Gillian Anderson's a legend of 'The Fall' in Netflix series
By Elisabeth Vincentelli
New York Post: January 19, 2015
When Season 1 of "The Fall" debuted on Netflix last year, it pretty much flew in under the radar.
Yet another moody BBC thriller? Ho-hum.
Then word got around that the compact five-episode show was very creepy in a very addictive way. And a lot of it has to do with Gillian Anderson's career-defining performance as Superintendent Stella Gibson - a potential heir to Helen Mirren's iconic Jane Tennyson in "Prime Suspect."
Gibson is in hot pursuit of Paul Spector, a fetishistic serial killer played by Jamie Dornan, the upcoming dominating hottie in the "50 Shades of Grey" movie (opening Valentine's Day).
In Season 2, now streaming on Netflix, the cop describes her foe as "very controlled, calm, cold-blooded." Those words also apply to the deliberately paced show and to Gibson herself - whom Anderson gives a quiet but steely determination.
"In general I have a certain stillness on camera," Anderson says. "The directors [of 'The Fall'] have also always allowed me to take my time. The playing and the editing are all contributing to that rhythm, which has become part of the nature of the show. I can't imagine doing it any differently now."
Gibson comes across as sternly determined, an attribute most obvious in a Season 2 scene where she stares down a pack of threatening thugs.
"I've been in a couple of similar situations in my life and I responded the same way," Anderson says. "I think I'm just stupid - that part of me thinks I'm invincible. With Stella, she can read this type of person and she knows what the boundaries are. But there's a similar fearlessness."
In addition to "The Fall," Anderson has been busy on another violent thriller, NBC's "Hannibal," where her character, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, has been promoted to regular for Season 3.
"My character on 'Hannibal' is on the outside," Anderson says. "It's been a separate storyline, so if I'm watching the show I can fast-forward through the gory bits."
She laughs. "I can't take that stuff. 'The Fall' feels different, even if I understand how traumatizing it can be for the audience."
As if a transatlantic TV career didn't keep Anderson busy enough, she found the time to co-author a science-fiction novel, "A Vision of Fire."
And then there was that little thing about playing modern theater's most outsize character, Blanche DuBois, in "A Streetcar Named Desire" - a London production Anderson hopes to bring to New York in 2016.
"It was one of those things I just knew I had to do," she says. "It felt bigger than me - it is bigger. Because of my previous experience with theater and panic attacks, I assumed I was going to go through all of that. And none of it happened, not for a second. I get more anxious and stressed out by the scheduling of working on American TV shows than by being onstage."
For now, fans of "The Fall" will be happy to know we haven't seen the last of Stella Gibson.
"There's most likely going to be a Season 3," Anderson assures. "What's great is that we have so many options in terms of where to take her story."