Don't mess with Gillian Anderson
Thursday, June 25, 1998
by Bob Thompson
X-Files star goes after what she wants
HOLLYWOOD -- She might be 5-foot-2, her eyes blue, but Gillian Anderson is nobody's gal.
She's nobody's fool, either.
David Duchovny realized that quickly on the TV and movie sets of The X-Files.
The powerful Sharon Stone even faced off with Anderson's tenacious side when Anderson filmed The Mighty in Toronto with Stone last year.
Rumors of a stubborn standoff between Stone and Anderson merely confirmed what Duchovny already knew.
Gillian Anderson is relentless in her pursuit of what she wants.
For instance, the 30-year-old Anderson wanted the role in Peter Chelsom's kids picture, The Mighty, so bad that "I put myself on tape in my living room at about four in the morning after an X-Files wrap party."
Not exactly at her best, you might say. But there was method to her madness. She was trying out for "a wacky role" in the movie opening later in the year.
Chelsom subsequently turned her down, despite being impressed with her finesse and focus.
In true Gillian Anderson spirit, she didn't take no for his final answer.
"Then Peter saw my Rolling Stone cover that I had done," recalls Anderson at a Beverly Hills hotel recently. "It was done as a send-up of a B-movie poster.
"I had a reddish-blonde wig with red lips and really red nails. And I had like a marsh monster behind me."
A few weeks later, Anderson received a London call from the English director, Chelsom, who was apparently won over.
"He said to me," remembers the Michigan native attempting a Brit accent, " 'I do believe that is who you should be in The Mighty -- you should somehow try to make it so that is her, shouldn't you?' "
The surprise phone call was an odd way for Anderson to find out that she got the coveted job playing a peculiar mom, but she didn't care. She was thrilled her perseverance paid off. The role was dear to her heart since Anderson is a single mother with a decidedly different take on things.
Next is another departure in Dancing Without Architecture, an ensemble film featuring Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands from The Mighty, Dennis Quaid and Anthony Edwards.
"I'm a Los Angeles commercial director," she says. "It's about conversations between couples. It's different. No aliens."
What she means is different from The X-Files. In a few months she'll be doing her sixth season of playing skeptical FBI agent Scully.
This year, she'll be back in L.A., instead of shooting the series in Vancouver. She's aware that she might be even more of a target for the paparazzi.
She shrugs it off. She's already been through the gossipy barrage of stories about her separation from her husband, an X-Files set technician. And she's already scoffed at the controversy of her previous life as a punk with a multi-colored Mohawk at DePaul University.
Anderson shrugs again and looks a little grim.
"Yeah," she says, "fame gets complicated. I would say the fame part of acting is definitely over-rated."
Anderson's 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Piper, takes it in stride, apparently. What about her mother?
Anderson flashes those steely blues at me.
You go out to dinner with a good friend," she says, "and it is assumed he is your date.
"Attention is brought to that person and stuff is delved into ontheir personal life. And so it goes."
Yes, and? "And," says Anderson locking me in her glare, "it sucks."
Transcript provided by Mari Garcia and appears courtesy of Toronto Sun.