Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August 9, 1968) is a film, television, and theatre actress. She's best known to the general public as an FBI agent Dana Scully from The X-Files (1993-2002, 2008, 2016). She also frequently appears in Period Drama pieces. Her roles include the ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in the adaptation of The House of Mirth (2000), and Lady Dedlock in the BBC production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. In 2009, she played Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse in London. In 2011, she played Miss Havisham in the award-winning BBC adaptation of Great Expectations. She has been seen in two acclaimed 2013 TV series, The Fall on the BBC and Hannibal on NBC.
She is now moving into novels, with the science fiction series The EarthEnd Saga. She currently plays Media on American Gods.
- Ability over Appearance: Fox executives wanted somebody "taller, leggier, blonder and breastier" to play Scully, but Chris Carter convinced them that the then-unknown petite, redhead (albeit natural blonde) Gillian would be perfect.
- Actor Shipping: She's aware of the fact that some fans ship her with her former co-star, David Duchovny, and she sometimes enjoys messing with people with vague answers. However, at the end of the day, she and David Duchovny are just colleagues and friends with wonderful chemistry.
- Adam Westing: In Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, a quasi-mockumentary about filming an adaptation of the novel, Gillian Anderson (as herself) gets the part of the Widow Wadnam because the producer loves her as Scully on The X-Files. Gillian wants to get away from her most famous role, and is later annoyed when her scenes as the widow are cut from the movie. Many, many more layers of meta in this film.
- Beauty Mark: Was often covered up by makeup on The X-Files.
- Creator Backlash: She was none too happy about Season 11 of The X Files not having a single female writer. This ultimately brought so much negative publicity that two were added.
- Dye Hard: She's a natural blonde, but Dana Scully was a redhead (of various shades in the long run), and this image of her got stuck (though one character claims it isn't her real hair colornote ).
- Fake American: Gillian Anderson was born in America to American citizens of English, Irish and German ancestry, but she moved to England when she was two and didn't move back until she was eleven, and by then, her speech patterns had been set. She had to work to lose it when she went into acting, and if you pay attention to the early episodes of The X-Files, it slips through at times. Now that she's moved back to England, she's got the accent back in full force. Her American accent she acquired in her teenage years comes back whenever she's interviewed by an American reporter.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: She was pregnant at the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2 of The X-Files. She wore lots of baggy clothes and appeared in unrevealing angles. Her pregnancy influenced the famous Myth Arc of the show.
- I Am Not Spock: Dana Scully is her most famous role. She moved from the States to Great Britain to defy the trope.
- Older Than They Look: She's fifty, but looks positively gorgeous and definitely better when her looks are compared to her early Scully days. Dana Scully was cute, but a bit mousy and dressed with questionable fashion taste in the early seasons of The X-Files.
- Promoted Fangirl: She played a parody version of Dana Scully in an episode of ReBoot, as well as fellow Fox series Eek! The Cat.
- Public Exposure: Has posed naked with a conger eel.
- Scully Box: She's very petite, and her co-star David Duchovny as Fox Mulder on The X-Files was much taller, so the crew had her stand on a box. She looks tiny and adorable in some scenes without high heels and without the box. Her role is the Trope Namer (while the Production Nickname derived from the actress herself, "Gilly-Board").
- Speech Impediment:
- She has very very slight lisp, if you pay attention, that is. Anderson, who lived in Britain until she was eleven, has said hers is partly the result of trying to drop her accent in high school. If you pay attention, in the earliest episodes of The X-Files, it occasionally slips a bit, especially when she tries to say 'garage'.
- While it's not quite an outright impediment, on the revival series of The X-Files there are times her voice is so hoarse you'd think she needs a cough drop. She's said it's an artifact of switching back to an American accent, which sometimes puts strain on her voice.
- Star-Making Role: Dana Scully of The X-Files made her a household name. The show was huge!
- Underage Casting: She was 24 when she was cast as Dana Scully, a forensic pathologist with a medical degree, FBI training, and teaching at the FBI academy. Her character was in her late twenties, though realistically, Scully would have to be in her mid thirties to achieve the qualifications she has.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Her accent tends to fluctuate. She was born in the US, but lived in England until she was in her early teens, and didn't try to shed the accent until she was out of high school. In the very early episodes of The X-Files, she'll slip occasionally. In the 2008 movie, it can get quite noticeable in Scully's emotional scenes, as Anderson moved back to England after the show ended in 2002, and had to relearn her American accent all over again for the film.
- Written by Cast Member: She wrote and directed "All Things", a Season 7 episode of The X-Files. The reviews from critics were mixed, but fans loved the episode and praised her insight into her character.