The X-Files returns to television on Sunday, and until then, let’s take a moment with the news that Fox offered Gillian Anderson half of David Duchovny’s salary in initial negotiations for the reboot. Doesn’t that just make you want to tune in?
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Anderson said that this pay disparity was a throwback to an old problem she’d had with Fox executives, who took nearly seven years during the science-fiction show’s first airing to pay her in a way that was comparable to her co-star Duchovny. They even required Dana Scully to walk a step or two behind Fox Mulder so that the pair were never side-by-side on screen, which is baffling considering the strength and intelligence of Scully’s character.
“I can only imagine that at the beginning, they wanted me to be the sidekick,” Anderson says of Fox’s curious no-equal-footing rule. “Or that, somehow, maybe it was enough of a change just to see a woman having this kind of intellectual repartee with a man on camera, and surely the audience couldn’t deal with actually seeing them walk side by side!”
Anderson said she eventually received equality in pay (and blocking), but only after she refused to accept the fuckshit anymore.
“I have such a knee-jerk reaction to that stuff, a very short tolerance for that shit,” she says acidly. “I don’t know how long it lasted or if it changed because I eventually said, ‘Fuck no! No!’ I don’t remember somebody saying, ‘Okay, now you get to walk alongside him.’ But I imagine it had more to do with my intolerance and spunk than it being an allowance that was made.”
Over two decades later, when Fox executives tried to lowball her again regarding her pay for the series reprisal, she was at a loss for words.
“It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it,” she said. “Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it. It is… sad.”
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