One on One with Gillian Anderson and Keeley Hawes, the stars of 'Scoop'

gillian anderson and keeley hawes
One on One with Gillian Anderson and Keeley HawesHearst Owned

In a case of life truly imitating art, when Gillian Anderson and Keeley Hawes sit down to interview each other about the royal interview of the decade, they both look like… well, interviewers. “Thank you very much for watching us interview each other in our velvet suits,” laughs Anderson, gesturing towards the pair’s almost identical outfits.

The two are meeting today to discuss Scoop, the Netflix film that dramatises the process of securing the 2019 BBC television interview of Prince Andrew by Emily Maitlis for Newsnight. The film – which is based on the 2022 book Scoops by former Newsnight editor Sam McAlister (played in the film by Billie Piper) – looks back on what became one of the most explosive interviews in history, which was largely the catalyst of Prince Andrew’s downfall. In the production, Anderson stars as Maitlis (opposite Rufus Sewell as an uncannily accurate Andrew) and Hawes plays Amanda Thirsk, the prince’s former private secretary.

netflix scoop true story
Maitlis (Anderson) sitting down with Prince Andrew (Rufus Sewell) for the interviewNetflix

“I thought I knew all there was to know about this interview and actually, I was completely amazed by the stuff I didn’t know,” says Hawes, in conversation with Anderson for the latest in Bazaar’s One on One video series. “It’s a huge responsibility, taking on real people who are still alive, because there’s inevitably a family…”

“You’re hated by!” interjects Anderson. “I’ve played a lot of women who have passed, and this was the first time I’ve played someone who’s still alive. We [myself and Maitlis] ended up coming face to face at a charity event, which was bizarre because I had spent so much time in my head with her.”

So much of Scoop is about the presentation of facts, the fine line between perception and actuality, and the toss up between a good judgement call – and a really, really bad one. Hawes approached the character of Thirsk by trying to have “empathy” with her, “to have an understanding of why she behaves as she behaves”. “Amanda is a brilliant, bright woman by all accounts – she did what she did for the right reason. She wanted everyone to see Andrew through her eyes, and you can’t blame her for that. Also, she didn’t put the words in [Andrew’s] mouth. He did that all by himself.”

Keeley Hawes as Amanda ThirskNetflix

As for Anderson, she initially didn’t want to play Maitlis. “It was too scary!” she says. “But they convinced me. She’s an incredible woman: formidable, contemporary. I was familiar with her from the interview and, having listened to her podcast for a long time, I knew she was so much of what I’m not. So I was intrigued. I was surprised by what happened with a wig and a bit of black eyeliner, and the rest of it’s just doing your best.”

It feels as if everyone has an opinion on that one, 49-minute interview that changed the narrative surrounding the royal family. “But I think it’s quite a fair portrayal of all [the characters],” says Hawes, evenly. The film, while taking some creative license, aims to be as accurate as possible. “I remember first walking onto that set and gasping,” says Anderson. “I couldn’t believe how extraordinary it was… everything was set to exactly as it had been.”

Gillian Anderson as Emily MaitlisNetflix

For both of them, the true takeaway of the film is the importance of “independent journalism, and keeping it alive,” says Anderson. “Because you know, those are the journalists who ask the difficult questions – the questions that none of us get to ask.” And while Scoop and its subject matter may be controversial, Anderson is absolutely right: it’s a sobering reminder of the importance of digging for the truth.

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