Gillian Anderson: still at home in X-Files land

Home is where the X is

She’s back for another year. Gillian Anderson shares with Jean Cummings her feelings on the changes in store for her on and off the X-Files set.

Excerpts selected from Xposé #50

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Even though Gillian Anderson was signed for an eighth season of TV’s The X-Files, she had publicly said she’d not be back on the show. She made the remarks in part because David Duchovny and creator/director Chris Carter were both unsigned for an eighth year. Of course, they subsequently did sign on for the new season, which, according to Anderson, left her no choice but to not only honor her contract but agree to even a ninth season!

She defends her stance against returning by saying, “At the time I was absolutely exhausted. It was the seventh year, and no one had ever thought that it was going to go beyond five years. I mean, five years seemed like a huge amount of time.

“So at that time doing an eighth season just felt impossible,” she explains. “Then, I took my first real hiatus away from any kind of work. Also, I started to talk to Chris about the eighth season and I heard his enthusiasm. He was excited about this new character he had created and that perhaps that could be a good thing, and all of that entered my mind.”

However, that idea of working opposite new cast member Robert Patrick, as appealing as it might be, was only part of the reason she decided to return to the series. The other reason was simply the pressure of business in Hollywood.

“At the beginning, when Fox started talking about a ninth season, that was even more unheard of than even an eighth. I mean, it was just impossible in my mind. But then push came to shove,” she says. The push came from Fox, which shoved the actress to where she felt she had no choice but to abide by the pressures imposed on her. “It’s a complicated issue, because Chris and the writers wanted to produce the best show possible. Now there’s a formula in making that work, particularly this season with losing David for most of the shows and bringing in a new character.

“So to suddenly have Scully absent also was a tall order,” she continues. “Consequently, it was a necessity for me to continue.” And that’s where the real push came in her contract negotiations, which hinged on her belief that her pay versus Duchovny’s was too unfair. “At the end of the fifth year, it became just ridiculous and unacceptable that there was the disparity,” she says. “So we took steps to remedy that and we were successful...

With the contractual issue behind her, she’s now committed to the series and its new look. “I think there’s a new energy,” she says of the show without Duchovny. “It’s just something has shifted, and there’s just an overall sense like, ‘Okay, we’ve got another year, maybe even two years, to keep going, so how are we going to make this okay and not be resentful that we’re doing the same damn thing for the eighth and ninth year in a row.’

“I think everybody has really kind of pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and marched ourselves forward in a very positive light and in an energetic and enthusiastic way.

“So this season feels good, it feels fresh,” she says. “Robert’s come in and he’s glad to be here. He’s done, like, 55 films and I can imagine that it’s nice to have the security of the show for at least as long it may run. He’s got a very enthusiastic energy and that enthusiasm and the opportunity of creating a new character for the writers I think has given the show new energy. And it gives the actors something new to work with, and that’s also true for the writers.

“So there’s a kind of a feeling of starting over in a sense,” she suggests. “It’s like a new beginning. Keeping in mind where we’ve come from, who we’ve come with and everything, it feels good...”

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Photos © Twentieth-Centrury Fox 2000
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction