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July 1998

Gillian Anderson opens her heart on the paranormal, her personal life and what itís like to be Dana Scully.

Her breasts arenít big enough, her legs arenít long enough and her hairís not blonde enough; what could head honcho Chris Carter have been thinking when he cast Gillian Anderson as FBI agent Dana Scully? Whatever it was, itís the nearest youíll come to definitive proof that Carter really is a pop-culture wunderkind. He insisted she got the part, against Fox networkís opposition, and can be forgiven for sounding a little smug when he says now; "I feel vindicated every day."

For the woman herself, this first row was a pretty accurate guide to the turbulence that would typify the next five years of her life, both as Scully and as herself. The two still get confused so Anderson usually takes every opportunity to point out the differences.

"I donít have a zillionth of her intelligence." Anderson says. "And sometimes itís hard to say all this stuff and make it sound like I know what Iím talking about."

While Dana Scullyís private life remains the object of fan fiction, Andersonís has been the domain of tabloid fiction. "The perception from the outside might be that I go from one person to another, but the truth is that I am very careful with the people in my life. I have a three-year-old daughter and there isnít a chance in hell that Iíd jeopardise her feeling of safety on my own whim."

She doesnít get too testy though; sheís had enough medialand adventures to know the score. This is a woman who, in the showís cause, has discussed with Steve Wright whether she irons her underwear ("What underwear?" was her classic reply), done an Irish country dance on Good Morning America and even gone on a make-believe date with a journalist. And always there are questions about her failed marriage, about UFOís, even one very peculiar one about her pregnancy. "I was on a radio show in Canada and some woman asked: ĎWhen you were giving birth were you frightened an alien would come out?í

Today on the movie set, Anderson is sufficiently relaxed to discuss her private life, the prospect of which frightens her less than letting slip and details on the plot.

How does the movie compare to the TV show?

"Itís new and itís different. The stakes are a great deal higher, so thereís a different tension and level of reality to adapt to. It was an obvious next choice from the studioís point of view. I actually disagreed at first with doing it during a hiatus. I thought it would be more rewarding for the audience to have a movie after there was no TV series left to watch. But it seems like this is going well enough and itís created some other rewards in itself. It does feel a little bit of a break because we shoot fewer pages in a day, so the downtime in between shots is greater and the day doesnít seem so exhausting. And the hours are generally shorter."

Sorry to ask, but do you actually believe in the paranormal?

"I have always been fascinated by the subject. Iíve always believed very stongly that itís more likely than not that there are other life forms out there. Working on the show has strengthened that because of the amount of seemingly factual information we get. But there are certainly times during the series where I donít even contemplate something being reality: itís too ridiculous. But my overall belief is in the existence of other life forms. So are you a science-fiction buff? Not at all. Iíd never even seen Star Trek. How much of the scientific stuff do you remember? That stuff goes in one ear and out the other. I wish I could remember it sometimes. Has anything happened to you that you felt was straight out of The X-Files? When we moved into a new house I started to have this feeling that, um, someone was looking over my shoulder. Somebody recommended that I have a native Indian come in and Ė whatís the word Iím looking for? Ė cleanse the house of the past. What was your worst experience on te show? Being attacked by a crazed kitty in Teso Dos Bichos. Iím allergic to cats so they made a dummy covered in rabbit fur. It was going up my nose and sticking to my lipstick."

Do you like the X-Files merchandise?

"I get queasy about our faces being out there so often, but Chris has been very particular: there arenít, like, frozen X-Files fluke worms."

Did you worry that your pregnancy might ended your career as Scully?

"When I got pregnant I was afraid theyíd get someone who wasnít pregnant to play the role."

Will you ever get married again?

"If I get do it wonít be for some time. It takes a lot out of you, to go through what you go through when you separate from somebody who has been a powerful force in your life. There are a lot of emotions and trust issues, and it takes a while to trust again that something is not going to end up going down the same path."

You have twice been voted the most beautiful woman in the world. What was the first honour you were ever voted for?

"My class voted my most likely to get arrested: a promise I fulfilled on graduation night trying to break into the school and glue up all the locks so that nobody could get in on Monday."

Tell us more about the movie. Whatís it like?

"Itís like a really big episode [giggles]. It looks at all the worldwide stuff, and not just at one monster in a small town."

And what about Scully and Mulder - how far do they go in the movie?

"Thereís a different dynamic in the movie that weíve seen in a while in the series. Thereís also another element to the story that brings interesting elements to their relationship we havenít ever seen before."

Could we try that question again?

"Well, they do and they donít. They want to talk about it but itís like foreplay - you wanna get to the end but the teasing is such fun and when something happens, it depletes it. Weíve had a long period of foreplay - so to speak [giggles] - to establish this very grounded foundation in the relationship, and although people want to see some sort f culmination take place, I think they realise it would not be as satisfying as they think it might be."

What do you think Scullyís view of Mulder is?

"Iím sure that she has been charmed by him. But I donít know if sheís ever imagined him naked."

Do you think theyíd make a good couple?

"Heís too hip for Scully."

The most important question for all the film: did you record a song for the soundtrack?

"Oh, shut up!"

How happy are you with the series being shot in Los Angeles not Vancouver?

"Over the summer I spent some time in Malibu with my daughter, and I have never seen her so open and so happy and so alive. She loved being by the beach. There is also a stronger conglomeration of celebrities in areas like Malibu so people are used to seeing them in restaurants and stuff, and every other school has a celebrity child.In Vancouver itís more of a novelty and people have a tendency to use that information. Iíve had people who I donít even know say to me: "Your daughter goes to the same pre-school as my friendís friendís friend," and thatís not appropriate information to be out there in terms of security with my daughter. From the beginning I backed everything that David has said in terms of his desire to go down to Los Angeles, but David has just taken a much more public stance with it.

How long can you carry on being Dana Scully?

"Iíll stay for as long as it stays this good. When the quality starts to deteriorate, that will be the time to reassess the situation."

What keeps you going?

"No idea. Um, Iím on a contract and many people would kill themselves if we were off the air."

How does it feel to be so famous?

There is something venerable about going out in public. Having that feeling, hearing people whisper 'Scully' as you pass them.

Transcript provided by Ken and appears courtesy of Focus.

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