June 16, 2021  •  Leave a Reply

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.