Is there any risk doing an X-Files movie?
There is no risk here. There's a challenge for [screenwriters] Chris [Carter] and Frank [Spotnitz] to come up with a script that appealed to a pre- existing audience and the audience that had never seen the series before. In that sense it's a risk for them and the studio. For me, I was very happy with what I saw. I'm excited about it.
Being invaded by an alien virus and turned into a human host looks pretty gross for poor Scully in the picture. How was it being stuck in that sarcophagus?
It wasn't fun. I'd rather not do it again. It was water and gelatin, goopy stuff. I had to dunk into a tank that had milk in it too to make it off-color.
That brief smile you display in the movie is almost shocking. Can Scully ever be happy in this paranoid land where she dwells?
Scully could and wants to be happy and could allow herself to be happy. But it would be difficult for her to switch attention from her personal life and away from Mulder.
Will Mulder and Scully ever be romantically involved?
No. When should we kiss? Flying around the corner as we're trying to shoot an alien? It would ruin the show. It's either one or the other. We come together and go apart in the series constantly; we're in this dance.
What's been most surprising about being Dana Scully these past five years?
What I'm most wonderfully surprised by is what an inspiration this character is for women. I am constantly approached by women saying she's such a wonderful role model who's helped them get through difficult times. People have written and said when they've gone to a doctor's office to hear about whether a tumor is benign or malignant, they've called upon Scully's strength. It's kind of miraculous.
Have you had any bizarre fan encounters? David Duchovny said his weirdest was being recognized when he came out of the shower naked at his gym.
I wonder what part they recognized. [Laughs.] There was a strange scenario a few weeks ago. I had a long weekend and went to Sedona [Arizona] and rented a vehicle. At the rental counter the guy was being incredibly nice to me—and I was wearing my disguise, a baseball hat and glasses. It never works.
Oh that's because that's the standard disguise for every celebrity. People always recognize celebrities in sunglasses and baseball hats.
When I don't have a hat on, I feel so exposed. But if I wear a different kind of hat—big-brimmed floppy hats and sun hats—it's more attention- getting. Anyway [the car rental agent] was going to lead us to a place to get something to eat, and it was way out of his way, miles away. I'm saying, "Why is this guy doing this?" and I got a page and called back to my manager. She said, "You know you're in UFO land." I was in a whole other land. I wasn't in Kansas, so to speak.
What's your opinion of fame then?
Fame is complicated and definitely overrated. There are perks to it that are unfathomable. But the other aspect is there's little to no privacy at all—being anywhere at any time and knowing that somebody you cannot see is probably taking a picture of you, which has happened hundred of times. I look around and cannot see anyone and a couple of weeks later I see a photo of me looking around.
What about dating and relationships? How does fame affect that?
It's more difficult. You go out to dinner with very good friends and it's assumed you're seeing each other and then stuff is dug up on their personal life. And it sucks.
Does that mean it's easier to date other celebrities, who know what it's like?
Generally celebrities are in social situations with other celebrities, and that's how they meet other celebrities. It's easier to be with someone who understands the situation of celebritydom.
What about the fact that you're successful and men can be a bit intimidated by a woman who makes more than they do?
It's a big issue. A lot of men, I've experienced, are threatened by a women making more money over the long haul. That's something that has to be discussed and considered.
It would seem that if that's the case, the sane and rational response would be to say, "I'm not going through this nonsense. I'll just concentrate on my daughter and my career for now."
I am doing that now. It takes too much energy, and I don't have that right now.
Do you have much input into the show's plots or what Scully does?
I can speak as much as I want, but I don't generally, because from day one Chris [Carter, X-Files' creator] has had such a strong understanding and knowledge. There's never a time when I would say, "Scully would never do that or say that." It wouldn't happen. I have dabbled less in plot scenarios than David has, simply because I haven't had time. He's got hours in his trailer, and I have my daughter.
Does it ever get to you, the media speculation, the gossip that's out there? The rumors that you and David don't get along?
I couldn't care less about what's said in the tabloids. Whether what is out there is truth or fiction, there's nothing that can be done or said. Some absurd and some accurate things have been said about our relationship. I don't think anybody could really understand it. It's complicated, ever- changing. And not something that could be pinholed in a two-sentence summarization.
Duchovny, when asked about working with you, complimented you as "a hard-working actress" and said, "When you're tired and want to move on, she stays there. She never doesn't try to do it as well as she can because of fatigue. That can be pretty inspiring."
I don't think I ever said, "David, let's do this scene!" And if I did, he'd slap me! [Smiles.] But I have these survival mechanisms that pop up and rear their heads. Sometimes I'm dead on my feet and phone it in, and sometimes I have the energy to do better.
Do you have any advice to give Scully?
What's your personal fantasy for your future?
My fantasy is to live where I choose with my daughter and do a project of my choice—one each year. Then spend the rest of my time with her, and traveling.
This fall you co-star with Sharon Stone in The Mighty, in which you're virtually unrecognizable—and very, very funny. How did this role happen for you?
I had been a fan of [director] Peter Chelsom for a while, particularly after seeing Funny Bones. To get the role—this is a bizarre story—I put myself on tape for the director. He was in London, and we couldn't meet. It was after a wrap party [for The X-Files' season finale], and I put myself on tape in my living room. What's interesting was when I first read for it, I interpreted her in a very different way, like a rocker biker chick. That's what I was cast on. Then Peter saw a cover of [me on] Rolling Stone, a send-up of a B-movie poster with reddish- blond long wig and red lips and long nails and a monster behind me. He called me up at one point and said, "I think that's her—that's what it has to be. Just make her really wacky." And that's who you see. I literally felt I was flying by the seat of my pants.
Do you have a movie you're making this summer on your hiatus from the show?
I'm filming Dancing About Architecture, which has Sean Connery and also Gena Rowlands and Dennis Quaid and Madeleine Stowe and Anthony Edwards and Angelina Jolie and Jon Stewart. The movie is snatches of conversations between different couples, whether mother and son or lovers. I'm a woman in her early 30s, a theater and commercial director. I do my scenes with Jon Stewart, and he's very funny. My character is very closed in the first part of the film, because she's dealing with stuff.
How do you decide which roles you'll take?
With that one, I really wanted to do something different and not take up my entire hiatus and do something I really cared about and respected. Out of all the films that I was thinking about, this one kind of fit all those criteria.
But you're not doing starring roles like you have in The X-Files—
That's not a priority for me, and it's not interesting to me. If it happens, that's great. Otherwise I'd be happy to be a secondary part.