Huffington Post Interview (2013)
Gillian Anderson On ‘The Fall’ And Returning To American TV In ‘Crisis’
Gillian Anderson is staging an impressive return to the TV.
Later this month, “The Fall,” a five-episode successful BBC 2 series starring Anderson, makes its way to Netflix. The series, which co-stars “The Good Wife’s” Archie Panjabi and “Once Upon a Time” veteran Jamie Dornan, is a provocative murder mystery that follows Stella Gibson (Anderson), a detective superintendent who is called in to investigate a serial killer in Belfast.
All five episodes will be on Netflix beginning May 28 and Anderson says it won’t disappoint. “Finish ‘The Fall,'” she told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “It gets better and better, I promise.”
Anderson, who spent nine seasons as Dana Scully on “The X-Files,” is returning to viewers’ lives in a big way. Later this year, the actress, who’s been recurring on NBC’s “Hannibal,” will also be in the Peacock Network’s “Crisis,” a new drama from Rand Ravich. Below, Anderson opens up about her upcoming projects, how she felt about playing a detective again, what she has binge-watched and much more.
Were you drawn to the character of Stella Gibson or the story of “The Fall”?
I think if I’m honest, primarily, initially, the character. I find her so intriguing and I still find her quite mysterious and I think that’s quite unusual for a contemporary drama. I like the way she handles situations and I thought I kind of need to be this person for a while. Obviously, the scripts themselves were very well-written, very compelling, very emotionally engaging. I knew that after having conversations with [the minds behind “The Fall”] that they had similar ideas as I did about how it should be shot and once we were all on the same page, it just seemed like something I couldn’t not do.
Were you apprehensive about playing a detective character again?
No. I mean, since the end of “The X-Files,” I’ve played other law enforcement officials. I’ve played MI-5, MI-7. It seems to be something that follows me a bit, but Stella seems so different to me than Scully that it didn’t feel like it was going to hamper my trajectory in any way. That’s what’s interesting to me as much as anything: having an opportunity to play different characters no matter what it is that they do for a living.
The rest of “The Fall” cast — Archie Panjabi with “The Good Wife” and Jamie Dornan with “Once Upon a Time” — has had crossover success here. How was it working with them?
Archie is a fantastic actress and we have a very interesting and compelling relationship in “The Fall.” Anytime that you get good, seasoned actors on the set together, it can only raise everybody’s game. It’s always a pleasure. Jamie Dornan was probably one of the only people that would’ve been right for this role. Just everything he brings to the character — the fact that he is as attractive as he is and he is completely believable as a father (and quite a doting father) and equally believable as a serial killer. That’s quite a tall order and there’s something particularly creepy about the concept that somebody might be attracted to a person who was, at the same time, doing those types of things to women, which throws up the types of questions this series as a whole asks. Where is that line that’s drawn between the people who think about doing things and acting in particular ways and the ones that actually do it? How close is he to everybody else who lives a similar life that he does, except for one little area of his life? [Laughs.]
Yeah, just a little area.
[Laughs.] A tiny one.
Have you ever binge-watched anything?
They only thing that I’ve ever binge-watched was the first season of “The Killing.” I was in Michigan for a couple of weeks and therefore, had no other commitments. My children were with me [laughs] and I needed a distraction. [While I was watching,] I got that feeling like I needed a heroin hit. Like, literally. [Laughs.] I have not had that before — where my heart started to palpitate and I couldn’t get my next DVD in quick enough. You know, that kind of thing. I haven’t given myself the opportunity to have [that feeling] since because it literally terrifies me. The thought that I’d get so hooked on something else that would make me decide to watch it instead of spend time with my kids or instead of watching something else that I might, in a highfalutin way, think is better for my brain, I start to hyperventilate.
Why did you pick “Crisis” for your return to American TV?
First of all, I had a deal with NBC to develop something. We were getting close to the end of that time and I wasn’t sure if there was going to be something to draw my attention enough to make that commitment. And then, what has been called up until this point the “Untitled Rand Ravich Project” [Laughs.], was a page-turner. I couldn’t put the script down. I thought that it might be kind of cool to step into an ensemble that wasn’t going to take a huge amount of my time. It was something that I thought, “I kind of want to know what happens next in this.” It seemed like it was going to tick many boxes because it was going work with my schedule and I could have a presence, but not as big a commitment as a lead character. It just seemed do-able and like it would be a fun piece to be involved with. After talking to Rand and Far [Shariat, “Crisis” executive producer], they’re great guys and they have a real commitment to making this real quality television.
Also, with NBC’s stated commitment to making shows that feel more like cable, I’m counting on them to allow us to do that because that’s how this is going to work. It doesn’t have to be as dark as “Hannibal,” but I thought they were very successful in being able to do what they have with “Hannibal” and keep it on primetime network for as long as they have and there’s another opportunity with this show and I’m hoping that that’s what it turns out to be.
Do you think fans of “The X-Files” will follow “Crisis”? Is it up their alley?
It seems these days that everybody seems to watch everything. I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, just because people can watch things whenever they want to, whenever they have time to. People who enjoy “24” and enjoy “Homeland” — hopefully this is going to have that kind of a feel to it. If people start watching it because they had been fans of “The X-Files” and wanted to see what I’m doing next — after seeing the pilot, I have to say that people are not going to be able to not watch Episode 2. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but they’re not going to be able to not watch it. If they started coming there for me and they come back because there’s quality television, then great.
“The Fall” premieres on Netflix on Tuesday, May 28. “Crisis” hits NBC on Sundays at 10 p.m. later in 2013.