October 1996 (Issue #29)
The Anderson File
By Neil Blincow
The truth is out - X-Files star Gillian Anderson would love to play a steamy love scene with co-star David Duchovny!
GILLIAN ANDERSON has become one of the world's most desired women as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully - the cool super-intelligent power-dresser who rarely betrays a hint of a smile. Yet she was lucky to be even considered for the role.
"The producers didn't think I looked sexy enough," the 28-year-old actress explains. "They wanted a tall, leggy blonde with big breasts. It eventually dawned on them that a woman who looked like that might not be so clever or studious enough to play Scully, so they ended up picking little me!"
The Price Of Passion
Now the 5' 2" actress wants Scully to develop a personal life in The X-Files and points that Special Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) has been to bed with one woman - a vampire!
"I think it's time she let loose some of that hidden passion," she says. "It would be great to see Scully and Mulder enjoy the greatest sex in the world with each other - just as much of a relief for the whole audience as well as them. We could have the entire hour devoted to us in bed together - with a half hour foreplay and then raunchy sex with everything from chandeliers over our heads! But I'm afraid it's only a dream. Mulder and Scully love each other in such an intimate way without having to have sex. They've had some incredibly intimate moments where they have merely held hands, but it has built to such an intensity. If David and I did make love on screen, it would spoil the chemistry that has built up between us. The producers know this and have banned any romance. I have to agree. You can't sleep with your friend because it would ruin the friendship. Most people, once sex happens, can't be the same with that person again."
Gillian Anderson is rated as an ideal dream date by millions of men all around the world. A group of fans on the internet have proclaimed her to be "a personification of the real women." With her prim, deadpan manner, sensible haircut, serious, baggy suits and her expensive yet frumpy pumps, Scully exudes a self-righteous discipline that makes her seem above mere pleasures of the flesh. The lady appears to be unattainable, which only adds to her appeal. Yet she also has the sleepy, hazel-green eyes and pouting lips of a woman with hidden depths of passion.
Anderson also has the admiration of women who claim she has proved to Hollywood's bimbos that understated sexuality has the greatest impact on men.
The actress listens to these flattering descriptions and lets out a long, girlish giggle quite unlike Agent Scully. "It's all pure fantasy!" she gasps. "I'm nothing like the woman you've portrayed. You'd have a very hard time finding anybody less like Dana Scully than me.
"I can't even put it down to my acting ability because I never set out to create this almost mystical image. The truth is I was so green in the first series. I had no idea who my character was or what I was supposed to be doing."
The differences between Scully and Anderson are almost alarming. Far from being the cool, sophisticated and straight-laced upholder of the law, Anderson had an affair with the 24-year-old lead singer of a punk rock band when she was only 14, became a punk herself and a rebellious troublemaker at school.
"I didn't do well academically," she admits. "I was too busy talking, insulting teachers and generally playing the clown."
She had several brushes with the police and was once arrested for vandalizing her school. Scully would not have approved! Anderson wore a stud in her nose and even stuck a safety pin through her cheeks. She dyed her hair purple, grew it in dreadlocks and had criss-cross patterns shaved in it. She became promiscuous, sometimes slept rough, got drunk and took soft drugs. And she used the foulest language to anyone who dared to give her a strange look.
The actress now says with a shrug: "I've paid my dues in life. It was something I needed to do at that time. I don't regret it. Looking back, I realize it happened because I wasn't getting the attention I wanted from my parents. I had been the only child and the center of attraction for 13 years. Then my mother had two more children and I didn't mean the whole world to my parents any more."
"I became very jealous and having reached the age of puberty I needed the attention."
Although her parents were hippie types who believed in giving their children independence and freedom of expression, her wild ways worried them.
The Early Years
When she was two, the family moved from Michigan to England where her father studied at the London Film School and her mother got a job as a computer analyst. The 28-year-old actress spent 11 years in England, where she probably acquired the British aptitude for appearing cool and unflappable. Then her parents returned to the States and settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That's when their daughter's rebellious period started. She had an English accent and says she still thinks of herself as British. And it was a terrible wrench leaving a cultural capital like London for a town that has been described as right-wing, narrow-minded and full of little else than churches. Anderson nicknamed it "Bland Rapids". She didn't like the locals and when she started to rebel, they soon took a dislike to her.
"It was a problem that maybe Scully could have solved, but I'm not as intelligent as her," says Anderson. "I could never have been a scientist. I don't have that reference matter in my head. I'm a more spontaneous person. I laugh. I'm crass. I'm raunchy!"
Anderson's troublemaking days ended when she discovered acting. Her grades improved at school and she found a goal in life - stardom. She spent her early days in theatre, which is still her first love, before landing The X-Files in 1993.
Once she gets the giggles, Anderson can't stop. Consequently, most of The X-Files outtakes are clips of her cracking up! It's ironic because Dana Scully is perhaps the most humorless woman on TV. She is rarely allowed to smile in the show.
Anderson herself says: "I have only laughed once in three series and smiled maybe three times in the last 70 or so episodes."
Another contradiction is that Gillian really does believe in aliens, supernatural powers and other unexplained phenomena. In the show, Dana is the skeptic and FBI partner Fox Mulder (Duchovny) seems eager to believe almost anything that is spooky. But Anderson has actually had supernatural experiences. She called in an exorcist to get rid of "restless ghosts" at her home in Vancouver not long ago.
"I believe there is something out there that is greater than us," she says.
Anderson and Duchovny are close friends. He was an experienced actor when they started The X-Files. She had been receiving unemployment benefit and had been in front of the camera only once, as a guest star in the short-lived sitcom Class of '96.
"I desperately needed someone to show me the ropes and David did," she says. "He was wonderful."
There were unsubstantiated rumors of a secret romance between the two stars, which would have got them fired on the spot. It is a strict studio rule that there will be no intimacy between the stars - off-screen as well as on. But if the couple did have a clandestine affair, it ended when Anderson fell for X-Files assistant art director Clyde Klotz. Unlike methodical Scully, raunchy Gillian acted spontaneously on her wedding night and found herself pregnant. She was horrified, believing she would get herself fired and ruin her career. What use was a pregnant Agent Scully to The X-Files?
Other than her husband, the only person she told was Duchovny. "He is a friend and I trust him completely," she says. "And he trusts me."
Duchovny advised her not to have an abortion, telling her things would work out. And they did. He kept her secret while Anderson thought things over for a month. Then she told the studio she was going to have a baby. Instead of firing her, they made plans to get rid of the problem. During the pregnancy she wore even baggier clothes and coats over her arms to hide the bulge. And the scriptwriters arranged for Scully to be kidnapped in Duane Barry and then lapse into a coma in One Breath to explain her absence and recovery during and immediately after the birth.
In September 1994, Gillian gave birth to her daughter, Piper Maru Anderson. The actress says that Piper helped her stay sane through all the stresses and strains of making The X-Files.
"These past three years have been the best and the worst of my life," she says. "Being in a hit show like this is great but there is a lot of pay-back. David and I work a 16-hour day. That doesn't leave a lot of time for leisure."
There were more rumors that her husband was fired from the show after he made her pregnant. Whatever the reason, he is now working on the acclaimed computer-animated series ReBoot. Are they happy?
Gillian Anderson ponders, then says: "I admit our marriage has gone through stressful periods. I'm very hard to be married to. Especially in the situation I'm in right now. I'm incredibly strong-willed and want to do what I want. I am more ambitious than my husband. He understands but at the same time he is very family-orientated. So am I, but I'm career orientated too. I have goals. I have things I want to accomplish. I will do whatever I need to do to move forward to whatever my destiny is."
Transcript provided by Alfred appears courtesy of Starburst.