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TV Week

Gillian's X-Generation Baby
By Elaine Lipworth

AS FBI agent Dana Scully in the Network Ten hit series The X-Files, Gillian Anderson has battled killers, aliens and evil computers with cool-headed intelligence. But nothing is as challenging for the 25-year-old as her new job - motherhood.

Only two weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Piper, in September last year, she was back on the set in Vancouver, Canada, combining a rigorous acting schedule with the sleepless nights every mother can identify with. Now the petite redhead is looking slim and relaxed, though she insists she has a long way to go to get back in shape as Dana Scully.

I have more weight to lose and I know the sleep deprivation shows. The director of photography will whisper to the make-up artist and when they start applying make-up under my eyes, I know what the whispering was about," she says.

"It's so hard to pull myself away from the baby. Physically it was hard to go back because I was still hobbling around. The other day they had me out in the middle of a lake for five hours," she says.

After a difficult labor and an unexpected caesarean, Gillian was hoping to take a month off.

"But the producers said, 'You're in the next script'."

She met her husband, German art director Clyde Klotz, on the set of The X-Files. He was working as a production designer and the couple married a year ago.

"When I found out I was pregnant, I was adamant that I was not going to terminate the pregnancy," Gillian says. "But it did cause an uproar. The network executives were thinking of recasting, but they decided to work around it. I don't think I could be a full-time mother were I not feeding the creative part of my life. I know I'm incredibly fortunate to be involved in this series."

As Gillian got bigger, clever camerawork disguised her pregnancy along with baggy shirts and giant clipboards carried by Scully. When she went off to have the baby, Scully was written out for an episode. With a typical X-Files storyline, viewers learned that she had been kidnapped by aliens, by the Government, or possibly by both. When she returned, she couldn't remember what happened.

Gillian knew all along that if she intended to keep her job she would not be taking and maternity leave. The show, with its intriguing combination of FBI suspense and paranormal mysteries, has achieved cult status in the U.S. and is often described as "The Twilight Zone of the Nineties". It has already inspired a Star Trek-like following, with devotees in the U.S. who call themselves X-Philes and debate future storylines.

Before she auditioned, Gillian was reluctant to take a TV job because she was making a name for herself in New York theatre. But as soon as she read the script she wanted the part. "I was reading something that for the first time in a long time involved a strong, independent, intelligent woman as the lead character. But I never thought I'd get it," she says. "I thought they were looking for someone leggier, and with a bigger chest."

It is not a normal show and that is the attraction. Most episodes do not finish neatly - they end in uncertainty. Gillian's co-star David Duchovny plays agent Fox "Spooky" Mulder, who expects to find an alien in every cupboard, while Scully always looks for the scientific explanation.

"I really love the role. It occurred to me the other day that if I wanted to take a break from this business I'd be interested in becoming involved with the FBI. When I was a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist or a marine biologist. I loved investigating," she says.

Gillian had an adventurous childhood. She spent 10 years in the UK when her father moved the family from Michigan so he could study at the London Film School. They moved back to the U.S. and Gillian took part in community theatre. She returned to London to study with the National Theatre, then went to Cornell University in New York and a Chicago university before launching her acting career.

It is Gillian's bright personality that brings Dana Scully to life. "I lean towards this kind of subject matter," she says. "I'm not addicted to science fiction, but I appreciate scary stories and anything about extra-terrestrials and paranormal phenomena."

The producers of the show are constantly receiving letters asking if romance is likely between the stars, but the relationship is likely to remain platonic. "The show's not about that," Gillian says.

"We (Scully and Mulder) have a good rapport, a definite admiration for each other. We're attracted, but we're so dedicated to the work that it always comes first."

As the show goes from strength to strength, Gillian is receiving fan mail from around the world, often from women happy to see an interesting female character who is bright as well as pretty.

"I get letters from young girls saying I'm a role model. This is one of the best compliments. I had a very good feeling that this show would be successful." Gillian says. "But I don't think it's really hit me yet. I'll be driving down the street and think, 'I'm in Canada. How did I get here?'"

Transcript appears courtesy of TV Week.

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