Gillian Anderson was a hunted woman last year.
The actress, best known for her role of Scully in US sci-fi series The X-Files, was initially targeted by The X-Files writer Frank Spotznik to star in his spy drama Hunted (in fact, Spotznik wrote the part for Anderson).
However, Prime Suspect writer Allan Cubitt also had a crime drama called The Hunted and was hoping that Anderson would star in his project.
Anderson eventually chose Cubitt’s series, which would become known as The Fall.
“I read the script and it was unique and very smart with compelling episodes,” Anderson told TBI. “I sat down with Alan and discussed it, it could have gone either way, and then I was fully committed.”
The Fall stars Anderson as DSI Gibson; a talented female detective superintendent brought in to catch a serial killer in Belfast. The psychological thriller is produced by Thorne producer Artists Studio, the UK indie set up by Box TV alumni Justin Thomson-Glover, Gub Neal and Patrick Irwin. It was commissioned by BBC Two.
“It started with the idea of seeing both sides of the crime at the same time. It’s not a whodunnit because there are no suspects,” Cubitt told TBI.
DSI Gibson is a rare police figure without the usual cop character traits.
“She doesn’t have an ex-husband and comes baggage free; my idea is that you have to learn who she is through her professional decisions,” he adds.
Anderson says: “She’s quite mysterious; you don’t know quite what’s going on. It seems that quite a lot of cops on TV have traditional character ticks. I realised that Scully wasn’t that complicated; she was square and simple.”
Anderson’s previous turns on British television have tended to be in period dramas such as Bleak House or Great Expectations. “When I’ve done period characters, they’ve been very theatrical. I feel with [DSI] Gibson, I’m pulling out aspects of yourself that I’ve put away,” says Anderson. “She’s probably my favourite character that I’ve played.”
The five-part series, which is distributed internationally by Content Television and ZDF Enterprises, doesn’t have a TX date, but it is expected to air early 2013. Cubitt, it seems, has left the killer on the loose in order to achieve further episodes. “The idea is that these cases are really hard to crack. We’re almost hoping that the killer strikes again to give them more to work with. We don’t catch the killer,” he says.
Anderson adds: “If you want to catch the killer, write to the BBC.”
The show: The Fall
The producer: Artists Studio
The distributor: Content Television, ZDF Enterprises
Airing: BBC Two (UK)
Concept: Five-part crime series starring Gillian Anderson, written by Prime Suspect’s Allan Cubitt