Gillian Anderson won SAG, Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards for her role as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, and now she has been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Emmy as well. And in a large field of eight contenders including two co-stars from The Crown (Helena Bonham Carter, Emerald Fennell) and four stars of The Handmaid’s Tale, she is the heavy favorite over at our sister site Gold Derby to take this prize as well.
Anderson is no newcomer when it comes to Emmys. She was nominated four times as Lead Actress for her eponymous role of Dana Scully in The X Files, and winning in 1997, and nommed again for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Bleak House in 2006. But it has been 15 years since the Emmys last acknowledged this versatile star, and it is a good bet that playing a real-life figure will bring her to the winners circle for a second time. Playing Thatcher certainly didn’t hurt Meryl Streep, who won her third Oscar for The Iron Lady, but Anderson did not consider that when taking on this role, or even reference it think about it, just as she didn’t think about Vivien Leigh when she did a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. She went her own way and found some fascinating inroads into playing her as she explains when she joins The Actor’s Side.
Gillian Anderson plays the polarizing U.K. Prime Minister with a complicated relationship to Queen Elizabeth on the Netflix drama
It’s no surprise Gillian Anderson mastered Margaret Thatcher’s unusual manner of speaking for The Crown – her Golden Globe- and SAG-winning performance started with the U.K. Prime Minister’s mouth… specifically her teeth!
In a chat with Elisabeth Moss for Variety Studio: Actors on Actors, Anderson explained that getting Thatcher’s unmistakable look right was the first step to accessing the polarizing politician as a character.
“She was notorious for having bad teeth. And because she has such an overbite, I was just wanting to explore that,” said Anderson, 52. “Everything just looked wrong.”
She explained that she and the show’s makeup artists “were thinking about teeth prosthetics, and so we tried three or four different shapes, sizes.”
Not satisfied with the options, Anderson decided to tap into her own physicality: “It became, is that something that I can just do with my mouth, and how I hold my mouth? I actually found that, yes, that was enough. And that informed how I spoke. It was actually a gift to have made that choice, because that informed everything.”
Moss, who is no stranger to awards season, told Anderson, “It’s an absolutely mind-blowing transformation. I’m very familiar with you as an actor, and I just could not see you. I just kept forgetting. You don’t seem at all hampered by the makeup or the wig.”
Quite the opposite: Anderson thanked the series’ “extraordinary” hair and makeup team in her February SAG Award victory speech for transforming her, “Thatcher helmet [hair] thing” and all.
And beyond its many awards wins, the Netflix hit has also caught the attention of a royal insider: Prince Harry himself.
“It gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that,” he told James Corden in February.
“I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife, or myself. That [show] is obviously fiction – take it how you will. But this is being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news.”
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”) sat down for a virtual chat for Variety‘s Actors on Actors.
And they discovered that they both had come of age as young actors — and young women — between the ages of 23 and 32 on “The X-Files” (Anderson) and “Mad Men” (Moss), and were delighted by the coincidence.
The question nags at you: Is Gillian Anderson British or American? Yes, she was born in Chicago, but her family relocated to London shortly thereafter. They came back to the United States before Anderson entered high school, but kept an apartment in England, which they returned to each summer. She trained as an actor at Chicago’s The Theatre School at DePaul University, but also took part in the National Theatre of Great Britain’s summer program at Cornell University. Once Anderson began acting professionally, her roles only deepened the mystery. Anderson became a star as the FBI Agent Dana Scully on Fox’s decade-defining paranormal procedural The X-Files, where, for 11 seasons (seven of them alongside David Duchovny as her partner, the self-deprecating UFO truther Fox Mulder), she confronted all manner of anomalies and conspiracies with deadpan skepticism and a flawless American accent. (In 1997, she accepted an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress with one, too.) She’s held her own playing a member of American high society (the tragic Gilded Age socialite Lily Bart in the film adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth) as well as the British aristocracy (Lady Dedlock in the 2005 BBC miniseries Bleak House and Miss Havisham in the 2011 adaptation of Great Expectations). Later in her career, she faced down psychopaths on both sides of the pond, as Hannibal Lecter’s personal shrink in the NBC gorefest Hannibal, and as a detective hunting a serial killer in the BBC Two murder mystery The Fall. Last year, Anderson, who, to further obfuscate the matter, toggles between British and American accents depending on who she’s speaking to, seemingly ended the debate by disappearing into the role of Britain’s Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, in season four of the Netflix drama The Crown. A master class in keeping a stiff upper lip, the performance won Anderson a Golden Globe Award. And then, as if the 52-year-old actor has been playing us from the start, she recently signed on to star as none other than Eleanor Roosevelt in Showtime’s upcoming anthology series The First Lady. But first, a chat with the actor Helena Bonham Carter, which, for the record, is about as British as it gets. —BEN BARNA
HELENA BONHAM CARTER: Can I ask you, what are you wearing?
GILLIAN ANDERSON: Cotton velvet leggings and a little button-up sweater. It’s one of my three go-to loungewear outfits.
BONHAM CARTER: You’ve got an outfit?
ANDERSON: Well, I’m in pajamas for a while, but I don’t like making French toast for the kids in pajamas, so I change into this.
BONHAM CARTER: That’s good. You’ve got standards in front of your kids.
Read the full interview/article in our press library.
I have taken some days to think what to write, what to say. But ultimately words always failed me and tears started falling.
Between the night of wednesday and thursday, the beloved webmiss of this fansite and my dear friend Angie passed away. Now I could be telling you everything about her and the wonderful person that she was (because she was), but I am still angry at something that shouldn’t have happened. Life has always been tough on her, but she was tougher. It didn’t smile too much for her, it didn’t really light the way, but she was hanging around and making sure to fight desperately and keeping attached to it.
Her passing cast a shadow of sadness on the entire fansite community and we will all be grieving for quite a long time I think. But Angie was a loyal good friend to all of us and fansites were the thing that made us all come together and meet with each other.
I feel a deep sense of honor in knowing that, anything had happened to her, she had wanted me to keep going with this fansite which, after all, was the reason why we met. I will probably take another day or two to let my emotions go and then start working on it. For Angie, in her memory, never to forget her passing and the prints she left in everyone’s heart.
Goodbye Angie, have a safe trip towards the new beautiful that awaits you. Thank you for everything you gave us through the years, for the love, the passion, the kindness and generosity that made you the wonderful person you were. We all love you, we always will.
We have another new project to look forward to! Gillian will be guest starring on The Great for 2 episodes!
Gillian Anderson is joining the cast of “The Great” Season 2 at Hulu.
Anderson will appear in two episodes of the season as Joanna, the mother of Catherine (Elle Fanning). Joanna is a glamorous socialite from Germany, sometimes also known as the “maestro of marriage” for her abilities to arrange high profile partnerships for her daughters. She has heard rumors of her daughter’s coup and come to Russia to see it for herself. Though the apple of Catherine’s eye and a doting mother, it soon becomes clear Johanna has more sinister intentions to save her family’s reputation.
Along with Fanning, Season 2 of the series will also star Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Sacha Dhawan, Bayo Gbadamosi and Belinda Bromilow.
This marks the latest in a string of historical figures Anderson has played or will play recently. It was reported in February that she will appear as Eleanor Roosevelt in the upcoming Showtime anthology series “The First Lady.” That announcement came after her Golden Globe-winning turn as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of “The Crown” at Netflix. Anderson also currently stars in the Netflix comedy series “Sex Education.” She is best known for her starring role in the Fox supernatural procedural “The X-Files,” for which she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe. She also received Emmy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations for “Bleak House.”
She is repped by Independent Talent Group and UTA.
“The Great” is a satirical dramedy about the rise of Catherine the Great from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history. The first season was a critical success for Hulu, earning Emmy, SAG Award, WGA Award, and Golden Globe nominations.
Apologies for the delay! The gallery has now been updated with the HQ captures from season 2 of Sex Education. Enjoy!