Gillian Anderson Opens Up About 'Scary' Journo Role In Prince Andrew Drama

The Sex Education star revealed that she initially turned down the role in new Netflix drama Scoop.
Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson in Scoop
Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson in Scoop

Gillian Anderson may have played a prime minister and a first lady throughout her accomplished acting career, but her latest role was almost “too scary” for her to take on.

The Sex Education star plays British journalist Emily Maitlis in the upcoming film Scoop about the Newsnight presenter’s infamous interview with Prince Andrew.

The Netflix drama – which also stars Rufus Sewell, Keeley Hawes and Billie Piper – will follow how the BBC programme secured the 2019 interview surrounding the scandal of the Duke Of York’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In a new interview, Gillian has revealed that she initially turned down the role because she found it intimidating. “It was just too scary to play Emily Maitlis, because she’s still living, because she’s so formidable, because people know her so well,” the X-Files star told the BBC.

But it was those doubts that encouraged her to take on the role. “I thought I probably do have to do it because I’m so scared of it.”

The actor added that she thinks Emily is “amazing”, and has since “behaved with her as if I knew her. As if we were best friends”.

The Golden Globe winner also recalled bumping into the former BBC newsreader at a Cancer Research fundraiser at Bafta’s headquarters last year.

“The hilarious part of it was that I had come to this charity event not having prepared at all and was really dishevelled,” she recalled.

“And she showed up as Emily Maitlis, who looks like a movie star and was tanned, short white skirt and everything. I look like her great aunt in the pictures.”

But there was no opportunity to pick the presenter’s brain, because she is the executive producer of a rival three-part Amazon series called A Very Royal Scandal, starring Ruth Wilson and Michael Sheen.

“She knew I was playing her, but has her own project, so was very boundaried about that,” Gillian said.

Scoop arrives on Netflix 5 April, 2024.


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