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September 1998
by Rob Tannenbaum

Gillian Anderson: she spies for the FBI, she listens to Bauhas and she just wants to be loved

Let's start with the big questions. What was with your hair the first season?

I was much more into Scully's straightness, her kind of dowdy thing. That helped me figure out who she was. There was a plaid suit that I wore once. What were we thinking? Somebody new came on the show to do hair, and it became more stylish and sleeker, and I went, "Oh my God, I had no idea." And then there was the whole period of pregnancy. A lot of women will cut their hair off; it changes texture, it gets in the way. So I had a permanent bad hair day in front of ten million people. (laughs)

A lot of people make fun of how deadpan the acting is. How did that start? It was never discussed between the two of us. If we played it more emotional it would be too much. I mean, how many times can you scream at seeing aliens? Being subdued keeps it believable and watchable.

Is the movie funny at all?

No. Actually there's less Mulder humour, fewer Mulder-isms, 'cause that's really where the humour comes from.

The thing about Mulder's humour is, Scully doesn't find him very funny.

(Firmly) The thing about Mulder's humour is, he always comes up with his little witticisms at a point where it isn't appropriate for Scully to have any response, other than to focus on the situation at hand. Most of the time, he's being humourous when they're standing over a dead body she's just about to autopsy.

Metaphorically speaking, what would you say you were addicted to?

I'm addicted to making lists, and organising things, lists of phone calls I have to make, people I have to talk to, things I have to arrange. I know my schedule for the next three and a half months. I love that. (Laughs) I'm addicted to Starbucks - and that's not metaphorically, that's the facts. It has to be Starbucks. If I'm in a restaurant, I can order a regular decaf non-fat latte and I'm happy. But if I go to Starbucks, I don't like their decaf non-fat lattes, in fact the only thing I really like there is something which I'm not gonna rattle off for you, because it's silly.

C'mon, your coffee preferences are off the record.

It's a decaf grande non-fat foaming mocha. It gives me a little bit of pleasure in my otherwise fat-free, wheat-free, oil-free, carbohydrate-free, sugar-free day (laughs). Isn't that insane? I've been drinking rice-milk lattes, but since I've been back in LA, and with the recent, uh, events in my life, I've been upping the dairy quotient.

What recent, uh, events?

Oh, just slightly more, um, stressed. Slightly more, um, reasons to make me not wanna go without things that give me comfort.

You're dropping hints. So, Gillian, what's new in your personal life?

Oh, lots. Ever-changing, confusing stuff. (Puts her head down on the table) It's just very difficult, because there's something on my brain and I'm having a really hard time not talking about it, but I'm NOT GONNA talk about it, because this is not the place to talk about it. So, yeah. (Sighs) I'm in a very bizarre mood today. I've feeling very immature.

So let's go with it. What's your favourite insult?

I saw a bumper sticker once which said, "Fuck you, you fucking fuck." And I really like that. I don't like to insult people, in fact I never do. But I was coming from New York this weekend, and there were all these guys at the airport with photographs they wanted me to sign. I signed some - it's absolutely, completely annoying and pisses me off, but there's nothing you can do about it. this one guy followed me to my car, saying "Can I have a picture?" I was done at that point, and I said, "No. I need you to respect that." He said, "You're just fuckin' standing there." I said, "fuck off." He said "What's your problem?" I said, "FUCK OFF!" It wasn't an insult, but I meant it. It felt really good actually.

When you've read articles about the show, have you learned things about how Duchovny feels about you?

I have, but I'm pretty intuitive about that stuff, anyway. I'm highly attuned to... well, to too much. Once I was surprised by something he said. He gave a description of our relationship that was particularly cold, and I was quoted in the article as saying that.

If you could have more of one quality that he has in abundance, what would it be?

That level of intelligence. I wish I had more facts in my head. When I was in school, I didn't really pay much attention. That's the one thing in my life I regret: daydreaming. I needed to do it; it was a survival mechanism for me.

I know music if very important to you. Tell me your high school prom song, the song you're most likely to sing in the shower, and the song that was playing when you lost your virginity.

Most likely to sing in the shower would be 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow', or something like that. High school prom...was in Einsturzende Neubauten who sang 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'?

I think it was Bauhaus. Was 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' really your prom theme?

No, I wouldn't have been listening to the prom theme. Bauhaus would've probably been playing afterwards or before. The song playing when I lost my virginity probably would've been by Lords of the New Church, or Dead Kennedys.

How romantic. You talk a lot about how difficult school was for you.

But it doesn't end there. It doesn't really end at all. If you have any angsta at all in your make up, it does not end. (Long pause) I don't know how I end up getting into these conversations. You know what it is? There's nothing interesting in my life. I mean, David has become a professional interviewee. there may or may not be things going on in his life, but he knows how to make it interesting. So I get into these philosophical discussions with interviewers, because the majority of my life isn't appropriate to talk about in a magazine. Especially the interesting stuff.

I also just had an unfortunate situation, where I put a great deal of trust in somebody and I'm regretting that. So I'm probably more vague today than I would've been a week ago.

Lucky me. Now in turn, what do you have in abundance that you would want to give to David?

I know what the answer is, but that leads to a tricky...How to put it? Oh, fuck...Patience. That's about as good as I can do without...

Without what?

Making him angry. (Big laugh) Without saying something I might regret.

You're cagey.

Fucky, yes. These interviews are tricky, you have to be really careful. I can't talk abut details of the movie; it's not appropriate for me to talk about my divorce or recent relationships; and there's not really much about my adolescence or early adulthood that I feel comfortable talking about.

So, if you hurt David's feelings, then you apologise. Big deal.

Yes, but if there's something that I have trouble with - about his behaviour, let's say - it's something I need to deal with between the two of us, not expressed through the press.

So you have had a chat about, let's say, your difficulty with his impatience?

No, I haven't. But I'm getting closer.

Have you seen the new FBI Barbie? It's a Barbie that looks like Dana Scully.

(Sarcastically) It looks so much like me. And what's with the bouffant? Is that blond hair, or red? (Big laugh) If they had put our faces on it, then we would've gotten a percentage. It's just people trying to take advantage of the moment, and trying to make money where they can.

Tell me some of your masculine qualities, and some of your feminine qualities.

I'm very feminine around my daughter. I walk kind of masculinely. A writer said I had a 'sturdy gait', and my ex-boyfriend used to bring it to my attention. I got kind of bulky for a while, working with weights, and that contributed. I have a tendency to handle situations in what people would consider a more masculine way. I like getting to the point. Even when I dress up for the awards shows, there's a masculinity to how I look. Sometimes I look very androgynous, and sometimes, when I have a lot of make-up on, I look like a transvestite.

Describe a bad date you've been on.

I haven't really been on very many dates. Bad date, bad date, bad date...I'm losing my train of thought.

Because you're thinking of that thing you won't talk about. (She turns bright red) Was it a bad date?

(Ignoring me) When I was younger, if I went on one date and it seemed to work in any aspect, we were a couple. So there were some week-long, two-week-long relationships that didn't turn out so good. I've never been on a blind date. (Laughs suddenly) Well, I guess I kind of have.

OK, so you're dropping clues. I'm starting to suspect that you went on a blind date in New York last weekend, and it didn't go well.

(Changing the subject) I went on one date with an older man I met through some friends. He took me to see some pianist playing Rogers and Hammerstein. I did not connect with it at all, and he was very moved by the performance. I wonder what he must have made of me. He was probably about six foot three and weighed over 200 pounds and had a moustache (laughs); very conservative. I was still in the phase of thrift-store clothing and teased hair. But teased up like the Cure, not like Debbie Reynolds.

Do men come on to you now that you're famous?

Men now seem to be a little afraid of me. Men who are successful hit on me more now. Men who are just men in general...those men flirt with me, but don't hit on me.

Why are men afraid of you?

(Thoughtful pause) Because I have a tendency to be very blunt and brutally honest. I don't think I come across as incredibly accessible. I always say hello to people, but I don't stop for idle conversation.

Do men really have any reason to be afraid of you?

It depends. There are certain things that are priorities in my life, mostly my daughter. Someone who is threatened by a woman who has a career, does her own thing, and has a child would have reason to be scared of me.

Have you ever slapped a man?

I have wanted to, but instead I kicked a hole in the wall. That was the only time that I was ever able to express my anger outward instead of inward. He had participated in what ended up being the last straw (laughs), inappropriate and cruel berating about particular subjects. Fortunately I had a hiking boot on, because it just swept over me, and for the first time in my life, I had no control, and I would've kicked in a wall regardless of what shoes I was wearing.

So, tell me about the bad blind date in New York. C'mon, we've known each other for a while now. We're friends, aren't we, Gillian?

(Laughs) But I'm not friends with the subscribers to the magazine. I don't want to tell them about my boring, vague life.

Can we agree, though, that you don't have a boring, vague life?

Yes. I know that I'm not boring. I am far from boring. I enjoy living life, I take a lot of risks, and I pay the consequences (big laugh).

You say you don't want to talk about it, but you really are dropping some tantalising hints.

You know wht? I'm dying to talk about it, because it's tragic in a sense, and bizarre and confusing, and it's very hard for me not to allude to it. And I could get myself into some serious trouble, because I could be convinced to talk about it.


No, actually, not. I mean, it's best for all concerned if I don't.

Not for me. It's not best for me, Gillian

(Guffaws) If you have any more questions, you're welcome to try and get ahold of me, and I'll be happy to talk to you some more.

Will you be just as forthcoming?

Nicely put. Yeah, probably.

Do you have a title for this interview?

Something with the word 'vague'. 'The Vague Underbelly of GA'.

Transcript provided by Sally Blackmore and appears courtesy of Deluxe.

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