Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster tell Sarah Crompton about their suggestive, violent new Young Vic production of A Streetcar Named Desire
I saw the play twice and it’s totally AMAZING : wonderful performances from Gillian, Ben, Vanessa and the cast. A must – see ! It was my first "encounter" with Gillian and I’m still marveled :-)
24 July – 19 September
Is travel important to you?
Travel is a huge part of my life. I’m on airplanes all the time. The place I’ve gone to the most over the past five years is Sri Lanka – I fell in love with it in 2008, and I bought a property there. I was looking for a place on the beach but then I fell in love with this extraordinary colonial-style house on a coconut plantation. While I was doing it up, I would go five times a year with the kids. I perfected the technique of long-haul travel with children.
Any tips on keeping children quiet on long-haul flights?
Kids are actually great travellers; they’re very adaptable. When they’re young, the best thing to do is to travel on night flights, and take enough toys and soft books to occupy them. As they get older, just do whatever gets them through the flight. My kids are usually quite restricted on their TV time, but on flights I don’t care if they watch four movies. There’s only so much colouring that can be done…
What was your first holiday as a child?
When I was six months old, we moved to Puerto Rico for about 15 months. It wasn’t meant to be a holiday, but there was a great deal of surfing and beach time. I remember being in my nappies on the beach and napping on a hammock swinging between palm trees. I remember the ocean.
What has been your most memorable trip?
My second husband and I once drove from Kenya down to Johannesburg, and camped in places along the way. There were buffalo and crocodiles and hippos; there were elephants nearby. One afternoon, there was a red kite circling around us and we started throwing up pieces of hot dogs. The kite would swoop down and catch them. That was pretty memorable.
And what was your worst-ever trip?
When my now 18-year-old daughter Piper was 18 months old, I did a press tour for The X-Files. My husband and I were young, and properly exploring Europe for the first time. Because of my schedule, we gave ourselves two days in Florence, two days in Paris, two days in Venice… it was insane. It was August and so hot. I’d rented a house in France that turned out to be like a dungeon. We walked in the door and turned right around again. A relative had a tiny campervan that we borrowed and we ended up at a campsite in St Tropez, and had the best time.
City break or beach holiday?
Because I spend a lot of my time in cities I would say beach. The one thing I have the hardest time doing is relaxing. If I’m in a city, I’m going to be exploring; on the beach I’ll actually read.
What items would you never travel without?
Flip flops, I wear them pretty much every day; you shouldn’t be without them in hot countries.
Do you have a favourite hotel?
There’s a place in Sri Lanka called Club Villa. It has a beautiful pool and grounds, and it’s very child friendly. There’s a railway line that runs through the garden and separates the hotel from the beach. Most people would think ‘what a shame’. But it’s so romantic to be in the pool with your kids smelling the frangipani when all of a sudden this rickety old train goes through the garden.
What do you do when you first arrive?
I suss out the accommodation and work out who’s going to go where and what the playing area is going to be. I put the toys out and move anything that might get broken.
What would be your perfect holiday?
I want to go to Vietnam and Cambodia – but that’s one to do as a solo trip.
I am ridiculously proud to announce that on December 10th, at the Tabernacle in London, the first LETTERS LIVE evening will be taking place. LETTERS LIVE is a series of events that will see myself and Simon Garfield, author of To The Letter, joined on various stages by a spectacular array of actors, authors and musicians, all of whom will be reading out "correspondence deserving of a wider audience." Musical performances will also feature. Names confirmed for December 10th include Gillian Anderson, Matt Berry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nick Cave, Kerry Fox, Neil Gaiman, Thandie Newton, DBC Pierre, James Rhodes, Bruce Robinson, Peter Serafinowicz and Juliet Stevenson. A number of similarly amazing surprise guests will also appear.
The night is being run as a fundraiser with all profits from the evening going to the charity, The Reading Agency.
The second LETTERS LIVE event will take place on March 27th, 2014, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank. This will be followed by a number of further events across the year and across the UK. Details of these additional events will be announced in January 2014.
For further details and ticket information, visit LETTERS LIVE. [UPDATE: There are no tickets remaining; the event sold out in minutes. Keep your eyes peeled for news of the March 2014 event.]
An afternoon with Gillian Anderson (November 16th 2013)
Published: 20 September 2013
Updated: 09:16, 20 September 2013
Where do you live?
Central London. It’s surprisingly quiet and it feels like London might have done hundreds of years ago.
Best thing a London cabbie has said to you?
‘You look just like that Mulder on X Factor. ’
Where would you go for a nightcap?
Along the South Bank — it’s BYO.
First thing you do when you arrive back?
Look out of the cab window and, rather than get absorbed in my BlackBerry, soak in the city I feel so grateful to live in.
Who’s your hero?
Anyone who fights for human and civil rights.
What do you collect?
Art. But not as voraciously as I wish I could.
Waitrose/Ocado for ethics of business, quality of food and friendly prompt service. John Lewis for its range of products and speed of delivery for household items. Viola on Connaught Street and William Vintage on Marylebone Street for eveningwear.
Last play you saw?
A Season in the Congo at the Young Vic — one of my favourite theatres for its versatility and purpose. I can watch Chiwetel Ejiofor in anything.
Animal you’d most like to be?
A sloth. Maybe I’d finally slow down.
Definitely not my first memory as I was six, but walking up to our doctor’s surgery, which used to be connected to the church that Dave Stewart turned into a recording studio, in Crouch End and scratching the first of many chickenpox spots that would be the cause of my previously unexplained fever.
I think some of the best dishes I’ve had have been at Ottolenghi in Islington or the Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell. Fresh, healthy ingredients and ingenious flavour combinations.
Last song you downloaded?
Kendra Morris’ cover of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’.
Building you’d like to buy?
There are so many but they are all too big and in the wrong neighbourhood. Kew Gardens? St Pancras? I mean, I’d have to keep procreating.
Best place for a first date?
Lunch at La Fromagerie on Moxon Street in Marylebone. Best to keep it bright and it’s easy to escape from. If it goes well, a second date underground at Odette’s in Primrose Hill.
Favourite London club?
Annabel’s. It’s just so damned romantic and I’ve never not had a fabulous night there.
What would you do as Mayor?
Whose department looks after regulation over child trafficking? Maybe if it was under Boris’ jurisdiction, something would actually get done about it.
Ever had a run-in with a policeman?
In my first flat on Portobello Road after having been broken into for the second day in a row.
The Foundling Museum behind Coram’s Fields, Columbia Road flower market and 5×15 stories and lectures at The Tabernacle.
Most romantic thing someone’s done for you?
Gift me a wooden box full of the dried remains of the dozen red roses bought after our first date.
Who do you call when you want to have fun?
Emma Kennedy seems to have her finger on the pulse of hilarity in London.
Best piece of advice?
My father suggested in 1987 that I should learn how to do word processing as computers were on the rise. He figured that since I was likely to be out of work as an actor, I could fall back on it to pay my rent. I did not heed his advice but it was sound.
Gillian Anderson stars in From Up on Poppy Hill, which is out on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday
Celebrity Q+A: Gillian Anderson
She’s a regular on NBC’s Hannibal, which is too scary for her sons to watch. But her turn as an affable witch inRoom on the Broom, soon out on DVD, is totally kid-friendly.
Q. After playing so many serious roles, was it fun doing an animated film?
A. I’ve worked on a couple of animated pieces before, likeThe Simpsons. It’s a whole other world. Lots of fun, but harder than you would imagine.
Q. Did you score cool points with your sons, who are 6 and 4, doing Room on the Broom?
A. I’ve read the book to them probably 10,000 times, which is one of the reasons I was interested in the voiceover role. But they don’t know I did it. Actually, they don’t really know what it is I do. I’d rather keep it from them as long as possible because I’d rather they like me not because of what I do for a living, but because of the mom I am.
Q. How do you deal with the challenges of having an 18-year-old daughter and the little guys? Must make your head spin sometimes.
A. I’m lucky because my girl is very grounded, self-aware and self-motivated. With the boys most of my day is reacting to what they throw at me—making messes, climbing and somersaults, broken bones. You do your best and the rest is just patience.
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?
A. I don’t really have one! I’ve been thinking of downloading some of the TV series people are so obsessed with, but then my brain starts telling me I should be researching a new project or something productive. But I do hold regular game nights, when I invite friends over to play cards and guessing games. I make a main dish and they bring vegetables or salads.
Q. What are your Halloween plans?
A. So far I haven’t made any costumes. All I know is that my youngest wants to dress up as Luke Skywalker, the same thing my daughter wanted when she was 5!
Written by Celia Shatzman.
Web Exclusive October 2013 issue of Family Circlemagazine.
@kathynajimy Peta’s dan matthews, soy paper sushi, funny gorgeous Gillian &my cane tapping 2the disco music, Perfect nite pic.twitter.com/YGE2NCukpe
Gillian in the MARIE-CLAIRE magazine :
Neurofibromatosis, pronounced Neuro-fi-bro-ma-to-sis (NF for short), is a genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes tumors to form on the nerves anywhere in the body at any time. This progressive disorder affects all races, all ethnic groups and both sexes equally. NF is one of the most common genetic disorders in the United States (one in every 3,000 to 4,000 births), even though not many people are familiar with it.
The disease personally affects actress Gillian Anderson, whose brother passed from the disease and was diagnosed when she was just a teenager. Anderson was kind enough to speak with Global Genes about her involvement in a congressional push for NF awareness programs across the US.
GGP: Your brother was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis at just three-years-old. What was the impact of that diagnosis on you and your family?
GA: My brother Aaron’s neurofibromatosis was so mild in childhood that it was easy to forget about. My mom got busy helping run a support group and educating herself about the disease.
GGP: How did neurofibromatosis affect his life? Did it limit him from taking on his goals in life? How did he come to terms with the reality of his disease?
GA: Wish I could ask him how he came to terms with it. He just never knew any different; it was always a part of his reality. It may be why he developed an early interest in prejudice of all kinds. He cared deeply about racial equality and fairness in general. But he went on to get an undergraduate degree at U of M and was working on a PHD at Stanford when he died of an NF related brain tumor. He travelled, he DJ’d and break danced. I think he led a pretty full life.
GGP: As a sister of a patient who had this condition, what would your advice be to other family members who are watching a loved one go through the process of getting a diagnosis, treatment, and dealing with a rare disease during every-day life?
GA: Several things I would suggest. 1) Speak openly about the condition – don’t hide the diagnosis or whisper about it – NF, or any disease name, should be part of the wallpaper of the family life. 2) Avoid pampering, coddling, and over-protecting. 3) Don’t identify the child with the disease, eg “this is my NF child” 4) Have your child’s health monitored by a specialist in the condition, even if it means going out of town for care.
GGP: Did you or your brother ever encounter any type of judgment or stereotyping during the course of his life? Was he treated differently than others?
GA: I don’t remember any incidents. His NF was so mild that he and everyone else could ignore it. He was fortunate to escape the learning disabilities, incoordination and social awkwardness that are common in NF kids. He did have skin tumors on his upper torso that were only really evident when he was at the beach in trunks. He had no shame– so those around him didn’t either.
Photo by Lawrence Ho
GGP: What resources or organizations would you recommend patients and their loved ones turn to (are there any specific organizations you are involved with for NF or rare disease in general?)
GA: Fundraising efforts for NF have been largely for the NF Network (formerly NF, Inc.), www.nfnetwork.org. I have also recorded material for the NF Center at Washington University, nfcenter.wustl.edu. For several years I was a patron of the NFA (now the Neuro Foundation}, and now I’m supporting Children with Tumours, www.childrenwithtumours.org, a new UK group devoted to helping kids with NF.
GGP: You addressed congress about the disease; what was your goal—and what was the experience like?
GA: The aim was to educate Congress about neurofibromatosis and to encourage the individual representatives to sign a letter requesting federal funds for NF research. It was nerve racking and empowering.
Gillian Anderson, The Fall : "X Files a changé ma vie"
A 45 ans, Gillian Anderson fait ce mercredi 2 avril son retour dans un premier rôle à la télévision, avec l’excellente The Fall, à découvrir sur 13è Rue. Rencontre avec celle qui a marqué toute une génération, grâce à son rôle de Dana Scully dans X Files…
By Maxwell Williams
Gillian Anderson on the Power of Performance… and Sir Ian McKellan
Gillian Anderson considers herself to be a student of acting, citing Cate Blanchett as a hero. She’s seen Blanchett onstage in London, and can often be found in the audience of a play—even going backstage after a particularly moving performance and weeping at an actor.
To illustrate her respect for the craft, Anderson invokes Sir Ian McKellen. “You’ve got the opening of ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ” she says. “It’s the first scene, where you’ve got these rolling hills of Middle-earth, and you hear a horse-drawn wagon coming. And then you hear Ian McKellen’s voice. In those first words, he has to fill that landscape and embody this character before you even see him, and [he has to invoke] the history of these magnificent books. In the first syllables that he utters out of his mouth, you are there with him.”
Anderson contends that the flawed casting of a different actor—one without the weight and experience that McKellen brought to the role—could have changed the audience’s experience. “A good script can be ruined by the wrong actor,” she says. “The right actor can, I think, shift people in how they go about their lives. I feel that way about art in general, but I believe film—the medium that we work in—is transformative and can change the world.”
Room on the Broom nominated for Oscar !
Gillian Anderson at The Weinstein Company and Netflix 2014 Golden Globes After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on 2014-01-12 in Beverly Hills, California.
C’est une séance de lecture qui s’est tenue le 4 juin pendant le Hay Festival au pays de Galles.
Il s’agit d’une présentation du livre de Philippe Sands : TORTURE TEAM en association avec Amnesty International. Ce livre est une enquête sur les techniques interrogatoires utilisées par les américains à Guantanamo et dans d’autres lieux.
There’s been a string of unsolved murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland, so they have to bring in the heat from London. Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson appears to be the embodiment of what people in Belfast often don’t like about London: She seems cool, correct, fiercely intelligent, but icy.
The London detective is the central character of The Fall, a British series that was a huge critical and commercial hit there this year and is now available in the U.S. on DVD. Gibson is portrayed by Gillian Anderson, the American-born actor who, until maybe now, was best known as Dana Scully from the X-Files.
Anderson tells NPR’s Scott Simon about The Fall’s European flavor and the time she was voted most likely to get arrested in high school.
Fishlove was set up in 2009 by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of MOSHIMO, and actress Greta Scacchi to raise awareness of the unsustainable fishing practices that are destroying the the earth’s marine ecosystem. Since then, the Fishlove images have succeeded in bringing the subject of over-fishing to the front covers and pages of the world’s media many times over..
Fishlove is produced by MOSHIMO, the Brighton based Japanese restaurant and is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, which relies on the tremendous generosity of the photographers who have taken these images and of all the charismatic people who have had their Fishlove portrait taken.
If you would like to help Fishlove in any way, or if you would like to become a sponsor, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Producer: Nicholas Röhl
Co-founders: Nicholas Röhl & Greta Scacchi
Company directors: Nicholas Röhl, Karl Jones, and Greta Scacchi
Co-ordinator (France): Nathalie Bialobos
People often try to find familiarity and comfort in their lives wherever and however they can during times of emotional confusion and transition. Even if their new choices confuse their family members, living their lives the way they wish is a desire many people strive for, particularly as they grow older. This is certainly the case in writer-director Sandra Nettelbeck’s new comedy-drama, ‘Last Love,’ which is based on French novelist Francoise Dorner’s La douceur assassin. Gillian Anderson portrays an American who’s estranged from her father in the film, but who will do whatever it takes to protect his emotional needs in the last years of his life.
‘Last Love’ follows American Matthew Morgan (Michael Caine) a former philosophy professor who moved to Paris with his late wife, Joan (Jane Alexander), to live out their golden years together. Three years after her death, he still grieves for his wife, particularly while he’s passing through the areas where they spent their time together.
After unsuccessfully attempting suicide, due to his inability to move on from his loss, Matthew is inexplicably saved by a young dance instructor, (Clémence Poesy), whom Matthew meets on the bus and immediately reminds him of Joan. The two form a close relationship, much to the concern and confusion of his two children, Karen (Anderson) and Miles (Justin Kirk), who travel from America to France to try to convince him to come home. As the two witness their father’s developing relationship with Pauline, Karen and Miles realize that Matthew is exactly where he wants to be, living his life the way that comforts him in his final years.
Anderson generously took the time recently to talk about filming ‘Last Love’ over the phone. Among other things, the actress discussed how the chance to work with Nettelbeck and Caine on the comedy-drama in part drew her to the character of Karen; how she’s worked with several filmmakers, like Nettelbeck, who have both written the script and directed the film, which she feels is beneficial, because they develop a deep connection to the screenplay; and how she has grown attached to doing smaller projects, like ‘Last Love,’ as she enjoys that they’re focused more on the characters and theirrelationships than anything else.
Question (Q): You play Karen Morgan in the new comedy-drama, ‘Last Love.’ What was it about the character, and the script overall, that convinced you to take on the role?
Gillian Anderson (GA): Well, the first thing is that I have been following the director’s career for some time. I’ve been a fan of Sandra’s work, starting with ‘Mostly Martha.’ We attempted to work together before. So when she called and said, "I’m sorry this is such a small role, but I’d love for you to do it," I agreed.
At the time, she was also in conversation with Michael Caine, and it looked like he was going to potentially do the film. So it was all of those elements coming together. Also, reading the script and getting to know the character, and feeling like I know how to play her, is where it began.
Q: Speaking of Sandra, she both wrote the screenplay for, and directed, the comedy-drama. Do you prefer working with helmers who also penned the script, and what was your working relationship with her like on the set?
GA: I’ve had that experience quite a lot, of working with directors who have also written the script. I find it fun to be a part of that journey for them, because a lot of times it also tends to be their first or second time directing. That’s happened quite a bit in my experience. So being a part of that creative genesis for a director is interesting, and I like being part of that process for them.
Also, when a director is a good writer, they have a very deep connection to the script. The stuff they have written is potentially something they have labored over for a small period of time. Or it might even be based on their own experiences, which adds a completely different dimension to it.
Q: Like you mentioned earlier, Michael Caine is also in ‘Last Love,’ and he plays Karen’s father, Matthew. While you don’t have much screen time with him, what was your overall experience like with him on the set?
GA: Well, Michael’s such an icon. I’ve obviously been a big fan of his in the past, and I think he’s been involved in some extraordinary films. He’s also had some extraordinary life experiences himself. I’ve worked with some of the greatest people in the industry over the years, and he’s a lovely man to work with. He’s lovely to be around, and is very generous.
Q: Justin Kirk, who portrays Karen’s brother, Miles, is the main actor you have scenes with in the film. What was your working relationship with Justin like on the set?
GA: Well, Justin’s a lot of fun, and he’s very funny. We had a lot of fun with the brother-sister dynamic. We joked around that we should do a sequel about their relationship. He was fun to improv with. I think he’s fantastic in the film, and I hope this movie will do good by him.
Q: Were you able to have any rehearsal periods with Michael and Justin before you began shooting the comedy-drama, and how much did you improve with your co-stars while you were filming?
GA: No, there wasn’t any rehearsal. But Justin and I goofed around quite a bit, and did some improv that did end up in the film here and there. But I’m not in the film very much, but the bits we did together were great fun.
Q: ‘Last Love’ explores the difficult emotions people contend with as they grieve the loss of a family member, and how that anguish causes estrangement with their surviving family members. Were you able to relate to Karen and Miles’ estrangement from their father after their mother’s death?
GA: Well, I think all family dynamics are complicated. So I think the character is still dealing with the loss of her mother. Obviously, you have a sense that she’s in control in her life, and is used to being able to call the shots. Not being able to control her father, and contribute to the decisions that he’s making, which she feels have an impact on their lives, is very frustrating to her.
At times, she’s going to be dealing with her own degrees of loss around her, particularly with her mother. But you can deal they have long-standing complicated relationships, so it’s not easy. Part of the way she’s dealing with it is to go shopping. (laughs)
Q: Karen and Miles question the new friendship their father develops with dance instructor Pauline Laubie, played by Clémence Poésy, in the film, even though they have been estranged from Matthew since their mother’s death. Even though Pauline offers Matthew comfort, why do you think Karen and Miles immediately question the nature of the relationship?
GA: Well, I think in the beginning it’s just a shock. The minute Karen arrives, her brother tells her that their dad, who just attempted suicide, apparently over dealing with the grief over losing their mother, is having an affair with a 20-year-old. (laughs) So initially, I think it’s the shock of that information, which isn’t true, is justifiably quite big.
At the same time, I think there’s obviously a misunderstanding over the nature of their relationship. It takes some time for Justin’s character to come to terms with what’s good in that relationship, which is benefiting his father.
Q: ‘Last Love’ was filmed in several areas of Europe, most notably Paris, where the story is set. What was the experience of shooting in France, and how does it compare and contrast to filming in America?
GA: Well, I’ve worked in France before, and I live and work in England. I’ve also worked in various countries around Europe. Working over there in the U.K. and Europe is a quieter experience. I don’t think there’s that much that’s hugely different. Overall, the energy that’s on the set feels a bit more subdued and European, for a lack of a better word. (laughs)
Q: The film has played at several film festivals, including the Locarno Film Festival and the Munich Film Festival. Were you able to attend any of the screenings of the film, and if so, what kind of reaction did you receive from the audiences?
GA: No, unfortunately. At first, I thought I was going to be able to go to the one in Berlin, but then they changed the date by about three days, and I wasn’t able to make it.
Q: What is the experience of shooting smaller movies like ‘Last Love,’ as opposed to the bigger studio movies you’ve starred in?
GA: Well, I’ve actually done quite a few quiet films. Even over the last couple of years, I was in ‘Shadow Dancer,’ and a French film called ‘Sister.’ I think because of some of the stuff I’ve done for the BBC, I’m used to doing quieter pieces that are more about the characters and their relationships, more so than you might expect. I often choose those roles over the bigger studio films overall.
Q: You have appeared on several television series throughout your career, most notably with ‘The X-Files;’ most recently with ‘Hannibal;’ and the upcoming ‘Crisis.’ What is it about television that you enjoy so much? How does starring on a series compare and contrast to filming a movie?
GA: I’m actually involved in three different TV series right now. I’m a regular on ‘Hannibal,’ and I’m also on a BBC series called ‘The Fall,’ which we’re going to continue shooting in February. That’s available on Netflix in the States. I’m also on the NBC series, ‘Crisis,’ which we’re in the process of shooting right now.