Gillian Anderson Dishes The Fall, Its American Remake, Future of The X-Files and Of Course Jamie Dornan
by Chris Harnick
E! Online: January 14, 2015
The Fall, the Netflix drama starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan you binge-watched last year and made you obsessively check to make sure your windows and doors were locked, is back for an even more intense second season on Friday, Jan. 16. All bets are off.
"I think it's better than the first," Anderson tells E! Online in a phone interview. "There are some twists and turns in it that are just so disturbing and unexpected. I'm excited to hear people's reactions to it because I think it's good!"
When we last saw Anderson's Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, she had received word from serial killer Paul Spector (Dornan). His last attack was botched and he was heading out of town. When the show picks up, Paul is making his way back to Belfast and DSI Gibson is closing in on her man.
"I feel like we get to know [the characters] more as we get to live with them more. We get to understand choices that - potentially, particularly - that Stella has made. You get to see a broader range of her, of who she is and other aspects of her emotions. You get to see her emotion, you get to see compassion, and I think that then adds to a more well rounded version of ultimately who she is," Anderson says.
Allan Cubitt created the series and wrote and direct the entire second season. Anderson says when she first read the scripts, she was shocked. "I had numerous conversations with Allan about where storylines were going to go and there were so many surprises for me, and directions that the characters go that I could never have imagined in a million years, that are disturbing and as you said, keep you on the edge of your seat, not just because the tension and the music, but because things transpire in the second season that, I understand from people who have seen it, that make them yell at the television and that's great," she says with a laugh. "That makes for good drama."
Read on for more from Anderson about why The Fall's Stella Gibson is her favorite character, her thoughts on the now-dead American version of the series and what's the latest with The X-Files 3!
Between seasons one and two you did Crisis, worked on a book, appeared on Hannibal. Was it challenging getting back into Stella Gibson's skin?
No. She's one of my favorite characters ever and I was dying to get back into her and it again. It's one of my favorite things I've ever worked on and it's a great environment, great set, and a great crew. It's wonderful to work up in Belfast and I was dying to get the opportunity to start working on it again. It was a joy.
What is it about her that really sticks out to you?
Well, she's certainly like no other character I've played before and certainly none that I've seen or read before. She's still a mystery to me. I feel like I know more about her than the audience knows and yet there is something so elusive and confounding about her and the responses she has to things that are a little bit left field. She's not 100 percent straightforward and she's not 100 percent honest. We catch her this season in a couple of, dare I say, lies and yet all of those complicated aspects of her personality are what make her. I find her fascinating as a character.
I was happy to hear - well, I guess happy to hear is fine because it's my opinion - an American version was not going to happen. Would you have considered doing that?
No. No, that would not have involved me. I don't think they even would've come to me. But I have to say - I hate to say - but yes, I was happy because that wasn't happening either. Mostly because it's on Netflix. I mean, it's one thing if you do it when it can't be, I don't know. Obviously I'm going to be biased, but I feel like we've got a pretty good product here and that there's not much that can be one of the reasons to do something, I would think, is if you think you can improve on it in some way. Not that that's the reason why people do things like that in this day and age, when people are scrambling for ideas. And certainly there have been successes with The Killing, even though the original is as good as it is, you know? There are success stories, but I... I don't know, it was so weird to me to hear that there was even a potential that there was going to be an American version of it. Especially with me being an American! [Laughs.] It's really weird, but anyway.
It must be so weird for you - Between seasons one and two, Jamie Dornan kind of exploded with all this Fifty Shades of Grey stuff.
Is it weird? Because every time you're doing an interview you get asked about him in a much different way.
Well, it's funny because I pick on him a lot. He's very easy to make fun of and he takes the piss out of himself and he is very free at taking the piss out of everybody else. So it's quite a joy to be able to reciprocate, especially on that subject matter. We have a lot of fun with it.
Whenever you or David do any press for anything, The X-Files comes up, naturally. During a Reddit AMA, when asked about a third movie, you said, "Keep your ears to the ground." I've kept my ear to the ground. Is there anything new you can tease or share?
Um [long pause.] My response would be the same thing. [Laughs.] Just be patient. That's all.
I feel like there was speculation at some point about the entire series getting a reboot. Would you be OK if that happened?
It's funny, because I just did a podcast where that was pretty much the only conversation [Laughs.] for an hour. Just venting about ideas and what that would look like. I need to wrap my brain around what that would entail. I live in London. I've got three kids, it's not a small proposition and it would take a lot longer to shoot than a movie would. I need to think about that.
Talking about Hannibal and The Fall, both are kind of dark shows. How do you get out of those moods and that mindset that you have to get to into those characters?
I think doing The X-Files for so long and having a young child teaches one about compartmentalizing. I think I learned pretty quickly. Just even to go from the set into my trailer where I had a child that I suddenly needed to be mommy to, that in itself taught me pretty quickly how to compartmentalize. I don't find it that hard with anything, not just the dark stuff. I got asked that question a lot this year because I did [A Streetcar Named Desire], which runs about three and a half hours and obviously Blanche has a nervous breakdown by the end of it and then you go home and back to your kids. My experience is you just do, that's work and that's home and they have their place. I've never found - knock wood, [Laughs.] now I'm going to have the complete opposite experience where I'm going to be haunted every night by what I do from now on - but I don't find it such a big deal.
I also read in a Reddit AMA that you have pitched yourself for Ghostbusters and I think that would be amazing.
[Laughs.] It would be. That was the first time I heard about it, was when we were doing that and that got a lot of airplay, so to speak. I think it almost got too much airplay that it may have counter activated any remote possibility of me being involved. But yes, it would just be fun. I don't get asked to do a lot of comedies and I enjoy doing comedies, I can do comedy. So anytime something that would potentially be a good, light comedy is appealing in and of itself, but of course Ghostbusters and the genre and all that.