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Gillian Anderson: from Scully to Stella

The actress discusses playing Scully in 'The X-Files' and Stella in 'The Fall'

‘Stella’s brought in to an investigation in a Northern Ireland that has had so much energy and funds put towards reacting to the Troubles that the infrastructure and manpower to deal with something like a serial killer isn’t there.

‘I wasn’t very interested in doing a series at first, but I was taken by Stella’s complexity. She’s quite mysterious, and she feels more grown up than I am: quite serious, but you get the sense that she’s quite naughty and has a sense of humour.

‘It’s fun to play somebody so comfortable with themselves, their body and their own femininity. I’ve learnt a lot from her – I feel like I matured a bit during the shoot. I hope Stella’s good for women – how independent and forthright she is. I hope women watching her will appreciate that in her and in themselves – the ability to be more straightforward about the facts of life.

‘Stella feels more like me than Scully did – she’s my favourite character that I’ve ever played.’

‘In terms of similarities with Scully, Stella’s a law enforcement official, she’s female, they look a bit like each other… But Scully started out very young, so we saw her pretending to be grown up for a long time before she settled into her own skin – like I was pretending to know what the hell I was doing as a forensic pathologist at 25! And Scully was quite square and serious – quite dowdy at the beginning, with horrible taste in suits. You’re not going to see Scully naked!

‘There’s been talk for a while about whether or not there’d be a third ‘X-Files’ film. The fans want it and [creator] Chris Carter has been talking about writing a script, and David [Duchovny] would be on board. It’s a matter of whether the script is good enough to convince Fox. It needs another one – the last film wasn’t a good one to end on.

‘I was very grateful to work for such a long time on something I liked so much – I’d always be happy to go back to her.’

Read our review of the first episode of 'The Fall'

Series one, episode one

Beautifully paced, well sustained and shot half like a dream, half like a nightmare, ‘The Fall’ rides out its more exploitative elements to set up a truly absorbing next few weeks of cat and mouse.

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See our review of 'The Fall'



Scully is much better role mode than Stella! She has integrity and values, something nowadays seem to be amiss. Stella lacks self-respects, she treats herself as a piece of flesh.