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Anderson opens a new case file ; Gillian Anderson made her name as an FBI agent probing the paranormal, but in a new BBC drama she plays a British...

May 11, 2013


Anderson opens a new case file ; Gillian Anderson made her name as an FBI agent probing the paranormal, but in a new BBC drama she plays a British detective hunting for a very real psychopathic serial killer. She tells ALBERTINA LLOYD why she took the part

IN the first episode of The Fall, Gillian Anderson's police investigator Stella Gibbons is a woman on a mission.

After spotting a handsome police officer she likes the look of, she demands to be introduced - and then purposefully tells him which hotel room she is staying in.

It's a far cry from prim FBI agent Dana Scully, who spent years in The X-Files refusing to get too close to her partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) before she finally gave in to her feelings.

When I've been asked about the differences between the two of them, suddenly it occurred to me that Scully was quite square, says Anderson, 44.

In comparison Stella is quite comfortable with herself, comfortable in her skin, is a lot more feminine than Scully ever was.

The American actress is also feminine and confident in jeans and knee-high boots, her hair loose and with minimal make-up under her glasses.

For a long time, Scully felt quite childlike, and part of that was because I was a child when I started to play her and audiences got to see me grow up and grow into her, she says. But whenever I see her, she seems like a 12-year-old pretending to be an agent.

Stella isn't the only sexual predator in The Fall. The eerie new BBC crime drama, set in Belfast, is the story of a serial killer, played by the devastatingly handsome Jamie Dornan.

In a new twist, the audience know Dornan's character for what he is from the beginning, while Stella is the investigating officer trying to pin down her man.

Spookily shot, viewers are often left feeling like voyeurs. As well as watching Dornan's victims, we see Stella alone, reading in bed, cleaning her bath and swimming.

I'm actually not a swimmer. I don't like water that much, confesses Anderson. I thought I was going to tire of it. But I enjoyed it. I actually thought I should start swimming, but I didn't...

She seems more comfortable with the sex scenes than the swimming. There are always funny moments in sex scenes, just with all the tension and bits falling off and not protecting you properly, she laughs.

The steely detective keeps people at a distance, gives little away and is completely focused on her work, munching an enormous burger while she looks at evidence photos of dead bodies on her laptop.

I love how you don't really get to know who she is or what makes her tick, and yet you want to know, says Anderson.

The Chicago-born actress admits she is a big fan of Prime Suspect, the award-winning crime drama that starred Dame Helen Mirren as the hard-as-nails DCI Jane Tennison.

I was always a fan of Prime Suspect and had read other attempts at recreating that and always found them lacking. And there is something about this that felt like it had the depth and complexity, and yet simplicity, of that series.

The Fall was shot on location in Belfast, but Anderson admits she didn't see much of the city and didn't socialise much with the rest of the cast.

I am a bit of a hermit anyway, she says. But I become more of a hermit when I'm working and even if I have a few days off I generally just stay in my hotel room.

Anderson has been divorced twice and has a teenage daughter from her first marriage and two young sons aged six and five from her second.

She spent her early childhood in London while her father, a film producer, attended the London Film School.

Around the time The X-Files ended in 2002 she moved back to Britain where she has chosen to live and bring up her family.

She has continued to act over here, appearing in TV shows including Great Expectations, The Crimson Petal And The White and Bleak House and has been nominated for several TV Baftas.

She is appearing in new US crime drama Hannibal which stars Mads Mikkelsen as Dr Hannibal Lecter.

But she admits she's extremely choosy about the type of scripts she'll accept. My daughter always says, 'God mum!' Game Of Thrones, Downton Abbey or whatever it is. She cannot believe I've turned things down that she loves to watch.

But if I'm going to spend that amount of time then I'd prefer to be working with Scorsese, do you know what I mean? ? The Fall begins on BBC2 on Monday at 9pm.

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