The Fall's Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan and EP/Creator Allan Cubbit Talk Character, Season 2 and Beyond
By Kara Howland
TV Goodness: January 14, 2015
EXCERPTS from the interview:
Gillian, you've been working a lot in a lot of different roles in these last few years. What about this role do you find is set apart from those others and what about it do you enjoy returning to when you came back for season 2 and then, hopefully, season 3?
Gillian Anderson: "I felt very strongly, in doing the first season, that Stella was one of my favorite characters I've ever played. I still feel that way. She's one of the most interesting and compelling and complex characters I've ever had an opportunity to spend time with.
This series is probably the favorite thing that I do. That's everything to do with the way that it's shot, the fact that it's shot in Northern Ireland, the company that we work with, the crew, obviously, the quality of the writing. So, I hope we get to do this for many more seasons, not just number 3."
Allan, it's said that you wrote the part with Gillian in mind. What did you do, in writing it with her in mind, to make it something for her?
Allan: "I had always thought that Gillian would be the best person to play the part. I'd written three episodes of season 1, I think. We approached Gillian and met and talked it through. I was in the incredibly gratifying position of her saying that she was interested in doing it.
It's not very often that you get your first choice of actor. That sets the project off in a really good way, because I've done a lot of work over the years and casting can scupper things completely, particularly if you're in a position where you've got a green light and you're going and you've got to find someone to play a key role and the people you want are unavailable or don't want to do it and you find yourself sometimes compromising in a way that's really bad for the project.
So having your first choice available to you is an incredible gift in itself. What that meant was I wrote 4 and 5 of season 1 with Gillian in mind; then, of course, all of season 2, knowing she was going to play it.
I've had the experience of writing for actors. You hear their voice in your head. I think you try to play to their strengths as an actor. You have a sense of what it is that they're particularly good at. I think it means that you can write, for example, really quite an underwritten, concise, pay-it-back scene, knowing that you have an actor who is capable of imbuing it with all the emotion and the intelligence and the subtext that you want there.
So writing for anyone who's incredibly brilliant is a fantastic thing to be able to do. Often, otherwise, you're writing scenes, thinking, 'I hope I can find someone who will be able to play this.'"
What were some of the characteristics that the character had that you saw as overlapping with the skills of Gillian?
Gillian: "I'm wondering the same thing."
Allan: "It was very much part of casting Jamie as well. One of the reasons why I thought she is the best actress of her generation is because she is incredibly focused, understated, truthful, detailed, intelligent, with an underpinning of emotion that she chooses, for the most part, to keep in check.
So given that I had decided, in the creation of Gibson in the first place, that she would be a relatively enigmatic character, that she would not be a character that came to the screen with tons of baggage -- I mean, the very first time we see her in episode 1 of season 1, she's in sweatpants and she's got a face mask on.
Obviously, that was, in some ways, symbolic, which is that she is someone who can assume a mask. But, of course, the thing about The Fall is that it suggests that we all assume masks.
One of the exciting things about going into the second season was the opportunity to let that mask slip slightly to show greater depths to her character and so on. But at the same time, as a professional woman in a high-powered position in media focus and because she believes that what she's doing is the most important thing that she could be doing in the world, to protect and preserve life, particularly female life, then clearly she's someone who is going to have to put on a front to meet the world in some kind of way.
So when we see her arrive in Belfast in season 1, episode 1, there she is in her coat, her heels, looking fantastic, coming into the thing, going, 'Okay. Now I'm ready to do my job of work.' So I don't know whether that's an answer or not, but all of those things. What I also knew was that, in finding a Spector, we had to have someone who could in some way hold the screen with Gillian, which is a tall order, to be fair."
Allan: "Actors like challenging things to do as well, though. You would say the same thing about the production of King Lear, the blinding of Gloucester or whatever it is. Actors, I think, welcome some of those. But Gillian playing Blanche in Streetcar recently in London to great critical acclaim, what a demanding part that is. It leads up to a complete mental breakdown. But I think those parts are the meatiest and most enjoyable to tackle, I would guess."
Gillian: "I think that's a goal of most actors, to stretch and take risks and expand one's experience and the boundaries of one's talent. That's always been my goal and I hear other actors say the same thing. That's what you do. That's what we do."
If there is a third season, if he dies? Can the story continue with just a different serial killer?
Allan: "I can't answer that at the moment. We're in a situation where I'm very confident there will be a third season. It hasn't been officially announced. I think the story can continue, but I'll have to reserve judgment on that, I think, until I get the green light and the go-ahead."
Full article is at TV Goodness.