If there was such a place as the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame Museum, Gillian Anderson would have a wing within dedicated to her. Forever beloved for her role as Dana Scully on the hit 90's show The X-Files, she has made a career playing a razor-sharp, tough-as-nails, career-driven women--who also happens to be effortlessly sexy. The subject of YouTube tributes and GIF-filled Tumblrs of worship, Anderson will be heating up the small screen again this winter, when she returns Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on NBC's Hannibal and as the second season of the critically acclaimed BBC Two series, The Fall, hits the US market via Netflix. (If you haven't watched season one, consider cancelling your weekend plans for a binge-watch. You won't be able to take your eyes off Anderson and her dangerously alluring co-star Jamie Dornan--soon to be Mr. Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey.)
But Anderson, 46, is clearly not one to to rest on the laurels of her past successes. This week she is visiting New York Comic Con to greet her legions of fans and unveil her newest accomplishment-- her first novel, A Vision Fire. Co-authored by Anderson and science fiction writer Jeff Rovin, it is the first book in a planned trilogy about a brilliant psychiatrist, Caitlin O'Hara, whose perplexing new patient seems to be conjuring visions and nightmares of an apocalyptic scale. Be warned: The book is a page-turner which will keep you in suspense until the final chapter. If while reading it, you happen to picture Caitlin O'Hara looking a lot like Anderson, well, that's no mistake. As she told InStyle, her new book is hopefully the launching pad for Anderson's next great sci-fi heroine.
Tell us how Gillian Anderson the sci-fi star became Gillian Anderson the sci-fi author.
I’ve always had an interest in writing and a long private history with it in various forums. I've had the fantasy that later in life that I might write a novel, but no sense as if one day I'd be struck a bright idea for it. This kind of came out of the blue. Jeff and I share an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. He approached me at one point, and said you may or may not interested in writing, but if you were interested, how about science fiction as the genre? My first instinct was no. That wouldn’t be my choice of genre if I were to write something on my own accord. But then we started talking and the idea just started to flow out of us--who the main character might be, where the story might go, what the potential was for future books and movies. We went wild.
Did you imagine yourself as Caitlin O’Hara during the writing process? Does she looks like you in your mind?
She looks exactly like me. That was a part of the point; creating a potential cinematic character for myself. These things are complicated, and a lot has to happen between the instigation of something and the manifestation of something, but that would be my hope, yeah.
One of the refreshing things about Caitlin's character is that she's an incredibly driven professional, but also a loving working mom. I'm sure that's something you can relate to as a mom of three yourself.
Thank you. That was on purpose and I’m glad it was successful in that way because that was important to myself, and I think it was also important to Jeff, that we get that balance right. That balance does exist in our world. It is possible. It is that one can be, specifically talking about women in this instance, passionate about the work that they do, and equally passionate and present for their offspring.
Season two of The Fall (pictured below) is currently airing in England. What are you allowed to tell us about it?
I'm not allowed to tell you much. The story evolves considerably, and is even more provocative and disturbing in the right way than the first. I was very excited and grateful that the second season topped even our first season in terms of what takes part in the scripts. [The show's creator] Allan Cubitt directed it, and I think he has done an extraordinary job. I can tell you that much.
When it first debuted, was there any controversy in casting Jamie Dornan as the serial killer? He's so attractive, it really plays with you as a viewer. You are attracted to him and repelled by him at the same time.
Exactly. The initial intention was not to hire somebody who was that attractive. However, it was clear that he was very much the man for the job. It didn’t have anything to do with his good looks, although in the process we realized what that would do psychologically to the viewer. There was something intriguing about that, most definitely.
Jamie is also starring in the film Fifty Shades of Grey. When that comes out in February, he will become globally famous on a crazy level. Have you given him any advice about how to handle growing fame?
Jamie is one of the most grounded people I know. He has a really good head on his shoulders. He has a wonderful relationship with his family and friends. He has a really lovely wife and a lovely family life with his new baby. He’s got it all in perspective, and has a very appropriate and right-sized take on all of this. I don’t think he needs any advice.
You're coming to New York's Comic-Con this week, where you will likely get mobbed by X-Files fans. Do you still enjoy that?
I enjoy it more than I did at the time [the series was on]. I’m doing book signings and panels.
The X-Files is picking up new fans through digital distribution now. Is there a possibility that a reunion may happen one day?
Both David [Duchovny] and I have been very vocal about our interest in giving it one more go. It's just a matter of the powers that be agreeing to make that happen.
Your hair is a much lighter shade now than it was a decade ago when you were playing Scully. Do you still identify yourself as a redhead?
I have never been a redhead except for Scully so there is no identification there. Feel much happier being blonde.
Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin's novel, A Vision of Fire, is available now at amazon.com.