March 13, 2014
What's your ideal day off look like?
Well, realistically, it's waking at 6:30 with my boys, either eating breakfast together at home or in a local restaurant, going to the park before it gets crowded so they can ride their scooters on the hills and not kill anybody, picnic lunch in the loft, afternoon movie (in or out), long stories at bedtime, and then after they're fast asleep, slipping out for dinner with friends.
Can you reveal how your ordinary day looks like? Is there any business plan or at least an idea you'd like to start but you don't have enough time or power? Many times you were speaking about being artistic. Can you reveal your favorite art-period, artists, artwork. What was the last exhibition you visited?
Well, it depends what country I am in. Most of the time it's either on a plane heading to or from set, or playing legos with my kids.
I often come up with ideas for apps. The first time I approached somebody, they said "well, there's this thing that's about to start called YouTube" so I put that idea to rest. It wasn't an app at that time, it was a way for actors to be able to stream auditions of themselves from around the world in order to be able to audition for various roles to allow people from around the world to be a part of the production. But it was before YouTube. And a couple of times I've approached people but they've had a similar response, saying things like "Well Google is just developing this thing --" But most of the time the ideas that come to me are installation art pieces. Which hopefully I will manifest before I die.
Favorite art period? I have such a wide range of taste. I do like the Impressionists. I like Sargent, I like Vermeer, but I also like Clemente, I like Bryce Marden, I like Bourgeois. My last exhibition I visited was in Chicago at the Art Institute. I went to see Abelardo Morell's exhibition. His tent photographs are extraordinary.
If Scully meets Stella Gibson, would they become friends? If Scully and Stella meet Hank Moody, what do you think will happen next?
No. Stella is an island. I think Stella would give him (Moody) a run for his money.
Dana Scully, Stella Gibson, Meg Fitch, and Bedelia Du Maurier are all trapped on a small, deserted island. They have with them a length of rope, a roll of duct tape, a broken 2-way radio, and a bag of jellybeans. How do they get off the island?
Meg strangles them all with the rope, sustains herself on jellybeans until the bodies cure, and then systematically eats them until help comes.
Do you feel like there are people who see you as Gillian Anderson the celebrity, rather than Gillian Anderson the person? Has fame ever hindered any burgeoning friendships?
You know, I suddenly realized at a couple points that my efforts to make friends with other moms at the school like join them for meals, be more social as another mother at the school, was actually potentially more damaging to their relationships than it was beneficial to mine, in that it's really hard for people to take a step back and not be aware of the fact that they're sitting at the same table with somebody that is in the public eye. And I get that, I totally understand that. But sometimes I realize that me coming into a room changes the energy, and sometimes I had to make a decision to not show up so that I don't ruin something, you know?
But it's not a sad thing, it's just a fact, it just is. And it's changing over time, it becomes less of an issue, but it's complicated. But I understand it too, and I don't take things personally, and I also feel for the other side and the inherent situation.
Your character of Stella Gibson in The Fall really made me expand my view on women sexuality. Do you consider yourself a feminist and in what way are you and Stella alike?
I do consider myself a feminist. And I actually think that I have learnt a great deal from Stella in playing her, spending time with her, inhabiting her views on life, and I strongly feel that she has made me a better woman more embracing of my femininity while at the same time accepting of my boundaries and how I will and will not be treated.
Now that Piper is older, how does she feel about being so well known to X-Philes because of your pregnancy throughout season 2 and the episode Piper Maru in season 3 being named after her?
So Piper is on a gap year in Southeast Asia. And a couple of weeks ago I get an email from her over breakfast with a picture of Piper Maru tattooed behind a bearded person's ear. It was a random guy who gets random things tattooed all over his body. The cool thing is his desire to type her name on his own body was based on his reaction to her as a human being and not because she was my daughter.
What is your guilty pleasure movie, from bad 80s to good musicals, is there any film you shamelessly enjoy?
I recently watched A Passage to India. And I literally thought I could watch this every year. It's very dated, but there's something so unbelievably timelessly romantic and I just - even the thought of it. I can smell it. It's a palpable film.
Well, what was that movie, The Room? I only saw it once, so it doesn't really count as a guilty pleasure, but it was so painful to watch it was pleasurable.
What was it like working with the cast and crew of Hannibal?
The set feels like it is there for the actors. And there is a level of respect for the creative process that is rare. I think that starts with Bryan Fuller, but it trickles down through David (the executive producer) and the actors and the cast who are just so good at what they do.
My question is assuming your character is made into a gourmet meal by Hannibal what type of food would you want to be made into?
Something so rich that he'd choke on it and die.
Can you tell us more about your non-profit work with SA-YES? What inspires you to work with them? I excavate in South Africa and spend a lot of time there. I would love to be involved!
Wow, your career sounds awesome! I co-founded SA_Yes with a friend of mine. And we were inspired by spending time with street kids in South Africa, and Michelle did a great deal of research on where the greatest need was, where we could be best of service. And started this mentor/mentee program. If you are seriously interested, we are always looking for mentors. Feel free to contact the organization and I have no doubt we can find a space for you.
I love that you do voiceover work for Studio Ghibli - which are some of your favorite Ghibli films, and have you introduced your children to them as well?
My children have seen all of them. My daughter who is now 19 is still obsessed with them. I think my favorites are Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, and Spirited Away.
Stella Gibson has quickly become one of my all time favorite characters. I am very much looking forward to Season 2 of The Fall. Stella really did remain such an enigma throughout season 1, can we expect to get a little bit more into her background and who she is in this next season? And 2) Can you tell us where Stella does her shopping, cause she has some great style (including the bras...in all seriousness.)
Stella shops at Selfridge's, which is a British department store. And kind of - in an indirect way - you'll learn a bit more about who she is. And where she is coming from.
Would you mind sharing your skin care regimen? Feel free to pimp product! You have beautiful skin.
The truth of the matter is, I've only started to pay attention in the last year. Honestly, I've been very very lucky with my skin. And the makeup woman on the Fall has whipped me into shape with my skincare regime, makes me scrub off the makeup, moisturize within an inch of my life every night, moisturize every morning, put SPF on. It's a mixture of Clarins scrub, the orange one, I don't know which one that is, an Estee Lauder repair serum, and evening face cream, and then daytime I think it's Clinique, there's one that has a lot of moisture in it. And Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is the best invention known to mankind since bread.
What's the craziest thing that happened this year?
The craziest thing that has happened to me this year was a minor injury on Crisis that has left me with chronic pain for the first time in my life, and I have gained sympathy for people in similar situations on a level that I don't think I was sensitive to before.
I have a brief question about The X-Files. It has (and continues to have) a large and vocal group of fans that is not limited by age or gender. Why do you think the show is still so powerful and relevant today?
I think that essentially, Chris created some archetypal characters that everybody could identify with in one way or another. And they got under the skin of contemporary culture. And seemed to stick there. And Victoria here says it was a petri dish of awesome.
Which would Bedelia be: starters, main, or dessert when Hannibal finally gets his hands on her?
All of the above, and then some.
As I've rewatched The X-Files, the funnier episodes really grew on me and most of them are my favorites. For being cast in such dark and serious roles, you and David had amazing comedic presence. Were there any scenes you had trouble staying in character because you found it funny while filming? What is your favorite funny scene or episode?
So many scenes were hard to keep a straight face in and not necessarily because they were genuinely funny but because we were in our 16th hour and slaphappy from lack of sleep. And also just the ludicrousness of some of the scenarios we found ourselves in struck us as endlessly humorous. As everybody on the planet seems to know, my favorite episode is Bad Blood. Even just saying the title, Bad Blood, makes me giggle.
What's your favorite animal? Color?
My kids tease me, because everything that is apple green, I say I like. Even though I wouldn't say apple green is my favorite color, I always say "oh that's so nice" and they say "well that's just because it's apple green." But really it's a particular shade of blue that happens when it's nighttime but the sun is behind the sky, so to speak. Like an illuminated blue.
Well, I'd either like the dragon from How To Train Your Dragon, Toothless, or in the book series that I'm currently writing there's a seal and I was thinking "Oh, I'd like to have a seal."
What was your most emotionally challenging role?
I have the feeling that Streetcar is going to trump them all.
Do you think that characters like Stella Gibson and Dana Scully - who are the epitomes of modern womanhood - are achievable aspirations for women? Or are they just the Holy Grail? Also does jet lag have any hold on you? It seems it has given up on you like age has.
I would say that they are definitely achievable for women. Whether men catch up to that fact or not is another story.
Awww. Sometimes yes, but I've found that if I just ignore it, it eventually goes away.
What books would you recommend people to read at some point in their lives?
I think everybody should read books by Eckhart Tolle and Pema Chodron.
In the past, you have said that you plan everything out. That you're either "doing" or are "paralyzed" and unable to get out of bed. You do SO much and on top of that you are a mother. I wanted to know where this fire comes from and what motivates and helps you stick to your plans/schedule. What drives you to keep "doing"?
First of all, thank you so much for your support, in all aspects of my life. But there's 2 things that I know. One is that if I don't get up with the alarm, I'm in trouble. Because my head will start, if I count to ten and I'm still in bed, my mind is in trouble. The second thing I know is not to watch tv (I hate to say that! but it's so easy to get into a rut of escape in mindless television and/or surfing the internet. And the minute I find myself in either of those two worlds, I'm lost to the rest of my life).
Get out of the house. Find other human beings to communicate with. Read a book. Do yoga. Meditate. Be of service. That is one of the biggest single most things to get one out of oneself, is being of service to people who are less fortunate than ourselves.
I love that Bedelia has outsmarted Hannibal - will we only see you one other time on the show this season? And do you know the full story between her and the patient who attacked her?
You will see her more than once. And you will come to learn a little bit more about what happened during the attack.
Of all the shows you've worked on, which has your favorite fandom?
I've just assumed it was all the same fandom!
How's your driving? Would you ever be the Star in a Reasonably Priced car on Top Gear? It'd be awesome to see you on the show.
They've asked me on before and I couldn't because I was pregnant, but I would go on again any day. And I love driving.
Do you have a ''bucket list'? If so, what are the top three things on it? Which of the characters you have played would you say is most like you? And how so?
I would really like to visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Probably Stella, but only a portion of me. I'm (as a lot of my fans know) kind of a goofball, and that doesn't really come out in Stella.
I really, really like the music suggestions you have on your website. What music are you listening to lately?
All of a sudden I have just in the last couple of weeks, I feel like temporarily my taste has become more mainstream, and so I've been listening to a lot of Drunken Love by Beyonce on a loop. And Get Lucky by Daft Punk. And London Grammar.
I love all the charity work that you do. Its great knowing that there are good people out there who care about others. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the world, I guess it would be prejudice of any kind. You know? It would be close-minded prejudice, because that seems to get in the way of so many things, in so many areas of life around the world.
What was going through your mind when you were posing with that conger eel?
What was going through my mind was that the diabolical state of our deep oceans is so much bigger than the guts of this fish dripping down my back.
I was wondering if you have a favorite quote, or maybe a mantra you live by?
So I was at a Buddhist retreat before starting all this work, and the facilitator told the story of a three month long silent meditation retreat that he was on. And that in the middle of it, he recalled that the Super Bowl was going to happen. And once that thought got into his mind, he could think of nothing else. Day in, and day out, day in, and day out, he could not think about anything else that the Super Bowl was coming on. To the point where he found somebody in the monastery to drive him to a hotel four hours away so that he could watch the game. He watched the game, and then he sat there, and thought "What the fuck am I doing?"
It started as an idea. It was only an idea. A simple thought. Nothing more than that. And he MADE It be. He made it come true. That's what we do. We obsess, we get distracted, we make things that are small into HUGE monumental obstacles. That's the basis of reality television. And it doesn't have to be that way.
What was you favorite part about shooting Crisis in Chicago?
My favorite part, honestly was that my sister and her wife live there and my mom lives nearby in Michigan and I got to spend a whole lot of time with all of them. And that felt like such a gift.
So I'm due to deliver twins on Saturday. How did you get into such fantastic shape after giving birth three times?
First of all, congratulations!! And thank you. TWINS. Wow. That's a huge thing you're jumping into. And allow yourself as much time as you need. Carrying twins is such a huge stress on your body, and it will take a little while to heal and to find its place again. Give yourself that space and that time to do that without putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. And then gradually as you feel that you're able to, spend a few extra minutes pushing that stroller every day or decide to go up the street that has a hill rather than one that is flat, and slowly but surely you'll get your strength and your stamina back and you can start to be more active.
What's your favorite tv show of the moment?
My teenager forced me to get into Breaking Bad. Which is officially my first real addiction to series television. We got to the end of season 2, before she went off on her gap year, and I've painfully been waiting until I see her again to start season 3.
I adored "The Fall". One of my favourite things about it is that Belfast is portrayed as a modern city with a rich history and that whilst the everyday residual effects of sectarianism and The Troubles are mentioned briefly with political policing being a feature of the show, they're not necessarily a focal point. What have you enjoyed most about filming over in Northern Ireland? Also, how often do people yell 'I'm a medical doctor!' at you?
That's one of the things I really appreciate about the series, is how it represents Belfast. And I think the second season will go further in that direction, in representing it exactly the way you laid out. Most of my time working there on The Fall has been either on-set or in my hotel room. But recently I did a film called Robot Overlords (which should be coming out later this year) and we shot in the countryside of Northern Ireland, and I was like "Ohmygod, it's so beautiful!" I had no idea it was as beautiful as it is. It's exquisite countryside and I highly recommend it to visit.
And fortunately, not many people yell out I'm a Medical Doctor! at me.
I'm running 4 10k runs in the next 4 months, 2 of which are for SA-Yes, wanna come run with me?
Oh my god, that is extremely impressive! I don't think I'd get further than maybe a quarter of mile.
Besides purple, what other colors did you dye your hair in high school?
I think red and blue?
Where's your favorite place to eat out in New York?
One of my favorite places I used to go to all the time when I lived here that I miss often is Souen, on 6th ave. It's very healthy food but delicious.
What is your favorite perfume?
I've never worn perfume in my life until last year I discovered Tom Ford's Jasmine Rouge. Obsessed.
Do you have any other recommendations for good Chilli Chocolate?
I'm telling you, they're the only place to get REAL honest to goodness the best Chili Chocolate. South Devon Chilli Farm. Just don't even bother going anyplace else.
Where is your favorite place to get tacos?
La Esquina in New York City has great tacos.
The idea of Crisis is what we would be capable of doing to save our children. What would you do? Would you go as far as Meg?
I joked on Huffington today that I might have to kill somebody to get my kids back, but I'm not sure that it was a joke.
Thank you everybody so much for joining me this afternoon. I hope you enjoy the premiere of Crisis this weekend. And thanks for sticking with me for all these years. I'll be back!