Issue #95, August 2002
For nine years Dana Scully has been the thinking manís crumpet - a beautiful government agent with brains as well as brawn! With THE X-FILES now the ex-Files, GILLIAN ANDERSON looks back on the show that made her name...
Whatís it like coming to the end of the show?
Donít get me started! I donít know why, [but] I woke up feeling so emotional today so if I cry ignore me - but yeah, itís good, I guess.
This is so surreal. I swear to God, itís only started to hit me over the past couple of days. It just feels like nine years was so short... I mean, while we were in the middle of it I felt that it would never end and now all of a sudden it just feels so unfathomable. Iíve been looking forward to this day for a long time. But now itís here, I am fully aware of the importance that [The X-Files] had in my life. I am grateful for every aspect of it.
So, in a way, you donít want it to end?
I think itís good [that itís finishing]. I think itís good for everybody. Everybody has put in such a huge effort over the years in really trying to keep the quality of the show up and to continue with its integrity as much as it can. Thereís a time for everything to end: I think this is the right time. Everybody in their own way is excited about moving on to other things, but that doesnít mean both things canít co-exist. One can be sad and in the process of mourning and at the same time be excited and hopeful for the future.
What will you miss the most?
The whole thing: the whole living, breathing being that it is, I think. Thereís certainly trees within that forest that I can individualise, like missing [co-executive producer/director] Kim Manners and Chris [Carter, series creator] and David [Duchovny, Mulder] and the crew, and Iíll miss just being on the set.
Will you miss the craziness of the fans?
I havenít been feeling the craziness of it lately. I think weíre pretty well protected from the craziness. It all just feels like thereís another entity out there thatís kind of breathing with the same heartbeat as us... They support us. I donít experience a lot of craziness. We donít get a lot of visitors to the set - well, once in a while we do and people burst into tears and stuff - but the crazy period of time was earlier on. I didnít even realise that it was crazy until it stopped being crazy, then I thought: "Oh God, that was crazy!" [Laughs]
You must have people approaching you wherever you go?
Yeah, but itís not on the same level as other people. Iím not like Gwyneth Paltrow, where you canít sit in a restaurant without the entire restaurant stopping and trying to listen to your conversation! Iím blessed in that way. I donít have that pressure in my life. I live a very quiet, private life and every once in a while it feels abruptly jarred in some way by somebody whoís extra enthusiastic, but not too often.
When was the last time that happened?
I just had a crazy experience in San Francisco last year, where a woman in the middle of the street asked if she could have my autograph. She was really loud and excited and I said, "OK" and she said, "Do you have a pen?" I said, "No, I donít have a pen, youíre supposed to bring the pen... "She said, "Well you donít have to be rude about it," and called me a bitch and walked away. That was one of those things where I went, "What?"
How do you feel about the evolution of the show and how Scullyís story has become such a focus since Mulder departed?
It happened by necessity because of the fact that David was going to be leaving. I think that for the first year he was gone the writers did a very good job of keeping him in the public consciousness, even though he wasnít around. Itís remarkable how if somebody is talked about it feels as if theyíre present, even though theyíre not. The show didnít start out as Mulderís quest, but was primarily about his character and his genius and his revelation. Scullyís job was to kind of help solidify that in the questions that she would answer. They created a whole but it was 70/30 then 60/40 and finally 50/50. Unfortunately Iím not talking financially! [Laughs]
Is it interesting to watch Scully change as parenthood becomes a priority in her life?
I donít know about this whole baby thing. It certainly adds a level of complication to the filming and I think itís added an interesting storyline... Itís also been complicated in how do you involve Scully in the cases that theyíre investigating without the audience also thinking, "Well, whereís the baby and why isnít she home with the baby?" If she is with the baby, the fans are going, "Well, we want her out in the field, we donít want her home with the baby." Itís a very fine balance that the writers have to play.
How important was the chemistry between Mulder and Scully to the success of the show?
Iím only just realising how essential that was now - now that there is something to miss. Itís particular to David and I, and I do miss it. Iím glad that heís back so that we can play around with it for a little while longer before the show ends, but it was central and I donít think I ever realised how central it was until the other half of it wasnít there anymore.
How did you feel about Mulder coming back for the final episodes? Was it always essential for you to tie up the history of those characters together?
I donít think I would have known that until the very end when I would have thought, "Well wait a minute, this isnít right." Iím also very glad that the show is completely ending now instead of me leaving because my contract was up. I have a feeling that even though I would have mourned to a certain degree in saying goodbye, there would have been something left undone because the crew would have been continuing. Even though I was saying goodbye, it wouldnít have been as clean. I feel like we have an opportunity now to really tie it up in a whole and constructive, finished and complete way.
Do you have a favourite episode that stands out in your mind or a series of episodes that you really felt connected to?
I felt akin to All Things, which I wrote and directed. I mean it wasnít one of my favourite episodes but the process of it was exhilarating and rewarding. I used to love an episode called Bad Blood, which was a great deal of fun to shoot. I felt it was very smart and funny in the end. I liked the more comedic episodes and then the bigger historical episodes that have more weight and more history to them.
Youíve really grown up on the show in many ways. How different is life now, almost a decade later?
The fact of the matter is I grew up during the course of this show. I started when I was 24 and ended at almost 34. Thatís almost a third of my life. When the show started I was young and naÔve and impressionable, and I didnít have a clue about the business or anything at the time, but then to grow up and to make mistakes along the way and to experience my life while trying to be somebody other than myself 18 hours a day thatís an interesting task. Doing that very publicly has been surreal.
Why do you think the show didnít go so well this year in the ratings?
I havenít really paid much attention to be honest. Iíve never paid attention to ratings or anything like that. I havenít really talked to many people who havenít liked it, so I havenít had that experience. I just kind of show up and do my work and then go [home] and be with my daughter. Thatís really about it.
How do you feel about the direction your character has taken?
From the very beginning Iíve just kind of gone along with whatever theyíve put in front of me. Iíve focused my energy in other ways in my life and not really got involved in that process. Chris [Carter] has been pretty good from the beginning in trying to figure out exactly what it is that the audience needs, what it is that needs to be told in terms of all the characters. Iíve just kind of trusted that. First of all you canít fight Chris, and second of all, it just is what it is. Itís been a challenge to work with babies. Itís been an interesting sideline to have to be constantly with a child or putting a child into the crib scene after scene. Then thereís been some great stuff that Iíve gotten to do that I wouldnít have done if I were more mobile. Itís been great for the other characters too, to have me out of the way and be able to just kind of do their thing.
How was it to be directed by David again?
Davidís directed a couple of episodes before and itís good to have him back. Heís very relaxed as a director and he knows what he wants and he creates a good atmosphere on set. Itís nice to have him back in that capacity before we get back into doing scenes together. I think itís a nice transition for him, so itís been fun.
X-tra! X-tra! Read all about it!
Gillian Anderson reveals her future career plans...
"Iím signed on to do a new Michael Weller play in the West End of London called What the Night is For. Iíve spent quite a bit of time in London actually, so Iíve kind of made it another home and it feels wonderful. Iíve also optioned a book Iím hoping to write [as a screenplay] and direct called Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rossner. Itís a beautiful little book, but Iím not sure when Iím going to be able to get to that. Iím looking for different film projects for the summer. Iím doing the play in October and then maybe the second X-Files feature will be done after that."
Transcript provided by Clare and appears courtesy of DreamWatch magazine.