Gillian Anderson Said Shooting ‘The X-Files’ Gave Her ‘Mini Breakdowns’ That Made Her Question If She Ever Wanted To Be On A Set Again

Ever since The X-Files ended for the first time in 2002, Gillian Anderson has seemed to work whenever she feels like it. She’ll do the occasional movie but she’s never been consistent. Same with TV shows. She’s still basking in the raves for her eerily spot-on Margaret Thatcher on The Crown, but in a new Hollywood Reporter round-table chat with fellow actresses, she confessed that the show that made her also nearly destroyed her.

“I had a good couple of mini breakdowns during that, and at the end, could not talk about it, could not see it, could not see pictures, could not,” she told Cynthia Erivo, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Mj Rodriguez, and Sarah Paulson. But she came up with a solution.

“I needed to immerse immediately in theater in another country,” Anderson said. “And then after a while, I was able to embrace it again, but when I started to embrace it, it was almost like I separated myself so much that I was looking at the image as if it was another person. When you immerse yourself so entirely as we can, and we do for such long periods of time, there’s not going to be no consequence to that. Of course, there’s going to be consequence to that.”

Anderson also admitted that she’s “never really gone after things,” which may explain why her work is relatively sporadic. She continued:

“And when I finished with X-Files, I didn’t know if I wanted to be on a set again ever. So aside from having grown up in the U.K. and wanting to go back, I knew it would take time before I could if I was going to. And in London, you could move between theater and TV, and that was always my dream. But every actor has the thing that they’d want more than the thing that they have, and I’m a cinephile, and so I [wonder], ‘Why do I keep doing TV? All I want to do is do film.’ And I’m still doing TV.”

That said, Anderson has a film in the pipeline: White Bird: A Wonder Story, a war drama that pairs her with no less than Helen Mirren. And being on Sex Education, on top of The Crown, is nothing to sneeze at.