I'd just spent a few hours listening Gillian Anderson film a scene on THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE. Sadly all I could hear were loud footsteps and a slammed door (which Anderson would later say was just an accident). I thought for sure I could get her to spill the beans. While slightly more forthcoming than her counterparts, Anderson stopped short of telling me exactly what she was doing back there. (Lucky for you, I later was able to sneak a peek at that very scene - more on that to come at a later day...)
Anderson looked as beautiful as ever, years after she was one of the most adored women in the land of fanboys. She was also surprisingly warm, funny and vulgar (she dropped more f*cks than the rest of the cast and crew combined). Here's what she had to say about returning to play Dana Scully after all these years...
come back to this after all this time?
did. And I did. But I think that, ah, Iíve always made it clear no
matter whatís been rumored at various times in the press that were we to come
together or were somebody to get it together in order to do a film, I would be
happy and willing and hopefully able to participate. And, ah, I just
assumed it would be a matter of time. There were a few times there when it
looked like it might not happen. But you know there were many times there where
I thought even when people were saying it was going to happen I didnít believe
it was going to happen. But I was always on board. No matter what
else I was deciding to do in my life at the time. SoÖ
it like to come back to THE X-FILES? Is it familiar or does it seem
strange to be stepping back into these shoes that you left so many years ago?
You know, I was really, um, not so much cocky about it
but I was really confident that it would be really easy. You know, on the first
day. And I, I wasnít afraid at all. I usually am terrified before I start
something for the first couple of days, I get really -- and it sucked! It was
horrible. I had a really, really hard first couple of days. I think part of that
was that Iíve spent such a long time trying not to do anything that even
remotely resembled Scully. Or at least you know while Iím working. If thereís
something, a gesture or a way, whether Iím successful or not I donít know. But
at least in my mind Iím thinking that Iíve been pushing it away for such a long
time that while I was doing it to bring it back, my brain was going, Ďno! No!í
This wasnít supposed to be happening. And also we happened to start on the worst
possible scene that we could have started with, it was probably one of my most
It was a
confrontation scene. So I hadnít been like normal, flat-line Scully.
No! I didnít mean flat-line. No, I didnít mean that but [laughs]
thatís funny. I hadnít even been normal Scully before I had to be upset
approach her differently? Has she changed a lot?
donít think she has. Whatís been important is not have her change a lot.
You know that itís been finding who she is again. You know, um, itís,
ah, I think itís important to show somebody thatís recognizable to the
audience, whoís used to that. But you know obviously thereís a
maturity thatís taken place naturally. To hold that and to use that fact
to inform how she might be, you know, in this present state.
there some references to what happened to her in the last five years?
Not really. I think that it becomes a given. Thereís something thatís said at one point about the choices that sheís made. Which kinda covers that, yeah.
behind your willingness to come back to this? Did you not want to be the
one to say no and it fell apart?
You know I thought if it was enough of a period of time. It was a, a
formidable experience for all of us. Even at the times, you know at
various times I was very outspoken about the challenges of it, it was still
something that I wouldnít have changed even at the time. Well, thatís
not true [laughs]. But in retrospect certainly I wouldnít have changed
for the world. I was always aware that this was something unique and
valuable and precious and doesnít happen very often. We were all
incredibly lucky. And even despite my frustration at the hours and the
exhaustion and all that kind of stuff, Iíve always been grateful on some
level. And the idea of us all coming back together again, um, has always
been exciting. Even at the very end I knew it would be at least a couple
of years. And I had to trust that even after two years Iíd think,
Ďthis is a good idea.í
You didnít want to be defined as Scully for your whole career?
think in certain ways sometimes I still am. When people, producers or
whatever, you know, see my work, sometimes they go, ďOh! She can act!Ē
You know [laughs], thereís nothing much I can do about that. But all I
can do is, one, you know, try and challenge myself. And also continue to
try and challenge the minds of people who want to put me in a box.
you love about the character and why do you think she has resonated with the
I mean at the beginning, ah, ah, I guess in looking back, itís almost like
thereís, as well all know, we all know the history of fox being dubious about
hiring me and all that kind of stuff, and you know this redhead. You know
itís almost like Scullyís always been, at the beginning she was like this
little engine that could [laughs]. She
was almost like feisty, fiery, intelligent, um, you know, buster of everything.
And you know I think that that was strangely appealing to people. You
know, it was just so different from what people had seen at the time. And
the show was appealing to so many different kinds of people on so many different
levels. And I donít know whether thatís still appealing I mean in the
old days thereís been so much thatís tried to emulate that, thatís tried
to copy that over time, weíll see with box-office if people care. These were
great in the context of the series. But maybe next to Julianne Moore or
whatever, itís like ďehÖĒ Who
a powerful woman, an intelligent woman.
Yeah, absolutely. I think that was primarily Chris [Carter]. He was determined at the beginning to keep Scully, ah, that way. There were times at the beginning, Iíd done so little work on camera before, Iíd only done theater, so I wanted to have the Ė it was almost like at the beginning I was in a rehearsal for a play. But the second day I came to work was kind of different. So the second day I remember crying once when I was holding a gun. And I got this phone call [smiles and yells], "Scully wouldnít cry!" He didnít yell like that. But I really had to be molded and reminded, you know, just who this person is. And you know eventually I got it. And she developed and we all grew together.
Yeah, I think that was, that her resilience and her strength and her intelligence and her determination and everything was fortunately appealing for lots of young women. And you know I still get Ė you know thereís a whole new group, I donít know, I donít pay attention [a laugh] but apparently thereís a whole new group of people who are discovering the show in reruns for the first time. Which is awesome. I donít really get letters but if anything comes through to me, itís from grandmothers to four-year-olds. Which is really cool. And I think I over time as Ė Iím rambling now Ė get someÖ.. You know itís easy talking to Chris or David to get very melancholy and wistful. And when I see stuff, when somebody sends something, you know, something that somebodyís put together, moments of Mulder and Scully. We were watching something, actually I pulled something on YouTube, and, um, we kissed a lot in the series! I just remember how everyone was complaining how there was no Ė and there were millions of kisses! I didnít remember kissing so much.
Is there some of that in the movie?
going to answer that question!
intimate relationship between Mulder and Scully more important in this movie?
Um, oh, I
donít know. I think thatís whatís remarkable Ė and I find it more
remarkable today after working with many other actors Ė just what kind of, um,
energy there is between [us]. You know it just kind of happened.
Weird. And I donít know why this chemistry. Yeah. Itís
cool now, once Iíve seen things in the past and gone, Ďwhere the fuck did
that come from?í Itís still there and of course thatís going to be
appealing to people. I now see what the appeal is. In the old
days I was, Ďyeah, so what? Yeah we get along. Thereís
chemistry.í I was just using that word and now I see, you know, there really
was and there still is and I think thatíll always be there.
much easier is it working David again now that youíre not on top of each other
for 16 hours a day?
great. It was great then too. Itís all Ė itís just like a
sibling relationship. You know. And I never had siblings.
I had brothers and sisters that started when I was 13 so I was out of the house
and didnít have that experience. There was always this natural love-hate
Ė hateís too big a word Ė but you know what I mean? There was always
something. Whether it was us coming together or us keeping our distance,
whatever it is itís just a natural relationship. In the history, over a
period of time. And I think that now weíve grown up and weíre older
and, um, I think weíre more appreciative of, um, the relationship period.
And the unique experience that we had together. And we have an opportunity
to continue that and foster it and, you know, weíve always loved each
other and weíre always going to be at battle sometimes. Itís just, you know
started out as a skeptic and later became the believer to the new characters.
Are you going back to the skeptic/believer relationship?
I think we
have to. Thatís part of one of the big premises of the film, the
relationship and what makes the relationship work is this constant, you know,
fight to be right in some way. I think no matter what film or what
episode, you have to maintain an element of that. To make it interesting.
This isnít a love story. It can be and there are elements of that in the
intimacy of the relationship and everything. But itís that canít be in
the forefront. What is in the forefront in these two peopleís minds and
their passions and naturally theyíre going to swing in the direction theyíre
built for. Thatís going to cause tension between them and issues.
there things about being back on an ďX-FilesĒ set that took you back ten or
15 years ago?
I was actually looking around on the set for more things than were there. At the
beginning I was actually surprised that more things werenít brought out of Ė
somebodyís got to have them theyíve got to be in some storage space Iíve
comfortable are you now with this role that you once sought to distance yourself
feels, um, I feel very fortunate. You know. I think my desire to
distance myself Ė you know I started when I was 24. I told them I was 27
Ė to get hired. But I was 24 and at the time, yeah. Somebody sent
me an interview I did on I donít know some cheesy TV station and I was so,
just like so sure of myself. And the way that I was talking and
everything. I think I had to surround myself with so many survival mechanisms to
just survive. As a 24 year old to be thrown into that when all Iíd done
was a little bit of theater really was intense. People would say to me, in
interviews, Ďwhat a whirlwind life youíve had,í and I didnít even have
enough of a perspective to be able to stand back and go, Ďyeah man!í
My response was like, Ďyeah.í and I think, but in a sense to a
detriment at times because I assumed that I should be able to deal with stuff, I
should be able to just press on and buckle up and you know go on. To a
disservice to myself. I canít remember what your original question was
and distancing yourselfÖ
So I was
just in it for such a long time that when it ended you know there was a part of
me that one, didnít want to see a set. I didnít know if I was going to
go back and ever be on a set again. It just got really intense. I didnít
do that much on my hiatuses. I did a couple of things but I didnít
really go after that. Between exhaustion and being a mom and stuff.
I just wanted to do something different, for fuckís sake. So I needed, I
just really needed that. But I found a place again of appropriate
perspective and great appreciation and gratitude for just being allowed and
invited to such an extraordinary experience.
Chris fought for you in casting?
Heís the godfather to my first-born child!
Is it a
relief to get away from that complex mythology and keeping track of Ė
Who kept track? Definitely the fans know so much more about the episodes than I did and what happened. I mean I practically forgot I had a baby when we started this which is really sad. Iím exaggerating a little bit but itís kind of true.
the biggest difference between Scully now and the last time we saw her?
sheís more relaxed. I think sheís made some choices in her life that
have allowed her to do what she most wants to do. Thatís mellowed her a bit.
She hasnít lost any of her determination and passion about things by any
stretch. But sheís mellowed a bit.
done and survived "The X-Files" would you ever do another TV series?
never say never because things change so much over time. But it would have
to be something pretty extraordinary to take that kind of time and move back to
get to do any fun stuff like that in this film?
David gets to do all of that [laughs]. Iím serious, I should feel really
sorry for him. I do. Thereíve been a few times when Iíve come to
the set to do some dialogue where heís been scaling cliffs and all that kind
of stuff. So Ė did I say too much?
feel that X-FILES can go on now, as a movie series?
know. I think thatís something thatís been discussed for a long time.
Itís something that we have all been interested in. If we are able to do
one that is, um, that can appeal to a mass audience and itís, ah, successful,
in the right ways. Um, that perhaps we might do another one after this.
But thatís --