The X Files’ Gillian Andersonstars in powerful new thriller The Fall, which screens on BBC2 on Monday at 9pm and sees her as a London detective who is seconded to Belfast to track down a serial killer. TV & Satellite Week caught up with her to find out more…
How does your character DSI Stella Gibson compare to The X Files’ Scully?
“They are both law enforcement officials and they look a bit like each other! Stella is one of my most favourite characters to have played and I actually prefer playing her to Scully. Scully started out very young, so we saw her pretending to be grown up and she was quite dowdy and square, while Stella feels more grown up than me, she is quite mysterious, comfortable in her own femininity and I have learned a lot from her.”
The Fall is not a whodunit as we know who the killer is from the start; what does that add?
“There are so many crime dramas and so many serial killer dramas around, but there is a particular level of creepiness to it when you end up seeing the serial killer doing what he does while you are observing the person who is hunting them.”
Had you worked in Northern Ireland before?
“I did a film years ago called The Mighty Celt where I played a Northern Irish woman and then I did Shadow Dancer which was set in Northern Ireland but filmed in Dublin. I loved filming in Belfast for The Fall because we show another side to it that isn’t 100 per cent about the Troubles. It is obviously a backdrop, but you get to see the place in a proper way as a contemporary city.”
Did you do any research into playing a detective?
“Well, I played the head of MI7 in Johnny English Reborn, which is not really a cop, but I did quite a lot of research then and I played the head of MI5 for Shadow Dancer and for that I did quite a lot of research about Brits being in Northern Ireland so there was some crossover. I also read the superintendent’s handbook for this and I read a bit more about various serial killers and how one hunts them.”
Would you ever resurrect Scully?
“There has been talk for a long time about whether or not there would be a third film and I know that there is big desire in the fandom for that and that the creator Chris Carter has been talking about writing the script. David Duchovny would be on board if that ever happened and it feels like it needs a final because I don’t think the last one was a good one to end on necessarily, so it would be a shame to pass that up. We shall see.”
You work a lot in the UK, do you feel quite British now?
“I grew up here so it was odd after living in London to move as a child to a small Republican town like Grand Rapids, Michigan with a very thick British accent and to figure out where I fit in. I always felt much more British than American and then gradually after many years I started feeling more American, but always knew that I would end up back here and now I have lived here for a decade.”