It Took Gillian Anderson 10 Years to Appreciate The X-Files

The star reprises her role as Agent Scully this weekend in the premiere of a six-episode series.

by | January 22, 2016 | Comments


When we last saw Scully and Mulder, in the 2008 movie The X-Files: I Want to Believe, they were married. To most fans, the question was: what took them so long? Their chemistry in every episode of the show was palpable. But six years later, we get to see them again in the new six episode X-Files series. SPOILER ALERT — We’re sorry to report that Scully and Mulder have split in the time since their last adventure.

Actually, it gives the new show a great place to start when they are reunited. An internet conspiracy theorist (Joel McHale) presents Mulder (David Duchovny) with some convincing evidence of a new conspiracy. Scully (Gillian Anderson) remains skeptical, but even she finds reasons to believe. Anderson sat down with Rotten Tomatoes and other Television Critics Association reporters for a round of questions.

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Were you as excited as all of us were to find out where Scully and Mulder were after all these years?

Gillian Anderson: I was. I don’t think I had any expectations when I went into reading the first script and into the series at all. But when I read it, I thought, “You know what? That feels exactly right. That feels exactly where we need to be with this at this juncture.”

Rotten Tomatoes: Was it bittersweet to find out that they had parted?

Anderson: No.

Rotten Tomatoes: Is it actually better dramatic material this way?

Anderson: Definitely.

Q: Some people shy away from returning to a famous character of theirs. Were you ready to inhabit Scully again?

Anderson: I think so. I’ve worked really hard to shed her for such a long time, and I think felt like I had enough other work under my belt that, perhaps by taking it on again, it wouldn’t pigeonhole me. So hopefully that will be the case. I think it took me a long time to embrace it after we were done with the series. I think it took a good decade for me to suddenly start thinking of it as the gift that it was and to properly appreciate the opportunity that I had and also how fortunate I was to play such a great iconic character in a show that was iconic in and of itself, and for such a long time and that it could have been something else. It could have been something that I hated or had bad reviews.  So I was very lucky, and I think it suddenly hit me some time later.

Q: Scully is still the skeptic but she’s finding hard evidence. How does that change the characters?

Anderson: We’re going to have to see as the series goes on a little bit further, because we’re only at the very beginning. Not all of the episodes deal with that part of the storyline and the mythology in that way. I think almost in the next episode it might be that didn’t necessarily even happen. As they used to, we jump very much in time. You’ll know when we get back to that subject matter, but it might not necessarily be in order, so to speak.


Rotten Tomatoes: When Chris Carter told you there was going to be a comedy episode, what did you think of that?

Anderson: I expected it. There had to be. I wouldn’t have done it if there wasn’t!

Rotten Tomatoes: What sort of funny things do you get to do in it?

Anderson: I can’t tell you anything. Just the same old, a lot of things like we used to do. So there were a lot of moments where we’re like, “Oh my God, we’re doing this again!”

Q: Are there going to be any horrifying episodes in this six?

Anderson: It’s so hard to tell because when we’re in it, it’s not until there’s audience reaction. We knew “Home” was freaky, but we didn’t realize that people were going to find it so freaky. So I’m not sure if I’m always the one who has the right perspective on it, because when we’re in it, I might get the sense of it to a degree when I’m reading it, but I’m not even sure if I do anymore in that respect. It’s after everything else has been added, so I don’t know.

Rotten Tomatoes: Were you excited by the idea that conspiracy theorists have become a lot more public than they were since The X-Files?

Anderson: I don’t know if I’ve ever had that thought before you just said that right then. The fact is that people have always approached us about it. It’s been a topic of our lives more than probably most people’s lives, so I’m so used to it. It doesn’t actually make me flinch.

Q: What are some ways that the ability to dig up this information has changed?

Anderson: I think you have to talk to Chris about that, because I’ve never really been a part of that research. Even on the episode I did, we had researchers. Obviously, with the world of the world wide web right now, it’s going to be easier to access stuff than it ever had before, but I don’t know what their process was.


Q: Has anything fundamentally changed about the way Scully pursues information?

Anderson: I’m trying to figure out whether there’s any examples of it in the episodes that we have. They go to their phones to find stuff like everybody does. That’s different. Having the laptop open to search stuff in the episodes, that’s different.

Rotten Tomatoes: Did you develop any new skills doing The Fall and Hannibal that you were able to apply to Scully this time around?

Anderson: I think it was actually more important to let go of those skills in order to get back to the essence of who she was, so that I didn’t get held up. That was more challenging than I expected.

Q: Was it really difficult to let go of Dr. Du Maurier from Hannibal?

Anderson: No, it’s not that. No, no, no. Not at all. I guess more with Stella [in The Fall] and playing Stella so much more recently. Here we’ve got another, for all intents and purposes, investigative officer at some point. Remembering how they differ and to what degree and what it is that makes them differ, so that when I’m answering questions or even just listening, that it’s Scully’s listening face and not Stella’s listening face. It’s that stuff.

Q: The X-Files was very much of its time. How is this arc of 2016?

Anderson: Well, I think the subject matter that is evident in the first episode, which is again, conspiracy, etc. but the climate of not just conspiracy especially by government, but in terms of how we’re listened to and how we’re controlled and how events have manifested around the world in a completely different way because of that information, etc. are all parts of this first episode. We touch on it, as you have seen, everything that is current that has to do with the things that we have always been interested in. So it’s almost as if the culmination of our fears have manifested themselves in our current world. We’re telling that truth.

Season ten of The X-Files premieres on Sunday, January 24 on FOX after football. Read reviews here.

  • Jack Dee

    I have no idea if this will suck or not. But I will still watch, because I will always believe.

    • Maudite Balvenie

      The truth is out there. 🙂

  • Atyka

    I must be alone in this but I never felt like Mulder and Scully had all that much romantic chemistry. In the early seasons it felt far more natural to view their performances as “respected colleagues” which turned into very close friendship as they went through the shows various arcs. Even when I first watched the show as it aired back in the 90s I just never felt like their was a romance that had to be explored between them.

    Anyway, that aside, I very much hope this revival is more “seasons 1-4” in terms of quality than seasons “6+”. The X-Files was basically a case study in what happens when a show is kept on the air long after it should naturally have ended just because it was popular.

Tag Cloud

halloween tv DirecTV First Look Sundance TV 4/20 Ovation Discovery Channel sitcom DC Universe scene in color X-Men Teen Musicals dragons die hard joker TLC Anna Paquin transformers Nickelodeon Comic Book OneApp Pacific Islander 2015 Comedy golden globes Amazon Prime Video Comic-Con@Home 2021 robots rotten movies we love laika satire social media Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt comic spanish E! Martial Arts Bravo Interview streaming TV One psychological thriller venice adaptation asian-american Shondaland TV diversity Arrowverse television Trivia talk show PBS YouTube Black Mirror nfl crossover natural history MTV Chernobyl films Spike Cannes Acorn TV Fox Searchlight animated disaster CBS mockumentary reboot Television Academy Alien heist movie quibi aapi Brie Larson target lord of the rings binge 93rd Oscars what to watch Academy Awards jurassic park spider-man Tarantino Lionsgate historical drama YA cancelled TV shows IFC Films Holiday singing competition Calendar Horror Mudbound stand-up comedy Awards docuseries Lifetime Christmas movies anthology TCM Masterpiece romantic comedy video Song of Ice and Fire DC Comics boxoffice Apple TV Plus Black History Month Ghostbusters high school Cosplay Columbia Pictures ABC Signature YouTube Red Rock Super Bowl toy story TCA razzies LGBT christmas movies miniseries Pet Sematary ABC Family Avengers 2019 El Rey CMT archives hidden camera CNN Countdown Elton John football Quiz Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2017 cults Nat Geo Fox News 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards aliens superhero Baby Yoda fast and furious period drama Marathons Epix superman women anime scary movies Mary Poppins Returns movies Syfy dogs Film Disney Plus 24 frames Kids & Family fresh SXSW TV Land hispanic Stephen King vampires cops SDCC japanese Fantasy Ellie Kemper parents First Reviews ESPN cars documentaries The Walt Disney Company revenge mutant TCA Awards 2021 unscripted Box Office police drama 2020 rom-coms video on demand crime drama travel Starz thriller romance child's play Amazon San Diego Comic-Con VH1 strong female leads canceled Set visit Marvel Emmys Toys ID Wes Anderson south america deadpool sequel Tomatazos Comics on TV Apple TV+ stop motion batman scorecard APB TBS NBA Disney Channel science fiction international Dark Horse Comics Crunchyroll Animation Emmy Nominations Opinion worst movies ITV latino adventure Hulu monster movies Paramount Network GIFs kids renewed TV shows Lucasfilm 2018 A&E Logo chucky a nightmare on elm street Writers Guild of America new star wars movies japan TV renewals ViacomCBS Marvel Studios Video Games Watching Series doctor who BET Awards slashers news marvel cinematic universe Britbox toronto tv talk OWN Turner WarnerMedia Reality Competition mission: impossible Music 90s cinemax obituary Apple Amazon Prime game of thrones composers spy thriller streaming movies nature ratings adenture teaser serial killer breaking bad LGBTQ Warner Bros. rt archives Comedy Central sports classics technology pirates of the caribbean directors book adaptation BET best BBC America PaleyFest Captain marvel indie blockbuster richard e. Grant cats Superheroes rotten 99% The Walking Dead Lifetime casting Sci-Fi docudrama Travel Channel TV movies hist Showtime zero dark thirty ABC Drama President concert ghosts Pirates facebook Certified Fresh discovery Vudu The Purge Pop TV NYCC Mary Tyler Moore spain versus Sneak Peek Tumblr Year in Review Winter TV Disney Hear Us Out Endgame war Amazon Studios Reality RT21 comic books canceled TV shows live action Food Network Esquire MSNBC FX on Hulu Premiere Dates AMC zombie criterion festival cancelled TV series Binge Guide spinoff 007 Rom-Com spanish language finale green book sequels Extras Mindy Kaling 45 Film Festival free movies Polls and Games trailers hollywood dc emmy awards Thanksgiving Turner Classic Movies Walt Disney Pictures worst NBC stoner Freeform australia Adult Swim new york supernatural BAFTA The Witch popular boxing Pop king arthur based on movie SundanceTV The Academy New York Comic Con Winners Broadway Sundance Biopics godzilla Awards Tour Cartoon Network screenings harry potter crime thriller HBO Go golden globe awards blaxploitation sag awards Star Trek Superheroe biography Pixar Musical Television Critics Association TCA Winter 2020 cancelled television french series comedies The Arrangement Pride Month nbcuniversal Legendary dceu Funimation DC streaming service screen actors guild Podcast game show See It Skip It justice league space Country Western TNT The CW festivals RT History basketball FOX Spring TV universal monsters Rocketman blockbusters Sony Pictures VICE comiccon zombies Paramount Plus Mary poppins 21st Century Fox Character Guide Disney streaming service twilight documentary witnail Summer HBO Max Sundance Now politics BBC Tokyo Olympics Trophy Talk Christmas TruTV true crime Holidays GLAAD Classic Film Trailer Disney+ Disney Plus Image Comics new zealand jamie lee curtis Oscars telelvision YouTube Premium Mystery medical drama dark prank CW Seed Family all-time Shudder kong political drama Rocky know your critic dramedy Photos FXX WGN Creative Arts Emmys Best and Worst halloween History USA Star Wars Women's History Month MCU Crackle italian reviews cartoon saw American Society of Cinematographers crime name the review theme song BBC One VOD GoT Heroines Peacock Election olympics suspense james bond Netflix Christmas movies 71st Emmy Awards franchise Fall TV Tubi Action Exclusive Video USA Network book Netflix 1990s wonder woman Infographic indiana jones Schedule Hallmark Christmas movies psycho HBO Red Carpet children's TV kaiju king kong legend 20th Century Fox Grammys critics comics remakes Nominations 72 Emmy Awards TIFF Paramount black TCA 2017 2016 E3 National Geographic cooking award winner Valentine's Day Marvel Television movie elevated horror FX werewolf IFC Hallmark A24 CBS All Access cancelled PlayStation foreign Spectrum Originals Universal independent DGA