Fanexpo Canada (2015)
September 5-6 2015
X Files’ back with a bang as Gillian Anderson invades Fan Expo Canada
Fan Expo events can be a real tossed salad and scrambled eggs for Gillian Anderson.
Heading into her appearance at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto (Sept. 3-6), I asked Anderson if fans inquire about anything other than The X-Files when she attends such things.
“Every once in a while somebody comes up and says that Playing by Heart is their favourite film, or that they saw Bleak House, or Great Expectations,” Anderson said. “It’s always surprising to me that people actually have seen those things.”
But Anderson has such a vast acting resume, it would get funnier the more obscure it got, right? Like, if someone came up to her and said they had never heard of The X-Files, but they loved that time she voiced a character who called in to the radio show on Frasier.
“Actually, I forgot about the call-in on Frasier,” said Anderson, laughing very hard.
“You know what I love is when the Miyazaki fans come up,” she added, referring to her voice work on an animated Japanese film called From Up on Poppy Hill.
Joking aside, with Fox bringing back The X-Files as a limited series (six episodes, debuting on Jan. 24, 2016), Anderson is sure to cause quite a stir at Fan Expo Canada. Anderson, of course, plays Dana Scully, alongside David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder.
So why previously was it never the right time to revive The X-Files – which aired originally from 1993 to 2002 – but now it is?
“We were so focused on the idea that we would do a film, and also, until recently, doing a TV drama meant you were committing to between 20 and 24 episodes,” Anderson explained. “That was just not going to happen, for either David or I.
“Only in the last few years has it become acceptable for networks to do short stack (short seasons). That was our in. It took some convincing for me, but it was the right time for all of us, I think.”
Anderson said it didn’t take long for the subtle chemistry – my term, not hers – between herself and Duchovny to re-emerge.
“Chris Carter was very clever in casting us, in that there’s energy that exists just when David and I are standing in a room together,” Anderson said. “What was interesting, I guess, is the writers completely (capitalized) on that, and drew out that reality as long as they possibly could.
“It was to the point where the tiniest touch of the hand in season five would make people freak out. So I don’t know how subtle that is, given that it was so manipulated.”
But that’s the perfect combination, isn’t it? It was manipulated, but it felt subtle to viewers.
As for Anderson’s other recent TV work, she played Dr. Bedelia du Maurier on Hannibal, which wrapped up just last week.
“(Hannibal) really belongs on cable, it was a miracle that NBC allowed it to last as long as it did,” Anderson said. “And it’s a shame that nobody has picked it up. I think everybody understands why (it was cancelled), but it had a pretty decent and very, very loyal, slightly obsessed following.
“It’s a shame. I guess it had its life. I think one of the execs on it tweeted (within the past week) that it’s not necessarily the end. So I don’t know what that means. But if you saw (the finale), there’s a big question mark for Bedelia.”
There aren’t many question marks about how busy Anderson is these days, be it on stage, on film or on TV. There’s another season of The Fall coming up, she has a part in the mini-series War and Peace, and she’ll be starring in a stage version of A Streetcar Named Desire in New York early next year.
“I’m about to go to India for something else, and I’m just sort of realizing that maybe I need a bit of a break,” she said, laughing again, as if she hadn’t realized how full her schedule is until I started listing her projects.
“Yeah, who’s doing all that stuff?” she asked. “Is that me?”
Hey, Gillian Anderson, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, you always can get some advice from Dr. Frasier Crane. He’s listening.
The truth about Gillian Anderson
Actress has plenty of projects to talk about at Fan Expo Canada, between Hannibal, The X-Files and The Fall.
By: Richard Ouzounian Theatre Critic, Published on Thu Sep 03 2015
Spoiler alert: This story contains spoilers for the series finale of Hannibal.
The truth is that Gillian Anderson has a lot on her plate these days.
That means the actress will have a lot to discuss with the fans who’ll line up to see her Saturday and Sunday at Fan Expo Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Some people will want to know about the upcoming six-episode reboot of The X-Files, which she’s finishing filming for Fox; others will want to grill her about the meaning of the final episode of Hannibal, which aired last week; a third group will be wondering what’s ahead in Season 3 of The Fall, the dark crime drama on Netflix that goes back into production this autumn.
“There is a lot happening in my life, isn’t there?” she says on a short break from shooting The X-Files. “But I can usually guess what show people are devoted to when they walk up to the table to see me. I mean, apart from the dead giveaways like the Scully fridge magnets, the Bedelia T-shirts or the Stella bumper stickers.
“Different people like different shows and you can see it in their eyes. I find it fascinating and a bit exciting.”
These days, Anderson is fielding a lot of questions about the controversial final shots of Hannibal (spoiler alert!), which found her psychiatrist character Bedelia Du Maurier seated a dinner table set for three, about to dine on her own leg.
“Well, what do you think it meant?” she asks. She laughs when I say it was a pre-emptive strike on her part against Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) carving her up himself.
“It could be that. It could be any one of the numerous theories that people are suggesting. I prefer that there remain an air of mystery around it, especially now that the series has ended. That’s what keeps people talking about it.
“I mean, look at The X-Files.”
Anderson was a 24-year-old stage actress with limited television experience when Chris Carter decided she was the perfect combination of intelligence, sexuality and danger for the character of FBI special agent Dana Scully.
For nine seasons, she and co-star David Duchovny captured the imaginations of TV viewers around the world.
“I still don’t know just why it became such a huge success,” Anderson says. “I think it was the perfect time for it politically. If it had started in the Bush administration well, I don’t think we could have gotten away with a lot of what we did.
“At that point, the audiences needed something to grab onto that was artistic, yet entertaining, and took them to another degree of creative imagination. Something which also allowed there to be an element of doubt they were trying to resolve. ‘The truth is out there’ became more than a slogan. It was our mantra.”
She credits Carter’s sure hand for a lot of the show’s success. “We came at the right time and Chris saw that we had the right mixture of ingredients. He also positioned us well. We started the whole idea of appointment television.”
Anderson is reluctant to reveal too much about the new version, but she did confirm that Canadian actor-director William Davis has returned as “Cigarette Smoking Man” and that “the show has the same feel. That much hasn’t changed.”
The X-Files reboot is almost finished and Hannibal has been cancelled, but The Fall is still going strong. Anderson will begin shooting Season 3 of the British-Irish thriller later this year.
As Stella Gibson, detective superintendent in charge of tracking down a serial killer in Belfast, Anderson has done some of the deepest and most troubling work of her career.
“I knew this one was difficult but good from the start. On the very first day, I knew what we were getting was pretty cool. The only question was whether or not the audience would get it as well. But they seem to have and that’s very gratifying.
“Stella Gibson is a very complicated character, and it’s a huge pleasure and honour to spend time in her company. I actually find there’s a kind of fog that settles over me when I’m playing her. It’s strange, but somehow reassuring.”
When The Fall is finished, she’s off to New York, to recreate her triumphant but shattering stage performance as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. She’s looking forward to the experience “even though it’s incredibly draining.”
“I’ve been playing so many troubled and troubling women in the past little while, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Human beings are complicated creatures. Why should we pretend they aren’t?”
Gillian with fans (source twitter/tumblr)