Gillian Anderson got so into her role as Special Agent Dana Scully during filming of "The X-Files" that it caused her to experience multiple "mini-breakdowns."
The 52-year-old Emmy winner opened up about the intensity of working on the hit 1990s TV series during a recent roundtable with several other women actors hosted by The Hollywood Reporter.
"I certainly had that experience doing 'X-Files' for nine seasons. 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," Anderson revealed.
The original "X-Files" aired on Fox from 1993 to 2002. Anderson and her co-star, David Duchovny, also appeared in two "X-Files" movies before reuniting for a revival of the show in 2016 and 2018.
After spending nearly a decade exploring the paranormal during the show's original run, Anderson was ready for a break. When the series ended, she felt the need to get as far away from Dana Scully as possible.
"I needed to immerse immediately in theater in another country. 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," she recalled.
Anderson added, "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."
The actor, who recently wowed TV audiences portraying former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on "The Crown," has long been a champion of pay equity in Hollywood.
She first fought for equal pay for herself back when she was a "nobody" on "The X-Files," and was outraged to have to do it again years later when she participated in the show's revival. (Anderson previously told THR that she was initially offered only half of what Duchovny was offered to film the revival.)
"We were going back to do another season and Fox came to me to offer, I don’t know, a 10th of what my co-star (David Duchovny) was being offered. That was the point where I was like, 'F--- this. I’m actually going to talk about this (publicly),'" she said.
While Anderson admires anyone brave enough to take a stand in Hollywood, she said she felt safe when she took her stand because she knew the producers of "The X-Files" would never fire her.
"It’s very different for a young woman going into a job situation with a boss who’s overbearing and asking for a pay raise," she said.
Since the show's revival, Anderson said, she hasn't had to fight for equal pay again. "I mean, I haven’t worked with a lot of men, so that hasn’t been an issue," she said, laughing.