The Fall: Gillian Anderson Talks Season 2 and the Continuing Hunt for a Killer
By Eric Goldman
IGN.com: January 15, 2015
The very cool and compelling The Fall is about to debut its entire second season on Netflix in the US this Friday.
Picking up just a couple weeks after Season 1, the six new episodes continue to follow Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), a Senior Detective on the trail of a serial killer - Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), who was last seen at the end of Season 1 fleeing Ireland, where the series takes place.
I spoke to Anderson about Season 2, the depiction of Stella, the face off between Stella and Paul and more.
IGN: What initially appealed to you about playing Stella?
Gillian Anderson: I think I was struck by the sparseness of Allan [Cubitt]'s writing to begin with and the fact that on the one hand, I completely got her off the page, even though there was not that much on the page of her. Which to me is always a mark of good writing. Even now, after finishing two seasons. Even though there are little bits here and there that you get a sense of her more than in the first season, she's still just as mysterious and intriguing to me as ever. I don't think I'd ever read a character like her before when I first picked up the scripts.
IGN: There is some great dialogue in the show about gender disparity and how people perceive actions differently based on if it's a woman or a man. Stella behaves in a way we're used to more male characters behaving, as far as not saying a lot, coming in and getting the job done. Even the whole picking up a random person and bringing them back to the hotel in Season 1 is more like what we're used to with a male character, and the show sometimes talks about those themes.
Anderson: Our writer, Allan Cubitt, has definitely used this as a platform to explore issues and behaviorisms that he believes are a part of our world and our society today. He is a feminist and I think that he has put a lot of his own opinions and beliefs into the character of Stella.
Yeah, I mean the fact that she, on her first day of being up in Northern Ireland, she picks up this detective. There's been a lot of attention brought to the fact that that took place and how bold [that is]. A lot of people have referred to her sexuality, even in the first season when we didn't see anything of it beyond that fact. That to me, is the most curious thing. It's that even in 2015, it is such an unusual thing that takes place or that it should be something that is unusual. Why is that not okay that that happens in the world and is it just that it does happen but that it's not represented in television or in film or are women generally too self-conscious and afraid to be that bold? But the fact that it's garnered so much attention, I find really curious in this day and age.
IGN: When the second season begins, a couple weeks have passed. She was getting close but she hasn't caught this guy yet and at this point, he's fled. Is there any doubt in her mind or is she just someone who is a 100% determined - "I am going to get this guy"?
Anderson: You know, I think she is determined and we hear her say that she is determined. On the other hand, there are some sketchy moments in the second season where it does look like they have messed up or events transpire that shift events very quickly and there is the possibility, a couple of times where they might not, and then what happens? But I think ultimately, she is determined that she is going to bring this guy down.
[Note: the next question and answer gets into a bit of spoilers for Season 2, albeit in an unspecific way]
IGN: You've got your two primary characters in this big face off that mostly isn't on screen. Having seen Season 1, did that go into your mind now that you'd seen Jamie's performance a little more even, though your character doesn't know him? Could you now kind of play off the idea of who this guy is she's trying to track down?
Anderson: Well, there's this one very particular scene that's in the second season that was very satisfying to get to play. We observe phone conversations that take place before that but when we come face to face in the degree that we do come face to face. As you said, there is so much tension that builds up to it and there is expectation and there is almost like a relationship or even like Mulder and Scully. "Are they going to kiss? Are they ever going to get together? What is going to happen?" That degree of dramatic tension is what makes people tune in. There was a great degree of satisfaction in finally being able to play things off one another. Not necessarily like predators, but we got to kind of suss each other out and sense how the other is going to behave in that type of a scenario. It was on the one hand, quite similar to the actual scenario that we were replicating [as actors].
IGN: He seems to have a lot of contempt for her but do you think there's a sort of strange respect, as enemies, between them?
Anderson: I don't know about respect. I would say there's a degree of fascination that they each have with each other. Within that, maybe there is built in an acknowledgment of how well adept the other is at the thing that they're obsessed with. But it would be difficult to use the word respect where Stella's concerned.