By Holly Rusak
Gillian Anderson, who returns to The X-Files on Sunday alongside David Duchovny, said in a recent interview with the Daily Beast that she was offered half of her co-star’s pay for the revival.
It strikes me as not preposterous that in 1993, the then mostly unknown actress would face a lower wage than her only-slightly-better-known male co-star. She mentions, in the same interview, that it took three years to strike an equal pay with Duchovny, which I find somewhat impressive. I would have thought it would take longer.
But it’s 2016. And Anderson has hardly been resting on her laurels since The X-Files closed in 2002 after nine seasons – of which Duchovny starred only intermittently in the final two.
She’s kept busy on Masterpiece Theater, and on New York and London stages. She’s faced serial killers in two amazing TV series: as psychiatrist to a cannibal Bedelia Du Maurier on NBC’s Hannibal and as investigator Stella Gibson, tracking down a serial killer of women in BBC’s The Fall.
Duchovny has kept busy, as well, starring in HBO’s Californication for seven seasons and is currently the lead in NBC’s Aquarius.
So clearly these are two well-matched actors. Both have been nominated for and won awards. Both are as much a household name as the other. So how can Fox possibly imagine that it can get away with paying less to its lead actress?
Most of The X-Files‘ appeal lay not in the monster of the week or in the conspiracy-laden alien arc, but in the chemistry between its two leads. Whether you were a shipper (Mulder and Scully 4ever!) or a noromo (no romance; plot, only please), there was no denying that the show worked with those two bouncing off one another.
Look no further than the final two seasons when Duchovny departed. Scully stayed around with a new partner, who then got his own new partner, while Scully got pushed aside. The show fell apart for longtime fans. Without Mulder-and-Scully, there was no X-Files. And without one, there wasn’t the other.
I’m pleased to see that Anderson once again fought for, and received, equal pay for the reprisal. But in 2016, she shouldn’t have to.
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