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‘The Crown’ star Gillian Anderson says ‘complex’ relationship between royals and media needs ‘proper rethink’

"X-Files" and "The Crown" star Gillian Anderson called the royal family's relationship with the media "complex" and thinks they need to revaluate how they handle news.

"The Crown" star Gillian Anderson feels the royal family’s relationship with the press and the public needs some work, especially after the fallout from Kate Middleton's photo scandal and subsequent cancer diagnosis reveal.

Anderson called the situation "complex" in a new interview with The Associated Press.

 "Whether that’s (Prince) Harry and his cases against the tabloids and all of the truths around that that have come to the fore, or other aspects that are becoming more public knowledge, it probably needs a proper rethink," she said.

The "X-Files" star has been associated with the royal family twice now, in a fictional capacity.

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In season four of Netflix’s royal drama "The Crown," Anderson played former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Now, she’s starring as journalist Emily Maitlis, who interviewed Prince Andrew in 2019 for the BBC’s "Newsnight" program, based on the book "Scoop," by Sam McAlister, the producer who secured the interview.

The interview made headlines and was deemed a disaster, as Prince Andrew attempted to address his relationship with the now-dead convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and numerous sexual assault allegations, but appeared to lack empathy for Epstein’s victims.

Days after the interview aired, Prince Andrew stepped back from public duties, though he recently appeared at Easter services on Sunday, along with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and his brother King Charles III. 

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Regarding any lessons the royals can learn from the situation, Anderson said, "If this tells us anything, it would be that the royal family should never do an interview at all."

"But actually," she added, "I think what is amazing and what stands out is the importance of independent journalism, to hold authority to account and to at least attempt to get some semblance of the truth."

Veteran British actor Rufus Sewell plays Prince Andrew in the film, describing the Prince’s self-image as "dependent on the other party acquiescing to the idea that he is the prince."

"In order to maintain the idea of himself, he needs someone to play along," Sewell continued. "And the interview is the process by which this fish finds himself out of his bowl, gulping for air — because Emily Maitlis does not even need to be rude or aggressive, she just needs to not agree to her side of that contract. And suddenly he is a creature that cannot get the oxygen."

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Anderson and Sewell prepared for their roles separately, helping to recreate the tense atmosphere of the original interview.

"We prepared completely separately and, and there was no rehearsal," Anderson said. "So when we came together to shoot the interview, it was on our first day of work together and we started the day sitting across from each other in those chairs and the cameras rolled. And so there was tension in and of itself."

"Scoop" premieres April 5 on Netflix.

A rival series based on the same subject matter will premiere on Amazon Prime later this year as well, starring Michael Sheen as Prince Andrew and Ruth Wilson as Maitlis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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