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HFPA in Conversation: Gillian Anderson on Taking on a Challenge

Golden Globe-winning actress Gillian Anderson trusted her instinct when she agreed to play Margaret Thatcher on Netflix series The Crown. She tells HFPA journalist Meher Tatna how she chooses her roles: “Unless it’s an incredibly experienced director, which I’m dying to work with, I probably won’t take roles where I don’t know what I’m doing. It can’t hurt to take a role if you already feel like you know how to get there because then at least you know that at least you can rely on yourself and you don’t have to rely on somebody else who may or may not be able to guide you.”

But she can’t explain why she felt she can play Margaret Thatcher, other than trusting her instinct. “For whatever reason and I don’t even begin to understand or will speculate on why, but I felt like I would be able to play her, that I understood an aspect of her and it’s so hard to say how or why. It’s certainly nothing in my background would point to me having an understanding of her other than perhaps work ethic but we’re very, very different people. I think with something like that it’s the mixture of being really excited by the prospect, excited by the challenge and something, some aspect sparking a way in, feeling like in some way you know that you can get in there.” 

Listen to the podcast and hear how she became an actor and how it changed her life; how she approaches her roles; how was her OBE ceremony; how she describes Queen Elizabeth II; why she needed to fight twice for equal payment while she was filming The X-FilesThe X-Files