X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Rough Cut

??-??-1998 (Jun-11-1998?)
Rough Cut
Interview with Chris Carter

*With a project like this, how do you please yourself as well as all of the
fans out there?

Well, you always have to please millions of people out there. It’s part of
the goal. But first you have to please yourself, and luckily, with this
show from the very beginning, what I did was write something that pleased
me, something that I wanted to do that I liked. I think that’s one of the
secrets to the success of the show is that I’ve been able to maintain an
enthusiasm because the stories that we write are very interesting to me.

*Did you always want to turn this into a film? Is it something you thought
halfway through?

You know, I’ve been asked this question, and I always say, “Yes, we always
wanted to turn it into a film,” but I don’t know when we actually got
serious about it. I realized that if we didn’t do it [now], we might not
do it…. I thought it would be nice to take all the threads that we had
laid out there and weave them together in a big movie; It’s also true that
I don’t think we would have done a movie unless we did it now.

*What sort of challenges did you have to overcome to make it accessible to
people who aren’t fans of the show?

It’s a trick, because you know there’s a lot of people who don’t watch
television who go to movies and then there are some people who I’m sure are
not regular watchers of the show or have never watched the show. I still
think it’s a movie for them. I think those tricks — character development
and an accessible story that doesn’t require too much foreknowledge — were
the biggest hurdles to overcome. And I think that we’ve overcome them.

*”The X-Files” has always been informed by the fact that you read scientific
journals and also you’re reading about actual government conspiracies and
experiments and things they’ve done. Can you talk about that?

People say, “Where do you get all these wild ideas.?” Many of them come
directly from science. If the show didn’t have a strong scientific
foundation — the same with the movie — the science in the movie is
absolutely accurate. I guess people could argue about aliens, but the
genetics, the transgenic pollen implants, all that is 100 percent accurate
according to my scientific advisor.The show needs a scientific foundation,
because that is Scully’s point of view. Without a Scully point of view, you’ve
got no point/counterpoint. So it’s important that our science be accurate,
and it’s important that the science be good, because it provides the
point for the rest of the show.

*In the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that the different episodes have
become like mini-movies. My friends and I talk about that.

Well, the approach has always been a “cinematic approach,” I call it now
after having done the movie. I know whatever you do in television isn’t
quite cinematic because making a movie is a much more elaborate process
than making a television show. But, we tell the stories as if they were
little movies, and we take a big-screen approach on the small screen in
the way we tell our stories and the way the shows are directed, certainly
and in the way the stories are very plot-driven. They are good, round
mysteries, and a lot of television gets by on character development
ensembles, stories, a-b-c-d-e-f-g stories. “The X-Files” tells one good,
strong story every episode, and I think that’s much more of a movie

*There were scenes that “X-Files” fans thought were going to be in the movie
because of rumors. Were there a lot left out of the film?

No, no, no. It’s pretty much what it was designed to be. I think that there
is very little missing from the script.

*There’s a rumor that you guys shot “red herrings” just to throw off”The
X-Files” Internet fans. Is that true?

The truth is we didn’t, but, there were things that were written that were
put out there as bogus information. The last scene in the movie, or I
should say, the penultimate scene in the movie with Mulder and Scully in
the park, was not written until the spring … probably about six weeks ago.

*That’s a conspiracy.

It is a conspiracy.

*Have you ever heard from somebody in the government about your

I once had someone walk up to me and say that they worked in the
intelligence community and say, “You don’t know how right you are.” I sort
of liked that idea.

*How much of the conspiracy has been pre-planned and how have you kind of
retroactively fitted?

I have a big general idea of what the conspiracy means and what the
conspiracy is, but as we go forward, we find new little things to do to add
to it. And so that’s the fun of it. If you set everything down too clearly
for yourself in the beginning, I think you end up without the sort of
wonderful discovery of new things to add in. So, I think flexibility is
important in this kind of storytelling. Also the faith that you’re going to
make the right choices as you go forward.

*Are we going to get a new movie every two or three years?

I hope this movie’s successful so that it warrants doing more movies. I
think I would like to see the TV series evolve into a movie series. That
would be a nice thing to do. It would be a nice reason for us to all work

*The opening sequence with the bombing of the building is eerily similar to
the Oklahoma City bombing. Was there any concern about including that in a
piece of entertainment?

Well, it’s a building explosion. And I don’t mean it [to trivialize] a
horrible event. It certainly wasn’t meant to be that.

*As an X-Files fan, is the movie going to go into the series?

Yes, yes, yes.

*What can we expect for season six?

Well, the writers are actually back at work already. This is the first week
of work. We all got a week off, and now we’re back coming up with stories,
so we’re putting it together. We’ve got a lot to play with, and this is
the fun of it. Figuring out how to re-open “The X-Files.” I thought of the
movie as an explosion of “The X-Files.” For five years, we kept imploding
this series; it would fall back in on itself, and we’d give you a clue or
an answer and then we’d take it back. The movie has set certain things in
stone and now we’ve got to deal with those pieces. But there are lots of
new elements to toy with.

*How is moving the show to L.A. from Vancouver going to change it?

You know, it’s obvious it will change. I’ll have a new crew. I’ll have a
new environment to shoot in. (People ask if we’ll) still have the same
creepy light. You know, we’ll have bright sunlight in the daytime, although
if it’s anything like last year, it will be just like Vancouver; The
weather in Los Angeles was so bad last year. But, I think what we’ll do is
we will just use the new environment to our advantage. Just make a virtue
out of the problem, which is that we’re now shooting in sort of a concrete
jungle. [We’ll] tell stories that we wouldn’t have been able to tell in
Vancouver, so I think it’s going to be an interesting opportunity.

*What about the soundtrack?

It came out on June 2. That’s one of the best parts of my job. It’s just a
whole lot of fun for me. It’s just like saying, “Lets ask the Foo Fighters
if they want to do a song,” and they do. And they send something back, and
the day that cassette comes in I stick it in my machine. It’s like a
Christmas present.

*You know, in another time you might have been this faceless person that
created a show, and that’s not the case now. What kind of bizarre
encounters have you had?

I have people come up to me all the time and want to tell me their story
and pitch me ideas. And I have to tell them all, I’ve got this thing that I
say. I’ll say, “I’d love to listen to your story, but for legal reasons I
cannot.” Which is true. I don’t want to be involved in a situation where
someone says I stole their story. I’ve been very careful not to take
anything from anyone. I don’t think we’ve done one unsolicited script or
idea in the entire run of the show: 117 episodes. My wife and I once laid
in bed listening to a tape a guy had sent me of an encounter he had had in
the wilderness with his wife. And he had just decided to sit down and
talk about this.

*I think that “The X-Files” is a very literate program. Dialogue is almost
more important than the action, and the movie is the same way. You have to
pay attention to every word of it. Is that a dangerous area in the ’90s
with the whole short attention span thing?

You know, [you] make a mistake in thinking that the audience is not as
smart as [you] are. I think the audience is very smart. I think the
audience is very sophisticated. We have so much information these days.
Everyone knows about the human g-gnome project now that’s going on. It’s in
he paper everyday. So, genetics, all these things… while they are
sophisticated and while the dialogue [of the show] is sophisticated, it
also never attempts to confuse or baffle. It is well chosen words by smart

*Have people ever approached you and told you that something’s just too

It’s really hard to give me the willies. I’m sure that there are some
things that are too gross. We’ve shown a lot of interesting images on the
show, but mostly they would have to do with autopsies and such. There
actually is a limit to what we can show. Standards and Practices prevents
us from doing anything that is too gruesome, gory, visceral. The truth is,
I hate blood. I don’t like to show it on screen. I don’t like to show it
splattering. I don’t like to show it spilling. I don’t like to see
shoot-outs and bullets flying. I’m uninterested in that. I’m interested in
the effects of events. Even violent events and what the human drama is
before and after them, but the gore is something that I’m not interested

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