To many X Files fans, Gillian Anderson will always be flame-haired, skeptical Agent Scully. But in the decade since the series signed off, the actress, who now lives in London, has starred in several West End plays and in such acclaimed BBC productions as Bleak House and Great Expectations. Now Anderson appears in The Crimson Petal and the White, airing September 10 and 11at 8 pm ET/PT on Encore.
Your character in The Crimson Petal (above right) is very unsympathetic—a madam who pimps her daughter! Why did you want to play her?
It’s always the opportunity to do something I haven’t done before. I also find that I need to fall in love with the character,even if she’s despicable.
You’ve just shot several movies as well as a BBC crime series. Does it feel as though your career is firing on all pistons?
I guess it does, yes—although none of them are projectsthat took me away from home for long. I get pretty adamant about shooting my role quickly so that I don’t have to disrupt my family life [with her partner, businessman Mark Griffiths, and three children, ages 18, five and three].
During the run of X Files, you appeared on lots of “sexiest women” lists. Were you flattered or embarrassed?
The first time, I did the interview on the phone wearing old flannel pajamas, which was funny. For years, I kind of shrugged it off, but as you get older, if people are still paying attention, it’s flattering.
Judging from recent photos, you could still make the lists.
Thank you. For years I never paid much attention to what I looked like. Now when I see old pictures, I think, Why did I let someone put giant curls in my hair and put me in that dress?! I’m finally paying more attention now.
What’s the oddest fan encounter you’ve had?
I guess it was meeting a woman who had my face tattooed on one butt cheek and [X Files costar] David Duchovny’s on the other. I mean, what more can I say?It doesn’t get any more committed than that.
Want MORE? Check out our interview with Woman of Interest Kathy Griffin.
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