Gillian Anderson returns as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson in season two of the gripping thriller The Fall airing now on Netflix. The second season picks up immediately after the end of season one and Anderson’s Gibson is still attempted to catch the serial killer (played by Jamie Dornan) who’s left a string of posed and naked dead bodies throughout Belfast, Northern Ireland.
During the 2015 TCA winter press event, I had the opportunity to sit down with Anderson to get a peek behind-the-scenes of the fascinating series written and directed by Allan Cubitt.
Interview with Gillian Anderson
There are so many cop shows, but there’s something that stands out about The Fall. It’s really the behavior of the characters that fascinates viewers, isn’t it?
Gillian Anderson: “I think so, yeah. I mean, that was certainly something that was so important to Allan Cubitt that that is part of what we get from this which is that we are studying human behavior and psychology as much as anything, and exploring the trajectory and the continuum of someone who behaves like that. But also the degree to which we can identify, and we all have aspects within ourselves that fall somewhere within that scope.”
Your dialogue is so measured. Is that something that struck you from the first scripts or something you worked on with Allan?
“No, nothing that we ever worked on. There’s a lot that is on the page, a lot comes off the page that is not necessarily scripted or drawn out in any way. It just kind of exists and that’s the mark of a good writer, I think. But in terms of the measuredness, I don’t quite know where that has come from because that’s not something you can write necessarily, unless you’re writing like Pinter.
Did you find that the scripts for season two accommodated that style a lot more?
“I don’t necessarily think so. I think British television, European television on the whole, allows for more space. The fact that in the first episode of this season that it picks up with a slow pace – not a lot happens in episode one of season two – it’s possible that that fact in and of itself sets the tone for the rest of the episodes in that we’re just with them on their daily routine of putting this together. We kind of fall into this realistic real-time rhythm.”
How gratified were you that you were able to play the character for a second season?
“We kind of knew that they would pick it up. They could not not pick it up, not just in how it ended but just in the fact that it was the most successful show they’d had on BBC2 in 12 years or something. They weren’t not going to pick it up, so it was kind of a given. But it was wonderful to have an opportunity to spend more time with her.”
This season you get to wear a police uniform. Did that help you find a side of Gibson that you hadn’t known before?
“I mean, on the one hand it was a little disconcerting because she has a uniform, so to speak, in the clothes that Gibson wears are very specific. So to suddenly have something so formal and to have hair up, what was more challenging was to find Gibson within that new look. I, as an actor, rely very heavily on wardrobe and hair and make-up for character and so to have those change so drastically and still remain Stella was the bigger challenge.”
Are you still going to be on Hannibal?
“Yes, I’ve shot six episodes already. I can’t tell you anything, unfortunately.”
– By Fred Topel
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