March 13, 1995
For Gillian Anderson of The X-Files,
the far side seems always near
Okay, skeptics - you who think a ghost can be explained away as some mental blip triggered by an undigested bit of beef, who have never felt an unknown power urging you to call Dionne Warwick, explain this: Last winter in Burbank, Calif., the Fox network was throwing a bash for The X-Files, a dark, edgy cult hit that was on its way to becoming a national phenomenon. Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI agent Dana Scully, sat down with psychic Debi Becker (phone no: 818-501-6721), whom Fox had hired to entertain the party. Becker announced, "You're going to have a little girl."
"No, I'm not," Anderson snapped. "I just got this show."
Becker's prediction come true is now crawling around the living room of Anderson's three-bedroom home in Vancouver, B.C., where X-Files, which won a surprise Golden Globe last month for best dramatic show, is shooting its second season. Anderson, 26, who learned two months after the party that she was indeed pregnant, gave birth to daughter Piper on Sept. 25.
On The X-files, the ever-rational Scully would no doubt tell partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), a true believer in psychic phenomena, that it was all a coincidence. But in real life, Anderson is more willing to consider alternative explanations.
"I've gone to see many psychics over the years," says Anderson, who keeps both The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and a baby manual on her coffee table. "I've always been fascinated by ESP, things like that."
"Gillian is very spiritual," confirms her husband, art director Clyde Klotz, 33, "in search of whatever explanations might be out there." On X-Files, the answers are way out there. This season she and Duchovny have uncovered a satanic cult of high school teachers, space alien clones and prehistoric life-forms that flourish in human flesh. "Some of the the scripts freak me out," she admits. "The one about voodoo! I don't even want to talk about it!"
She would rather much talk about her childhood as the oldest of three children born to Edward Anderson, who runs a film postproduction company in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Rosemary, a computer analyst. One of Anderson's fondest early memories is digging up earthworms in the yard. "I loved to cut them up," she says. All in the name of science, of course. For years, Anderson dreamed of becoming a marine biologist.
In high school she tried acting on a whim and got hooked. After graduating in 1990 from DePaul University's theater school in Chicago, she spent a few years working in New York City, then moved on to small roles in Hollywood. Then came the day in 1993 when she picked up the pilot script for X-files. "I couldn't put it down," says Anderson. The only problem was that Fox executives had a different notion of Dana Scully. "They wanted someone taller, leggier and bustier," she says. "I guess they were going to make this The XXX-Files." But series creator Chris Carter thought her audition was perfect. "She's actually quite like Scully," he says. "She has an intensity about her, and she's intelligent."
Nor can Duchovny imagine anyone else playing Scully. "She's very tough, a survivor," he says. In the pilot, he recalls, they had to stand outside in freezing rain. Duchovny was ready to leave, but Anderson, he says, "stood there wanting it to be colder and wetter. She was actually her face to the rain machine, saying 'Hit me with more water.'"
Klotz was an art director on the show when they began dating in September 1993; he now works on other shows in Vancouver. The romance had an X-Files aura. "We felt like we'd known each other a long time, and we'd just finally met in person," he says. After four months they decided to get married while on vacation in Hawaii. The improvised ceremony was performed by a Buddhist priest, who suggested tying the knot on the 17th hole at his golf club. "It was beautiful," says the bride.
When Anderson became pregnant a year later, Carter revised the scripts for her. "We worked around it, as you would do in any job," he says. Lots of head shots and baggy lab coats helped. "Those were stressful times," says Anderson, who was originally afraid she would be dropped from the show. Ten days after delivery, she was back on the set with nanny in tow. But she's not complaining. Despite their differences, Anderson says she has one thing in common with her character: "We're both passionate about our work."
Transcript appears courtesy of People Magazine.