by June Barker
Photo caption: "Changing roles: Gillian Anderson's Agent Scully has now taken the lead from David Duchovny's Mulder."
Gillian Anderson has been to some interesting places through her role on The X-Files, but none that she has looked forward so much as Australia.
"There's three places I've always absolutely wanted to go; Australia, Africa and India," she tells FOXTEL in an exclusive interview during a brief jaunt to Los Angeles for a photo shoot, far from the Vancouver, Canada set where her spooky show is shot. "I haven't got to the other two but eventually I will. Australia is always a country I've been interested in; my parents used to have some friends in London who were Australian and I was very close to them. I also love Australian movies and of course the accent!"
Gillian and her two year old daughter, Piper, will be travelling to Australia this month for FOXTEL and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, promoting the hit TV series run on Fox and the June 12 release of the X-Files video Tooms. But the actress, who smiles more in one interview than her character does in three seasons on TV, also makes it clear she wants time to relax.
"I go to Italy, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kyoto, Australia and Tahiti, where I meet up with my husband," she says, now happy that plans to spend her break from the show shooting a film fell through. "Work was my first priority but none of the films worked out, so now I'm starting to feel that I do need this time off."
Gillian has just finished shooting the third season of The X-Files centered on two very different FBI agents assigned to investigate unsolved cases - many of which suggest involvement of the paranormal. As Fox episodes of the hit show go back to the beginning, we are introduced again to the unlikely pair: Mulder (David Duchovny), a former FBI fast-tracker whose pre-occupation with things paranormal stalled his rise through the agency, and Scully (Anderson), a doctor trained to draw conclusions rooted in as fact.
While Gillian's character is cool as a cucumber, skeptical and unrelentingly serious, the actress herself is playful, goofy and has a warm side to her, a calm anchor in a rough sea of change. Today's stormy waters are in a luxury Beverly Hills hotel, where she has been posing for top European photographers for almost 10 hours.
Yet Gillian, who looks equally comfortable in an Armani dress as she does in a see-through pink velvet top and pants (put on after the cameras leave) - is still able to crack jokes, look sexy and be genuinely happy to pose for photos with the stylists and make-up artists at the end of her long day.
"It's funny because Scully has actually come a long way," Gillian reflects a little later, sipping a mineral water, winding down. "At the beginning I remember Scully always had to walk behind Mulder - that was the direction I was given and I would piss me off to no end! I wasn't at a period in my life back then where I felt I could say something. First of all, this was a new job and a big risk, but the resentment would build up if I made any kind of comment, the looks I would get were unbelievable - like; 'Stop complaining, stop bitching'," she recalls, shaking her head in disgust.
Now Scully is not only regarded as the stronger of the pair - constantly shooting down Mulder's boy-scout alien theories - she's also regarded as one of the best role models on TV for women.
"Scully started out as much more two-dimensional and during the first year I got pregnant and the hormone changes happened and you become somebody else," she says. "So at a time when I was still discovering who this character was in front of the world, I still didn't feel like the person that they had hired to play this character! It took quite a few months after my daughter was born until I started to feel myself again, started to feel like the person they hired as Scully and I remembered who she was and also felt stronger myself, so that she became stronger as a result..."
Gillian met Clyde Klotz, a production designer on the show, and married him after a whirlwind romance of four months, then became pregnant during the show's first season, prompting the storyline involving Scully's abduction by aliens, to explain her absence.
Gillian says she's now finally settling into her new identity - on and off camera.
"In the beginning, it felt like Clyde and I had our own little private life, because the show was relatively small, but then my career started seeping more and more into my private life. I think at this point it's (stardom) still a looming monster, but a necessary one and an enjoyable one at the same time."
Gillian confirms she already has a top-secret feature film to shoot during next year's hiatus from the series - and it isn't an X-Files movie. "Nobody's approached me about that," she says in a shock admission. "I'd read we were going to shoot it this year but nobody came to me with any plans and it's too bad if it is next year, because I won't be a part of it."
While the vivacious, chatty 27-year old actress seems worlds apart from her quietly mousy character, Gillian says Scully is the one person she'll miss as much as her husband on her trip to Australia. "When I have a stretch of time away from Scully, I really start to miss her," she acknowledges softly. "I'm so used to her being a part of my life that it's like I've lost a friend. I know that when the show finally ends (which is not contractually bound to happen for four more seasons) it's going to be incredibly emotional and it will be really hard to part with Scully."
Fortunately for fans, with The X-Files on TV, FOXTEL, video and even a CD of music from of inspired by the show (entitled 'Songs in the Key of X'), they won't have to part with Scully anytime soon! (note: this one was truncated to around 72 characters on every line for browser-viewing convenience. I hope that's not too much of a problem.)
Transcript provided by Medellia and appears courtesy of FOXTEL.