Super Actress Working on the "X-Files" While Being Pregnant
Gillian Armstrong [sic] On "The X-Files," Anderson, 26, plays FBI Special Agent Dana Scully, who investigates paranormal events. The program airs Fridays on Channel 2.
QUESTION: As we speak now, in September, you're in your ninth month of pregnancy. You're also filming new episodes of the show in studios in Vancouver. How are you able to film?
GILLIAN: Very carefully. My character is mostly sitting down. Or doing an autopsy. Things like that. The writers and directors have been very creative with the camera angles.
QUESTION: Very little has been published about your background. Could you give a basic autobiography?
GILLIAN: I was born in Chicago in 1968 and raised in London and in Michigan. My family went to London because my dad went to film school there; in fact, we still have a flat there. I went to the Goodman Theater School at DePaul university in Chicago; and I did bits and pieces with the summer program of the National Theatre of Great Britain. Then when I graduated from college I moved to New York and did a couple of plays: "Absent Friends" off-Broadway and "The Philanthropist" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven. I did a film, which I believe is now called "The Turning." Then I moved to Los Angeles. And did nothing. Basically all I did for almost a year was audition for different things. Then finally I did an episode of "class of '96." then I landed "The X-Files." So--it's not much experience!
QUESTION: Your character, Scully, is a skeptic; a central tension of the show is her search for a scientific explanation for bizarre crimes and phenomena, while Mulder totally buys into the paranormal. is it going to be a challenge for you and the writers to maintain Scully's doubt as he keeps getting hit over the head with these events every week?
GILLIAN: I don't think she's really been hit over the head with them too much; it wasn't until the last couple of episodes last season that she started to have more first-hand experiences with paranormal events. Her first instinct is always going to be to turn to what she knows. She has a very strong belief system, a very strong dedication to her background, which is medical and scientific. That belief system is always going to be the first thing that she turns to when she has to come up with explanations for situations--when she's doing an autopsy, or making any kind of decision, or presenting a hypothesis. There is always going to be--not necessarily skepticism--but her rational mind will always be jumping to the forefront, before she accepts any idea or hypothesis of Mulder's. She is, I will say, more open-minded now and not so judgmental of Mulder and his ideas.
QUESTION: Do you think Scully and Mulder should have a romantic relationship?
GILLIAN: No. I think it would ruin the show. The show is not about romance. That would lead it off into a whole 'nother area, and from what I understand, the audience also doesn't want it. There is an attraction between them that's physical, but it's primarily an attraction to each other's mind, and passion about the work. And that's enough.
QUESTION: The parity between the two of them is so interesting--for instance, there's a moment in the episode "Squeeze" where *you're* the first one to go down the ladder into that dark basement.
GILLIAN: That parity has been changing to a certain degree right now because of my situation; being pregnant, Iím not able to be at Mulder's side for investigations as much. I do think it's very important for the audience to see partners, two capable human beings, working side-by-side, and not one behind the other according to sex. In general I think the writers try to be pretty careful about that, although there have been moments where I felt that Scully has been left behind to catch up.
QUESTION: What's most difficult about the role?
GILLIAN: It's not necessarily in this role, but in shooting a one-hour series in general, and especially now, when I haven't been at my normal capacity--the hardest thing is to have full energy and concentration and commitment in every single scene and every episode. It's frustrating, not feeling on top of every scene.
QUESTION: Jeff Jarvis wrote in TV Guide, "it's the perfect show for a generation raised on Kennedy conspiracy theories, global paranoia, self-indulgent feel-good cults, tabloids, and talk shows." Why do you think the show is hitting such a cord?
GILLIAN: I think what you just quoted seems to make a lot of sense. I think there are a lot of different elements to its appeal. One of the strongest of these is just simply telling a good story, with a beginning, a middle and an end. our endings may be somewhat transparent, but they're still there. People love a good story; the human desire for that goes back through the ages. Also, there's the appeal of stories that keep people on the edge of their seats. People love to be scared. We do the kind of horror movie stuff that used to be in theaters; here it is in the living room. And it's an intellectual horror rather than horror for horror's sake. The show deals with questions that we've all perhaps tossed around at one time or another; questions, and subjects, that are all over the place, that are intriguing to a wide range of people. And it's a very good-looking show, with the lighting and the camera work--the production values. And I think people are intrigued by the relationship between Mulder and Scully, where there's a professional connection between them without it being sexual.
Transcript appears courtesy of West Magazine.