Gillian Anderson is no stranger to the ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hilton where the Golden Globes ceremony usually takes place. She was nominated four times for The X-Files, winning once, and received another nod for Bleak House. “It’s really the most fun of all [the awards shows],” she said this morning, reflecting on her sixth nomination. She adds to her tally this year for her turn as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, but she’s sorry the show won’t happen in person. “I’ll be in Prague, on my own in a hotel room that night, and it’ll be a night I will never forget, no matter the outcome.”
What makes the Globes so enjoyable? “I’ve been in the business long enough and fortunately got to be in that room for some special moments,” she said. “I was there when Gwyneth won, famously, for Shakespeare in Love and Ben and Matt for Good Will Hunting. When you used to be able to smoke in the room, and then when nobody was allowed to smoke, but Sean Penn was still determined to do so anyway and nobody could tell him otherwise. It’s a fabulous room to be in and I’m trying not to focus on the shame of our current situation.”
Instead, her focus is on the team that made her nomination come to fruition. “I’m grateful to Peter Morgan, first and foremost, for he and Nina Gold imagining that I might be able to play her, and for writing such a complex and multifaceted version of Margaret Thatcher,” she said. “It was something I was really able to sink my teeth into. Especially on a show like that you really feel the imput of every hand that goes into it. All the entire camera crew, and of course costume designer Amy Roberts and Cate Hall, who designed the fabulous nine-foot-tall wig. It’s really a team effort.”
The upcoming fifth season of the show will be a new experience, Anderson said, watching it as a fan for the first time. “I was involved in the background of the series, even prior to being in it, because of my past relationship with Peter Morgan,” she noted. “So, I felt I was part of the family prior to being a castmember. But all the prime ministers only do one season and it’s always been that way. I knew going in it would just be a year, and absolutely I’ll continue to watch it as a fan going forward.”
As for whether playing Margaret Thatcher gave Anderson a taste for high office, she said, “Who would want to be Boris [Johnson] today? Who would have wanted to be Obama? I don’t think many of us would wish to be in a Prime Minister’s or President’s shoes. Everyone in high office inherits so many problems and issues. To not be able to have a lie in, first and foremost, or to not be able to make mistakes in speaking to friends or even the public, is such monumental pressure, let alone the responsibility for nations that you have. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”
Thatcher, she said, was “built for it—she absolutely was. She says in the series, politics is her first love. That’s where she felt the most at home and where she operated the best, she felt. Whether people agreed with her or not. And she lived and breathed it. She slept very little and her brain was just suited for that office. To many, I think, it would be debilitating and exhausting. And I think some would say she, too, was debilitated by it at the end of her tenure.”
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