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

rt labs period drama singing competition miniseries obituary FXX mcc binge live action royal family GIFs jurassic park book Horror scary movies green book Disney streaming service First Look History IMDb TV Comedy Central prank name the review spanish fresh The Walking Dead ABC Family SundanceTV vs. crime drama spider-verse Food Network ViacomCBS Nat Geo rt archives PlayStation IFC psycho romance Amazon Studios medical drama Academy Awards dramedy Mystery CBS All Access hidden camera Shudder 20th Century Fox VH1 X-Men Hallmark Christmas movies DGA Turner FOX Box Office scary posters Sundance Now docuseries biography Britbox Binge Guide cartoon films cinemax 2019 Oscars blockbuster MCU Extras TCA Winter 2020 Country dexter Television Academy Captain marvel finale Apple TV Plus breaking bad DirecTV tv talk Legendary TCM Fox Searchlight Tomatazos Universal Pictures Adult Swim VICE Esquire marvel comics WarnerMedia technology Crunchyroll political drama high school spain space 72 Emmy Awards Nominations Summer Year in Review crime thriller popular rt labs critics edition Mary poppins laika 71st Emmy Awards Premiere Dates asian-american Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt nfl TNT Crackle Spring TV nature 2021 game of thrones italian CNN Turner Classic Movies zombie suspense mutant superman A24 Trophy Talk Netflix Christmas movies crossover composers comedies hispanic BET Apple TV+ BBC One Biopics archives Emmy Nominations TLC theme song Election ABC Family stoner Arrowverse USA Network San Diego Comic-Con trailers Masterpiece sitcom Television Critics Association Awards zero dark thirty TV Land Disney Channel chucky Marvel Television Broadway sopranos Syfy boxoffice screen actors guild Fall TV what to watch Baby Yoda book adaptation CW Seed richard e. Grant Mindy Kaling Lifetime Instagram Live Photos Universal NBA cults ESPN james bond south america 99% ID NBC fast and furious FX saw 2018 latino french SDCC Cosplay Spectrum Originals IFC Films comic book movie MTV Animation Red Carpet social media supernatural slashers indiana jones dragons basketball DC Universe Martial Arts Countdown Star Wars ratings streaming movies toy story critics Comic-Con@Home 2021 Stephen King Brie Larson spinoff marvel cinematic universe science fiction reviews TCA Awards a nightmare on elm street Musical young adult SXSW versus Bravo MSNBC OneApp CMT Tumblr superhero Alien aapi Rock Comedy mission: impossible video on demand docudrama cars transformers natural history CBS streaming dreamworks Tarantino Rocky Hulu Calendar National Geographic A&E king arthur Action spider-man BAFTA Cartoon Network Ovation Hallmark Film Disney+ Disney Plus Chernobyl Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comiccon BBC America twilight AMC Plus Neflix Mary Poppins Returns unscripted Fox News olympics anthology revenge all-time Warner Bros. debate canceled TV shows sequels independent reboot TIFF sag awards hist travel Christmas Best and Worst golden globes slasher king kong new zealand target anime elevated horror Black History Month Rocketman award winner foreign monster movies emmy awards Lionsgate Logo Superheroe talk show festivals Winter TV TruTV AMC Starz japan Kids & Family adenture child's play YA Amazon Prime Video mob documentary Endgame Film Festival biopic Certified Fresh canceled Lucasfilm First Reviews DC streaming service Sci-Fi serial killer HBO Max australia kong Polls and Games Tokyo Olympics Song of Ice and Fire Superheroes robots Columbia Pictures art house 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Music Shondaland deadpool historical drama Lifetime Christmas movies Paramount Network black 1990s 21st Century Fox halloween dc Winners 4/20 Star Trek war Sony Pictures Freeform The Arrangement Epix criterion 73rd Emmy Awards indie werewolf Sundance TV Grammys sports sequel black comedy Disney Walt Disney Pictures Western NYCC movies politics scene in color Fantasy venice romantic comedy festival psychological thriller TCA gangster Tubi comics japanese HBO Image Comics 45 universal monsters TCA 2017 razzies Wes Anderson Pet Sematary TV movies critic resources The CW casting Paramount YouTube facebook dceu cancelled TV series comic books toronto satire Comics on TV blockbusters concert Holidays cancelled Mary Tyler Moore Mudbound strong female leads series golden globe awards Pop TV TBS teaser screenings Pixar boxing international rotten movies we love quibi The Witch halloween tv See It Skip It adventure vampires GLAAD rotten blaxploitation Netflix die hard directors stand-up comedy doctor who stop motion wonder woman Reality Competition Discovery Channel disaster Video Games Funimation animated Thanksgiving crime 93rd Oscars witnail kaiju El Rey Pride Month worst movies USA comic book movies Quiz dogs BBC Classic Film 007 Exclusive Video Acorn TV Hear Us Out Amazon Podcast 2017 rom-coms The Academy telelvision mockumentary Marvel Studios Vudu cooking Valentine's Day Peacock Pop Women's History Month true crime APB joker new york Schedule Interview BET Awards PaleyFest FX on Hulu Cannes Set visit PBS Super Bowl game show E! adaptation spanish language hispanic heritage month worst Reality based on movie The Walt Disney Company Showtime batman renewed TV shows Apple Rom-Com heist movie Trivia franchise children's TV American Society of Cinematographers Nickelodeon Heroines Writers Guild of America video feel good Awards Tour Avengers 2016 live event ITV lord of the rings Drama justice league HBO Go Marvel LGBTQ best thriller OWN movie action-comedy Opinion diversity new star wars movies jamie lee curtis genre Musicals RT21 LGBT cats television free movies aliens ABC Signature DC Comics cancelled television Sundance women GoT 90s football christmas movies TV Pacific Islander Comic Book dark Amazon Prime hollywood YouTube Red cancelled TV shows Trailer Marathons Holiday 2015 TV renewals comic discovery Black Mirror scorecard New York Comic Con Dark Horse Comics Watching Series pirates of the caribbean parents ghosts YouTube Premium Paramount Plus harry potter Elton John President remakes zombies Toys Emmys police drama Spike godzilla Pirates Teen Sneak Peek 24 frames Travel Channel Disney Plus Character Guide news TV One kids 2020 WGN The Purge Ghostbusters Anna Paquin RT History legend documentaries spy thriller classics nbcuniversal know your critic E3 Infographic Ellie Kemper cops Creative Arts Emmys VOD