News Archive: March 2004|
"Sweetest Swing" Pictures
Posted at 10:45 AM (PST) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Two pictures from The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, courtesy of the Associated Press:
Stay tuned for more as they become available!
National Doodle Day Update
Posted at 5:31 PM (PST) on Monday, March 29, 2004
The deadline for return of the doodle cards has been extended to Wednesday, March 31. Participants have two days left to send in their finished doodles for a chance to appear in the National Doodle Day Hall of Fame.
The celebrity doodles from National Doodle Day will be on display at Whiteleys on Queensway in Bayswater, west London on Friday, April 16 from 12 noon.
They'll be trying to break the world record for the most doodles on one piece of paper (a one kilometre long roll)! Invitations have been sent to many of the celebrity doodlers themselves.
More details are available at their website.
Posted at 5:43 AM (PST) on Monday, March 29, 2004
From Empire Online, UK:
Duchovny says sequel is in the works
It's been six long years, but fans of the X-Files can finally rest assured that the small screen's FBI alien huggers are once more en route to the big screen. Talks of a sequel have been bouncing around Hollywood for some time now, but this week news came from David Duchovny himself that a sequel was already in pre-production.
US movie site Moviehole.net got the inside story from Duchovny while interviewing him for his latest movie Connie and Carla. Asking whether there was any likelihood at all that Duchovny and Gillian Anderson would ever make a sequel, they got a surprisingly positive response. "It's definitely happening," Duchovny confirmed. "Chris has a great idea for the new movie and I expect we'll be able to begin shooting in the next year or so."
Asked whether he'll expect major developments in his character Fox Mulder, Duchovny replied: "I hope not. I was really fighting against that in the final years of the show and I think the whole point. I think we're going to be introducing a new character in the film which will allow us to cast a major star, male or female, who will want to be part of an exciting supernatural thriller. I think the new movie will appeal to both our core fans and a broad audience. I'm very excited about it."
Win tickets to SSiB
Posted at 2:49 PM (PST) on Thursday, March 25, 2004
Review the play and win tickets!
Enter The Royal Court Theatre's online Discussion Forum here.
City Inn Westminster Special SSiB Offer
Posted at 9:58 AM (PST) on Thursday, March 25, 2004
City Inn Westminster is proud to sponsor the Royal Court Theatre production of Sweetest Swing in Baseball starring X files actress Gillian Anderson and is pleased to offer a special package for guests to include accommodation in one of the hotel’s stylish rooms with tickets to the show.
Monday – Thursday
Double room - £199.00 including two theatre tickets
Double room - £139.00 including two theatre tickets
To make a reservation, call City Inn Westminster on 020 7630 1000 quoting “Sweetest Swing”.
Rates include VAT and continental breakfast. Single rooms with ticket also available on request. Offer valid from 25th March to 15th May and is subject to availability. Offer cannot be combined with any other promotion.
NFA July Fundraiser Update
Posted at 2:45 PM (PST) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Thank you very much to everyone who has already participated in our poll. The ticket price is tentatively set at £100 (includes overhead costs such as refreshments and cost of venue). If you are thinking of attending this fundraiser, please contact the organizers at email@example.com if you haven't done so already. Be sure to include your name and email address.
Sweetest Swing in Baseball Caps
Posted at 2:17 PM (PST) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004
The Royal Court Theatre bookshop will be offering a limited edition of 100 quality brushed black cotton baseball caps with "The Sweetest Swing in Baseball" on the front and "The Royal Court Spring 2004" on the back, printed in white embroidery. All proceeds from the theatre sale will benefit The Neurofibromatosis Association. The caps will be available beginning April 1 at the Theatre bookshop and online, through PayPal, with complete details to be announced soon.
New Interview: Financial Times
Posted at 1:50 PM (PST) on Saturday, March 20, 2004
March 20, 2004
Edition 1 FT WEEKEND - LIVING; Pg. 3
Sleeping Beauty Weekend Interview - Gillian Anderson
The former 'X-Files' star tells Sathnam Sanghera she's sorry for not running off at the mouth a little more but she's just very, very tired:
By SATHNAM SANGHERA
Gillian Anderson squints at her reflection in the large mirror on the wall, runs a hand through the hair that was once famously red but is now dyed dirty blonde, strokes the perfect skin under her perfect blue eyes and remarks: "I look bloody awful."
There are many adjectives I might have used to describe how Anderson, once voted the sexiest woman in the world, looks this Friday evening. "Tiny", "poised" and "aloof" spring to mind. But "awful" is certainly not one of them. She yawns and stretches as extravagantly as a tired Labrador. "I'm sorry. I'm exhausted." Another yaaawwwn. "Just another four hours of rehearsals tomorrow."
A propos of nothing at all, she points to an ornament on a shelf in the office we are borrowing: "Oooh, look, there are some flowers stuck in a box of coffee beans," she says. A silence. Sleepily, she adds: "I'm surprised the room doesn't smell of coffee."
Another silence as I struggle to respond to this aimless wittering. "Sorry, sorry, I was trying to . . . " Yaaawwwn. "Let's do the interview. Yes, yes. Mmmmmm. Focus, focus. Interview."
Interview indeed. We are here to talk about the play in which Anderson is starring from next week: The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, by Chicago playwright Rebecca Gilman. It is being put on at the Royal Court (although, inscrutably, this interview is being conducted at the Old Vic) and tells the story of a successful painter who suffers a mental breakdown after receiving bad reviews for an exhibition.
I remark that the new play sounds like it was written specifically for Anderson: she is playing a character called Dana (and Anderson, of course, became famous for playing FBI special agent Dana Scully in TV sci-fi series The X-Files), and she has herself had more than enough experience of bad reviews (Anderson was recently savaged by the critics for her West End debut in What the Night Is For).
"Err, yeeeaaah," she drawls sceptically. Although she says "yeeeaaah" and "y'know" all the time, like a Californian teenager, it's surprising how very English she sounds most of the time. "I don't know if I would call them bad reviews. They weren't all that positive, but they weren't absolutely dreadful." If not absolutely dreadful, many were at least partially dreadful: The Daily Telegraph described the play as "a pure, unmitigated stinker"; The Observer said it was something "which could and should send people screaming from the theatre"; the FT complained that her performance was "woefully uninvolving".
Anderson scratches her calf, possibly in irritation. "I think, in the end, I kind of did what I set out to do - I got back to the stage after not doing it for 10 years and did a two-hander in the West End without keeling over on stage or completely humiliating myself."
It must have been stressful to get such reviews though? "It was interesting to see how it affected how I showed up everyday," she says. "You can either let it get you down or you can remind yourself that you have a responsibility to the audience and to yourself and just push on through. I think that the process of doing that was very rewarding and healing."
To be fair, these reviews were only as bad as reviews for her previous non-X-Files project were good: her performance as Lily Bart in The House of Mirth, Terence Davies' film adaptation of Edith Wharton's portrait of early 20th-century New York, collected superlatives such as "revelatory", "stunning" and "magnificent". Long- running TV series frequently ruin actors for anything else, but Anderson's star is quite a way from fading.
If her profile seems to have been low over the past year, it is largely because she has taken a lot of time off - something she was unable to do when she was battling aliens, slimy monsters and duplicitous government officials in The X-Files. By any standards she had an intense time during her 10 years on the hugely successful TV show: she married Clyde Klotz, an art director on the series; got divorced; had a baby daughter (nine-year-old Piper now lives in Vancouver with Klotz); and had several other complicated relationships with people on the show.
She started filming the series when she was 24 and was 34 by the time she finally hung up her badge, gun and autopsy goggles. By her own calculation, she spent 16 hours a day, 10 months a year on the set - not an easy task given her youth, the drama in her life and her apparently stormy relationship with co-star David Duchovny.
Has she seen Duchovny since the show ended? "I was in LA recently and we had lunch," she replies, curtly. How was it? "Very pleasant." A pause and then some elaboration: "You see, we were essentially married. We saw each other more than either of us saw our partners. And it was like any relationship - it had its ups and downs."
How does she feel about The X-Files now, two years after she left? "I feel that it was a mixed experience. I was expecting it to be more difficult to leave than it was. I didn't want to work again for such a long time afterwards. Just the thought of getting back on to a set seemed like the worst idea in the world. There's a certain incestuousness that takes place on a set, whether it's two months or nine years. It just wasn't tasty any more. But a few months ago, I started to feel like I wanted to get myself back into it." She stares at the box full of flowers and coffee, reflectively. "Yeeeaaah."
The past year has been a mixture of a little work (she has been writing a screenplay, called Speed of Light, which she also plans to direct and produce, and working for some African Aids charities) and a lot of leisure.
"I went to Africa a couple of times, for long periods. I travelled a lot in Europe. I was in the States and Canada. I did things that I don't normally allow myself to do." She explains that these "things" included hiring a history tutor. "There's a lot of stuff that I don't know," she declares. "It's mostly historical stuff. So the tutor taught me about the history between the Russian Revolution and the start of the second world war. Stuff that just wasn't in my brain."
Did it help? "Yeah, yeah. But I really had to study it. I had to go over my notes repeatedly - it's pathetic. My boyfriend has a brain like a bloody sponge - he takes in absolutely everything. But I don't. I feel quite retarded sometimes."
Anderson is being very hard on herself: she is a long way from being "retarded". Indeed, even half- asleep and beside herself with tiredness, as she is today, she is very articulate. And the gaps in her knowledge can be explained by her peripatetic education (at the age of two, her American parents took her from Puerto Rico to live in Crouch End, north London, and then took her to small-town America at the age of 11) and her rebellious adolescence (she was arrested on graduation night for trying to glue the locks shut at her Michigan school).
She now has homes in Los Angeles, Vancouver and London. And while saying that London "is feeling more and more like home", tells me her sense of identity is still all over the place. "It's tricky, y'know. My first words were in Spanish, I grew up as an English schoolgirl with American parents, being teased about being a Yank, and then I went to America and didn't feel like that was home either. I don't know whether I feel American or British."
She adds that she still doesn't feel like she has had time to grow up properly. "I've always thought that once I reach 36 I will be a grown-up - and that's coming this year. But when I stop and think about all the responsibilities in my life - family, work, houses, films - I wonder how an eight-year- old is doing it all." A rare smile. "It would be so nice to have recess in the middle of the day to play with my toys on the living room floor."
Maybe getting married again will make her feel more grown up. She is currently engaged to Kenya-born Julian Ozanne, who among other things was once an FT foreign correspondent. She apparently met him after he organised a safari holiday for her. The timing and location of the wedding have been a subject of tabloid rumour for months (will it be Italy, northern Kenya, Welwyn Garden City?) and it is the subject that Anderson is most cagey about. "Yes, we are going to get married," she snaps in response to a query. The curled top lip that seemed sexy earlier now just seems aggressive. When? "Dunno."
We move off the subject quickly. Asked about her future plans, Anderson explains that the next year will mostly be taken up with film projects: she will be acting in some, producing some and directing some. There are plans for another X-Files feature film, but she insists that she has "no interest in doing any more television". (In fact she doesn't even watch it.)
She yawns extravagantly once again - this time her mouth opens so wide that I swear I could stuff a whole copy of the FT into it. I can't help noticing how perfect her teeth are. "Err, sorry, I'm just too tired to talk," she says. "I usually run off at the mouth a bit more . . . I'm just . . . "
Too tired, I know. I suggest that now she is too tired to even say that she is too tired, we should perhaps part. Two minutes after leaving I realise I've left my pen in the room. As I go to retrieve it, I find the most exhausted woman in the world snoozing in her chair.
'The Sweetest Swing In Baseball' is on at the Royal Court from March 25 until May 15
Posted at 10:09 AM (PST) on Friday, March 19, 2004
GAuk is running a fundraiser for Gillian's birthday in August. A Birthday Tombola will raise funds for NFA and Buskaid. For more information, click here.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term tombola: (noun) - a lottery in which tickets are drawn from a revolving drum.
Gillian on Radio 4
Posted at 11:50 AM (PST) on Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Gillian was interviewed on today's Radio 4 Midweek Programme.
A transcript of the interview is available to read here.
Click here to download a Real Audio clip of the show.
Thanks to Clare and Clare O. for the heads up!
Upcoming NFA Event
Posted at 5:53 PM (PST) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004
On July 10, 2004 in London, a fundraising event featuring Gillian and the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble will raise money for NFA and Buskaid. Currently, no plans as to venue, format, cost, etc. have been finalized so keep checking for updates. In the meantime, please take a moment to participate in this poll related to the event. Thank you!
Click here to proceed to the poll.
Posted at 10:26 PM (PST) on Sunday, March 14, 2004
The next stage
For nine years Gillian Anderson played special agent Dana Scully in the X-Files. Now she is putting all that behind her by taking to the stage at the Royal Court - and playing another character called Dana
Monday March 15, 2004
From the second storey corner room in the National Theatre Studio in which I am due to interview Gillian Anderson I can see her being conducted by the Royal Court's publicist past the front of the Old Vic theatre toward a door directly below me, although if I hadn't recognised the publicist, I wouldn't have recognised the actor. She's small - 5ft 3in exactly, according to one fan website - and carries her shoulders forward in a typical, defensive commuter posture. She looks a little weary after a long day rehearsing her upcoming play, and a bit miserable, like she might be on her way to the dentist. In short, she looks like everybody else in the street.
By the time she gets up the stairs she is wearing a braver face. Up close, her translucent, headlamp gaze has an unsettling intensity which is modulated by a warm, sweet smile - or not, as she chooses. She is fine with the room, although she is unhappy with the overgenerous fluorescent lighting. There is only one switch, on or off; she chooses off, which suffuses the room with a bruised sunset glow. Much better. She sits down. I ask her what the new play is about.
"Let me get my mind straight; it's been a long day," she says, putting her hands in her hair. "Um. What is the play about? The play takes a look at how we as human beings use various defence mechanisms to deal with pain and fear, and the effect that those coping mechanisms have on other people." She is an extraordinarily conscientious speaker, composing with deliberate care. The words come out at about typing speed. "The character that I play, Dana, attempts suicide ... "
Not too many actresses will play two Danas in a lifetime. It must be a little awkward, given the legacy of the X-Files, the sci-fi series in which Anderson played the icy agent Dana Scully from 1993 to 2002. The cold fusion chemistry between Anderson and her co-star David Duchovny (coupled with rumours of on-set enmity) attracted an audience far wider than its initial cult following, even when it made the Incredible Hulk look a model of scientific rigour by comparison. A recently repeated episode featured a man whose shadow was comprised of anti-matter and vaporised those it fell on. So, two Danas.
"I know," she says. "We've had that conversation about whether it would get in our way, whether audience members might chuckle or something when they hear it, and decided we were just gonna wing it." Anderson has proved her range as an actress, notably in Terence Davies' 2000 adaptation of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, but agent Scully, it seems, still casts a long, potentially destructive shadow.
Her new play, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, by Chicago playwright Rebecca Gilman, charts the mental breakdown of a successful painter and her subsequent stay in a mental hospital. The title refers to the batting prowess of New York Mets star Darryl Strawberry, whose ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol lent his career a Shakespearean trajectory, and who features in the play at one point. While the other actors take two roles apiece, Anderson's Dana is on stage the entire time. "It's exhausting," she says. "But good exhausting. I'm ... you know, it's my decision. It's not like anybody made me do this."
Anderson has, of course, done theatre in London before; last year she appeared in What The Night is For alongside British actor Roger Allam. The reviews were not so much mixed as starkly polarised: some critics were impressed by the depth of her performance, others were scathing and dismissive. The Guardian's Michael Billington later wrote that she was unfairly vilified for having been an American TV star. In fact she had done a fair bit of theatre in America before a nine-season, 201-episode stint in The X-Files interrupted. "What I used to say, before I got on a television show, was that I wasn't interested in television, only in doing film and theatre," she recalls.
The career-defining decade in the X-Files almost didn't come about. The network executives didn't want her as Scully; they felt she wasn't conventionally sexy enough. And it almost ended abruptly: Anderson became pregnant in the first season, when recasting the role might have been the most sensible option. But they filmed round her pregnancy, and she was back on set 10 days after giving birth to her daughter Piper, now nine. In the meantime, she got married to Piper's father, Clyde Kotz, who was a set designer on the show. A year later they divorced. At the time, 18-hour days and weekends filled with promotional work seemed perfectly normal to her. "When I used to do interviews I would say, I did the show, the first year I got pregnant, I got married, I got divorced, I had a baby, and all that kind of stuff, and they'd say, 'You've had a really whirlwind life,' and I didn't know what they meant," she says. "And I look back and think, fucking hell, you had a whirlwind life!"
Anderson was born in Chicago in 1965, but soon after her family moved to Puerto Rico and then, when she was two, to London, so her father could enrol at film school. She lived in the capital for nine years before being transplanted to Michigan at the age of 11. By then, Anderson had a north London accent so thick than no one could understand her. In the end she made a conscious effort to change it, though even today she has an accent which might be described as fluid: more or less British at the start of our conversation, wholly American by the end.
By her own account, she had a troubled and rebellious adolescence, taking in a nose ring, a certain amount of alcohol and drugs, a little light shoplifting, a much older boyfriend and a prom night spent in the slammer. What she says now is, "I felt, as all kids feel at certain points in their growth spurts, misunderstood," and that "a lot more has been made out of it than what it was," but in past interviews she has hinted that it was a rather darker period than might be encompassed by ordinary teenage angst.
After she left home she continued the peripatetic lifestyle, moving regularly. These days she lives in London with her fiance, Kenyan-born journalist Julian Ozanne, but she also has homes in Vancouver - where the X-Files was shot and where her daughter now goes to school and lives with her father - and Los Angeles. "I still spend a good deal of time in both the other places as well," she says, "but I've made a conscious effort to make this a home base."
She took a break from acting in 2003, during which time she got deeply involved with several African Aids charities, and promptly found herself back in the limelight, making speeches at conferences and doing press to raise awareness. "Even though I'd been peripherally involved in Aids-related things, I'd never really taken a stand or done something that was revealing or public, and this kind of thrust me into speaking a bit more about it." She's still a reluctant spokesperson, she says, still worried about her naivety, but it is clear she knows what she is talking about.
The atmosphere in the room has by now got distinctly crepuscular. Anderson has been reduced to an outline. Occasionally she turns sideways and her magnificent profile, used to great effect in The House Of Mirth, is silhouetted against the windows. I can't see my notepad any more but she seems happy enough and chatters enthusiastically about the play, about the rehearsal process, about Darryl Strawberry.
"One game the crowd would be roaring his name, he's the best in the world. And the next game, if there had been any press about the fact that he was drinking ... they would scream at him and taunt him and throw things at him. Could you imagine that?" Does she think that she has had a pretty narrow escape from that sort of intense fame? "Yeah! It helps to move countries I think," she says. "There were times when it was definitely intense, but not intense like Madonna-can't-walk-out-of-her-front-door intense, which is, by the grace the God, not my experience."
Would it be right to say that she never enjoyed any aspect of being a celebrity? "I think that's pretty fair to say." It was not the pressure from fans she hated - she is rarely recognised - but the obligatory promotion, the endless press junkets, the repetitive, bumbling intrusion. She has, she thinks, probably even said she would never do another film if it means doing another press junket. "It feels so masturbatory, and it feels so fake, and I just don't understand why it has to be, why when someone is promoting a film they have to go and do four solid days, nine hours a day," she says. "The fact that you have to be raped in the process, have to be violated, ad nauseum ... " She puts her head in hands and sighs deeply. "Now I'm sounding sooo negative."
The tabloids had her as good as married last September, but the wedding in Kenya never took place, allegedly because of fears of terrorism. "I haven't actually decided whether I wanted to talk about this or not," she says, looking away. I think she's looking away. A long, long pause. "I guess maybe if I answered it the press would stop calling the home number, which is what they've been doing lately." It was, she says, nothing sinister, simply that their plans for a big wedding in the African bush became a logistical nightmare. "At one point it became just too fucking much, we were trying to do too much, and so we called it off. And then we moved in together and that's taken a while, and we just haven't got round to replanning. The thought of actually going through it again still feels very fresh." There's a kind of uncontrollable honesty in her which makes you understand why, given the opportunity, she'd rather be reticent.
It's only when I take her up the stairs to where the photographer has set up that I notice her hair isn't red anymore, but dyed a dirty blonde, with black roots. She poses obligingly, patiently, and when it's over she pulls on her coat and bids everyone goodbye. "You're a star," says the publicist.
"You're not allowed to say that to me," she snaps, jokingly, but in a tone that makes me glad it wasn't me that said it.
· The Sweetest Swing in Baseball is on at The Royal Court from March 25 until May 15.
Ellen Pics, Video, Transcript
Posted at 3:17 PM (PST) on Monday, March 8, 2004
A full transcript of Gillian's interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show is available to read here.
Click here to view pictures.
The video clips are zipped Windows Media Player files.
Reminder: Ellen DeGeneres Show
Posted at 9:48 PM (PST) on Sunday, March 7, 2004
Don't forget that Gillian is appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, March 8th.
To find out when the show airs in your area, click here.
Check back later for pictures, video clips, and a transcript.
Playstation Magazine Article
Posted at 2:37 PM (PST) on Wednesday, March 3, 2004
From the April 2004 issue of Playstation Magazine, courtesy of Figaro30 at the X-Files Message Boards:
The Power of X
Gillian Anderson on The X-Files: Resist or Serve
Sunday, May 19, 2002, was a sad day for millions of sci-fi fans around the world. That was the day the final episode of The X-files aired, and with no definite news of a second film, the future looked grim for fans of the groundbreaking drama. But then Fox announced a new project in development: The X-files: Resist or Serve, a survival-horror game set during the seventh season of the show. So the fans waited.
And waited. But now, finally, the game is nearing release. Why the delay? Neither Fox nor Vivendi Universal, the game's publisher, are saying. But it's made things a little more challenging for Gillian Anderson, who reprises her role as Special Agent Dana Scully in the game. It was "extremely difficult" to get back into character, she tells us. "I was working on a play and very much immersed in the rehearsal process for this other character. I kept saying things like this would and not like Scully. So it was very frustrating. I think if I was standing next to David [Duchovny, who plays her X-files partner Fox Mulder] and could hear his voice it might've made it easier."
More challenging still was the fact that game is set during the seventh of the series' nine seasons, requiring Anderson to reach that much further back. "The phrase 'missing episodes' was used", says Tom Schnauz, who penned the script for the game (as well as two season 9 episodes), "as if there were season seven episodes that were filmed but never aired. So we divided the game into three separate 'episodes', each with its own teaser. The game takes place some time after 'Sixth Extinction'; we tie in pieces from 'Sixth Extinction', 'Tunguska' and other episodes. The hope is that it all tracks logically for the fans, while still remaining interesting for players not that familiar with The X-files mythology."
Anderson is less confident that the game could take the place of actual filmed episodes. "There are a lot more complicated and psychological aspects in an actual screenplay than there are in a game, I think. There are things like character history and background that you don't necessarily need in a game. It's also different in that the script for a game doesn't flow like a normal script does, because there are different beginnings and endings depending on where the character goes. So I can't say it would work [as an episode on television]."
Still, the idea of diving back into the X-files mythos has got plenty of fans excited, especially with the prospect of directly controlling Scully and Mulder as they battle against the walking dead. The only other X-files game to hit the console world was a full-motion-video point-and-click adventure -- not exactly the most engaging format.
Anderson, for her part, is more excited to get Scully back onto the big screen. "We've always said it would be fun to do [another] movie years after the end of the series", she says, "I don't have any doubt there will be one, and I'm not alone in that."
Gillian Anderson talks about getting polygonal
"In order to match up the computer image of Scully with my mouth movements, they had a camera trained closely on my mouth and had me wear this bright red lipstick, which I had to wear the way Scully would wear it. Then I had to sit, not moving my head, while I [recorded dialogue]. So not only was I having difficulty getting back into the character but I couldn't move and had to wear this crazy lipstick. It was quite comical."