Best of both worlds

Gil­lian An­der­son on the sur­pris­ing longevity of The X-Files and why she has lost her Amer­i­can ac­cent.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz -

Were you wor­ried when you first moved to Bri­tain that you might be sac­ri­fic­ing a Hol­ly­wood ca­reer? You hardly have a trace of an Amer­i­can ac­cent. Was that a con­scious ef­fort?

You for­get I grew up in Eng­land. I moved here when I was two and spent my for­ma­tive years here. My par­ents al­ways re­tained a flat here; so in the sum­mer­time we would come back.

Es­sen­tially, it was my first lan­guage. When we first moved back to the United States, it took me a lit­tle while to get rid of my Bri­tish ac­cent.

And I didn’t re­ally lose it un­til maybe at the end of high school or be­gin­ning of col­lege. It’s al­ways been my first lan­guage so to speak, so it is near im­pos­si­ble for me not to fall into it when I moved here. And my kids are Bri­tish and my part­ners have all been Bri­tish.

(She’s been mar­ried twice, di­vorced twice, has a daugh­ter from her first hus­band, and two boys from a third re­la­tion­ship which she ended in 2012.)

How easy is it for you to jug­gle ca­reer and fam­ily?

It takes a lot of ef­fort, a very care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of the choices you have to make, although it’s be­come eas­ier over time.

When you’re younger and you’re pulled in so many dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions and you don’t know what’s right and what feels right – there are so many things in this busi­ness that can make you feel un­com­fort­able – you feel you’re sell­ing your soul in a sense. And that makes you feel de­pleted, that you’re do­ing things that aren’t gen­uine.

But as you get older it gets eas­ier to make those de­ci­sions and to iden­tify what feels com­fort­able in your skin and what’s im­por­tant to you.

You are about to start shoot­ing the new sea­son of

Are you sur­prised the fans are still here?

The X-Files.

We know the fans are still here. What is sur­pris­ing are the new fans.

There’s a whole other gen­er­a­tion of fans who’ve dis­cov­ered the se­ries (through stream­ing ser­vices) so to be met by 13-year-olds who are talk­ing about how they have seen all the episodes and they can’t wait for the new sea­son, that I think was sur­pris­ing. It’s had a longevity far be­yond what we ever imag­ined.

You say liv­ing in Lon­don you’re shielded from the pa­parazzi. How do you feel about the me­dia in gen­eral?

I think of the years that I used to dis­dain it. If you look at those pic­tures of me when X-Files was break­ing, I al­ways had this look on my face of dis­dain.

But over time, as I have got­ten older, I have learned to ap­pre­ci­ate how we can be of ser­vice to each other, and the im­por­tance, when work­ing on great projects, of get­ting it out there in the right way so that it is per­ceived in the way that you would like it to be per­ceived.

Speak­ing of projects, your new se­ries of­fers you a chance to play David Bowie, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and Lu­cille Ball. You must have jumped at the op­por­tu­nity.

Amer­i­can Gods

Ab­so­lutely. It re­ally has been a gift. But I wasn’t sure, when I first jumped into it, whether I em­braced the fact that I had such an op­por­tu­nity, or was I think­ing, “What have I done?”.

But af­ter I fig­ured out the lo­gis­tics ex­actly of how to do each of them, I re­laxed a lit­tle bit and then re­alised that this can be a lot of fun, and I just need to make the most of it.

Who was the most fun to play?

Prob­a­bly Mar­i­lyn, be­cause she’s so bright and light­hearted and I am not. I tend to be so se­ri­ous; so it was nice to em­body some­one who’s bub­bly and bright spir­ited and flirty and stuff, so it was fun to jump into her.

Are you a sci-fi junkie?

You know, it’s in­ter­est­ing. I have never been a sci-fi reader, I ap­pre­ci­ate cer­tain kinds of sci-fi films; I think Close En­coun­ters (Of The Third Kind) was a big deal for me when I first saw it, but I have never specif­i­cally been drawn to the genre.

But it keeps find­ing me. I keep be­ing pre­sented with (sci-fi) things and I keep think­ing no, I don’t want to go there, but they are things that I just can’t say no to.

I mean, when (ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer) Bryan (Fuller) ap­proached me to do Amer­i­can Gods with the op­por­tu­nity to play dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters, I mean, you re­ally can’t say no to that.

And so, as much as I think I need to start mix­ing it up a bit more, I keep be­ing shown that maybe (scifi) is where I need to re­side a bit longer. So, I am a reluc­tant fan.

Photo: Hand­out

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