Scully is Sold on Sophia
By Mohua Das
The Telegraph - Calcutta, India: April 10, 2014
Gillian Anderson tells us about going from being Agent Scully in The X-Files to Sophia in Sold, the film that was shot in Calcutta
Tell us about your role in Sold and why you took it on?
I play Sophia a humanitarian photographer who travels to India to document the business of trafficking humans.
What kind of homework went into preparing for the role?
I familiarised myself with the trafficking issue for the first time and with the work of humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine.
Were you aware of the issue of human trafficking and did the experience of visiting India and shooting this film change your perspective in any way?
I was not aware that the issue was as extreme as it actually is. The film and my experience in India and in the homes for rescued children where we met survivors, did indeed change my perspective. There we saw beautiful young lives that have been forever marked by this terrible situation they were not protected against and yet they persevere. But it is complicated. The shelters need funding and the girls (mostly) and boys need encouragement. It is hard for them to be motivated to turn up for school or to see much point in doing anything when they have been betrayed so badly in the past. They need to have people around them they can fully trust who can motivate them to make something of their lives and one of those vital avenues is through education.
Was this your first visit to India?
No, I have been to India many times before as a tourist and loved it.
That apart, what was your experience of living and shooting in Calcutta? Did you get to shop and eat at any interesting places during your free time?
I fell in love with Calcutta and very much want to go again. I ate a lot of sweets! Which Calcutta is famous for.
We see in one of the photographs from the film that you've slipped into the blue and white sari that defines Mother Teresa. How did it feel?
From supporting children with tumours to being an active member of PETA to advocating for the LGBT community, what has made you sign up for so many different humanitarian causes over the years?
I always feel like I could be more involved. And I think that as time goes on my focus will strengthen in the area of trafficking issues. It is the largest growing black-market industry and that is just a horrendous fact. Governments must do more to make it harder for humans to be trafficked and enslaved.
Who do you look up to for inspiration?
Usually women who are making a difference in the world. Malala Yousafzai is a great force for good and at such a young age. Lisa Kristine, who my character is based on, puts her own life in danger on a regular basis to document and bear witness to the unfair treatment of others.
Do you remember auditioning for The X-Files?
Yes, very clearly. It was a very stressful situation at the time with all the actors waiting in the same hallway together before going into the very small room to audition in front of a whole lot of producers.
How much of a life-changer has that series been for you?
Well, when I first got the job I had completely run out of money and was sleeping on someone's couch so moving up to Vancouver Canada to shoot the series and have my first proper paycheck was a very big deal and completely changed my life around.
Is there another The X-Files movie in the offing?
There will be something but we are not sure when.
What else do we get to see you in next?
The second season of The Fall, a US series called Crisis, and a movie called Robot Overlords (a science fiction film starring Ben Kingsley).