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The Grand Rapids Press
January 22, 2006

Anderson's strategy all about serious roles
By John Douglas

There's a method in what many people may perceive as the madness of Gillian Anderson, the 1986 graduate of City High School who went on to fame and fortune as Agent Dana Scully in the highly popular "X-Files" television series.

Instead of trying to parlay her success and popularity into roles in major American movies, Anderson opted to head to England to do a series of films that have yet to be released here -- films such as "The Mighty Celt," "A Cock and Bull Story" and, most recently, "Bleak House" which begins tonight on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre." She has also appeared in two plays.

"In England, they consider me an actress," said Anderson in a recent phone call from Los Angeles, where she was doing "Bleak House" interviews to promote the miniseries. "In the U.S., I am a television celebrity."

Leaving a popular television series behind to a challenging career in acting is not always easy, as the role tends to want to follow you.

"It took a lot of energy on my part to get past that," she said. "I was aware that it might be an issue in America. I didn't think it was going to be, but I was proved wrong."

So, off she went to England to see if things would be different there -- and they were.

"It has made a big difference, living over there," she added. "People are willing to take risks with me."

Anderson admits there have been positives associated with her starring in a long-running television series.

"It helped me on a financial level and had allowed me to do independent films," she said. "It enabled me to make choices as a actor."

Which leads to "Bleak House," for which Anderson fill the challenging role of Lady Honoria Dedlock.

"It's quite a large role, but it's the main secondary story," she said with a laugh.

"It is being publicized as the main story. I guess I understand the strategy."

Anderson worked for 10 weeks on the film.

"I like good material, and I like doing things that are challenges." Anderson said she would like to do a big American film if something good comes her way, but she intends to continue living in England.

"I think I'm going to stay over there," she said. "I feel comfortable. That's where I live."

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