TV & Film

Gillian Anderson Was Offered 'Downton Abbey' Role As Lady Cora

Gillian Anderson was offered a part in "Downton Abbey." Yep, Agent Scully almost went toe-to-toe with the Dowager Countess.

In a new interview with TV Guide Magazine, "The X-Files" star said she was offered a part in the period drama that has taken America by storm.

When Anderson was asked about the crossover success of "Downton" and whether it would help other British projects in the states -- particularly her upcoming adaptation of "Great Expectations" -- the actress said, "Hopefully people will embrace it with the same love that flowed toward 'Downton Abbey.' I was actually offered a part in 'Downton.'"

Anderson confirmed she was offered the role of Lady Cora Crawley, which is currently played by Elizabeth McGovern.

"Downton Abbey" is currently filming its third season with screen legend Shirley MaClaine playing Cora's mother. While airing in the US, "Downton" scored big ratings for PBS. Most of the cast has reportedly signed for Seasons 4 and 5 of the drama, but some very famous faces have yet to sign on the dotted line. According to reports, Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens haven't signed new contracts. TVLine reports McGovern, Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Hugh Bonneville (Robert), Joanne Froggatt (Anna) and Brendan Coyle (Bates) are among the cast members already signed for Seasons 4 and 5.

Since the end of "X-Files," Anderson has done quite a bit of work in Europe. She received an Emmy and BAFTA nomination for her performance in 2006's "Bleak House." Anderson also starred in BBC's adaptation of "The Crimson Petal and the White" as Mrs. Castaway. She can next be seen as Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations" on PBS on Sun., April 1, 9 p.m. ET. Now known primarily for her British TV work, Anderson told TV Guide Magazine she's had an eye on American TV, but is waiting for the right project to head back.