And tries some X-tra hard X-Files trivia.
Next Sunday Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are back as agents Scully and Mulder, and we’re so ready—like 15-years-waiting-for-something-to-believe-in ready. We paused in rewatching all nine seasons to ask Anderson our most pressing questions about the new season.
GQ: Do we call it a miniseries or a reboot?
Gillian Anderson: I guess it’s a miniseries, but sometimes these miniseries become full series, so I don’t know! I guess it depends on where we go with it.
Did you or David Duchovny sign on first?
David was very enthusiastic from the inception—he, I think, was involved in actually making it happen. So he was in from day one.
Did you take some convincing?
Definitely took some convincing.
I felt like I was doing enough TV, and I was already committed to a couple of other series. I was interested in having more of a balance. And also when we used to do the series, it meant 24, so the idea that Fox would be interested in a shorter amount had not been a part of the conversation yet. That was a deciding factor as well.
Was that what ultimately sold it for you?
Yeah, it was not feasible any other way. Once it looked like that would be a possibility, I started to get more excited about the prospect of the whole thing and how cool it might be to be a part of it again.
What’s the danger with reviving such a beloved show a decade after the fact?
The danger is that nobody cares anymore, or if we get it wrong and it’s not interesting. But there’s always a risk of that no matter what you’re involved in.
I’ve sensed a swell in loyalty to The X-Files from people who didn’t watch it live. The Netflix wave. How do you account for that?
On the one hand I don’t know, because it feels like what we did is now quite dated. I don’t know what it’s like to be a new fan of something that old. The accessibility and the immediacy of what Netflix offers is obviously an expectation these days, and the fact that we can so easily be downloaded makes it seem like a fresher idea than if somebody were buying DVDs and sticking them in the machine. There does seem to be a very big excitement from all ages, which is really cool.
What do we lose or gain from binge-watching the show?
A lot of the episodes are standalone episodes, so it’s not like there’s necessarily a through-line that is satisfying when binge-watching. So I’m curious myself about what is it about the show—even though they’re standalone—that gives you the impulse to watch another one. I don’t know how much of it is just because they can. Is that enough of an excuse?
Why has there been this de-nerdification of sci-fi as a genre?
Sci-fi is apocalyptic, and we are definitely by our own hand getting closer to the end of the world. Maybe it’s also that we’ve become so obsessed with escapism, and sci-fi is one of the best escapes. It just completely obliterates those petty mortgages, and the rising cost of school fees, and the fact that ISIS is taking over the world.
Is the new miniseries going to tap into some of the anxieties we have?
Definitely. Chris [Carter] loves that. It taps into the Zeitgeist, and it taps into paranoias and paints them as things that are in the future, so it’s easier to not get arrested for discussing them.
What’s one thing that’s new about the miniseries?
We have cell phones that fit into our pockets, and we have flashlights that actually fit into our pockets, rather than pulling out something as if we pulled it out of our pockets but clearly it could not have fit in our pockets.
And shoulder pads?
There will not be shoulder pads in any way, shape, or form.
Such a shame.
Do you ever go back and rewatch episodes?
No, you know, I don’t. There have been a couple moments in the last decade when something has taken me back, like there was a point when I had made a new friend in London and she hadn’t seen any. I did attempt to introduce my younger boys to it, to my favorite episode and what I thought was the mildest, and they had nightmares. I just showed them “Bad Blood.” It didn’t go down very well.
Is that your favorite episode of all time?
It makes me smile. That’s the one that sticks with me, even though it wasn’t as enjoyable for my sons.
Condition them, show them all in quick succession.
Literally the mention of it, they just roll their eyes. They will not have the conversation again.
Is the preoccupation with a romance between you and David Duchovny just an American thing?
I don’t think so. I mean, nothing is just anything anymore, it’s such a global community, and fandom is more and more a global community, so I’ve never noticed whether the response to interest in that area is U.S.-heavy.
I recently watched The Fall; what do you think has made you the natural choice for now two iconic cop roles?
I guess I look like I know what I’m talking about. Somebody might look at me and believe me or obey me. I look obey-able.
How would you do as an actual cop?
I would suck. I have a really crap memory, and I can tell you certain things—weird and creepy things about rooms—but not useful information. My report back would be on what shades the walls were, the specific color, rather than that there was a tiny bloodstain behind the freezer.
In that vein, we have a few trivia questions for you.
Oh, my God.
Which part of Bryan Cranston explodes in the episode “Drive”?
ldquo;Oh, his head!”
Which part of his head specifically?
“Was it his left side? Facing the window?”
What was the first episode in the series to provide a viewer-discretion warning?
“Is it ‘Home’? It was banned in Minnesota or something.”
What was Mulder's apartment number?
“Are you kidding me? Was it 1013? That's [screenwriter] Chris Carter's birthday.”*
Incorrect. (*Nope, but the truth is out there. (It was 42.))
In the episode “Never Again,” who does the voice of the possessive talking tattoo?
The creature in the episode “The Post-Modern Prometheus” is called...?
Incorrect. (*The Great Mutato.)