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Ragged Edges

Gillian Anderson in the house!
Gillian Anderson made her name playing the sceptical Scully. And now it’s made her a movie star.
Attired in a sleek black dress with a long-sleeve brown shirt covering her arms, and with her usually bright auburn hair in a newly coiffed brown-coloured ‘do’, actress Gillian Anderson looks nothing like her on-screen persona, Special Agent Dana Scully.
But as soon as the Emmy Award-winning actress discusses her role in the imminent X-Files movie, her carefully measured comments and steady intonation reflects the influence her character has had on her – and that she has had on her character.
The X-Files movie raises the stakes for the series. “I think that there was a challenge for Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz to come up with a script that appealed to both the pre-existing audience and an audience that had never seen the series before,” Anderson notes. “In a sense, that may have been a risk for them and the studio. But I think in the long run they have absolutely stepped up to the plate and they’ve succeeded.” Anderson feels that the movie has the potential to extend beyond the series’ established fan base. “What’s going to bring anybody to see Independence Day, you know?” she postulates. “I think it’s an adventure, it’s a huge, exciting experience, and it’s a wild ride. And I think that anybody who’s interested in going to the movies purely for entertainment will enjoy it. They’ll also enjoy the relationship between Mulder and Scully, even though they may have never experienced them before. And what I was struck by greatly in the movie was the love story, which is quite rare in action / adventure films.”
Yet asked whether she thinks Mulder and Scully should become involved on the show, Anderson immediately answers, “No. It would ruin the show. When would we kiss? When would we talk about it? Flying around a corner just before you’re going to shoot an alien, we’re going to smooch? I don’t know,” she muses aloud. “I think it’s either one or the other.”
Although not necessarily the toughest scene to film – that honour might be reserved for Anderson and Duchovny’s sprint through the cornstalks – certainly the most uncomfortable scene for Anderson was the Antarctica sequence featuring her in a pod tank filled with a gelatinous fluid. “It wasn’t fun,” recalls the actress. “It was done in a few different stages. I’d rather not do it again. The first time, there was water and some kind of gelatin goopy stuff. And then the second time, to get some shots, I actually had to dunk into a tank that was kind of colored, that had some milk in it, too, to make it kind of that color. It was one of those things I’d rather not think about.”
Anderson maintains her focus in part by not allowing herself to be distracted by outside influences. For example, she avoids using the Internet herself, although she does have a pile of educational CD-ROMs for children that she’ll play on her laptop with her three-and-a-half year old daughter, Piper Maru. “I’m terrified of losing consciousness or delving into some other reality that I’m not able to come out of, and where I’ll forget I’m a mother and have responsibilities in my life,” she explains. Nor is the actress bothered by the intimidating number of fan sites on the Web dedicated to her. “I don’t log in to any of the Web sites about me or the show or Scully’s dog or whatever is out there,” she says. “And as far as I’m concerned, most of the Web sites are safe realms for people to communicate about something that they have a mutual enjoyment of. And it’s not harming anybody. It’s certainly not harming me.”
Melissa J Perenson
Just part of the Gillian Anderson interview in the new issue of Cult Times (August 1998, #35).
The Best Guide to This Month's Cult Television
Available now, £2.75 ($4.99) - you can order it here
Image © Melissa J Perenson

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