Interview Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson talks about stepping back into the role of the ever-sceptical Scully in ‘X-Files: I Want To Believe’.

The X-Files case has finally reopened – this time round for the big-screen. In ‘X-Files: I Want To Believe’, Mulder and Scully, now retired from the FBI, return in pursuit of a series of abducted women but where will their investigation take them: aliens, government conspiracies – in grand X-Files tradition- we’ll keep you guessing. It’s been six years since Gillian Anderson last played Special Agent Dana Scully but, in that time, she’s hardly been idle. Professionally, she went on to critical acclaim in a variety of films including ‘A Cock And Bull Story’, ‘The Last King of Scotland’, and ‘The Mighty Celt’ (for which she won an IFTA for Best International Actress. The vegan actress also gave birth to a second child and in June just gone, she announced she was pregnant with her third. Here, the actress talks about stepping back into the role of the ever-sceptical Scully.

Q: What can you tell us about the new X-Files movie?
A: “I don’t know if I’m actually interested in telling people. I like the idea of people seeing it and having their own experience and actually being surprised. Too often we get to know everything about a movie because we are bombarded with too much information. Not knowing can actually be a good

Q: Will it be as scary as the TV show?
A: “I think the audience can expect to be jumping out of their seats so, yes it’s pretty scary.”

Q: Why reopen the X-Files after all this time?
A: “I think I’ve always made it clear, no matter what’s been rumoured at various times in the press, that if somebody were to get it together in order to do a film, I would be happy and willing and hopefully able to participate. 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 I was always on board despite my frustration at the hours and the exhaustion and all that kind of stuff doing the show. I’ve always been grateful for The X-Files on some level. The idea of us all coming back together again has always been exciting.”

Q: Did it seem strange to be back as Scully?

A: “I was really, not so much cocky about it, but I was really confident that it would be really easy. On the first day on set I wasn’t afraid at all and I am usually terrified before I start something. But that actually made it harder. It was horrible. I had a really, really hard first couple of days. I think part of that was that I’ve spent such a long time trying not to do anything that even remotely resembled Scully. My brain was going, ‘No! No! This is supposed to be happening.'”

Q: What’s the biggest difference between Scully now and the last time we saw her?
A: “I think she’s more relaxed. I think she’s made some choices in her life
that have allowed her to do what she most wants to. That’s mellowed her a
bit. She hasn’t lost any of her determination and passion about things by
any stretch. But she’s mellowed a bit.”

Q: Is she still as sexy as before?
A: “That I don’t know. I’ve never really bought into that whole sex symbol thing and I’m not about to start now. Maybe it’s the uniform.”

Q: Are you not worried that doing this movie will spoil all the hard work
you’ve done in trying not to be typecast as one character?
A: Well, I think in certain ways sometimes I still am so there’s nothing much I can do about that. When people, producers or whatever, see my work, sometimes they still go, ‘Oh! She can act!’ But all I can do is try and challenge myself and try and challenge the minds of people who want to put me in a box.”

Q: What do you love about the character and why do you think she has
resonated with the public?

GA “Well, I think right from the beginning when you see Mulder’s reluctance to have her as a partner, it’s almost like Scully’s like this little engine that could [laughs]. She was almost like feisty, fiery, intelligent. I think that is strangely appealing to people. It was just so different from what people had seen at the time. I also think her resilience and her strength and her intelligence and her determination and everything is appealing for lots of young women. I still get a lot of comments from women saying how much they are inspired by her.”

Q: Was it easy to get back working with David again?
A: “It was great. With us it’s very much like a sibling relationship. And I never had siblings! I had brothers and sisters that were born from when I was 13 so I was out of the house and didn’t have that experience. There was always this natural love-hate – hate’s too big a word – but you know what I mean? There was always something.”

Q: How does it feel to look back to when you first took on the role of

A: “I feel very fortunate. I started when I was 24. I told them I was 27 – to get hired. But I was 24. Actually, somebody sent me an interview I did on some cheesy TV station and I was so sure of myself in the way I was talking and everything. I think I had to surround myself with so many mechanisms to just survive. As a 24-year-old to be thrown into that when all I’d done was a little bit of theatre really was intense. People would say to me, in interviews, ‘What a whirlwind life you’ve had,’ and I didn’t even have enough of a perspective to be able to stand back and go, ‘Yeah man!'”

Q: But when the show ended you made a point of distancing yourself from the character.

A: “I was just in it for such a long time that when it ended there was a part of me that didn’t want to see a set. I didn’t know if I was going to go back and ever be on a set again. It just got really intense. I didn’t do that much on my hiatuses. I did a couple of things but I didn’t really go after that – between exhaustion and being a mom and stuff. I just wanted to do something different, for f***’s sake. 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.”

Q: Would you ever do another TV series?
A: “I’ll 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 Los Angeles where it’s likely to be shot. But you know I’m 40 this year and I hope to still be working when I’m 60 so maybe as a 60-year-old I’ll come back and do a comedy for NBC or something.”

Q: Do you feel that X-FILES can go on now, as a movie series?
A: “I don’t know. I think that’s something that’s been discussed for a long time. It’s something that we have all been interested in. If we are able to do one that can appeal to a mass-audience and it’s, successful, in the right ways then perhaps we might do another one after this.”

X-Files is at Irish cinemas from August 1st

We have interviews with Chris Carter and David Duchovny coming later this week – stay tuned to