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X-Treme Reaction

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PRINCESS DI, PERHAPS. BRAD PITT, maybe. O.J., to be sure. But as a threat to public order, Gillian Anderson, the coolly rational FBI agent Dana Scully of TV’s The X-Files, would have to rank as a long shot. And yet, on a promotional tour for the show two weeks ago in Australia, Anderson exerted—dare we say—an almost supernatural hold on her fans, stirring mobs of X-Philes, as they are known, to new heights of X-uberance.

The wildest encounter took place in Melbourne, where more than 5,000 admirers, many of them teenage girls who had camped out all night, began surging toward the 27-year-old actress at a shopping center. Anderson had to plead for calm. “People are getting squashed,” she implored. “We don’t want to have to do any autopsies.” One collapsed woman had to be carried to safety still clutching an unsigned video. In the end a dozen fans were treated for injuries, and Anderson cut short an autograph session to forestall any further mayhem.

She also drew huge crowds at malls in Brisbane, where nearly 10,000 turned out, and in Sydney, where almost 12,000 showed up, 80 of whom had to be treated for heat and exhaustion. For Anderson, the least demanding moment of the nine-day tour took place at Ocean World in Sydney. There all she had to do was swim with sharks.