#MondayMorningMuse: Gillian Anderson

Posted By Television, Theatre, Women


Anyone who knows me (this is Nicole writing) is likely rolling their eyes as they read who I’ve chosen to profile as this week’s muse, and that is because anyone who knows me is well aware that I have developed a slight obsession over the last few months. If you’re wondering how those who know me are aware of this, the answer is because I tell them; loudly, and multiple times a day. So, for the benefit of each and every one of my closest friends, this week, instead of talking about how top-notch I have recently discovered Gillian Anderson to be, I have decided to write about it. Don’t worry. You can thank me later.

I have spoken in the past about theatre as something “magical.” To summarize another often-heard, long-winded rant of mine into a sentence, I believe that there are certain times certain plays (or movies, or books, or songs, or TV shows, or great conversations with friends) have an unexplainable ability to make a person want to DO. Really what I’m speaking about here is inspiration. When a story, or a character, or a person telling a story or playing a character, bonds with your soul in that special, motivating way, something happens that inspires those on the receiving end of the connection to want to continue the movement. It’s a kind of creative, other-human-being-induced high that I don’t think there is really anything else like.

And even though I’m writing this on the Sunday night of a long weekend, I promise you I am sober.

Special Agent Dana Scully is the role that made Gillian Anderson famous, but I almost hate to highlight it first because I think she has done so many great – albeit lesser-talked-about – things since. Don’t get me wrong, though. If you’re unfamiliar with Anderson, Scully is the perfect introduction to her magical powers.

scully

As much as I thought I would never in a million years be interested in The X-Files, it is a show that absolutely consumed me. I have never in my life watched or cared about anything sci-fi related, but there truly was something about this series that was out of this world – ha ha – and I’m not speaking about its content. The creepy, conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy plotlines were always creative and interesting, but it was Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully’s romantic pursuit of the truth/dynamic partnership that made watching those creative and interesting plotlines so exciting. Furthermore, Anderson’s ability to bring this woman to life – and it really is amazing how much you want to believe ( 😉 ) that she’s a real person – in such a loveably skeptical, well-rounded way, is wonderful. Anderson was also the first woman to write for the show (in season SEVEN), and one of the only two to direct an episode. STOP ME NOW because I could talk about this forever. I’m actually almost reluctant to admit how much I connected to Scully, because there are some extremely hardcore X-Files/sci-fi fans out there who, I won’t lie, scare me a little. Some very cool things followed this show, though. Apparently, for example, the number of women entering scientific fields (Scully is not only an FBI Agent, she’s also a Medical Doctor) increased so much following the series that the upsurge was named “The Scully Effect.” See? TV is important……………….

After you fall in love with Dana Scully, other movies and TV series to catch Anderson in include Playing By Heart (1998), The House Of Mirth (2000), Bleak House (2005), Great Expectations (2011), Hannibal (2013), and my personal favourite, The Fall (2013) – to name a few

stella1

If you thought Scully was cool, brace yourselves for Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. I’m going to say it… I think she might be the best-written female character on TV. There is something about the complexities of this woman that Anderson nails with such nuance, it’s stunning to watch. Apparently the character was written specifically for her, too, which is neat to think about from a creator’s perspective. Stella Gibson is the definition of unapologetic, and as much of a place that Scully has in the hearts of many (mine included), for me Anderson’s bang-on portrayal of this multifaceted character is most admirable.

THAT said, I have not (yet) seen Gillian Anderson on stage. Trained first in theatre, she has been starring as Blanche Dubois (another fave character) in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire in the UK since last year. I have tickets to see the closing performance of this show in New York in May, and if I talk anymore about it right now I’ll explode, so I think this is a good place to wrap this rant up.

streetcar

The point of all of these highlights is to encourage those looking for a bit of inspiration to seek out any work by Gillian Anderson. Even interviews with her are heartening, because despite the amount of dramatic roles she’s done, she’s also hilarious. SHE’S JUST EVERYTHING, OKAY?

Happy Monday, folks! 🙂


 

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