Jan. 22, 1999
Interview by Matt Lauder
Interview opens with a clip from Playing By Heart.
MATT LAURER: Gillian Anderson, good to see you, welcome to Today.
GILLIAN: Thank you very much.
MATT: I guess, I think my temptation is to say this is a relationship movie but it's about a lot of different relationships.
GILLIAN: It is about a lot of different relationships. I think it is a relationship movie but I think it has a very important, sometimes profound message underneath it, about survival and about courage to change and about forgiveness.
MATT: You play Meredith. I understand when you first heard about the movie and saw the script you were kind of interested in another character.
GILLIAN: I was interested in Joan, who is played by Angelina Jolie, and I just felt that it would be more of a challenge and more of a stretch because the character is very different from Scully who I am with every day of my life, and Joan talks and talks and talks and talks very rapidly and she plays around a bit.
MATT: So you see Meredith as more like Agent Scully?
GILLIAN: Yeah, I think that there are a lot of similarities. There are certainly more similarities between the two of them than between Joan and Scully. But what I found out was that I was actually more afraid to play Meredith because I was afraid of making it different even though there were so many similarities.
MATT: She's a bit afraid of relationships, I'm talking about Meredith here.
GILLIAN: A bit?
MATT: She's a little relationship phobic.
GILLIAN: A little?
MATT: Why? What is the pain she's experienced in the past that's causing her to be so reluctant to open up now?
GILLIAN: Well I think that, I mean, what she says in the script is that first of all she was married to somebody who it ends up discovers that discovers he is gay. And I think that when you place so much love and so much trust in a relationship to find out something from left field you can feel at first probably betrayed and confused and then she also says she has had a slew of difficult and strange relationships. And I think that just that after a while of one relationship not working after another after another you start to get hardened. She's just not willing to expose her heart anymore.
(Playing By Heart clip from restaurant scene)
MATT: When you look at yourself in a film, versus the way you were when you started the X-Files, I think six years ago, how have you changed as an actress, do you think?
MATT: Because you didn't want to do TV I understand.
GILLIAN: No, no I didn't. I think one of the most tremendous opportunities that doing the series has afforded me is that I get to show up every single day almost of my life and work and do what I want to do and um I've learned a tremendous amount about the craft and about the technical aspects of it.
MATT: When you look back around six years ago when someone walked up to you with the script of a kind of off-the-wall type show and Fox was a fledgling network at the time, did you have any idea that six years later you would be seating here and you would be as popular?
GILLIAN: You know, I was so incredibly na´ve at the time. I 'd never been a television watcher. I didn't know what a network really does or that fledgling meant anything or what it meant to be picked up, or, you know I just didn't know. I was just kind of showing up. And, and so, you know, the path that this has taken me on I feel has not been as surprising as if I had a pre-organized idea of what it was going to be. Because I've just kinda been like, all right, ok, whatever, you know.
MATT: You're committed for another season. After that, is it time to say, no more X-Files?
GILLIAN: Um, I'd like to be able to say that. I'm not sure whether I will be able to say that, but I'd like to be able to. You know, but it's been, at the same time, you know, it's a bittersweet thing, because it's been a marvelous opportunity.
MATT: Gillian Anderson. Good to see you.
GILLIAN: Thank you.
MATT: Good luck. Playing By Heart.
GILLIAN: Thanks very much.
MATT: We're back in a moment. This is Today.
Transcript appears courtesy of NBC and The Today Show.