April 19, 2022  •  Leave a Reply

There are times when you interview actors, and you suspect they are not so much listening to the questions you ask as waiting for their chance to plug whichever project they’re working on at the moment. (This is also frequently true of most conversations, though non-actors’ projects are typically less glamorous.) Talking to Gillian Anderson is not like that. In conversation, the actress, activist, author, and newly-minted audio show host is generous, frank, and perhaps most importantly in our case, utterly undaunted by the lack of a clear WiFi connection in the Welsh farmhouse where she is staying with her sons for their half-term break.

Anderson, who rose to a peculiar combination of both intense cult and wide global fame in the 1990s thanks to The X-Files has, rather than coasting or playing to type, spent her career becoming one of the most interesting actresses working today, both on screen and off. In recent years she’s appeared in a string of critical and audience hits playing complicated, strong women: The FallSex EducationThe CrownThe Great, and most recently, The First Lady, in which she plays Eleanor Roosevelt, in tandem with Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford. Opportunities to play women like these don’t come along every day, Anderson says: “One kind of has to say yes before you think about it too hard.”

GILLIAN ANDERSON: I have to warn you, I’m in a farmhouse in Wales and the internet is not very good, and I’ve just come in from the side of a mountain, so we’ll just have to see how it goes!

ALESSANDRA CODINHA: No problem, what are you doing in Wales?
GA: My boys are on half term and they race mountain bikes.
AC: Do you bike along too?
GA: No-no-no-no…no.
AC: You’re a very good and patient mother for doing that trip, then. Congratulations, I saw you just won an Icon award at the Canneseries festival. What was that like?
GA: I mean, what I said when I was there is that one can’t really refer to oneself as an icon; it has to be stated by others. And the only way I can really think about [being an icon] at all is in relation to some of the characters that I’ve played who are historical or literary icons in a way. And that if through them that is a perception of me then—lovely!

Read the full article/interview in our press library.