GIllian Anderson: The Malibu File
"There's a lot of hype being created," she says of the X-Files film, shrugging matter-of-factly at questions about the plot. "It's bigger in scope. It's more serious, more mature. The stakes are higher for the characters. It's about the whole universe, the cosmos. At the beginning of production, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it bigger and better, which was the wrong thing to do. The writing and all are very similar to the show. What's marvelous is that it's all wide-screen in the movie version. The depth, the seriousness, the size of the image, it seems more momentous."
Is there truth in the rumors that the script by the series creator and executive producer Chris Carter has had to be substantially reworked? "A huge task that Chris Carter had to do, which he's accomplished, was having the movie play to people who have never seen the series, while at the same time not treating the people who watch the show like they're stupid," she explains. "This is difficult. I mean, for somebody who is so involved in it as I am, any kind of exposition or backtracking and you just want to jump under a train."
Apropos of jumping under a train, let's talk about David Duchovny, the costar she failed to thank in her acceptance speeches for both her Golden Globe and her Emmy. "What if you and David someday turn out like that old vaudeville team in The Sunshine Boys--you've worked together forever and you love/hate each other, but people keep shoving you together in projects?"
"I have a feeling David and I will be much closer after the series is done and we don't have to be with each other daily," Anderson observes. "We can come back together for a second feature four or so years from now. As much as I will feel a huge weight off my shoulders when the series is done, it's gonna be bittersweet. I'm sure all those wonderful moments that David and I have shared together will come to mind and I'll be reminiscing about it for years."
"In all of these The Way We Were-ish memories," I ask, "will there be one of a time you witnessed Duchovny totally naked?" Anderson laughs. "Do you mean naked emotionally or physically? Oh, never mind, I know you mean physically. Well, I'm sure I've walked into his trailer while he's changing, thinking it was my trailer, of course, and shocked him stark naked. I think what his fans truly want to hear is that ... umm ... he's apparently, and I believe this is true, well hung. In terms of his body, he's got, you know ...." Anderson is all but squirming by now. "I can't believe you put me on the spot here. He's in good shape. Good shape."
"Would you," I ask next, "match-make him with a particularly favorite girlfriend of yours?" At this Anderson fires me a Don't do this to me glance, but answers gamely, "I've suggested matchmaking him with people that I don't know personally."
"If you hadn't," I persist, "been saddled together on the series that will not die, could there ever have been or could there still be a sexual spark between you?"
"Oh, sure," she replies, matter-of-factly. "I mean, sure. I could see it. I know this sounds insane, but certain men's hands can make me uncomfortable. Hands are very important to me in a man. He needs a little work on the hands. But there's no doubt he is an incredibly attractive man, mostly because of his sense of self and his charisma. He has a certain arrogance that's very appealing to women. I could see us at some point going on a date. But I don't know how long it would last. I don't see myself as his type."
Trafficking as she and her costar do in the paranormal and the demonic on the show--and, especially, one hears, in the movie--Anderson must have given some thought to the nature of cosmic forces. Does she think she's ever come face to face with pure Evil? "There have been a couple of people," she says, "that I have ... met or spent time with ... people who, for one reason or another, embodied that. There was a moment shooting Hellcab in Chicago when I was waiting for a friend at the restaurant where she worked and I was sitting at the bar. The bartender's best friend had just run away with his girlfriend, his TV, his stereo equipment. Out of the corner of my ear, I heard him describe in detail with so much rage and hate how he wanted to punish the guy, the exact action he wanted to take. I had to go to the bathroom and throw up, to physically purge myself of that energy. I have a really hard time talking about this--" Anderson waves away the subject, looking flushed and upset.
"Well, if anything can drive someone to extremes, it's probably love," I say, bringing the conversation around to her love life. Anderson admits that she is at the moment "definitely seeing someone," but declines to elaborate beyond the fact that it's Rodney Rowland. During her Michigan adolescence, Anderson sported a nose ring and Mohawk, was voted by her classmates Most Bizarre Girl, and gravitated to bad boys like the 21-year-old punk musician she dated when she was 14. In her adult life, and, specifically, the last couple of years, that tendency has to some degree persisted, aside from the relationship with her ex-husband, whom she unwaveringly describes as "a good person." There was, after all, the fleeting involvement with Adrian Hughes which ended with the news of criminal investigation.
"I tend to have quick, accurate perceptions of people," Anderson says. "If I pay attention to that first instinct, I am usually very accurate about somebody and know when to walk away. I mean, in the past--I think it's more with men than with women--I've been just dumb. I trusted too much in areas where I shouldn't. I know it, but I go there anyway." Generally speaking, what would Anderson say is the appeal of bad guys? "I think, honestly, it usually stems from some kind of miscommunication between the girl and her father," she theorizes. "If there was a lack of affection, a situation where she either had to prove herself for his love or that was never 'enough' in some way, she will have a tendency to mirror that dynamic in future relationships. With a young man, that translates as someone who's rebellious, who really couldn't care one way or another whether she was in his life, who ignores her. For the girl, she's constantly in that struggle of 'Does he love me or doesn't he love me?' And that's more attractive than someone who says right out, 'I love you.'
"I now know from experience what it is I need in a relationship," Anderson says of her own life, insisting that, should she ever wed again, it won't be before she's known the man a long time. "I'm starting to have a clear idea of what it is I can give in a relationship. Because now it's me and Piper, or, I should say, Piper and me. I'm very particular and incredibly determined that I will not introduce anybody new to her for a long period of time. There is someone in my life, as I said, and we have our relationship. And I have my relationship with Piper. That works. It's appropriate. No serial dads."
Anderson needs to prepare herself for tonight's shooting--"more running and jumping," she says. I ask, in parting, "Are you having any fun?" She answers, "Yes, I am," then amends that to say, "At times, I am. Sometimes, there are still long stretches when I don't have any. Part of my catharsis while being here, though, has involved spending time in the ocean, being in the water, enjoying the feel of sun on my skin. I've been bodysurfing and regular surfing. I'm learning how to have fun for the first time." She breaks out in such an unexpectedly rich peal of laughter that it surprises us both, then adds, "And you know? I'm all for it."
Stephen Rebello interviewed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet for the November '97 issue of