June 16, 1998
Interview by Shep Morgan
Scully speaks! All right, Gillian Anderson speaks, which in our estimation is every bit as good. Defying TV stereotypes, Anderson — by her own account neither leggy nor chesty and not given to the wearing of skimpy apparel — has become the thinking fan's sex symbol and costar of what may be the most hotly anticipated movie of the summer (forget about that big iguana!). Rumors about the X-Files movie are flying thick and fast (which is, of course, only as it should be), but TVGEN has the actress's own words on such weighty topics as hair delinquency, icky stuff and the smooch that launched a thousand e-mails.
SHEP: How does the X-Files movie balance the expectations of die-hard fans and the need to explain stuff for moviegoers who haven't been following the show since day one?
GILLIAN: That was one of the challenges that Chris [Carter, series creator] had from the beginning, to create a movie that did not talk down to our existing audience and also one that was watchable and enjoyable to people that had never seen the show before.That's something I really feel that he has done with this movie. I think that it'll be incredibly exciting for avid fans of the show who know every last detail about the series and about Mulder and Scully and about the history. But I also think it's watchable and enjoyable and exciting and adventurous for people who have never, ever seen the show before. I really feel like he's pulled it off.
SHEP: Did you have any specific worries about making the movie?
GILLIAN: I was very excited about the prospect of eventually doing a film. At the beginning I was not convinced that we should be doing it during a season or during one of our hiatuses. I thought that it might be better for Fox to take advantage of there not being a show anymore, and in having the movie franchise. But they know a lot more about these things than I do and have proved that it's actually a really good idea. Once we were on board, I was very excited to participate in it.
SHEP: Were you a fan of the horror genre before you got involved with the show?
GILLIAN: No, I'm not. In fact I can't stomach horror films at all. In my life I'm not scared of icky stuff — icky stuff doesn't bother me. But in terms of horror stuff I have to separate myself completely from what I'm doing and just kind of show up and pretend that it's something else, or I'm not affected by it.
SHEP: Do you ever find yourself weirded out by a particular type of X-Files fan?
GILLIAN: It's usually parents who have young kids, who will come up and say, "My son — my 4year-old — is such a big fan." I don't know how to perceive that, really, because [the show is] so scary, and I couldn't imagine my daughter having a show that she had to see every week, especially one that scared the heck out of her. I don't even know quite how to take that in. What's amazing about the show is that it reaches so many different audiences: so many different ages, so many different races, so many different cultures, so many different walks of life. It's phenomenal in that way... that it touches people.
SHEP: Scully delivers some pretty tongue-twisting dialogue in both the show and the movie. Was there ever a point at which you find yourself asking, "What on Earth am I saying here?"
GILLIAN: Oh, yeah, all the time. That's what dictionaries are for. And thesauruses.
SHEP: We all know what X-philes watch on TV. But what do you watch?
GILLIAN: I never turn on the TV. When I was in high school, I think I would come home once in a while and watch reruns of Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch.
SHEP: What's on your summer reading list?
GILLIAN: Oh, my God, so many things. I want to finish Alias Grace. A book called Anatomy of the Spirit — I haven't started it yet. And a book called Underworld, by [Don] DeLillo. I've got such a stack. Eve's Tattoo... whenever I hear about a book that's recommended to me, I buy it. And I have about, probably, three or four hundred books, unread, that I'm just waiting for the time to read.
SHEP: Your hair is the subject of much envy: How do you keep it looking so good while ursuing the spawn of hell?
GILLIAN: I am the biggest delinquent in the world, as far as hair goes. If you ever see it and you like it, it has nothing to do with me. It was probably that there was somebody else there who did it for me, because I was going on to do some press thing.
SHEP: Playing Scully over the course of several seasons has allowed you to explore her haracter in great depth, and the result is a vivid and complex characterization. But is being so associated with her character a double-edged sword for you?
GILLIAN: You mean typecasting. I have not had a problem with that so far, and most of the scripts that I get range from... range in everything. What I've done so far has been very different: I played a kind of a South Side Chicago chick, early 20s, in a movie called Chicago Cab. And then a middle-aged, vintage biker-alcoholic in a movie called The Mighty. I tend to steer away from those that are similar to Scully at all, and hopefully will pull it off. Everybody may say, "Oh, I just see Scully in there." I don't know. But, I haven't gotten any indication that I'm being typecast.
SHEP: There's considerable support for the proposition that Scully is the thinking fan's hot babe. How do you feel about that?
GILLIAN: Isn't that bizarre? When people first started saying they thought that Scully was hot I just didn't get it. But now I do. What I didn't get was that my concept was that what men found attractive was what they were used to seeing on TV, year in and year out: blond and chesty and leggy and skimpy clothing... that's what men found attractive. And when people saying that Scully was... I just didn't understand it. I didn't get it. And I guess now I'm starting to. It seems to be a sleeper fantasy, the same thing as the schoolgirl thing. I mean, not that Scully's wearing these little skirts, but there's something about the mixture of intelligence and "What does she really look like underneath that suit?" I'm not saying that that's what's going through men's minds and that's all they can be attracted to, is what's underneath, but I was just trying to fathom in some way what it was that men found attractive in Scully.
SHEP: Scully and Mulder come very, very close to a kiss in the movie — what was doing that cene like for you?
GILLIAN: It was really close, wasn't it? I mean, it was, like, a millimeter away. It was pretty hot — it was pretty good. And it was up to me to do the moment where I broke it and the bee stung me. So it was fun to play with how long we could make it last before we actually ouched.
SHEP: Can you sum up for us what it's like working with David Duchovny?
GILLIAN: Summing up working with David... let's go on to another question. (Laughs.)
Transcript appears courtesy of TV Guide