February 10, 1999
Playing With Piper
A new star is shining on the set of The X-Files
It's hard to believe that just days before landing the role of Dana Scully in The X-Files, Gillian Anderson was collecting her last unemployment benefit. Six years later, Anderson is an international small-screen superstar with a four-year-old daughter, a divorce from hubby Clyde Klotz, and a lot of money in the bank. In fact, more than a superstar, Anderson is very much a career mum these days. Daughter Piper is a behind-camera veteran whose babysitters have been the X-Files film crew.
"When Piper was born I was really extremely naive," Anderson says. "I used to wrestle with how mothers coped and still stayed sane. but Piper was a great baby and no trouble. I was very lucky."
Anderson says she and Klotz have worked hard at being friends for the sake of Piper. But she admits there have been times when she has felt guilty about the way she has coped with motherhood. "Piper is with me on set as much as possible when she's not at school," Anderson says. "I guess the main thing I'm concerned with is giving Piper the things I missed out on with my parents - though I stress they were very good to me. Things like letting Piper know she's terrific and it's OK to make mistakes."
In tonight's opening episode of the new series of X-Files, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) finds himself under review by a panel looking at his claims about the existence of aliens and his theory of a government coverup. Mulder claims to possess evidence that will prove Scully carries a virus of extra-terrestrial origin.
"At the end of each season you're so glad of the break, but by the time the hiatus is over, you're all charged up and ready again," says Anderson, whose film, Playing By Heart, opens in Australia this month.
With the X-Files movie grossing more than $185 million worldwide, a sequel seems assured, which raises concerns about the attitude of Anderson and Duchovny. Both say they are growing weary with the show. Duchovny has eased some of his boredom by writing an episode of the show, which he'll direct in April. Darren McGavin will return to guest-star as former FBI agent Arthur Dales.
"I guess one will have to be careful to praise it and not find too much wrong with it," Anderson says with a chuckle. "When the writer and director is also the co-star, that's a pretty powerful enemy to make."
But while Anderson is happy to talk about the show, the conversation keeps coming back to daughter Piper. "She's a joy. She has so much energy," Anderson says proudly. "People say we have similarities in nature. I don't know. But she is very determined. My concern is how she will be at high school. I was something of a rebel. Hopefully our similarities won't stretch that far."
Back to the series, and Anderson says there's a shade more humor in X-Files this season. She believes it often heightens the drama. "We've explored how to use comedy more. David is really into using it and I think we're walking some brave ground with it."
But as for Mulder and Scully getting romantically closer, or, as was the case with the movie, even kissing - albeit in friendship - well, don't hold your breath. "You have them get together would take out all that sexual tension," Anderson says. "It just wouldn't be the same."
Transcript provided by Monica Duff and appears courtesy of Melbourne's Herald Sun.