By Jonathan Aplin
Gillian Anderson makes her donmar debut in our forthcoming production of A DOLL'S HOUSE. Zinnie Harris' new version of this classic play is set against the backdrop of British politics at the turn of the last century. We talk to Gillian about her approach to work and her forthcoming role.
What attracted you to playing Nora in A DOLL'S HOUSE?
Nora has a lightness above her heaviness and many of the characters I've been playing lately are all round heavy: heavy sad, heavy bitchy. I'm looking forward to her positive air even if it is hiding desperation.
How do you prepare to play a character?
I have no idea but there's a whole lot of pondering involved. This is going to sound really cryptic but it's a case of pondering and then using your instinct; what just feels right.
What appeals to you about working in theatre?
I love the immediacy of it. One of the most wonderful things about theatre is the process involved in its creation. The process of discovery in rehearsals and its continuance in front of an audience make for exciting and terrifying times. Often the rehearsal process is an undervalued aspect of the process: the opportunity to try things and make mistakes.
Do you have a preference for television, film or theatre?
All three have their appeal for completely different reasons. The best scenario is if one is able to dip into each of them at different times. I have been lucky enough to have those opportunities.
Why the Donmar Warehouse?
The Donmar has been one of my favourite theatres in London for many years. It has such a reputation for innovative and exciting work. Needless to say, I am extremely excited to have an opportunity to work in this space.
Is there a role that you'd still like to play?
There are a few actually, but I'm too superstitious to say them out loud.
What do you like most about being in London?
I love this city for its culture and for its cultural diversity. As a child I lived here for nine years before moving to the States and I used to think that iwas just rosy retrospect that made this city magical, but in fact it really is the city itself. I can't imagine living anywhere else; even if I had to move away for a while I know I would always return.
Does having children change your approach to the way you act?
I believe that having children directly influences the work I choose. It makes me more specific about how I spend my time. I have found having children has helped with the preparation for a number of roles. It brings a new perspective to Nora and her plight.
You list a number of spiritual titles among your favourite books. Is this something that has developed through your career and is it a necessity for an actor to look at their emotions constantly?
It's funny because I always thought it did. However, I have met and worked with actors who clearly know themselves very little and yet are brilliant at their craft. But at the same time I have to imagine that on some level it does have an effect.
What do you get inspiration from?
Watching other actors work is inspiring. Good work makes me want to be good. To be honest I find that art in all its manifestations is an inspiration, and I look to it to be just that.
Do you have any advice for young actors?
Get used to disappointment. It comes hand in hand with our work but it doesn't have to ruin your life. Learn from it and then get over it and move on.