July 3, 1996
Fanning the Fame
Gillian Anderson concedes her Australian tour has been far more confronting than any of the many hours spent in front of The X-Files cameras.
Experiencing first-hand the intensity of passion and adulation of more than 30,000 fans in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney has been somewhat overwhelming.
"It has taken some coming to terms with," says the softly-spoken, diminutive actor, safe from the madding crowds in the sanctuary of her Melbourne hotel.
Just three hours earlier, Anderson had faced more than 10,000 X-philers at Southland shopping centre. She'd watched anxiously at distressed young fans being lifted from the crowd, and appealed for calm over the public address system.
The success of Anderson's promotional tour for Foxtel and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has stunned everybody. None more so than the star.
"It's been strange for me, in that I've not had television experience before. I've not had anything to really compare it with," she says.
"I assumed, early on, that all shows got this level of attention and had this kind of response, but I'm slowly learning that they don't."
Three years as special agent Dana Scully in X-Files has seen the intensely private Anderson compromise due to this demands of stardom.
"The attention has taken some adjusting to for me," she admits.
"I could definitely only do this kind of thing (promotional tours) once a year for short periods."
Anderson was a self-confessed teen rebel - pierced nose, head shaved into a mohawk and full of anger.
Acting provided the road out of the land of teen-trouble via DePaul University's theatre school, occasional plays and a small movie feature The Turning. A year of Auditions yielded only one small TV role until she read for The X-Files.
The network wanted a bigger name, someone "more busty", but creator Chris Carter insisted Anderson was who he wanted to play Scully alongside David Duchovny's Fox Mulder.
Four years later Anderson has found superstardom investigating the paranormal in TV fantasyland.
"I'd baulked at doing television of any kind," the 27-year-old says.
"It was simply the quality of the scripts and the subject matter and characters that drew me to X-Files.
"If it had been any other TV show, I doubt if I'd have done it."
What started as a cult following blossomed into mainstream acceptance, but many connected with the show were concerned when the popularity snowballed.
"Chris Carter really enjoyed it when we had a cult following. But he was a little wary of becoming more mainstream because he felt it (cult appeal) added a little more mystery and respectability," she says.
"Surprisingly enough it has maintained the cult status and at the same time gained mainstream support, which has given us the best of both worlds."
Anderson believes one of the secrets behind the show's success has been that it is filmed in Canada.
"The entertainment business has been so strong in Los Angeles for such a long time," she says.
"But they have been doing it for so long there that, while they've become experts, in a certain way they have lost their love for the craft.
"Doing it in Canada has made everyone step up to the plate and filled the show with so much enthusiasm.
"Canadians have not had that weary existence of working day-in day-out over years and years in TV."
Married to former X-Files art director Clyde Klotz and mother of two-year-old daughter Piper, Anderson admits to times when the grind of series TV production has got to her.
"There have been occasions when I've hit a bit of a wall and wasn't sure whether I could keep going," she says.
"Then along comes a really good script and you go again. You have these stepping stones of good material that keep you going. But I know that when X-Files finishes I will never do another TV series.
"I really would like to go into film. Six or Seven years on a TV show will be enough for me."
Compounding Anderson's problem is her inability to relax away from the cameras.
"I try to put my feet up, but have a hard time doing it," she smiles, eyes wide behind gold-rimmed spectacles.
"I tend to keep myself a little too busy. The priority, these days, is to spend as much time as I can with Piper."
But despite the exhausting schedule, the trading-off of privacy and inability to relax, Anderson says when the X-Files is over she will look back on it favourably.
"All of us are going to remember it and feel like it was some of the best years of our lives," she says.
"We've really bent the rules - taken a lot of risks.
"We've been a part of something special and there is a real feeling of pride in being involved in something like this and having it succeed."
Transcript appears courtesy of The Herald-Sun .