Gillian Anderson is back on the small screen (2013)
(CNN) — It’s safe to say that Gillian Anderson has returned to television.
The former “X-Files” star is involved in three TV series, beginning with a lead role in “The Fall,” a psychological crime thriller that debuted to rave reviews on May 13 in Britain. The show hits the U.S. on May 28 when it’ll be available for streaming via Netflix.
In “The Fall,” Anderson plays a detective who’s pulled into a serial killer case with a unique twist to the genre: the audience knows the culprit from the beginning.
But her on-screen exploration of killers doesn’t stop there. Recently, she’s been seen on NBC’s “Hannibal,” playing Hannibal Lecter’s psychiatrist. Later this summer, she’ll start work on a new NBC show called “Crisis,” which got a series pick-up earlier this month.
CNN spoke with Anderson recently from New York City about her new TV series, the groundbreaking nature of “The X-Files,” and whether Mulder and Scully will reunite on the big screen.
CNN: In “The Fall” you play Stella Gibson, a detective looking for a serial killer. She seems like a very serious person. Is this one of your more serious roles?
Gillian Anderson: I don’t know about that. I’ve played a lot of serious women. I seem to be the go-to woman for seriousness, but as you will see, she’s not all serious. There is some lightness in there and some different flavors of personality, I promise.
CNN: The show tells the story in a unique way in the sense that the audience knows who the killer is from the onset. What’s interesting for you about the way the story is told?
Anderson: First of all, that hasn’t really been done before which is always nice to jump into something that has a bit of uniqueness in this day and age of many, many shows about serial killers. The story lines themselves are very intricately woven and individually complex. The fact that you got a serial killer who is attractive, who is a good father and who is also a grief counselor on the side while he’s stalking women and doing unthinkable things … is really eerie. The fact that he’s so recognizable as someone we might meet in a bar … there’s so many different layers in this story. It’s a cross section of human life and death, and that’s something in this that works on a much deeper level than just a simple tale of a serial killer hunted by a detective.
CNN: When working on a show that deals with a serial killer, do you ever take your work home with you? Is it depressing to think about murder a lot?
Anderson: I don’t think about it all the time. I think I learned quite early on in my career when I was working on the “X-Files” that what’s on the page, stays on the page. What’s on the set, stays on the set. Very often if I’m working on dark material, I work on it in day time. So it doesn’t effect my night. But also, it’s easy … we talk about compartmentalizing in the series — I think it’s easy to compartmentalize.
CNN: You also played Hannibal Lecter’s therapist on NBC’s “Hannibal.” Is the psychology of killers something you know well at this point in your life?
Anderson: No, not necessarily I don’t feel like I’m any particular expert on it even though I’ve played many characters who seem to be hunters. Hannibal was something that came out the blue. Bryan Fuller, the creator, convinced me how fun it would be to come play with them for a little while. How cool it would be to be Hannibal’s psychiatrist. I believed him and said yes. It’s funny. I don’t think about these things all together; I think about them individually.
CNN: In some other alternate universe, could you be a therapist?
Anderson: I could definitely be a therapist. I could not be a forensics pathologist or a detective.
CNN: TV’s having this great creative moment right now that everyone is pointing out. Do you think “X-Files” forged a path in certain ways in terms of what the medium could do?
Anderson: It was No 1. It was the first one. There’s been a plethora of copy cats and a plethora of different shows that tried to emulate not just the success, but the formula, but also the production values.
Our show was the beginning of huge amounts of money going onto the screen. But also, the darkness of it: we were the first show to kind of “turn off the lights” and just light ourselves by flashlight — and also the subject matter. The dark subject matter, the paranormal subject matter, the science-fiction, the duo, the intelligent woman on TV … they were kinda No. 1 with all that.
CNN: You do play a lot of smart people.
Anderson: [Laughs.] I do play so many people that are so much smarter than I am. It’s ridiculous. If only I could contain the information that they spout in my practical life, that would be very good.
CNN: You have another series due out later this year on NBC called “Crisis.” What’s your character like on that?
Anderson: It seems like that’s going to be mid-season. The story as a whole is that there’s a high school of elite children in Washington D.C., including the son of the president, and they’re on their way to New York for a school trip and their bus gets hijacked. I play a mother of one of the kids who is the son of a CEO of a multinational [corporation]. The story is about what these high-powered people will do to get back the things they care most about, which is their kids.
CNN: Is there talk about another “X-Files” movie?
Anderson: Yep, yep. People talk about it. It has to be written. At the point that it’s written, if it’s good, David and I have always said we’ll be involved. So we’ll see.