Gillian Anderson Q&A: ‘Great Expectations’
Gillian Anderson recently sat down with Gold Derby to talk about two of her latest projects, PBS' "Masterpiece" miniseries "Any Human Heart" co-starring Matthew MacFadyen and Tom Hollander, and the Encore miniseries "Moby Dick" win which she stars alongside William Hurt, Ethan Hawke and Donald Sutherland. Both programs are strong contenders for nominations at the upcoming Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
In "Moby Dick," a re-imagining of the Herman Melville classic, Gillian plays Captain Ahab's heretofore little known wife Elizabeth, who until now has been little more than a footnote to the main story. "It's an interesting juxtaposition to see [Captain Ahab] on the home front before he embarks on his journey; and the intimacy and delicacy with which he is a father and a husband, but at the same time being completely, obviously obsessed and passionate about the voyage and also this dastardly whale." Gillian jokes that "he's always had a wife, but I think she gets left behind a lot sooner in the book than she gets left behind in the miniseries."
In "Any Human Heart," Gillian plays the ubiquitous Wallis Simpson, who has recently featured in Best Picture Oscar winner "The King's Speech" (played by Eve Best) and Madonna's "W.E." (played by Andrea Riseborough), which recently premiered in Venice to mixed reviews. "Any Human Heart," spanning the twentieth century as it follows the journey of a writer who lives through a myriad of historical events, garnered four creative arts Emmy Award nominations earlier this year, and received eight BAFTA nominations (winning for Best Drama Serial), including a nod for Gillian as Best Supporting Actress.
On playing such an instantly recognisable historical figure, Gillian says that "it's kind of an obvious choice; an American living in London … but it's quite daunting taking on somebody that people are obsessed with and have been obsessed with for a long time … you do put yourself on the line a little bit when you agree to play somebody like that."
Gillian has certainly seen a complete career turnaround since the late nineties, when the hysteria and fanaticism surrounding the worldwide phenomenon that was "The X-Files" reached fever pitch. Back then, it would have been difficult to imagine Gillian Anderson as anything other than the iconic FBI Special Agent Dana Scully alongside her co-star David Duchovny in the hit Fox sci-fi series that became a multi-million dollar global franchise as it spanned nine television seasons and two feature films.
"I think there was definitely a period of time right after [the show] finished that I just couldn't even hear about it anymore; I couldn't have that conversation for a while" Gillian reveals. However, Gillian now fondly recalls her time in the shining spotlight that came along with such a breakout success, and is happy to reminisce about the show's incredible success.
"The X-Files" has an impressive awards pedigree, especially given the usual bias against genre series. Over the course of its run on Fox, "The X-Files" won 16 Emmy Awards out of a total 61 nominations (including four consecutive Drama Series bids from 1995 to 1998). It was also nominated for 14 SAG Awards and 12 Golden Globe Awards, including three wins for Drama Series – a record that stood until "Mad Men" won its third consecutive Globe for Drama Series in 2010.
Gillian herself was nominated for four Emmys as Drama Actress (winning in 1997), nine SAG Awards, including three as part of the show's ensemble (winning twice as TV Actress in 1996 and 1997), and four Golden Globe Awards (winning in 1997), achieving the rare feat of winning the Golden Gl