“I think we’re both playing these characters as that other character really means a lot to us, so when we finally got the opportunity to kiss in a scene, we both really wanted to go for it, we didn’t want it to be some kind of nothing moment that kind of gets looked over.” -Jake Johnson about Nick and Jess’s kiss
As Yahoo TV recently noted, Stella Gibson, Gillian Anderson’s character on the thriller The Fall,
is “so unapologetically feminist, unapologetically promiscuous, and
unapologetically better than everyone else on the Northern Island Police
force that she inspires celebratory fan tributes with titles like
‘Stella Gibson being a boss.’”
detective’s cat-and-mouse game with serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie
Dornan) in Season 2 of the drama should also inspire Emmy voters to
nominate Anderson for Outstanding Lead Actress. We spoke to Anderson,
who’s currently filming Fox’s reboot of The X-Files (which earned
her an Emmy in 1997), about key scenes in Season 2, and her hopes for
Season 3, which she’ll begin shooting in December.
You wrote an essay profiling Stella
for us before Season 2, and you said that some people see her as cold.
You wondered if that was something that show creator Allan Cubitt saw in
you, since he wrote the character for you. When we did a deep dive into Season 2 with him,
we asked him that question and he said no: He sees Stella as someone
who’s warm, but she has a “surface coolness,” a kind of control that he
does believes you exude as an actress. Do you see Stella as someone who
is trying to control things that are beyond her control?
that’s pretty accurate. I think she likes to be in control, and I think
that’s served her very well in her work and also in her personal life. I
think she’s extraordinarily focused in her work, and I think it takes
up a lot of her headspace. I think she’s spent so many years singularly
focused that she doesn’t really know anymore how to step outside of that
until it’s almost become a part of her personality — this concentrated,
deliberate, focused, serious, professional. So I think when we get to
see aspects of her personality when she tries to step outside her
comfort zone — when she makes a deliberate effort to be kind, friendly,
warm, complimentary, share a joke or something even intimate and on a
personal level — those moments really stand out for the character,
watching from the outside, because they are so few and far between.
They’re there, and they allow you into another aspect of her that maybe
she just doesn’t have access to that readily.
leads nicely into the first scene I wanted to talk about: When she
realizes Spector has broken into her hotel room and read her diary,
which is the ultimate loss of control. Take me through filming that
moment and how you got to that place. We see the tears building, and the
realization that she’s lost something of herself to him, of all
I think in the actual scene, the audience hears Spector
speaking [what he wrote in her diary]. I didn’t hear his voice, and they
didn’t need to have somebody reading out loud, because I was reading
the words on the page. What he writes is so blatantly provocative and
potentially shaming and intuitive. And the fact that he’s quaffed that
boundary, and stepped into not just the privacy of her room and the
privacy of her diary but the privacy of her mind and her thoughts — it’s
such a violation that it knocked the wind out of her. Literally, she’s
so not used to anyone getting anywhere near even on the surface what she
projects. She protects herself. So for that protection to have been
bypassed, and for him to have found her soft spot completely out of the
blue. … He really steps into an intimacy that she doesn’t share with
anybody. It’s a huge, huge invasion of her mind — a mind that she keeps
your essay about Stella, you mentioned that she chooses her clothes
carefully and cares about how she looks — for herself. You said she’s
“at once in touch with her femininity in a way we have not seen, and yet
still able to stand up for herself with strength, intelligence, grace,
and self-containment.” Is her wardrobe also like a suit of armor, in a
What I find interesting is that it’s not. She’s neither
wearing suits that are buttoned-up and double-breasted and trousers to
emulate the male counterparts on a daily basis, nor is she overtly
dressing sexually as armor. I think what I find fascinating about her is
that it is purely to satisfy a desire that she has within herself for
herself. If that confidence and that self-knowledge creates a boundary
somehow, puts distance between herself and other people… I don’t believe
that that’s a deliberate statement in any way or a protective device.
That’s more about the other person and their take on her or their
opinion about how she should dress.
next scene I wanted to touch on is the lengthy interrogation scene,
which became a great power play between Spector and Stella. How did you
approach that crucial sequence?
I thought that it was exquisitely
written. How did I prepare for it? I mean one always intends to be
entirely off-book, but with something like this, it’s really important
to know 100 percent that you are off-book and can follow the rhythm of
the scene from beginning to end without interruption. When we did a
rehearsal of it, it was clear that Jamie felt the same way because we
were able to do the 11-and-a-half pages straight through. What was
fascinating about the process was that because we haven’t sat
face-to-face in scenes before, it was as much about the actors dancing
as it was about the characters dancing and observing each other, sussing
each other out. We both lightly got into…predatory is the wrong word,
but it’s almost like two cobras facing off. A cobra and a mongoose or
something. It was something about that, and because it’s such a quiet
scene, and we end up very grounded in our bodies but also very much in
each other’s space. It had that kind of heightened sense to it. It was
so much fun to play, and also to see how good Jamie was and could be.
are times when each of you speaks directly into the camera. Allan has
said that he wanted to do that so viewers would feel the intimidation.
What were those takes like to film?
Usually those moments are
asked of actors at the very end. It’s like the final take, which means
that you’re either exhausted by then, or you have the rhythm and you’re
vibrating at a particular level. And so, it can actually be
exhilarating. I think you can’t help but jump into the perspective of
the viewer and get a sense of the power that such a shot would have in a
scene like that. So it can be quite fun to be able to play with that
heightened intention there.
memorable scene was the aftermath of Stella’s rejected invitation for
Reed Smith (Archie Panjabi) to join her in her room and ACC Jim Burns
(John Lynch) coming on to Stella there instead. Stella says that line to
Burns about how we all have these emotional and physical needs that can
only be met by another human — the trick is to ask the appropriate
person. Can you imagine an appropriate person for Stella?
love about that scene is that, of course, Burns thinks that she might
be talking about him when she says, after that, that she made a mistake
herself. It’s like he slightly wonders if maybe they’re on the same
page, even though she admonished him initially. Who would be the right
person for Stella? I mean, I would think that it would be an unmarried
man, within a decade of her own age maybe, above or below. Equal
intelligence, successful, has a sense of self-knowledge and
understanding of appropriate behavior and boundaries himself. Whether
she’d be able to handle that, I think, would be challenging for her. I
think that she could do it… if they saw each other once a week. [Laughs]
There will be a third season of The Fall,
and Allan has confirmed, of course, that Spector will survive being
shot. I found it so interesting that Stella ran to Spector first when he
and DS Tom Anderson (Colin Morgan) both took bullets. In your mind, why
I mean, it is really the right thing to do. She spent
how long now tracking this guy? She knows that there’s medics around.
She knows that Anderson’s likely going to be perfectly fine no matter
where he’s hit. She doesn’t want this to end here. She’s fascinated by
[Spector]. She is fascinated by what drives him. She also knows that
he’s got a young daughter, even though that’s obviously going to be a
complicated relationship. But I think she doesn’t feel like her business
with him is done yet. It’s also an easy out for him after what he put
of the things that Allan has said he hopes we’ll learn more about in
Season 3 is Stella’s history with her father, which is addressed in her
diary. Is that something that you’re looking forward to exploring more?
think so. We’ve talked about it, and I am interested in exploring quite
a bit more. I’ve had a lot of thoughts and ideas about where we head
next, but Allan is the one who goes off in his little world of genius
and figures out the best way for it all to unfold. I have 100 percent
faith in him. Wherever he leads us, even if it has no resemblance
whatsoever to a direction that I thought might be fun or interesting or
fascinating for myself or for an audience, I know that he’ll lead us
down the right path. It may or may not have anything to do with her
was a lot of secrecy around Season 2. I’m sensing there’ll be a lot of
secrecy around Season 3. How does that compare to what you’re dealing
with now in terms of secrecy with the return of The X-Files?
It’s a little bit of a different level because first of all, The Fall
world is a smaller world. So at the very beginning, those scripts are
going to a small handful of people. When you’re dealing with a network
like Fox, and you’re dealing with a franchise, there’s a lot more
potentially at stake. There’s a lot more people who have their fingers
in the pie. And also, the expectations are so high, and there’s a lot of
boxes that need to be ticked, especially with the first episode. It’s
always so much more satisfying when there’s as few spoilers out as
possible, with any scenario. But I’d have to say lockdown is greater for
The X-Files. [Laughs]
Great Article, but this: “Who would be the right
person for Stella? I mean, I would think that it would be an unmarried
man…” gave me pause, as in:
Because we already ALL know who the right person for Stella is:
1. OTP that I just don’t get. Probably Sam/Tron. Not to say some folks can’t REALLY fucking rock it (see the “We Are Pilots” verse), but it takes a lot of work. Their only meeting in canon was in a duel to the death with the Program being brainwashed and crazy, and Sam has very little if any reason to even like the guy, even in a post-Legacy setup.
2, Fandom OTP I only BroTP: Probably Tron/Ram. Ram had too much chemistry with Flynn, and Tron was single-minded enough about Yori to put his deity on hold. While I can very easily see group marriage as a normal part of Program society, it’s not something I can see in canonical circumstances.
3. Unfollowed someone over a fandom opinion? Nope. But if they trash my faves, I hope they can back up their dislike with a very good argument.
4. A NoTP for my fandom.
Not touching Sam/Alan with a 10-meter Rod Primitive. The age gap for one, the paternal role Alan took for two, the fact Lora is not dead in this timeline third, the fourth is the possibility of OT3: Shall We Dance making this ship even more brain-breaking.
When Iris entered his office/lab area - she was sweet, bubbly and funny - I loved her immediately. They just seemed so at ease with each other. Then finding out she cancelled a date to go with Barry - that’s shipping material right there. Whoever this person was didn’t stand a chance against an opportunity to support Barry in one of his interests. The way Barry enthused about the event at STAR labs. When you’re really passionate about something, you don’t tend to fully geek out about it unless your really comfortable with the person. I love the way Iris just smiles and listens (even if she probably understands very little of the science). She waits for him to finish before lightly teasing him. That showed me how well they’d work as a couple. Barry ranting adorably about certain topics met with Iris’ appreciation and sweet humor.
When they ran out the room, after convincing Joe to let Barry go, I remember smiling because they looked like two kids running out to play. After watching later episodes, realizing this is an almost decade and a half relationship in the making, I smiled even more imagining them as kids actually doing this.
One of the loveliest and most iconic scenes in this relationship. Iris was just as excited to see Barry, as he was to see her. Can we not forget that she stopped serving the customer to run to Barry. The way he picks her up is just everything. I decided right there and then that I wanted to be hugged and held like that at least once before dying.
The level of intimacy of this action is showing (instead of telling). Barry wants Iris to feel his heart in more ways than one. First off, he wants her to know he’s fine but he also wants her to actually feel the love inside it for her. From recent episodes our suspicions were indeed confirmed. We (and everyone else in Central City, it seems) know that she has a big place in it and practically holds it in her hands. So, this was a nice bit of foreshadowing about the depths of his feelings for her. Neither looks uncomfortable with the intimacy of it. In fact, Iris and Barry both looked relieved by the gesture. Relief at being together again and relief that Barry’s awake.
That’s the story of how WestAllen quickly became my OTP in one episode.There’s simply too much history, chemistry, love and potential between them to waste.