X-Files' New Mom Anderson Has No Time For X-haustion
by Matt Roush
X marked the chromosome. And nothing was ever the same again for Gillian Anderson.
As if it weren't heady enough to land on a cult series like Fox's The X-Files, then meet and marry a husband on the set and find you're pregnant in the first season alone, Anderson is already back to work after what must be one of the shortest maternity leaves ever.
"It was a bit quick," she understates, talking by phone between scenes on Vancouver location. Only two weeks after giving birth Sept. 25 to daughter Piper by Caesarean section, the 26-year-old actress gets the next shooting script. Surprise: It calls for her return as skeptical FBI agent Dana Scully--albeit lying in a coma for most of the episode, which aired last week.
"That did help a bit, but I mean, with 60 people around you and all the lights, it's not an unstressful situation."
The C-section put her "out of commission at least an extra four days than they were planning." She figures everyone is "a little sorry" for sending her back to the grind so soon. "But it seems to have worked out. I think. So far," she says, breathless and bemused.
Doth she protest too little? Well, who'd complain at being smack-dab in the middle of a show that burns up cyberspace hot lines and glues viewers to seats every Friday night.
When she learned of her pregnancy in February, it defined the phrase mixed blessing. "It was wonderful news, but it scared a lot of people. It scared me. The show was doing relatively well, but it was still very young and there was the possibility of it going one way or another.
"It could have crashed, and I would have been somewhat in the middle of that. It was a rough time letting people know I had made this decision and deciding how to work with it, and for them, whether to recast (the role)."
As it turned out, the necessity to hide her pregnancy and write her out of a few episodes let to some of X-Files' creepiest and most paranoid stories: the shutting down of the X-File unit, her kidnapping, her apparent stint as guinea pig in government gene-engineering experiments with alien DNA.
"The writers did so much to accommodate the situation, and the fact it's doing so well now added to the pressures for me to come back....Plus, I'm fortunate enough to have a nanny on the set all the time. Piper comes with her and stays in the trailer."
For now, Anderson has a stunt double to handle the more physical scenes. "Much as I'd like to, my body is not back in the shape it was yet. Everything's a little off balance, not aligned yet. Even walking up and down stairs, my knees can go out a bit. They've been careful about not making things too strenuous."
What she lacks most, like any new mother, is rest. "There's a general level of exhaustion that follows me around. It's a huge blessing whenever I get to make up sleep." Suggestion to producers: Another coma for Scully?
Transcript appears courtesy of USA Today.