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OK Weekly
Sept. 29, 1996

X-Rated Agents

The popularity of The X-Files is as paranormal as the tales it tells. Ok Weekly takes a real close-up look at its stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

As agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder in The X-Files, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny have made their names investigating aliens and strange phenomena. They have become America's hottest stars. Over here, viewers are equally hooked on the show. The third series can currently be seen on Sky One, while the first series is being repeated on BBC2. Meanwhile, on Friday nights, Gillian Anderson can be found fronting Future Fantastic, a Tomorrow's World-style BBC1 series which looks at a century of sci-fi predictions that came true.

Just three weeks after the first X-File was opened, TV ratings are huge. X-Files merchandise flies off the racks, and internet users flock hungrily to X-Files web sites. So where did the show's two stars leap to fame from, and what do they make of the startling success of their x-tra special show?.

The Anderson File

Although she's originally from Chicago, Gillian is no stranger to England. She was just two years old when her parents, Edward and Rosemary Anderson, brought her to London, so that her father could study at the London Film School. They ended up staying for 10 years; time enough for Gillian to develop the slight English accent which has led many people to believe, wrongly, that she's Canadian. 'We had hardly any money and they were quite tough times for our family,' says Ed, who now runs his own post-production film company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He called the company Gillian, after his famous daughter.

While at primary school in London, Gillian was already beginning to develop the mischievous streak that led her to run wild as a teenager, but perhaps equipped her well for her future role as FBI agent and forensic pathologist, Dana Scully.

The 26-year-old, 5ft 3in star was, by her own admission, something of a problem child. 'I was bullied at the first school I went to in north London and in the end that turned me into a bully,' she says. 'I went to Coleridge Junior School in Crouch End, north London, where I took a lot of stick - probably because I was American, even though I did speak with an English accent. But I was also very independent and bossy, which didn't exactly help. I wasn't a particularly bright student - I was too much of a daydreamer. And I certainly wasn't science-mad like Scully. I didn't pay attention; I talked a lot and got punished a lot.'

When Gillian was 13, the family moved back to America. 'I considered myself British when I lived in London and I had trouble adjusting when I went back to America. Again, no one could understand my accent, and I got teased.'

Inspired by her time in London, where punk was just beginning, Gillian decided to dye and cut her hair into a Mohican style - and pierced her nose for good measure. 'We'd walk down the street and give the finger to people who stared at us,' she says. 'I did it to express my anger, because I had a lot of it and I was never very good at dealing with emotions. But acting has certainly given me a way to express myself.'

As the final strand of her education, Gillian attended the theatre school of DePaul University, Chicago. 'At first, I had no interest in acting but then I became keen and felt at home.' She went on to appear in a variety of off-Broadway shows, before attending an audition in 1993 for The X-Files pilot episode with the show's creator; there, she landed the role that has catapulted her to fame and fortune. She well remembers her first meeting with her co-star David Duchonvy. 'We hit it off straight away,' she recalls. 'We almost fell into a rhythm while we were reading together and it felt really comfortable.'

As FBI agent Scully, the strawberry blonde powerdresser who covertly investigates paranormal crime, she is the perfect foil for her partner, Fox Mulder. She is the sceptic, he is the true believer who, when plausible explanations don't fit a crime, suggests solutions involving UFO visitations, government cover-ups and genetic mutations.

'The scripts are mysterious and the stories are wonderful,' says Gillian, who was nominated for a Golden Globe Award earlier this year. 'I think what makes it a hit is the fact that it allows people to escape to another world, another reality far removed from their own, for a little while.

'Although Scully is certainly a sceptic, I'm not. It makes sense to me that people have seen aliens - but when some of them start to talk about being abducted by aliens, part of me shuts down.'

As well as sending her career into orbit, The X-Files is also responsible for bringing her happiness off-screen. It was while working on the show that she met and fell in love with the program's then production designer, Canadian Clyde Klotz. After knowing each other just three months, they married on New Year's Day 1994, on the 17th hole of a Hawaiian golf course. They now have a 22-month-old daughter, Piper.

Gillian worked throughout her pregnancy, using body doubles towards the later stages. She missed only one episode and was back on set 10 days after her daughter's birth. 'I'm sure I did have postnatal depression,' she says, 'but there was just no time for it. Piper came along. Nothing else seems quite so important to me any more. After I had Piper, I became more positive, more open, more caring. I think I've become a nicer person.'

At the moment, Gillian and the family are based in Vancouver, where the series is filmed, but their intention is to move to the States when the fifth series is completed. No doubt by then she will be financially secure for life. 'In terms of steady work, it's brilliant,' she says. 'But sometimes you can't help but feel that wonderful parts are passing you by. I guess there's no point in wasting energy thinking about not having been able to do Sense and Sensibility or whatever.'

So what next for the enigmatic agent? 'Making The X-Files has been both the most joyous and the hardest time in my life, but I think what I'd really love to do next is go back to doing theatre - who knows, maybe even Shakespeare.'

Transcript appears courtesy of OK WEEKLY.

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