Gillian Anderson has become the American queen of British TV with powerful performances in such classics as Great Expectations and Bleak House. Season 1 of The Fall, her latest Brit hit, a highly praised contemporary crime thriller, has just been released on DVD by Acorn. The X Files star talks to TV Guide Magazine about the BBC show as well as her return to U.S. network television and a possible sci-fi project.
TV Guide Magazine: In The Fall, You play Stella Gibson, a top London detective tracking a serial killer in Belfast. Why should we buy the DVD?
Gillian Anderson: First of all, it's one of the best written scripts that I have encountered in a very long time. It's a very compelling story. The premise is that you see the serial killer at work at the same time as you see the investigative team start to hunt him down. What really won me is the character of Gibson. She's a very interesting, elusive, enigmatic, capable woman. I am very fond of her. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: She's a tough cookie. I find some resemblance to Prime Suspect's Jane Tennison. Is that comparison fair?
Anderson: Oh, absolutely! That's one of the first things that came to mind when I read it. That series had such a large impact not just in the U.K. but in the U.S. It was one of our intentions in the director we chose, the way we cast and we shot, not to imitate but to re-create that kind of feeling.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you filmed a second season?
Anderson: We start to shoot in February. It's even more intense than the first.
TV Guide Magazine: What was your reaction when you learned that your co-star Jamie Dornan, who plays the seriously sadistic lady killer, has been cast as the sadist-lite Christian Grey in the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey.
Anderson: The books don't really appeal to me, but from the frenzy that's taking place as a result of hearing the news, I imagine it's a good thing. [Laughs] I hope he's happy about it.
TV Guide Magazine: You've dipped your toe back in American TV with your recurring role on NBC's Hannibal as the cannibal killer's shrink Dr. Du Maurier.
Anderson: I had agreed to a developmental deal with NBC with the understanding that they were trying to create products that had more of a cable feel. I got that sense with Hannibal. That wasn't necessarily part of the deal, but the quality of that show is very much along the lines of what I would want to be involved in — to the degree that it was almost taken off the air. [Laughs] She's a wonderful character to pop in and out of.
TV Guide Magazine: Will you pop in and out of Hannibal's second season?
Anderson: Yes. I've already shot a couple of episodes and will probably return to work at the end of November.
TV Guide Magazine: So you'll be working on three series! Crisis, your upcoming NBC hostage drama with Dermot Mulroney [not be confused with CBS's Hostages, starring Dylan McDermott!] premieres in early 2014.
Anderson: I'm filming that. I'm jumping between Chicago and London on a regular basis.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the story and what's your role?
Anderson: A group of kids from an elite Washington, D.C., school are kidnapped, including the President's son. I play Meg Fitch, the CEO of an international company whose daughter is among the hostages. Rachael Taylor plays one of the FBI agents in charge of the case who happens to be her estranged sister. It's ultimately about what these high-profile parents would do to get their kids back.
TV Guide Magazine: You're apparently very good at playing powerful women.
Anderson: Thank you! I don't know how that happens but it seems to be. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Somehow you've also had time to make a movie called Last Love with Michael Caine. Is it lighter than your usual grim fare?
Anderson: Definitely lighter. I play a much goofier character than I've played in some time; the daughter of Michael Caine's character, a recent widower who befriends a young Parisian girl. It's a really sweet film. Believe it or not, I enjoy doing comedy. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: At the Paley Center's recent New York television festival, your X-Files buddy David Duchovny announced that he didn't want you to do his longtime Showtime series Californication, because he wanted to preserve the memory of your partnership on The X Files. Was he kidding?
Anderson: He was dead serious. And there's no chance now, because they filmed their last episode. [Laughs] I think it was about protecting the relationship and not wanting to sully it in any way. I understand that.
TV Guide Magazine: You both said at Paley that you would do another X-Files movie if Chris Carter would write one. Is that just the generic "Yeah, sure, we'd love to do it" or is there any movement on that front?
Anderson: Who knows? Obviously I get asked about that every week. And from day one, we always said if there is one, we'll show up for it. It's a matter of it being written and it's a matter of Fox agreeing to produce it.
TV Guide Magazine: The X-Files still has devoted fans. At New York Comic Con, your autograph line was pretty impressive.
Anderson: A lot of people showed up for that, and it was great. It's probably my last one, so it was nice to have a big turnout.
TV Guide Magazine: Could you possibly be doing anything else?
Anderson: Something kind of exciting is happening now regarding a science fiction project. But it's too early to talk about!