Gillian Anderson, best known for her work as Dana Scully on the X-Files, has been cast to play UK conservative (lower case “c” for the right leaning ideology) figure Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the hit Netflix series, The Crown. The casting raised some eyebrows, but it’s been Gillian’s comments on playing the role that really got people talking.
Anderson reports to be excited to take on such a controversial figure; which is something many actors feel when asked to tackle a role that requires stepping far outside of themselves. The challenge can be riveting.
However, in Anderson’s statement released by Netflix, there was one little phrase that really threw her fans for a loop.
See if you can pick it out.
Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher in The Crown Season Four, now in production. pic.twitter.com/OVCO8o2bVk
— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) September 7, 2019
Yeah, it was the “falling in love with the icon” bit.
Politically speaking, Gillian Anderson and Margaret Thatcher could not be further separated from one another. Thatcher—as Prime Minister and head of the (upper case) Conservative Party in Britain—was known for her oppressive conservative policies, particularly as they related to social issues, minorities, the poor and the LGBTQ community. In fact, she was behind Section 28, which banned local governments from anything that could be construed as “promoting homosexuality.”
Section 28 has since been done away with.
Gillian—as a self-identified member of the LGBTQ community and advocate for many social issues—saying she was “falling in love” with Thatcher, confused and angered a lot of people.
Like… a whole lot.
Imagine "falling in love" with the person who, while propping up General Pinochet in Chile and Apartheid in South Africa, called Nelson Mandela a "grubby little terrorist"
— BQBBY🧜♂️ (@BQBBYqeld) September 7, 2019
If I were @GillianA, I would be very careful with my words about Margaret Thatcher. That woman established an era whose horrors we are still facing nowadays, and publicly supported the coup d'etat in Chile and a murderer and dictator like Pinochet. She was pure evil.
— There go her boots! (@EsasBotasdeLiv) September 7, 2019
it's not about loving the actual person, but the character she will portray because it will be challenging. big difference.
— Desiree RedBird (@RedBird_00) September 9, 2019
NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! It’s like Tom Hanks playing Hitler!
I’m so conflicted…. I was NOT a fan of Thatcher, but had a huge crush on Skully!
Damn you Anderson ❤️
— georgewood (@georgewood) September 7, 2019
She was a horrendous vile uncaring women!Falling in love?Gillian Anderson had gone down in my estimation
— Diane Cullimore 🌑 (@DNicoros) September 7, 2019
"Falling in love"?! You don't have to fall in love with a character to play it, just try and understand them, you don't fall in love with despicable characters as an actor, worrying if you do! Poor choice of words there.
— Donna Rees (@DonnaARees) September 8, 2019
Word choice may really be all it is.
Gillian spoke about the role further when doing an interview with The Guardian. There she acknowledged that even she was having a bit of a hard time reconciling the person from the acting challenge.
“I haven’t quite figured out how to talk about her yet.”
“To a certain degree, it’s very helpful for an actor, at least in my experience, to slightly fall in love with the character you’re playing, regardless of what your opinion might be of them, if it’s a historical character, particularly.”
“So I have.”
You do you, Ms. Anderson.
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