play the solemn, dour Agent Dana Scully in the hit sci-fi series on Network Ten, it's the fact that she does smile at all. When she meets TV Week for her first media interview on the Los Angeles sound stage of the TV series to talk about the show and her blossoming film career, the 30 year-old star is surprised that we did not expect her to be in such high spirits. "Most of the time I'm giddy and infantile, which is not necessarily an aspect of Scully", she says with a smile. "But I do feel a desire to do more things in film that show that other aspect of me. Hopefully, I'll get to do them sooner rather than later."

The Golden Glove and Emmy winner is getting opportunities to do just that. As well as the success of The X-Files movie on the big screen, she has landed small but eye-catching roles in two new films. In Playing By Heart, she co-stars with Sean Connery in a comedy about two couples, while in the drama The Mighty she plays opposite Meatloaf as his white-trash girlfriend Loretta, which makes her completely unrecognisable.

"Loretta is very different from Scully because there is this whole farcical aspect to the character and a lot more comic relief", Gillian says. "But she's also much larger than life an, through the process of choosing the wardrobe and deciding on the make-up, I really got to be spontaneous and creative."

In The Mighty, based on the acclaimed novel by Rodman Philbrick, Kevin Dillon (Kieran Culkin) and his mother (Sharon Stone) move next door to Maxwell Kane (Elden Henson) and his grandparents (Gena Rowlands and Harry Dean Stanton). Thirteen year-old Max is a giant boy who is slow in school and needs a brain. Kevin is a tiny Einstein in leg braces who needs a body. The outcasts become unlikely allies and take inspiration from the spirit of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table to set out to do such good deeds as returning Loretta's wallet - only to find she is a former friend of Maxwell's murdered mother.

"Loretta is very passionate and sensitive, but hides behind her drinking," Gillian says. "It's very moving because, despite the torment inside her, she's able to reach out in the only way she can to Max."

The woman described as the thinking man's sex symbol has come a long way since her first TV role in the pilot of The X-Files - the same day her last unemployment cheque arrived six years ago. That job took the Los Angeles based actress to Vancouver, Canada, for five years, where she married Clyde Klotz, in 1994 and had daughter Piper that same year. She separated from her husband in 1996 before the show finally moved back to Los Angeles for its current session. Now Gillian and Piper share a house on the beach in Malibu. Her eyes light up as she describes her new life.

"I'm at home where the majority of my friends are. It's a warm, comfortable feeling," she says. "I feel more grounded and my daughter is thriving in the environment we're living in right now. The move has rounded everything out in a wonderful way."

Despite reports of several romances with actors following her divorce, Gillian insists she is single, responding to questions about dating in Los Angeles with a mischievous grin.

"I don't think I've ever dated in my life," she says with a twinkle in her eyes. "I'm either with somebody or I'm not. It is hard to be with somebody who is not in the public eye in a similar way. That's one reason why actors tend to find each other."

So, we have to ask, how do you get involved with someone if you don't go on a date?

"People don't ask me out," she says, acknowledging that her frosty TV persona may not give men a chance to see the "goofy troublemaker", which is how the show's creator, Chris Carter, has described her. "I don't know whether men are intimidated, but that might be something that I also project because I don't think I want to meet anyone right now," she says.

As for romance on the show, she reveals that Scully and Mulder will not be getting much closer, despite almost kissing in the movie and having their first kiss as different characters in a new episode that recently screened in the U.S.

"I never felt they should consummate their relationship, but it's important to acknowledge the level of intimacy that occurred in the movie," she says. "It's given the writers another path to go down with the show - how to keep us working together without becoming completely involved with each other. They've come up with some very creative episodes that will make everybody happy."

Transcript graciously provided by Monica Duff and appears courtesy of Australian TV Week.

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