Reddit AMA (2013)
Earlier today, Gillian Anderson participated in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread on Reddit. The Q&A session was a great success with the post sitting at the top of the front page for several hours. At one point, the site even went down under too much activity for a few minutes.
Fans from all over the world asked Gillian questions about her career and life, and there were some really great moments. If you want to check out the entire thread, you can do so here. If searching through the the comments makes your head spin though, you can also read her responses to questions on her user page. Then click “permalink” or “context” to see the question she was answering.
For some of the best questions from the AMA, including those on The X-Files, Hannibal, and Gillian’s favorite flavor of muffin, click read more.
The X-Files and XF3
What’s been your favorite memory working on X-Files?
There were times at 3 oclock in the morning where we had to regurgitate some highly intellectual snippets of truth, and we’d get just completely slap-happy with exhaustion and a sense of the ludicrousness that we were doing for a living, and we would be struck with bouts of uncontrollable laughter. That’s what I remember the most.
What’s the one episode of X-Files that made you go, “what the Fuck??”
Um, I have to say that probably in my poor memory, the one that sticks out the most is the one that a lot of people responded to – which was HOME. The thought of having a paraplegic mother on a roll-out cot under the bed, who may or may not be having sex with her 3 troglodyte sons, is about as twisted as our series ever got I think. And then there were the babies buried in the garden…
Did you really eat the cricket in that circus episode of X-Files, or was it just a magic trick?
It was a magic trick called spitting when cut.
Is it true that most of the time whilst filming The X-Files, you were standing on boxes to match David’s height?
Yes. In fact, in Vancouver they created something called “The Gilly-Board” which was a ramped apple box (what actors normally stand on to raise their height) so that I could be walking beside him and we could stand next to each other so that we would be approximately the same height. Apparently it still exists and is used for other productions, and is still called the Gilly-Board.
Were there any major pranksters on the set?
Me! I went through a phase where I liked tweezing people’s facial hairs, mostly the men who had bushy eyebrows and hairs coming out of their ears and nose.
The props and creature designs on X-Files were always really fantastic. Did you or anyone else get to take anything particularly cool from the show?
Yes. I stole many things. I have – what do I have? – a Lazarus Bowl. The most amazing thing that i have is Scully’s Tombstone. I have Scully’s Tombstone. I have little things from many episodes, and eventually, a good portion of them will probably be auctioned off for charity.
If William came back as a character, what actor should play him?
That IS a good question. You know who I think would be good, but he might be too old, the kid who was in THE IMPOSSIBLE, Tom Holland – he’s 17, too old. Darn. I need to think about it.
On what the fans can do for XF3:
I would say that there is a very good chance that Chris is in the process of writing it, and as with any creative endeavor, it needs time and space and patience, and I have no doubt that at some point, when it’s the right time, and he is happy with it, it will see the light of day, and that will be the beginning.
In Hannibal, how do you prepare yourself for the role of Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier? I can’t imagine it’s easy getting into the head of Lecter.
For Dr. Bedelia…it just occurred to me in my mind as I was reading the script and contemplating just the type of woman that needed to be sitting across from this paticular man, that there was one way to play it. And that one way only. And that’s what I hope that I’ve done. I’ve never put it into words why – it’s just it’s Hannibal Lecter, for crying out loud, and that’s all I can say really.
On Gillian’s role as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier:
For as long as HANNIBAL runs, and until Hannibal eats me, I will continue to do a few episodes a year. I think it’s darker than even I can stomach, but it has its audience and it is so beautifully shot and the performances from Mads and Hugh and the whole team are just phenomenal and I am so happy they are getting the attention they deserve. Mads is SUCH a talented actor – it’s almost like he wears his emotions on his sleeve, but not all the time – when he decides that he needs to, he has such access to his emotional life and it is just really incredible. He can do everything with just his eyes.
Which has been your most challenging role? And why?
Hmm, most challenging… I’d probably have to say Miss Havisham in GREAT EXPECTATIONS, just because of the intricacy of how I was choosing to play the character – it felt like it took about as much of me as I’ve ever put into anything, I think.
One of my “Bucket List” items is to see you on stage…any chance of that happening soon on Broadway?
Not on Broadway, I’m desperately trying to get together a production of STREETCAR in London. Keep an eye out.
What historical or literary figure would you like to play next?
I would love to do Lady MacBeth. I would love to do Martha in WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? and eventually I would like to do Hedda Gabler. But first, would be Blanche Dubois. I need to figure out what is the right order in terms of the character’s ages that I what to do them. And seeing as I’m talking about theater – I only do plays every 3 years or so- one of them is going to be in my 60s and I need to figure out what is most appropriate.
Life in General
What are some things you nerd out about?
I don’t know if this is considered nerding out, but when I see a REALLY, really good film, no matter what country it comes from or how much they spent on it, I love good film. And I get SO excited over something – not just film, but any form of the creative arts – film, theater, television I guess – if I am moved by something, I become a geek and can’t stop talking about it.
Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them!
We are going to have goldfish, but that’s about as much as I can handle. I don’t know when we are buying the goldfish yet, and I am about to be gone a lot, so we might have to rethink the goldfish.
Would you ever consider writing a book?
Yes. I will definitely write a fiction before I’m 70, and then at some point in my 70s I will write an autobiography, but I have a tiny problem (which is a massive problem as far as autobiographies are concerned) – my memory. I will need people who were around at the time to tell me how it really happened.
Thank you for being my first crush.
You’re welcome! Anytime. I’ll be your second crush too.
What was it like working with Vince Gilligan, and what do you think of Breaking Bad‘s success?
Vince Gilligan is one of the most talented writers I have ever met, and one of the sweetest men in existence, and it’s so incongruous that the material of BREAKING BAD is spawned from the likes of this seemingly innocent Virginia nerd. I am so happy for him and for the success of his show.
What’s your favourite flavour of muffin?
I prefer scones. And every time I go to Los Angeles, because they don’t sell them in the London Starbucks, but in the Starbucks in LA, they have those Oat-Nut Scones with the Maple Frosting – oh my god. I literally will buy 2 of them, eat one and then carry one around in my purse for days even if it’s as hard as a rock 3 days later.
I personally feel this AMA is implausible Mulder.
“I wasn’t sure your little fingers could reach the keyboard?”