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The X-Files Official Site: Fox Chat with Vince Gilligan

The X-Files Official Site
Fox Chat with Vince Gilligan

FOXcom_Host: Okay, all you X-Philes, now’s your chance to chat with one of the big guys… Welcome, Vince!

Vince Gilligan: Hi everybody!

miggie: Hi Vince! Do you consider yourself a shipper?

Vince Gilligan: LOL! I don’t really think of it in those terms. But I do love the relationship between Mulder and Scully. I have since I became a fan of the show way back in 1993!

Michelly36: have you always wanted to be a writer, or did it just happen?

Vince Gilligan: Yes I always wanted to be a writer. It’s something I naturally gravitated toward back in elementary school. And I always loved movies. So back when I was 10 or 11 years old I would write little movie scripts that I would shoot on Super 8 film with my brother Patrick as the star.

amyh: Vince, you’re the best — well, you and John, and Frank and Chris… I’m sure this is an unfair question, but what’s your favorite episode that you’ve written?

dave: Out of all the episodes you’ve written, which one is your favorite?

Vince Gilligan: Good questions… Unfortunately, I don’t really have a single favorite. For what it’s worth though, I can mention one that I was very proud of… That other people don’t usually consider one of my best and that was “Folie A Deux.” I had a lot of fun writing that one.

Zotzirene: How were you hired for the XF?

Vince Gilligan: I was writing movie scripts back in 1993 and making a living doing that, when I mentioned to my agent that I was a big fan of this new TV show called The X-Files. She got me a meeting with Chris Carter. This was in the middle of season two of the series. And I came in to meet Chris and Howard Gordon, basically just to tell them both what a great show I thought they had. One thing led to another, and I pitched them an idea I had come up with in the hotel room the night before. That pitch turned into the episode “Soft Light,” which aired late in season two.

jan281986: where do you get your ideas from?

Vince Gilligan: That’s always a good question, and also the single toughest question to answer. The best I can say is they just sort of come to you when you’re desperate for them. In other words, it’s our job to come up with these episodes and we’re always attuned to new ideas, and they come from the unlikeliest places, or sometimes they just pop full-blown into our heads. But invariably I come up with an idea for an episode, and then promptly forget where exactly it came from. That’s not counting ideas that Frank Spotnitz or John Shiban comes up with. I can’t speak to how they do it!

miggie: Vince, you’ve written some of the most popular episodes among fans, like the wonderful “Bad Blood”, “Small Potatoes” and “Je Souhaite.” One of the reasons these episodes are popular it’s the dead-on characterizations for Mulder and Scully. How do you see them in your… er… head?

Vince Gilligan: I guess it helped that I started my relationship with The X-Files as a fan. I loved the dynamic between Mulder and Scully from the first episode I watched of the series. I love them because they have great affection for one another and great respect for one another, and it’s clear they enjoy each other’s company. To me, they’ve always been the kind of characters I wish I knew in real life — the kind of people I’d love to sit down and have a beer with. I guess that’s why their voices come easy to me, if in fact they do.

Chris_26: Hi, I was wondering if you know Gillian or David well. Or are you strictly a behind-the-scenes guy and disappear when the camera rolls?

Vince Gilligan: I love to visit the set every chance I get. Unfortunately these days all of us writers are so busy that we don’t get to do that very often. But David and Gillian are both wonderful people. David is very funny and Gillian is a sweetheart. I can’t say I know them extremely well, but what I see of them on the set makes me respect them both very much.

Sullivan: Did you enjoy directing “Je Souhaite?” Will you do it again?

Vince Gilligan: I loved directing “Je Souhaite,” and I would love to direct another episode. I can’t tell you how nervous I was in the month leading up to directing that episode. It was a very scary time for me. But once I got on the set, and the crew was so wonderfully supportive of me, and David and Gillian were so great to work with, that I just started to relax and have a good time. Directing is a very hard job, but it’s definitely something I’d like to attempt again.

foxandrat: Vince, what inspired “Roadrunners?” A lot of fans have been comparing it to season one’s “Ice”. Did you take inspiration from that episode or from something entirely different?

Vince Gilligan: Actually, “Roadrunners” is a bit of an homage to the Spencer Tracy movie Bad Day at Black Rock. It’s a wonderful movie in which Spencer Tracy visits a small town in the desert, and quickly realizes nobody wants him there. He winds up uncovering its dark secret, although that secret has nothing to do with Giant Messianic banana slugs. If you’re not familiar with this movie, by all means go out and rent it. I won’t ruin the ending for you.

anna: Some fans were disturbed by the violent sexual imagery that was used to portray Mulder in “Without” and Scully in “Roadrunners” Is this the way the writers prefer to show them as sexual beings, rather than allowing them to be sexual in the context of a romantic relationship?

Vince Gilligan: I think you’re reading too much into it.

emm_phx: A number of fans, especially women, are disturbed by the “dumbing down”, submission, and victimization of Scully, ESPECIALLY during “Roadrunners.” Are you aware of these concerns? Is Scully’s dumbing down vis a vis that manly-man Doggett intentional?

Vince Gilligan: I disagree completely. I think Scully is extremely smart in that episode, just like we endeavor to make her in every episode. It sounds like what you’re responding to is the scene where she is held captive against her will. That definitely is a disturbing scene, but my take on it is that the very same thing could have happened to Mulder, a male figure. And in fact, Mulder has probably been held against his will and had terrible things done to him as many times in the past as Scully has.

DanaKatherineScully: how come you come up with all the stomach churning episodes?

Vince Gilligan: I thought I came up with all the funny episodes! Seriously though, “Roadrunners” was pretty disgusting, I’ll admit…

amyh: Love your work on the show — and Home Fries of course! How would you define the dynamic between Mulder and Scully? Conversely, how would you define the dynamic between Doggett and Scully?

Vince Gilligan: Good question….As I said earlier, Mulder and Scully’s relationship is one based on great mutual respect. Of course, it’s a little early to tell yet, but I hope Doggett and Scully’s relationship will be based on the same kind of shared respect for one another. This is not to say that Doggett will replace Agent Mulder! No one could do that. Mulder will no doubt always be the most important person in Scully’s life, but that shouldn’t rule out her having a work relationship with another FBI agent — one based on mutual respect.

Foxfire: In “Pusher,” as in so many of your episodes you find Mulder and Scully pushed to their psychological limit. As a writer I find it difficult to empathize with the characters, how do you manage it?

Vince Gilligan: Good question… I guess it helps to love the characters you are writing, as I said before…That’s the real trick to writing — putting yourself into the heads of the characters you are giving voice to. Maybe it comes down to common ground: Always finding a way to identify with the character you are writing. And to understand his or her hopes and fears and loves and hates.

silent_alien: I loved “Pusher!!” It was very creative…What made you think of it?

Vince Gilligan: Gosh, it was so long ago, let me think… As I recall, the teaser came first. I stole the idea for the teaser from the ending of an old movie script that I had written the previous summer. At the end of that movie the good guy uses post-hypnotic suggestion on the bad guy to make him pull out in front of a truck in his little sports car. I never wound up actually writing that scene in the movie script because I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in. But then I remembered the idea months and months later. We added the supernatural twist of telekinetic mind control, and it became “Pusher.”

Jewlz: “X-Cops,” which I love by the way, was right on target! How many episodes of Cops did you watch in order to prepare for the making of “X-Cops?”

Vince Gilligan: I had been a fan of Cops even longer than I had been a fan of The X-Files, by virtue of the fact that it has been on the air longer. I couldn’t tell you how many episodes I’ve seen over the years. But the big thing I did in preparation for writing that episode was to spend an 8 PM to 3 AM shift with the LA County Sheriff’s Department. I rode along with a deputy who kept apologizing for how slow the “action” was that night. Nonetheless, he wound up pulling his gun on no fewer than five occasions! It was very exciting — better than Disneyland! I even got to wear a bulletproof vest.

Zotzirene: How did David Duchovny’s 11th hour decision to return to the show affect the writing staff?

Vince Gilligan: It made for a tough close to last season, I’ll admit. Not just for the writing staff but for the crew as well. As no one was sure whether or not it was time to move on to new jobs. But I understand it was a tough decision for David to make and I’m glad that this series I love so much is still on the air. And I’m glad David will be back, at least for half a season. T_Hoese: Any clue about Mulder’s return? Do you know ANYTHING you can tell us? :o)

Vince Gilligan: Yes I know a little bit about Mulder’s return, but I’m not telling YOU!! You’ll just have to wait and see. It’s more fun that way, don’t you think?

PamalaX: Do you miss Mulder as a fan?

Vince Gilligan: I love the character of Mulder, as I’ve said, and I do miss him as a fan. However — and I know a lot of you won’t want to hear this — as a WRITER, I love the character of Agent Doggett. This is because he is an entirely new voice that I get to write for.

scully001: what do you think of the addition of John Doggett?

Vince Gilligan: He is a good, interesting character to me, and it’ll be fun to see where he winds up. Also the actor who plays him, Robert Patrick, is an exceptionally nice man who seems to feel truly honored to be here. Again, I know a lot of you don’t want to hear that, but I don’t think that has to take away from Mulder.

Adamrs: Chris Carter had said that this season’s episodes would focus on more “magical realism” and maybe sequeling some old episodes. Does this still stand?

Vince Gilligan: I never heard that quote. I wasn’t aware that he had said that. All I can tell you for sure is that we’re going to try to go back to our roots to a certain extent. We’re going to try to make this season one of the scariest ever.

Sullivan: Did the fact you became executive producer of The X-Files this year changed something to your work?

Vince Gilligan: No, because I’m doing the same job I’ve always done. I definitely appreciate the bump up in title, however. It makes me very proud to have attained that title on this show that I enjoy working for so much. And working on so much. But at the end of the day I’m doing the exact same job, just with a better title.

Tootles: Are you going to write at all for The Lone Gunmen spinoff?

Vince Gilligan: Absolutely!

foxandrat: What can you tell us about The Lone Gunmen series?

Vince Gilligan: I’m very excited about it too, as is Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban. I can tell you that the show is very funny. It’s sort of like a comedic version of Mission Impossible — except that the Mission Impossible team in this case has no money and has to drive around in a 1969 VW Microbus. I think this show is going to be a kick. I think people are going to enjoy it very much — at least I hope so. But it’s a real ball to write.

bear: Why do you think there have never been female writers (besides Gillian)?

Vince Gilligan: That’s not true, actually. When I joined the writing staff in 1995, we had a female writer named Kim Newton. Before that we had a woman named Marilyn Osborne, who went on to write for Touched By An Angel. Since then we’ve had the Mayhew sisters — Vivian and Valerie. And I wouldn’t want to forget Sara Charno, who wrote a couple of my favorite episodes, “Aubrey” and “The Calusari.”

gordon715: how about a female director?

Vince Gilligan: Also this year for the first time I’m proud to say we’re going to have a couple of female directors. One on The Lone Gunman show, and one on The X-Files. We have a wonderful female writer on The Lone Gunman show as well — a woman named Nandi Bowe, who we think is great.

sully: do you see the cigarette-smoking-man re-entering the picture?

Vince Gilligan: As a fan, I’d love to see CSM come back. I couldn’t really answer that however because his character has always been used in the mythology episodes that Chris and Frank write. I’ve never really had a hand in writing any mythology episodes, save for “Memento Mori,” which I guess you could count. But I don’t think I’ve ever actually written for the CSM. So I leave the answer to that question up to Chris and Frank, but unfortunately they’re not here.

dmdcash: Any news on the future of Mulder/Scully and the baby? We need some good news to look to…

chesire: There is much speculation over the paternity — and even species! — of Scully’s baby. Any hints? 🙂

Vince Gilligan: Let me ask you something — Do you go sneaking around the house on Christmas eve, trying to figure out where all the presents are hidden? What fun would it be if I told you that the father of Scully’s baby was none other than Frohike? Whoops! I’ve let the cat out of the bag… I’m just kidding everybody!

FOXcom_Host: Unfortunately, we have to say goodbye to Vince now…

VinceFan: Vince, first of all, I wanted to say: I am a big fan of you! I live in Brazil and we haven’t watched any 8th season episodes yet and I’m a bit nervous about it, but I trust you to continue making great episodes as always…

Vince Gilligan: Thank you so much for being fans of the show! I know many of you are nervous about the direction things SEEM to be taking, but just know that nothing is necessarily as it appears in The X-Files. Also know that all of us here are fans of the show, as well as big fans of Mulder and Scully. We’ll do our best to do right by them, and by Agent Doggett as well.

FOXcom_Host: Goodbye, Vince, and thank you for being here!

Vince Gilligan: Best wishes to everyone and have a great and safe holiday season!

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2 Responses to “The X-Files Official Site: Fox Chat with Vince Gilligan”

  1. […] night in Mulder’s apartment. That said, Gilligan claims to be agnostic on the relationship. “I don’t really think of it in those terms,” he explained at one […]

  2. […] The fixation on a small town with a dark secret could be seen as another attempt by the eighth season to hark back to the classic X-Files aesthetic. Explaining his inspiration for the episode, Gilligan cited perhaps the definitive cinematic evisceration of small-town America: […]