SHE was once voted the world’s sexiest woman after finding fame playing a feisty red-headed FBI special agent in The X-Files.
But for Gillian Anderson, who still looks fantastic at 52, her latest role could not be more different — former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Gillian Anderson was voted the world’s sexiest woman after finding fame as a feisty X-Files fedCredit: The Mega Agency
Stunning Gillian has told how donning a wig, painful shoes and “uncomfortable” nylon tights transformed her into the formidable Tory leader in the fourth series of The Crown, which starts tonight.
The glamorous star — the latest in a long line of actresses including Meryl Streep, Andrea Riseborough and Lindsay Duncan to play the role — said: “I let go of my preconceived ideas of Margaret Thatcher.
“I watched every video there was to be watched on her. Her manner, her religion, how she walked, talked and moved. Getting into that wig definitely helps.
“Never in my life would I wear the shoes she wore.
But her latest role as Margaret Thatcher could not be more different Credit: AP:Associated Press
The star will appear as the formidable Tory leader (pictured in 1990) in the fourth series of The CrownCredit: Alpha Press
“But walking in the way I learned to walk as her, and in those shoes, just helped so much — and wearing the really uncomfortable nylon stockings she might have worn.
“I swear they found them in the bottom of a box in a Salvation Army because I don’t think they make them any more.”
She added: “The hair and make-up wouldn’t really take long. About an hour and a half.
“I did wear a body suit to make me a bit wider.
Gillian first emerged on our screens as The X-Files’ Scully, alongside David Duchovny’s character Fox Mulder
“It took quite some time to research her, a few months. I used to put in ear pods and listen to her interviews all day long.”
Today we reveal how the mum-of-three makes her relationship with director Peter Morgan, 57, work by living apart and why she has ruled out reprising her role as agent Dana Scully in Nineties TV hit The X-Files.
Tonight in The Crown she will star alongside Olivia Colman, who plays the Queen, in the hotly anticipated latest instalment on Netflix.
As the new series enters the Eighties, Gillian described the role of the Iron Lady as “a pleasure”.
The globally-successful show rocketed her to fame and she was voted FHM’s Sexiest woman in 1996Credit: Getty
The US-born actress was originally from Chicago but moved to London with her family as a young child and went to school in Crouch End, North London.
The family moved back to the States when she was 11.
Gillian first emerged on to our screens in 1993 when she played Scully alongside David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and the science fiction drama won her an army of fans.
In 1996, she was voted FHM magazine’s Sexiest Woman in the World, at a time when The X-Files was enjoyed by viewers in more than 100 countries across the globe.
She played Miss Havisham in the 2011 BBC1 adaptation of Great ExpectationsCredit: BBC
Gillian, who was only paid half of what her co-star Duchovny, 60, received at the time, said: “I had a very negative opinion, and rightly so, of TV.
“For most of the time we were protected by the fact we were living and shooting in Vancouver and it wasn’t until I moved down to LA and started to be recognised in restaurants that I realised I was famous.
“I cannot imagine what it must be like for young and impressionable actors getting into the business today with the whole tweeting thing, members of the public snapping you on their phones, and the fact that anyone can post a picture of you sitting in a restaurant.”
She added: “The filming days on The X-Files were long and gruelling, so the cast and crew became like another family.”
In 2016 she appeared as sexually confident cop Stella Gibson in The FallCredit: BBC
There were some reports that she and Duchovny had become close.
But in another interview she closed down the suggestion, adding: “It’s a nice idea but it’s never going to happen.”
Gillian married her first husband, X-Files assistant art director Clyde Klotz, 59, in 1994. It was a Buddhist ceremony held in Hawaii.
The pair had their daughter Piper Maru — now 26 — later that year before splitting up. In 2004, Gillian married documentary maker Julian Ozanne, 55, off the coast of Kenya.
And recently she starred as Jean Milburn in Netflix’s Sex EducationCredit: EPA
But the couple announced their separation two years later. Next, she dated businessman Mark Griffiths — having two children, Oscar, 14, and Felix, 12 — before the pair separated.
Now, since 2002, Gillian has been living in London with her three children and has been in a relationship with screenwriter and dramatist Peter Morgan since 2016. The pair still live apart.
Talking about why they do not live together, the actress said: “If we did, that would be the end of us. It works so well as it is.
“It feels so special when we do come together. And when I’m with my kids, I can be completely there for them. It’s exciting.
But her newest role has been the toughest, having taken months of preparationCredit: Reuters
“We choose when to be together. There is nothing locking us in, nothing that brings up that fear of, ‘Oh gosh, I can’t leave because what will happen to the house, how will we separate?’.’’
Since being back in the UK, Gillian has dazzled on our screens in some acclaimed roles.
She played Miss Havisham in the 2011 BBC1 adaptation of Great Expectations and in 2016 appeared as sexually confident cop Stella Gibson in The Fall.
In one episode, her character was seen encouraging a young policeman to come up to her hotel room.
Gillian reveals she had two vocal coaches and listened to endless interviews with the late PMCredit: Netflix
Gillian said of the role at the time: “People have one-night stands all the time. Stella is comfortable with her sexuality.
“She has needs and if those are met by the occasional night between two consenting adults, what’s the problem?’”
But her new role as Margaret Thatcher is quite the departure from her role in The Fall.
Gillian said she “didn’t really have that much of an impression” about Mrs Thatcher when she was younger, adding: “I grew up in the UK until 1979 and that was the year that Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.
She had to don a body suit, wig, painful shoes and ‘uncomfortable’ nylon tightsCredit: Netflix 2020, Inc
“So, I think most of my impression was from being older back in the UK and hearing the multi-faceted opinions that people had about her, and understanding just how divisive she was.”
As well as watching hours of clips of the former PM, Gillian also had two voice coaches to help her perfect her character’s speech — and she studied hundreds of letters written by Mrs Thatcher.
The actress said of the late politician: “Clothes were the majority of her life and I was fascinated by that.
“Most of her letters that she wrote to her sister when she was in college have to do with clothes.
But Gillian says wearing Thatcher’s wig really helped her get into characterCredit: AFP
“And so much of it is about her spending within her budget, which is fascinating given she was the queen of the budget in this country.
“I worked with a couple of different voice people. It’s quite easy to parody her voice, which makes it hard to identify with.”
The actress said she worked hard to strike just the right tone between “Thatcher the Screecher or Thatcher when she gets into her calmer mode”.
She added: “It was about trying to find the balance, but at the same time understanding who she was and how she operated.”
Gillian says her efforts were about ‘understanding who she was and how she operated’Credit: Alpha Press
Sleuth is out there
GILLIAN moved to New York aged 22 to fulfil her dream to be an actress.
She got her big break in 1993 as FBI agent Dana Scully in The X-Files.
Gillian starred in 218 episodes, winning an Emmy in 1997 for outstanding lead actress in a drama series and a Golden Globe for best actress.
She branched out into films, playing Sarah Meritt in The Last King Of Scotland in 2006, and starred in two X-Files films, 1998’s Fight The Future and I Want To Believe, in 2008.
Back on TV she played Lady Dedlock in a 2005 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, Wallis Simpson in 2010’s Any Human Heart and Miss Havisham in another BBC Dickens remake, Great Expectations, in 2011.
Last year Gillian began playing Jean Milburn in Sex Education.
One of her most notable roles was in the BBC hit The Fall, when she played detective Stella Gibson.
And Gillian revealed that to get into character, she would head to a dark room that she called her “elsewhere” place.
She said: “If there’s a lot of dialogue on any given day I’ll definitely find a quiet corner somewhere.
“When we were doing The Crown, I’d get a chair and put it in some dark, dusty corner or an abandoned room.
“I always referred to it as ‘elsewhere’, and if the director wanted me, they’d have to come to my elsewhere. I’m quite fond of an ‘elsewhere’.”
Gillian was previously married to X-Files assistant art director Clyde KlotzCredit: Getty
Gillian, who is filming a new series of Netflix comedy drama Sex Education, added: “I’d like to do more comedy. The opportunity rarely presents itself, if ever, and it’s something I’d love to explore.
“I love to laugh. I love humour and being silly and goofy.
“That comes more naturally to me than being serious. But it’s never something I’m considered for.”
One thing she is certain not to do is reprise her popular X-Files character, if for no other reason than that the creepy episodes used to “scare her kids”.
Now she is in a relationship with Peter Morgan, who is the writer and creator behind The CrownCredit: Getty
She said: “Why repeat yourself? Wouldn’t life become rather dull if we did the same thing repeatedly?
“The beauty of acting is reinvention and being able to move from very opposed character studies is what I look for. When The X-Files finished, it had taken up such a large chunk of my life, I knew I wanted to do something completely different.”
Viewers of The Crown will definitely see a different side to Gillian tonight.
Gillian has three children – daughter Piper Maru (pictured), Oscar Griffiths and Felix GriffithsCredit: Getty
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.