LOS ANGELES -- After nine years of playing the skeptic on "The X-Files," Gillian Anderson is having trouble accepting one last cosmic truth: the drama's end.
"I think on the whole I'm in denial," Anderson said. "There was a point last week when I was driving home from work at about 1 o'clock in the morning and I tried to imagine myself making that trip, imagine it was the last night.
"Anytime I got even close to a hint of emotion around it I had to push it away," she said. "It's so huge. It's such an extraordinary transition to have to weather, I'm trying to push it off for as long as I possibly can."
Anderson, 33, who plays scientifically minded Dana Scully on the Fox TV series about alien-hunting, paranormal crime-busting FBI agents, was interviewed shortly before filming wrapped.
Both she and her character have changed since its 1993 debut, the actress said. Co-star David Duchovny, 41, left the series last year but returns in the final, two-hour episode airing 8 p.m. EST Sunday, May 19.
"I started out as a kid. I started out as a 24-year-old, pretending I was 29, and then becoming 29, getting into my 30s and having to grow up myself," she said. "And the character shifted gradually over time alongside my own maturing process."
Anderson married, divorced and had a daughter, Piper, now 7, during the series' run. She also became a sci-fi siren, with legions of fans and magazine cover stories such as one in Details headlined "Lust in Space with Gillian Anderson."
She has successfully resisted being typecast. The film roles she managed to squeeze in during her "X-Files" years include an early 1900s society woman in "The House of Mirth" and an unlucky-in-love career woman in "Playing by Heart."
This fall, the theater-trained Anderson will appear in the new Michael Weller play "What the Night is For" in London. First, however, she plans some serious relaxation and travel, part of her recuperation from "The X-Files."
"It was physically, emotionally, psychologically exhausting," she said of the show that reveled in demanding action and complex plots. "Co-stars would come on, work with us for the 10 days and say 'Are you out of your mind?' They would be dragging themselves out of their trailer.
"The other side of it is: I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful that Chris (series creator Chris Carter) paid attention to me and believed in me as this character."