Archive for 1994

Vancouver Sun: The X-Files, Chris Carter

Vancouver Sun
The X-Files, Chris Carter
Hester Riches

Chris Carter, the executive producer and creator of The X-Files, has flown up from Los Angeles for a set visit, as he does every 10 days or so.

“I do some of my best writing up here,” Carter says of his Vancouver visits. “It takes me away from the post-production process, which takes most of my concentration away, and on the weekends the phone doesn’t ring here.”

Carter, 38, is at the stage in his career when many producers get lured away from such intense devotion to the show. Two years into a successful project such at The X-Files, producers are typically asked to start developing spinoffs, or possibly even feature films.

It’s also the point at which fans notice a distinct downward spiral in their favorite shows. It’s known as the second-season slump, a sagging of creative energy after the initial burst to get the show on the air.

Strangely, it hasn’t happened on The X-Files. And perhaps it won’t because Carter, despite other offers, intends to stick with his pet project.

“Even though I have big ideas for other shows, I think I better concentrate on something that is a big success. It’s something I give my full attention to now.”

For those out of the Friday night viewing loop, The X-Files is a one-hour drama starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI agents assigned to bizarre cases that may involve the paranormal. In the U.S., it is the top-watched show by adults 18-to-49. In Canada, it regularly makes the top 10. It won a nod of approval from Viewers of Quality Television. Of the many new sci-fi series this season, The X-Files is the only one set in present time.

Many episodes delve into popular North American folklore of the UFO experience. Other favorite plots dealt with DNA mutations, telekinesis, religious cults, spiritual healing, forest-devouring insects, killer worms and cattle injected with artificial growth hormones. The scariest segment was a two-parter starring a creature called Eugene Toombs, an apparently immortal, liver-eating mutant who proved capable of peculiar body transformations.

The highlights from last season read like headlines from The World Weekly News. But even some of the wildest stories are simply extrapolations of current scientific inquiry, or are based on research done at major universities into the paranormal .

X-events, says Carter, must take place within the realm of the possible. “It’s only as scary as it is real,” he adds.

Other elements add to the X-factor of credibility: muted performances by Duchovny and Anderson, even in the most hysterical circumstances; special effects that are effective but not over-ambitious; and open-ended stories that leave viewers to often make up their own minds.

Rarely is an X-File solved. How does one bust a UFO? Agents Mulder and Scully try to shine some light on the dark forces, yet they rarely end up standing in anything brighter than a grey Vancouver day. And they are subject to paranoid fears as they battle evil both outside and within their own government agency. On the season-ending cliffhanger last year, the show’s motto switched from “The truth is out there”, to “Trust no one”.

Carter, who grew up in Los Angeles watching The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, says his own sense of paranoia is heightened by nothing more eventful than a daily reading of the newspaper.

“There was something in the paper yesterday about drugs that were given to soldiers during the Gulf War, and they had no idea they had not been approved,” he recounts.

“And now those people are sick from the drugs the military was giving them to combat the effects of germ or biological warfare.”

From the Iran-Contra scandals to possible UFO cover-ups and unauthorized drug tests, Carter is shocked by what he reads in the news. And, in part because of the popularity of The X-Files, he knows he’s not alone.

” ‘Trust no one’ was one of my personal philosophies,” he says. “I believe that people as well as governments are self-motivated and self-interested and that things run that way. I’ve connected with an undercurrent of distrust and paranoia that seems to be pervasive right now with the public.”

Newsweek: The Truth Is X-ed Out There

The Truth Is X-ed Out There
Barbara Kantrowitz and Adam Rogers

TV: Spooky, lovable ‘X-Files’ captures Friday night

She’s the skeptic, always looking for a scientific explanation for the seemingly irrational. He’s the believer, willing to accept the concept that some things defy conventional analysis. In their second season on Fox, FBI Special Agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) have turned their weekly investigations of the FBI’s creepiest unsolved cases “The X-Files” into the top show on Friday night for 18-to-49-year-olds, with a loyal base of fans around the world (broadcast rights have been sold in 56 countries). And after each episode, hordes of self-described X-philes log on to the Internet and online services to dissect the plot. “The fans are just about as obsessive as Mulder is in his quest to find the truth,” jokes Paula Vitaris, an Atlanta writer and a frequent contributor to online “X-Files” discussions.

Mulder is an Oxford-trained psychologist with a wry sense of humor and a fascination with the unknown. The key to his psyche is his childhood trauma: he watched as his sister was abducted by aliens. His creed: “The truth is out there.” Scully graduated from medical school and then joined the FBI. She was assigned to the X-Files, largely to monitor Mulder (colleagues call him “Spooky”).

So far, the team has battled a pyrokinetic assassin, an evil computer, human genetic experimentation gone awry and various mutants and alien life forms. As a general rule, things turn out to be even stranger than they seem. “It’s ‘Twilight Zone’ with a regular cast of characters,” says Pat Gonzales, a Minnesota fan who edits a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” about “X-files” for the Usenet newsgroup on the Internet.

Although the fans have all kinds of theories about why the show is popular, creator Chris Carter says he just wanted to scare people. Among his inspirations were Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” and the 1970s TV show “The Night Stalker,” about a reporter who tracked down vampires. Some of the most compelling episodes have been written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, who grew up together near San Diego, Calif. Before “X-Files,” they wrote for “The Commish”; now, they say they draw on such influences as “Rosemary’s Baby.” And the show’s feel, from camera work to lights to music, is at least as freaky as its plots.

“X-Files” attracts both male and female fans, largely because Mulder and Scully are appealing role models. They are intimate friends but never sexually intimate. “What’s more interesting is someone who can meet you in a conversation or a debate, that exchange of ideas,” says Carter. Both leads are serious people, and, as it happens, very good-looking people. In the online discussion groups, male contributors frequently refer to themselves as proud members of the GATB, the Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade. Mulder has his admirers, too, the DDEB, David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade.

Like other shows that have attracted a cult following, the X-philes discussions especially the Usenet group, are filled with a multitude of details. “Even the most esoteric question can usually be answered in the newsgroup,” says Cliff Chen, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania who edits a weekly episode update on the Net. “For any huge X-phile, knowing things like David Duchovny’s birthdate and Fox Mulder’s astrological sign is a thrill unto itself.” Carter monitors reactions online and the writers have often included fan references. For example, an airplane-passenger manifest featured names of frequent discussion- group participants (and a crucial clue).

As “X-Files” becomes more widely known, some fans worry that it will turn too mainstream. Morgan and Wong are leaving to create their own show, which they describe as a World War II movie in space. Carter promises to keep it creepy. “The material,” he says, “is out there.” Sounds like a case for “The X-Files.”

The Toronto Star: X-citement grows for hot TV show

The Toronto Star
X-citement grows for hot TV show
Kinney Littlefield

Somewhere, out there in the spooky darkness, they’re cloning by the thousands.

For most of the week, these creatures, called “X”-Philes, look much like any other average humanoid, in California, Chicago or New York.

But that’s just a front. In secret these closet aliens feed their heads with UFO sightings, supernatural powers, psychic phenomena and the like. And every Friday at 9 p.m. ET (on Global in Toronto) they congregate behind closed doors in homes across the United States and Canada for ritual viewing of The X-Files, the sizzling hot, paranormal-skewed Fox TV show that holds more and more of us in thrall. Since its debut in September, The X-Files has grown steadily into a cult phenomenon, a Twilight Zone of the ’90s for thinking men and women who’d rather ponder invisible cosmic truths than go out and party down on a Friday night.

“My husband, Bob, and I look forward to curling up on Friday nights together and watching X- Files,” said “X”-Phile Suzi Cassidy, 26, a buyer for the University of California, Irvine’s, computer store, who grew up watching Twilight Zone reruns.

“I’ve been watching X-Files since its pilot,” Cassidy said. “It’s popular because it’s daring and intelligent. The stories seem plausible. Sure, this stuff can happen. Who’s to say there aren’t UFOs?”

When X first marked the spot with its tales of UFO sightings and genetic mutation at the beginning of the ’93-’94 TV season, its ratings were in the Nielsen basement, ranking No. 80 or below. But as the X-Files virus spread, ratings grew to recent respectable Nielsen numbers of 8.2 and 8.6. (One ratings point equals 942,000 households.)

While it’s still not within shouting distance of Roseanne, it’s moved ahead of such other Fox cellar-dwellers as The Adventures Of Brisco County and Front Page. The network has already signed X-Files for a full ’94-’95 season of 24 episodes.

So hot is the X-citement right now that even the hard-nosed, high-browed New Yorker magazine recently gave X-Files a lengthy, extravagantly positive review.

But the biggest X-Files buzz of all takes place on the computer Internet, where on an average day more than 800 messages are listed in a special newsgroup called, posted from viewers as far away as Canberra, Australia, and Vancouver, (where X-Files is filmed).

“With X-Files we’re playing on universal fears of the unknown,” said Chris Carter, 37, creator/executive producer/writer of the series, who prefers to call his show “speculative science” instead of “science fiction”.

“I think we all live in fear, and a lot of the time we just deny that we do.”

As created by Carter, the appeal of X-Files is clever and clear.

Take some shivery, unresolved FBI cases involving aliens, reincarnation, or liver-eating cannibals, and call them the “X” files. Add a seductively mysterious and caustic leading man, FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). Toss in a sexy flame-haired female agent, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

Mix together with an FBI plot to keep Scully and Mulder from learning about the U.S. government’s full involvement in these cases, just to keep the paranoia level high.

SciFi Entertainment: A conversation with The X-Files’ creator Chris Carter

SciFi Entertainment
A conversation with The X-Files’ creator Chris Carter
Lisa Maccarillo

“Now that Russia is no longer our very recognizable enemy, we suddenly need to find other enemies and other sources of discontent. That’s when we start looking to the skies….” — Chris Carter

What are the X-Files?

“Everything and anything from weird science to paranormal phenomena to genetic mutations to alien hybrids. Basically,” says Chris Carter, creator and executive producer of the Fox TV series, “we know an X-File when we see it.”

The X-Files chronicles the exploits of two federal agents, Dana Scully and Fox “Spooky” Mulder (intelligently played by Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, respectively), who inhabit a speculative branch of the FBI charged with investigating paranormal activity and unexplained phenomena, trawling the fringes of American culture for clues, only to butt up against walls built by the same government that issues their paychecks.

“I was inspired by the show Kolchak, The Night Stalker,” says Carter, his voice an aural blend of Rod Serling and Joe Frank. “It had really scared me as a kid and I wanted to do something as dark and mysterious as I remembered it to be. So, I was able to say to Fox when they hired me to an exclusive deal, “this is what I want to do.” I had the track record and the know-how to develop the show, cast it properly and produce it the way I wanted it to be produced. Although there’s no Kolchak character in The X-Files, the spirit of the show is in many ways the same.”

Having generated a buzz everywhere from computer bulletin boards to bohemian coffee shops to the mainstream press, The X-Files was renewed for a second season despite its slow start. Along with his creative team of co-executive producers and sometime writers Glen Morgan and James Wong, as well as supervising producers and occasional writers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, Chris Carter has created a virtual anomaly in network TV — a show which gives you questions where you expect answers, and which demands not only your attention, but your capacity to speculate, to wonder, and to think — all of this from the same network that brings you Melrose Place.

Rather than the usual practice of tying up all the loose ends at the close of a given episode, The X-Files series unravels like a narrative Gordian knot, with each episode revealing a small truth only to lay bare a deeper puzzle. Many conclusions are left ambiguous, a pill the network found hard to swallow. “Closure seems to be a word that everyone throws around in TV drama,” Carter says. “They want everything explained; they want the cuffs thrown on. They want somebody put in jail and they want the morality tale. You can’t do that with a show like this. It’s going to take different turns; you’re dealing with different kinds of villains. It took [Fox] a while to come around to our way of thinking. There have been many battles waged, and many of them won, and some are still going on, but we fight for what we believe in on this show and I’m not alone.

“I think that our most successful episode last year, on every level, was “Beyond The Sea”, in which Scully’s father dies,” Carter continues. “The look of the show was fantastic but believe it or not, the network didn’t want to do that episode. There were hesitations and reservations about some of the plotting — but we stood our ground.

In the case of “Deep Throat”, the first episode after the pilot, a compromise with the network grew into a motif which continued through the rest of the season. Carter explains, “The idea of closure was still being forced on us, and the scene in which Scully is sitting at her computer writing in her journal was not in the show until the last minute. It came down as an edict because they wanted a summing up of the episode, and in the end, I think it made the episode better. That motif of Scully doing a voice-over as she types became a running story crutch for us when we needed to reinstruct the audience about where we are going, or where we had been.”

Carter is quick to point out that not every idea incites a battle.

“A woman from the network called me up yesterday,” he says. “She said she felt silly telling me this but she had so loved the script I had written that she wanted to bow to “the X-Files god”. I obviously felt very satisfied by that. These things all work in strange ways.”

Another source of praise for the show has been the unique relationship shared by the two main characters. Though there is chemistry between Anderson and Duchovny, the writers and actors take pains to maintain a tender but nonsexual relationship. It’s their philosophical differences that form the heart of The X-Files. Agent Scully is a skeptic, Mulder, whose sister may have been abducted by a UFO, is a believer. By chipping away at her skepticism, he is also chipping away at ours. “I myself come to all this stuff about aliens and alien abductions as a skeptic,” Carter says. “One of the byproducts of doing this show is that I’ve met a lot of people who genuinely believe that they’ve been abducted.

But I have not seen a UFO. I wish one would reveal itself to me. But I’m one of those people that needs to see it in order to believe.”

Like The X-Files character Deep Throat (played by Jerry Hardin), Carter seems to know more than he’s willing to tell. “Some things I find intriguing,” he allows. “We read enough in the news to know the government keeps things from us every day, but I tend to think that the government runs out of chaos, and organization of thought or of systems inside the government is a joke. That’s why I find most conspiracy theories difficult too believe.”

On Area 51, the air base in Nevada many believe to be a test site for UFO technology: “I believe that people go out there and watch things happen. Do I think that Bob Lazar [a scientist who claims to have worked on alien technology in Area 51] is telling the truth? I have no reason to believe him; I have no reason to disbelieve him.”

Who is Chris Carter? Where did he come from? And how did he come to roll the stone of intelligence up the ever-steepening hill of TV’s lowest-common-denominator sensibilities?

“I have a strange and varied background,” he says with typical understatement. A California native, Carter has had the unlikely but enviable experience of thirteen years as writer and associate editor for Surfing Magazine. “I was hired because I was a journalism major in college and had been a surfer all my life. Travelling around the world and surfing, I had one of the best prolonged adolescences a young man could want. It allowed me a lot of freedom to write, develop a voice, read and see the world … and surf, of course.”

His interest in dramatic writing didn’t fully develop until he met his wife, Dori, who was herself a professional screenwriter. “I came from nowhere to somewhere in a real short time,” says Carter. “My hair was barely dry from the ocean when I was hired in 1985 by Disney studios with a feature writing deal, an office and a secretary.”

Nine years later, Carter seems to have perfected the style which has become analogous with The X-Files: intelligent writing, understated acting, and extraordinary situations taking place in a very mundane world. Carter and his creative team cull ideas from a variety of sources to keep their approach fresh. “A lot of the ideas come from the writers knowing what scares us and what scares others the most and building X-Files from those themes,” Carter says. “For example, ‘The Erlenmeyer Flask,’ which was the season finale last year, has a little element in it from the news. In the not-too-distant past, a woman was rushed to an emergency room with blood that had crystallized. After being exposed to it, doctors suffered from the fumes. I took that as a tiny element and incorporated it into a story I had been wanting to tell all year. It became, I felt, a perfect season finale, which revolved around the ideas that there is alien DNA that has been captured as a result of a Roswell-like incident, and this tissue is sitting in a lab in a government facility somewhere, and someone has been running tests with it. So, it’s a wedding of different ideas looking for good visuals, a good scare, and good tension, with the characters continually testing their own personal biases and beliefs about things.

“The Erlenmeyer Flash” brought an end to the X-Files project, and the new season has the team split up, with Mulder in the field, assigned to “conventional” cases (yet still managing to get into trouble with uncanny forces), while Scully is tied to a desk job (yet still the only agent who will tolerate Mulder’s bizarre theories). Carter has previously revealed that the separation will last for eight episodes, during which time more will be revealed about the X-File team’s foes and allies.

While the separation been necessitated by Gillian Anderson’s pregnancy, Carter sees this eight-week period as an opportunity to play with a more serialized, less episodic format, involving more of the personal lives of both protagonists. As far as the sexual tension between the two goes, everyone involved in the series seems to agree that a full-blown romance is out of the question.

Early episodes this season will feature the discovery of a genetic mutant, washed up on the shores of New Jersey; a “super-soldier” created as part of a government experiment; and, possibly, an episode about a “group mind” created over a computer network.

The last is a notion Carter has played with since his recent discovery of electronic mail and online computer services; this year, The X-Files’ producers, writers, and possibly cast members, will be making their appearance on the “information superhighway.” “Delphi is the official X-Files service,” says Carter. “The other writer-producers and I will be participating in online forum discussions in the not-too-distant future; but fans can also interact with other fans, and download different media from the system.”

How close will Scully and Mulder get to the final truth in the current season of X-Files? Carter’s answer is as nebulous as any of last season’s answers. ‘I don’t think there is a final truth,” he says with a laugh. “There are problem final truths. We’ll just keep pushing.

“Mulder still wants to find his sister, so there will be an ongoing source of his energy into his search into the paranormal. We always try not to go too far with the X-File stories because we want to keep them inside what we call the realm of extreme possibility. And besides, telling too much gives away part of the magic.”

This season, Carter will stretch his talents, making his directorial debut with an episode, and hopes to explore the possibilities of a spin-off series, in response to the Fox Network’s interest in “X-panding” the franchise. Carter promises that they’ll continue to push the envelope of extreme possibility.

Will we see Deep Throat again? “That’s a good question,” he says with a smile. “The X-Files begins with the idea that anything can happen, and so that’s how we proceed.”

Trust no one.

Producer Magazine: Xploring the Paranormal

Producer Magazine
Xploring the Paranormal
Debra Kaufman

Now in its second season, Chris Carter’s X-Files brings viewers into the realm of extreme possibilities – and tries its best to scare the pants off of them.

If you like your television programming on the scary side, chances are you’re already watching “X-Files.” Thousands of self-proclaimed “X-Philes” are already addicted to the Friday night episodic whose main goal is to produce a serious case of the willies.

Produced by Twentieth Television in association with Fox Broadcasting Company, X-Files, now in its second season, chronicles the adventures of two FBI agents – special agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and special agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) – who investigate unsolved cases (X-Files) which lead them into the unknown realms of the paranormal. In each episode, the deep recesses of the human mind and the mysterious worlds of the paranormal interconnect in thrilling and terrifying ways.

“We try to scare the pants off of people,” admits X-Files creator/executive producer Chris Carter. “And we try to do it intelligently, in the realm of extreme possibilities.”

The show’s fearless exploration of paranormal themes is echoed in its storytelling style, which ventures away from the Hollywood television formula. Many of its most memorable episodes explore the characters’ psychological lives and present realistically ambiguous endings.

That modus operandi is visible in “Beyond the Sea,” creator Carter’s favorite episode. In it, agent Scully, whose father has just died, begins to lose her skepticism about the paranormal when confronted with a condemned killer who claims to be able to channel spirits from the past. At the episode’s end, she “gets” a message from her dead father in a way that somehow relates to and transcends her paranormal experiences.

“The ambiguous end is part of the beauty and mystery of the show,” says Carter. “But there were big, big battles about this very issue in the beginning. In our very first episode, I had a rather heated argument about `wrapping the show up.’ The executives wanted complete closure and explanation about what had happened. I argued that we can put things up for speculation, but we cannot draw hard conclusions.”

Carter is happy to report that those very same executives who fought hard for a more traditional TV ending are now behind him “100 percent” when it comes to the show’s more tantalizing semi-closures. Though he stresses that the “give and take” between the creatives and the executives is of vital importance to the show, he’s had to strike a balance between sticking with his instincts and listening to the opposing point of view. In the beginning days of X-Files, Carter faced another incident that tested his mettle as creator/executive producer. Though he’s “often bowed to other people’s tastes” with casting, he knew he wanted the then untried Gillian Anderson for his agent Scully.

“I stood up in a room full of people and said that I wanted this person and nobody else,” remembers Carter. “I thought later that I’d laid my whole career on the line.”

The good news is that Carter’s choice vindicated him. Anderson, though reportedly “very green” during her first days on the pilot, was a quick study – and her chemistry with co-star Duchovny produced a kind of “magic” that’s made everybody on the show happy.

“You’re always developing your instincts in this business,” says Carter about the casting incident. “And this gave me more confidence.”

Carter’s start in Hollywood combined a good measure of instincts and confidence, with a generous dose of Hollywood fairy tale. As a freelance sports journalist and, later, editor of “Surfing” magazine (“I was trying to extend my adolescence,” he notes), he decided to try his hand at scriptwriting. His second script was read by Disney’s Jeffrey Katzenberg who signed him to a three-picture deal. Once there, the first seven projects he wrote for television got made.

“It was like fishing in a barrel,” he recalls. “But I was writing other people’s idea. And I decided to stake my own claim and not be a writer for hire.”

Carter first created a short-lived series, “Brand New Life,” for NBC Productions which ran on Disney. But when he got a call from someone he knew who had gone to Twentieth Television, Carter signed a deal and came up with the idea for X-Files. The idea for X-Files was chiefly inspired by “Night Stalker,” which mesmerized Carter in high school. Also a fan of “Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits” and “Night Gallery,” Carter wanted to spook audiences the way he’d been spooked as a teenager.

X-Files is shot in Vancouver, B.C., which Carter dubs “a Hollywood boomtown.” The show’s Canadian location is less the result of that country’s lower production costs than Vancouver’s fabled forests and a bit of serendipity. The X-Files pilot needed a forest location and, though the creative team made a mighty effort to produce it in the Los Angeles area, they couldn’t come up with a forest.

Vancouver proved to be the ticket for the pilot and, since then, tis wealth of locations has proven valuable, since the X-Files agents go someplace different each episode. Two location scouts work on alternate episodes scouting Vancouver, which, says Carter, can double for nearly anywhere in the U.S. Gastown Post & Transfer in Vancouver handles the film processing and telecine transfer. The show is offlined on an Avid Media Composer and onlined at Encore Video in Los Angeles.

With the exception of the writing and producing staff, the entire X-Files crew is Canadian. Over 300 Canadian actors were hired last year for roles on the show; and average of three American actors were used per episode. So far, all the directors have been American. Carter’s “secret weapons” on the show include cinematographer John S. Bartley CSC, whom Carter credits with making X-Files very visually interesting.

“He’s painterly in the way he gives us our mood, and our mood is what the show is about,” Carter asserts.

Co-executive producers/”secret weapons” Glen Morgan and James Wong write episodes as well as produce, as does Carter who, last season, wrote or co-wrote about one-third of the episodes. And this year, just before the show began airing again, Carter took the plunge and gave himself the job of directing and episode.

The episode, “Duane Barry” (which Carter also wrote), is about a man who believes he has been abducted by aliens. Institutionalized, the man is sedated until he escapes and takes a group of people hostage. Agent Mulder is called in and . . . that’s all Carter will say. If last season’s X-Files is any indication, the episode is bound to cause more than a few viewers a nervous night. For Carter, his first directing experience was an invaluable way “to become a better producer and a better editor.”

In addition to taking criticism from executives and learning on the job, Carter and the X-Files creative team also pay attention to what X-Files fans are saying – this season, on the Internet. [ 🙂 🙂 ]

“Every day working in this business, you get smarter,” Carter observes.

It’s a search for knowledge that’s echoed in the show’s mantra – “the truth is out there” – and its raison d’être of exploring the unknown.


Sidebar: “Capturing the X-Files”

Vancouver, B.C. – Cinematographer John S. Bartley CSC uses an Arriflex 35mm camera package to shoot The X-Files. According to Bartley, the show uses three camera bodies: the Arri 535 (“A” camera) with forward and reverse capabilities at constant and variable speed from 4 fps to 50 fps, speed ramping and color video assist. The “B” camera is an Arri BLIV with off-speed capability from 6 fps to 32 fps and B&W video assist. Similarly, the “C”/Steadicam camera is an Arri BLIII with off-speed capability from six fps to 32 fps and B&W video assist.

Bartley uses a range of lenses, including 18mm, 25mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 85mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm and 20mm-100mm (5-1) zoom lens. Heads include the Arrihead with built-in tilt plate, Steadicam, Clairemont Power Pod with Swiss Jib camera crane, O’Conner Fluid Head and Ronford 7 Underslung-type head. -D.K.

Los Angeles Times: A Surreal ‘X-Files’ Captures Earthlings! Poltergeists, Space Aliens and Mutants Feed Show’s Hold on Younger Audience

Los Angeles Times
A Surreal ‘X-Files’ Captures Earthlings! Poltergeists, Space Aliens and Mutants Feed Show’s Hold on Younger Audience
Daniel Howard Cerone, Times Staff Writer

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Deep in an industrial district here, the dank interior of a closed-down nightclub has been gutted and refitted with black plastic, chain link and neon lights for an episode of Fox’s sexy, surreal TV series, “The X-Files.” Detached mannequin limbs protrude from darkened walls to create disturbing images.

The seedy, smoke-filled space is supposed to resemble a Hollywood Boulevard nightclub–the hangout for a contemporary coven of grunge vampires. These creatures of the night fall under the purview of the X-Files, which are the dumping ground for unexplainable FBI cases, dealing with subjects from poltergeists to extraterrestrials to telekinetics to genetic monsters. Probing these unworldly cases are the mismatched agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), a true believer, and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a natural skeptic.

Milling about the smoke-filled nightclub are jewelry-pierced bodies in leather and chains. “They were looking for freaks,” shrugged Shanin Graver, 26, one of the more conservatively dressed in a black miniskirt and lace. As one of dozens of extras recruited from Vancouver nightclubs, she jumped at the chance to appear in “X-Files.”

“This show is different from anything else on television,” she said excitedly. “There are science-fiction shows, but nothing that deals with the paranormal or the supernatural.”

At least not successfully.

“The X-Files” has caught fire early in its second season. Ratings are up 36% compared to the same period last year, and 60% among adults 18 to 49, the demographic group for which advertisers pay most. All next month, Fox will air “X-Files” twice a week for a quick ratings fix during the November sweeps. New episodes will air in their regular time slot Fridays at 9 p.m., and specially chosen repeats will air Sundays at 7 p.m.

Part mystery, part haunted house, part science fiction, part New Age mysticism, part government conspiracy, “The X-Files” is slowly creeping into pop culture. A recent New Yorker essay called it this generation’s “The Twilight Zone.” A devoted cult following dissects episodes weekly on national computer bulletin boards. MGM recently called creator Chris Carter to see if he had any “X-Files” mugs or T-shirts to use as set dressing on its big-budget science-fiction movie, “Species.”

When asked about the show’s success, Carter pointed to the legions of young Americans out there who believe–or want to believe–in the strange and supernatural. “There are more than you know,” he said.

“Most of the people who believe in these phenomena are sane, credible, normal everyday folk, who believe that it happened to them,” he said. “You have no reason to doubt them. When I’m standing around on location, somebody will inevitably come up and say, ‘Can I tell you my story?’ We get lots and lots of fan mail. I’m a natural skeptic, but it has chipped away at my own skepticism about these things.”

“There’s a large segment of people who believe literally in a lot of stuff we’re doing,” said Duchovny, sitting in his trailer outside the set. “Then there’s a large subgroup who believes figuratively–it’s possible, what we’re doing. If there is not a literal 6-foot fluke worm, at least the possibility of it exists. So there is the literal group and the figurative group, but they’re both believers.”

The number of believers has come as something of a surprise, even to those involved with the show. “Chris pitched the show to me originally, and I was concerned nobody would buy it, because it’s so far out there,” said Bob Greenblatt, senior vice president of drama development for Fox.

Duchovny had just come off a role in the film “Kalifornia” when his agent gave him the pilot script for “X-Files.” “I read it, and I thought, ‘A, it’s a really good pilot. B, it’s about extraterrestrials–it’s never gonna go. Who cares about this crap?’ ” Duchovny said. “Even if it did go, I thought, ‘Yeah, it’ll go six episodes, but, after six, how many shows can you do about extraterrestrials?’ ”

Twenty-five episodes a season, as it turns out–three more than most TV series. But they do not all feature your typical rash of aliens. There has been a shape-shifting serial killer who ate human livers, a ghost whose force surrounded a young girl and killed anybody who tried to harm her, and a beast-woman from the woods of New Jersey who fed on human victims.

“We tell smart, scary stories, but we will not stoop for the easy scare,” Carter said. “We avoid the conventions of horror or science fiction for that scare. If you try to analyze and put a label on the stories we tell, you do yourself a disservice. People say what is an X-File? I say it’s like obscenity–I know it when I see it.”

“Now I hear from other writers and other networks, and everybody is trying to develop their own ‘X-Files,’ ” Greenblatt said.

In the meantime, “X-Files” has been working hard this season to overcome an in-house challenge. Viewers may have noted a less visible role for Scully, played by Anderson, in the last few weeks. In last Friday’s episode, she was abducted by an escaped mental patient who says he was experimented upon by aliens, and when she returns Nov. 11, she will be in a coma.

Isn’t it a strange choice to take your lead actress out of a sizzling series?

Not when she’s pregnant.

“I had decided sometime after learning that she was pregnant (last winter) to shoot around Gillian’s pregnancy,” Carter said. “Because the show is still in its infancy, essentially, I didn’t think it would be good thing to write her pregnancy into the show. There were all these rumors circulating that she was going to have an alien baby. Although I addressed every possible idea from a creative standpoint, that was never a serious plan.”

Carter considered making Scully a single mother, but he resisted domesticating the show. “I have chosen not to make the show about the characters’ lives,” he said. “The show works best as two FBI agents investigating paranormal or unexplained phenomena, and that’s what drives the show. If the stories don’t drive the show, then we’re working backward.”

Instead, the producers began writing lots of scenes late last season with Anderson talking on the phone or sitting behind a computer, and the directors began shooting her from the bust up. In the season finale, Carter wrote an episode in which the X-Files were closed, allowing Mulder to operate more independently to start this season.

“I forget about the importance of our relationship in the show, because the story lines are what drive each episode,” said Anderson, who gave birth to a baby girl, Piper, last month. “But, from what I can tell, from the feedback in the fan mail, there’s a particular dedication that audience members have to this relationship.”

Next month, the X-Files will be officially reopened by Mulder’s boss–Mulder has been a sort of paranormal free-lancer so far this season–and Scully and Mulder will return to their regular working relationship in the episode airing Nov. 18. After that, they will just try to sustain the momentum they have built.

“It’s going to be hard to come up with really good stories every week,” Duchovny said. “You can’t be like a ‘Melrose Place’–you know, the guy’s got a bad haircut, let’s make an episode out of that. It’s got to be a full-blown, movie-type story. So the pressure on the writers is immense.”

Sacramento Bee: Creepy, Smart “X-Files” Inspires A Cult Following

Sacramento Bee
Creepy, Smart “X-Files” Inspires A Cult Following
Steve Pond

This must be it. Monday morning. Los Angeles. The 20th Century Fox lot. A little bungalow in the corner. Unmarked, hard to find. One of the writers here is leaving for the day: A mysterious computer virus has invaded his machine, nobody can track it down. A casting director enters. Says one of his two dogs inexplicably disappeared from his locked house over the week-end, then reappeared at the back door 36 hours later.

Yeah, it makes sense that this is where they put together “The X-Files”. The Friday night show is Fox TV’s underhyped successor to “The Outer Limits,” “Kolchak:The Night Stalker,” “Twin Peaks.” Strange things happen in the Northwest woods, in the Nevada desert, in government corridors. Two FBI agents poke around. One of them, Fox “Spooky” Mulder, believes in the paranormal, expects to find an alien in every clost; the other, Dana Scully, thinks Mulder’s nuts and looks for scientific explanation.

This is not normal TV: Most of its episodes end in uncertainty, with Mulder and Scully-and us, for that matter- learning little but falling far short of the big picture. Also, the show has broken the primetime rule that says any two attractive but antagonistic co-workers are thrown together, sexual tensions will rise, they’ll sleep together, and the show will go down the tubes.

As usual for Fox shows, the ratings haven’t been great, but a focal, demographically desirable group of mostly 18-to-49-year-old males (Note: ???) helped the series overcome a slow start.

“I think we might have been overlooked at first,” says Chris Carter, the show’s creator and co-executive producer. “People are always looking for that big, explosive hit, but not a lot of people watched us at the beginning. And people don’t always take Fox seriously. It’s been the network of “Married…With Children,” “Studs,” and “90210,” and people have had to change their mind-set to accept something like “The X-Files”.”

Among those who had to change were the actors. Anderson, 26, began acting off-Broadway, then moved to Los Angeles- “swearing,” she says, “that I would never audition for a TV show.” She laughs. “But being out of work for a year changes your mind.”

For his part, Duchovny, 34, whose resume include “Chaplin,” “The Rapture,” “Twin Peaks” and Showtime’s “Red Shoe Diaries” (not to mention a stint as a Yale grad student), read “The X-Files” pilot, liked its combination of humor and macabre drama and say it as “a good one-hour movie and maybe a few episodes.” Later, he realized that it might have more staying power than that. “I thought it was just a show about extraterrestrials,” he admits. “But once it opened up into the area of anything paranormal, I could see that it need not ever die.”

Indeed, the series has inspired a “Star Trek”-like cult. Devotees of the show flock to computer bulletin boards on such services as America Online and Prodigy, where these self-named “X-Philes” create detailed character backgrounds, compile arcane, astonishingly detailed fact sheets, speculate on a Mulder-Scully romance (about which the consensus seems to be a resounding NO, as long as neither of them gets involved with anyone else), and just voice their opinions: “Mutants OK, but NO vampires on “X-Files”, please. Especially if they’re played by Tom Cruise.”

“The X-Files” folks are well aware of this: Carter used to read up to 70 pages of downloaded fan comments each night, while in a recent on-line forum co-executive producer Glen Morgan said certain shows had been tailored to please the modem squad.

And while the actors aren’t quite so computer literate, they are aware of the attention. “I’ve been told that on one of the computer services there’s something called the Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade,” says Anderson with a laugh. “That just tickles me.”

This season, Anderson would like the characters to become more emotionally involved in their cases, though she knows that the show needs to maintain a certain degree of detachment. (As does she: “This is pretty gruesome stuff that we deal with, and I have to underplay it so that I don’t have nightmares.”) Duchovny wants to add more humor, and Carter just wants to deal gracefully with Anderson’s maternity leave (she’s married to an art director). For now, Mulder will have a new partner.

Carter is also trying to handle the demands of a show whose cult seems to be expanding. “The tone of this show is subdued and subtle,” Carter says, “and I never expected fan clubs and T-shirts and all of that. I think the show should remain dark and cultish.” He grins. “Everyone should *watch* it, of course, but it should be still dark and cultish.”

Delphi Chat: Chris Carter on Delphi

Delphi Chat
Chris Carter on Delphi

Chris Carter Live on Delphi took place on Friday September 23, 1994 right after the premiere of the episode The Host on the east coast. Chris first answered questions asked by Reaper which we had collected from Delphi members before the floor was opened for questions. The conference lasted over two hours and Chris responded to as many fans as he could before his hands became worn out from typing so much. We thank Chris Carter for his time, and eagerly await his next appearance on Delphi.

Here is the transcript of the conference:

REAPR: On behalf of all the X-Files fans here on Delphi I would to thank you for taking the time to join us, and let you know that it is an honor and a privilege to have you here. Welcome!

CARTER: Buenos noches, X-Files fans. I’m thrilled to have you all attending my on-line debut. I hope I can answer all your questions.

REAPR: Well, I’ve got some questions to ask first, and then I’ll open the floor for questions from our members.


REAPR: Coming from the working background that you did, your time as a journalist, the work you did for Disney, how and when did you come up with the idea for The X-Files?

CARTER: If you look at my resume you’ll never find any clear connection between my old work and the X-Files. But to answer the question, I just wanted to do something as scary as I remember the Night Stalker was when I was in my teens.

REAPR: Well, I think I speak for everyone when I say you’ve outdone yourself.

CARTER: I’m flattered.

REAPR: Once you pitched the idea to FOX and sold them on it, did you anticipate your show would get such a following?

CARTER: Not even. You always prepare to have your idea, your pilot, your project get nuked somewhere along the way. To even get on the air is rare. To have the kind of response we’ve had is absolutely mind-boggling.

REAPR: Was FOX the only place you pitched it to, and were they first?

CARTER: I pitched it to Fox. They reluctantly bought the idea but it took two pitch meetings to convince them that we had something worth proceeding on.

REAPR: What do you think of all the attention that your series has brought you personally? There’s even a CCEB (Chris Carter Estrogen Brigade)now. Would you care to respond to that?

CARTER: You have to understand that I’m used to spending most of my time inside a small office working on my computer. The attention has been kind of alarming. As for the CCEB, I guess it’s better than the CCTB.


REAPR: On that note, have you ever had a paranormal experience? If so, would you tell us about it?

CARTER: I was audited by the IRS once. Beyond that, I’d have to say no.

REAPR: Do you and other writers for the show prefer writing UFO, metaphysical, or weird science stories?

CARTER: Personally, I’m interested in the stories that involve government involvement (bad construction!) in the paranormal. Maybe it’s my rather pronounced personal distrust of that organization.

REAPR: Did you hand pick the other writers? And what experience did you have with them?

CARTER: Sort of. Morgan and Wong were recommended to me by Peter Roth, President of 20th TV. Gordon and Gansa I had known about and had admired their work. I consider myself and the show extremely fortunate to have these writers (minus Gansa now.) Without them the X-Files wouldn’t be the show it is.

REAPR: What DID happen to Alex Gansa?

CARTER: He decided to go back into project development on his own. We miss him.

REAPR: What has been YOUR favorite episode so far?

CARTER: Two. Beyond the Sea and The Erlenmeyer Flask.

REAPR: Erlenmeyer Flask and Beyond have scored big with the fans as well. Was there one particular scene or episode that sticks out in your mind as being particularly difficult to film?

CARTER: The vortex scene in the pilot. I imagine the invasion of Normandy was easier.

REAPR: For the record, people often complain about the number of science mistakes in the show (not us). Is this a concern or is it not important to you in the interest of telling a good story?

CARTER: Honestly, we try to be as accurate as possible. For example, in the E. Flask, I checked all my science with a research virologist from Amherst U. Then I got nailed because I referred to chloroplasts as plant cells. Sorry. We try.

REAPR: I think the stories make any errors irrelevant. Your shows are too good to focus on minute details.

CARTER: Thanks. Let me take this moment to apologize for my typing. This is an unfamiliar keyboard.

REAPR: No problem. I’m not used to typing in public either. 🙂 I’ll fix all the typos later.


REAPR: Do you consider The X-Files to be a science fiction or horror show?

CARTER: Neither. I don’t like the horror title or label because we try not to use horror show conventions. I used to resist the SF label because I thought it was sending the wrong message about the kind of stories I wanted to tell. But the SF label brought a lot of people to the show so I guess that’s a good thing.

REAPR: I think creepy fits.

CARTER: Creepy it is.

REAPR: Who are the new writers for this season, and how much more writing and directing will you be doing?

CARTER: New writers are Paul Brown, Sara Charno and Darin Morgan, aka Flukeman. As for directing, I’m still recovering from doing episode 5. That’s probably it for this season.

REAPR: The Host was superb. My hat’s off to you, and Darin!

CARTER: Thanks. I was kinda nervous. It’s our first real monster story and I wanted it to be good. Darin was excellent as Flukey and no-one can imagine how hard the work was, being in that suit for hours at a time with no way to go to the bathroom.

REAPR: I think it beat out Squeeze and Tooms on the creepy scale.

CARTER: Really? Let’s hope the ratings reflect it.

REAPR: Are there any stories you’ve wanted to do but couldn’t due to shooting or other production difficulties?

CARTER: Lots. I want to do an episode that takes place on the polar or Antarctic Ice cap (different from Ice) but it’s rather hard to replicate that location. Stay tuned, though.

REAPR: Cool. No pun intended.

REAPR: I’ve got a couple questions the fans are dying to know. First, does Mulder even own a bed? And second, what is the significance of the time 11:21?

CARTER: He rents his furniture, actually. And it’s a futon. 11/21 is my wife’s b-day.

REAPR: Excellent answer! I’m going to open the floor now.

Robin: Thanks for being here, Mr. Carter. My question concerns the visual elements of the show. I’d like to know if you go for a film noir look on purpose, and if so, why? Are the visual elements very important to you? What elements do you look for to add to the stories?

CARTER: We strive very hard to make the show look like it does. Two key people who bring us that look are John Bartley and Graeme Murray, art director. Our two secret weapons.

BJBEA: As the creator and show runner, what do you hope to come away with (if anything) from this encounter with the X-Philes, e.g., general feedback, story ideas, experiences with UFO sightings/other phenomenon, or strictly PR?

CARTER: I’m very interested in good, thoughtful criticism of the show. Even the occasional nitpick. It’s a very valuable tool to have such an immediate connection with the viewers.

Nick: Chris — I’m curious as to why the change in Mulder’s story of his sister’s disappearance? And, is his sister ever going to be found?

CARTER: That story , if you are referring to the bedroomlivingroom debate, is something that Mulder has only relearned through regression hypnosis so it’s even unclear to Mulder. Mulder’s sister might be found but not until year eleven of the series.

Jerry: How did you come up with the idea for the show?

CARTER: As for the concept, it’s hard to say where it came from. Just one of those ideas that seemed to work on a number of levels I found interesting. Also, It just seemed like a TV series to me. Lots of stories to tell without having to be self-referencing, too reliant on going into just the lives of the characters.

KLFAN: It was great the way you (the X-Files team) recognized members of the online community in your last episode (LGM). How did you decide who to add to the flight manifest, and do you anticipate future acts of a similar nature?

CARTER: That was Morgan and Wong. Always expect more from us, whatever it is.

WARGAMERDAVE: Have any “name” stars approached you to guest star in an episode? I have read in several areas that the show is a real hit with them.

CARTER: Yes. Whoopi Goldberg is very interested. Some others, too, but wouldn’t you rather be surprised?

LFJENKINS: Chris, All things being equal, would you have preferred that the X-Files be filmed in Los Angeles rather than Vancouver? That’s got to add an additional burden to you and the writing staff.

CARTER: It’s an added difficulty for sure. But I think the benefits gained (look, quality) balance out.

RAVVEN: Chris, I understand you’ll be directing 2 episodes this season yourself. May I ask what they are?

CARTER: Only one episode. Episode 5, titled Duane Barry.

ECCENTRIC: After tonight’s show, all I can say is thanks for reawakening my childhood fear of outdoor privies. 😉 You and the other writers have a wonderful sense of the most effective way to give us the willies. How do you come up with these great ideas?

CARTER : We’re sick and twisted.

ROBINMM: Mr. Carter, how do you go about finding such great guest stars? How involved are you personally in casting each episode? Some of my favorites were “Samuel” in “Miracle Man” and of course, Tooms.

CARTER: We’ve been very lucky to get a lot of the good actors we have, particularly since we cast the show out of L.A. and Vancouver. Sometimes actors don’t like to travel but there seems to be a lot of good word about the show so good actors want to do it.

LEEJA: How did you like directing?

CARTER: It was great. I’ve spent so much time whispering in directors’ ears it was nice to take the reins. But it was also very hard. Trying to get the best work possible in eight 12 hour days. You be the jury on Oct.14.

MOONFERRET: Chris, Any advice for a screenwriter (me) living in Wilmington, NC who doesn’t want to live in L.A.? : 🙂 Thanks!! I love the show- it’s actually the only TV I make it a point to watch! How is Gillian!??

CARTER: The best thing about being a writer is you can do it anywhere. Gillian is fine. I just spoke with her this afternoon.

SETTLEC: Why were the Blue Beret special forces so incompetent?

CARTER: Just bad shots.

MANNN: Great Show….. How old are Mulder and Scully?.

CARTER: 34 and 28.

ROBINMM: Mr. Carter, do you and your writing team plan to do more “ripped from the headlines” type stories?

CARTER: If you mean, the toxic blood story, etc. – only if they can be incorporated in a good story. By that, I mean, only if we can make it seem more than just a shameless use of a current event.

SUSANJN: Chris, How’s Gillian? Any news for us?

CARTER: She’s fine. She’s just finished filming episode 6. Still pregnant.

RAVVEN: Chris, Just wanted to tell you that a new X-F fan club has just been formed here in Australia. Do you have any plans on coming over? Or have you ever been here? (We’ve got some great waves at Bells Beach)..:)

CARTER: Can’t wait to go back. I’ve surfed all up and down the Gold Coast. Never got to Bells.

ROBERTD7: Mr. Carter, I’m curious about Mulder’s first name. Is it to pay homage to the network? If not, what inspired the name?

CARTER: I grew up with someone with the name. And it does have a ring to it, no? Mulder is my mother’s maiden name by the way.

KEVLIN: Chris, at the beginning of last season, before the show’s first episode, the promo’s stated the “files” were true stories from FBI files. What happened to this premise…or was it just hype? I noticed that was used for a very few teases, then dropped. What’s the story?

CARTER: Actually, it said the story was inspired by actual documented accounts. Which was true.

STEENS: Is every episode pure fiction or is there some kind of evidence or real story behind each episode. Is there a book or been magazines covering x-files?

CARTER: There’s always a nugget of truth or science fact behind each episode. We leave it to the audience to decide what’s real, what’s not. Books and mags forthcoming.

DONANEVYN: Can you talk a bit about the hiring process that ended up with two fantastic actors who have a real spark between them. Did you notice this in the try-outs or did this just come across as the scenes were shot for real?

CARTER: I loved both David and Gillian from the start. And, yes, I chose them from hundreds of other actors who auditioned. The chemistry between them is just pure luck.

SUMRALL: What about the second series that you were hinting about developing? Has there been any progress, is it on the back burner for now, or have you dropped the idea completely?

CARTER: There’s a lot of talk about it, but the X-Files is my first love. I wouldn’t want to divide my interests if I thought it would hurt the show.

LEEJA: Mr. Carter, How is David holding up under the extra work during Gillian’s absence?

CARTER: He’s a trooper. And who said Gillian was absent?

LEEJA: You mean, Gillian is still carrying as much load as before? I’m impressed.

CARTER: I assume you mean workload. And yes, I’m impressed, too.

JAMESCBUTL: Mr. Carter, I heard you on the radio in Chicago this evening. Great interview. I’m a writer in Chicago and would like to know how my “small-time” agent can get a script for your review to you. I know you are not open to freelance, but a good story is a good story.

CARTER: Your agent can send it to the Fox legal department at the Los Angeles address on Pico Blvd.

BOREDSILLY: A lot of people seem to want Mulder and Scully to get romantically involved. I read an article where you said you were opposed to this…and I couldn’t agree more. Are you feeling a lot of pressure to have a romance between them?

CARTER: It ain’t going to happen.

WILDMULE: I’ve heard there were some X-Files spin-offs in the works: a comic book and some novels. Any other licensed products in the works? Computer games? Role-playing games? Feature films?

CARTER: Lots of goodies coming. A novel, which I haven’t read. Everything but the kitchen sink. Too bad. Can’t see people wearing X-Files undies.

SETTLEC: What exactly did Skinner mean by “This should have been an X-File…We all have to take our orders from someone” He acts like Mulder’s “friend in the FBI”

CARTER: Interesting allies appearing from the woodwork. Stay tuned.

CLIFFCHEN: Chris, do you have any plans on ever resolving the Samantha plot-line (Say, heaven forbid, in the show’s final season?). Feel free not to answer if you’d rather keep us in suspense.

CARTER: Mulder’s sister? It’s going to be left open for exploration.

LEEJA: Mr. Carter; How do you feel about “Mantis” as a lead-in?

CARTER: Sorry, haven’t watched the show.

KLFAN: Any hints as to what the spin-off series (if it comes about)will be like? Will it center around FBI agents as well? Perhaps the DEEPTHROAT mystery hour would be interesting! 🙂 Any ideas as to who’s jockeying for the leads on this proposed new series?

CARTER: The new series is still a gleam in somebody’s eye. *-

ROSAS: DT was killed in the finale of last season. I understand the reasoning behind this-among other things he could have become a “plot device”. If that is the case then why the introduction of this new, enigmatic person who has come to M&S’s aid? P.S. You are God’s gift to TV programming…

CARTER: God’s gift? As for DT, it was our way of saying, expect anything.

FMULDER: Hi Chris. Greetings from Australia. I was just wondering are we ever likely to see Mulder’s friend Danny? It’s a weird question I know just It seems he’s always in his office NO MATTER what time Mulder calls him. Weird.

CARTER: Danny is actually a gnome living in Mulder’s desk drawer.

LANGER: Chris, You brought back Tooms. Are there any plans to bring back the Eves or that guy who starts fires?

CARTER: Again, anything can happen. Except that Mulder and Scully sex scene.

BRUCE268: Will Mulder ever get his hard evidence of EBEs?

CARTER: We’ll continue to explore this subject, for sure.

LEEJA: Mr. Carter, This might be a bad question, but how do you like being online?

CARTER: It’s a trip.

LFJENKINS: Is there anyone who tracks continuity from episode to episode (as opposed to scene to scene) given the number of writers? It seems like it would be easy to forget something in a script written by another writer but might be significant. (Or is that type of consistency only important to fans and not to the writers? 🙂

CARTER: We are all keepers of the archives and strive to stay true to facts.

DONANEVYN: Could you elaborate a bit on how you chose DD and GA and did you see the ‘magic’ between the two early on, or as the show progressed. Thanks again. This show is a very bright light in a very darken TV land.

CARTER: Thanks for the kind words. The magic between Scully and Mulder is one of those amazingly lucky things.

ROBERTD7: One of the things that often becomes legend with popular TV shows is who was considered for the lead role(s) in the show besides the actors who make the characters their own. So, who, if anyone, else was up for the roles of Scully and Mulder.

CARTER: Gillian and David were my first and only choices.

FMULDER: Now we know where you came up with Mulder’s name from, how did you come up with Scully’s?

CARTER: I grew up in L.A. where Vin Scully was the voice of God. Dana is just a nice soft woman’s name I like.

CLIFFCHEN: Mr. Carter, I’ve noticed that some members of the staff have made little cameos in various episodes (Tom Braidwood, Ken Kirzinger, and Darin Morgan). Are you ever going to get a turn, or you are happier behind the scenes?

CARTER: You’d be really disappointed.

PAMELASTRAND: Hi Chris. Thank you for creating two such wonderful and complex characters as M&S. Rarely do we get to see a man and woman in an equal relationship where each is an independent and yet they balance each other so well. Has Scully now lost her skepticism? If she joins Mulder in believing as he does, will another point of contrast be developed? I was also wondering if Scully’s name was borrowed from Frank Scully who was involved in the Roswell incident.

CARTER: Scully was and will always be a scientist, so her skepticism remains intact, though eroded. Scully is from Vin Scully, voice of the L.A. Dodgers.

BJBEA: Mr. Carter, Do you plan on visiting the forum for feedback (feel free to use AKA)?

CARTER: I must see my reviews.

SUMRALL: Are you going to be writing any of the novelizations that will be coming out? By the way, just when are they going to be published?

CARTER: No X-Files novels for me. They promise #1 will be out soon.

BJBEA: Mr. Carter: Since the response here is pretty good, what kind of mail does the show get (e.g., volume, type, etc.)? How spooky in general, is the show’s following?

CARTER: Lots and lots of mail. Not as many spooky fans as you might expect.

MISHEA: If a writer has an agent but the script is in screenplay format, will x-files take a look at it?

CARTER: It’s a legal issue I can’t answer to your satisfaction.

ECCENTRIC: Any plans to have an episode featuring dopplegangers?

CARTER: Already in the works.

SETTLEC: Do you plan on returning to the Forum here to follow upon unanswered questions? Or new ones for that matter.

CARTER: I’ll be back.

GOESP: Why has the government kept Mulder and Scully alive?

CARTER: Good question. They’ve become so high profile that their death or disappearance would turn too much focus on those who might want to disappear them.

LEEJA: Mr. Carter, How much time do you spend in Vancouver during the shooting season? Are you a commuter, or migratory?

CARTER: Commuter.

SUMRALL: I really don’t know if they’ll allow this one on here, but is Delphi going to be the only on-line network you’ll be involved with, or would you consider other interactive networks?

CARTER: Sorry, they’re looking over my shoulder.

RAVVEN: Chris, is this conference a once in a life time opportunity (for me)? Or are you planning on doing more on-line activities in the future?

CARTER: Again, I’ll be back.

SUMRALL: Will you write an episode in which Mulder has to dress up as a woman again?

CARTER: David has been begging for that.

ROBERTD7: This is as much a request as a question. Will Mulder and Scully ever tackle the Bermuda Triangle (my paranormal passion 🙂 There are so many theories about the area, Mulder and Scully could have a field day there.

CARTER: Certainly, but you may not recognize it as such.*

DONANEVYN: I know there will be a lot of temptation from everyone, you, the writers, the actors etc., with the fame and popularity of this show and what it brings. So I really am glad to hear you are willing to stick with it as long as it’s popular (well within reason, I mean there’s ‘Next Generation’ … But truthfully, as some have mentioned before, there is such a strong connection and embodiment of DD w/FM and GA w/DS, if either of these folks left, the X-Files would not be the same.

CARTER: Agreed.

JOHN5843: Last season the was a show about A.I. (Eurisko) on the X-files. At the end when the Department of Defense of whoever were going through the system trying to salvage code and information about the computer system. A little light came on and I took that as a sign that the program wasn’t destroyed by the virus. Any chances of cross-linking that with something coming this season???

CARTER: Anything can happen. But that wasn’t one of our most popular episodes.

ANGELLA: Are there currently any plans for production of a show involving gremlins or elves? And if not, how could I go about submitting my ideas for such an episode?

CARTER: There are plans for both.

SUMRALL: I saw an advertisement for a special Larry King show that would deal with Area 51. Any plans to participate or even watch it?

CARTER: None at all.

GOESP: Who is the new “deep throat-like” character?

CARTER :Watch for new allies and people coming out of woodwork.

FMULDER: Mr. Carter, do you or any other cast or crew members ever plan to drop by on IRC chat sometime? (The Internet chat)

CARTER: Anything can happen.

SUMRALL: How long are you planning to stay on Delphi? Into the wee hours of the morning, perhaps? :))))

CARTER: Sorry, my dog needs to be fed.

PAMELASTRAND: Chris, Mark Snow’s X-Files music is wonderful. Any chance of an album being produced? Thank you.

CARTER: It’s in the works. Very excited about this. Mark’s great.

MOONFERRET: Chris, We all know that the Mulder / Scully thing isn’t going to happen. I’m curious though– why exactly are you so opposed to this? You and the rest of the crew are great storytellers- I’m sure you could pull it off exceptionally. Why so opposed? (Do you get the feeling I’m one of the few that would love for it to happen? Call me vicarious…)

CARTER: Oh, Moonferret. If I could only make your dreams come true.

KLFAN: I really appreciate your being here tonight (I probably speak for us all on that note) and kudos to REAPR as well for his fine work. I realize that the DELPHI X-Files forum is THE official forum, however, do you (or the rest of the crew) glean ideas, opinions and comments from the other online services (which all have XF discussions) and/or the internet discussion groups? How big a role does the online chat have in your scripting, plotting, planning, etc.?

CARTER: We have more ideas than you can imagine. Online info helps keep us honest.

SUMRALL: Is the Mystery Caller in tonight’s episode (The Host) going to take Deep Throat’s place? Is he going to become a third member of the team, to cover up Scully’s absence when she takes maternity leave? Speaking of that, how are you going to handle her disappearance?

CARTER: You’ll have to wait and see.

LFJENKINS: I know that you get comments and changes from network standards and practices but how often to do studio execs ask for script changes and do you have to comply with them?

CARTER: They ask, we try to appear as if we listen. Honestly, it’s all part of the process.

THESUE: I was wondering if there was a particular reason that you didn’t use subtitles for what Jorge was saying. (I got most of it . . .but had to rewind for the rest:).

CARTER: We felt that the translation was unnecessary.

ROSAS: There was a dramatic change in the look of Scully between the pilot and the rest of the season – was that your doing or the network wanting to avoid Silence of the Lambs references in the reviews…?

CARTER: I didn’t notice. Remember, Gillian is a woman and women have the right to change their looks.

NOE: Chris, Any plans on incorporating more bits of languages (other than English) into the show?


MOONFERRET: Mr. Carter, What’s the significance of The Smoking Man’s cigarettes on this season’s premiere? And– whose idea was it to have Mulder eat all those seeds?

CARTER: Seeds – I’m an addict. Cigarettes are most important.

ADLEVIN: Any shows about voodoo in Haiti?

CARTER: And its effect of on US troops.

CM520: How well does X-files do in the ratings? I see it listed in the bottom ten sometimes, but only when its a re-run.

CARTER: Getting better all the time.

SUMRALL: What episode do you like the least?


SUMRALL: You really don’t mind nit-picking, do you? I’m the President of the Nit pickers guild on another online network, and it’s all meant in good fun.

CARTER: Thanks. I’m developing carpel tunnel syndrome. See you next week with a brand new show.

REAPR: Mr. Carter, Your presence online has been a very special treat for all of us who faithfully watch your show and log in to Delphi to talk about it. For all of us, I want to thank you for finding the time to meet with your most loyal fans and hope you can come back some time in the future. Keep up the great work!

I’d also like to thank Delphi Internet for not only giving us this opportunity to meet Mr. Carter tonight but also giving us the X-Files forum every night of the week.

X-Philes, Chris Carter has left the building.

The Toronto Sun: X marks stardom

The Toronto Sun
X marks stardom
Lynn Elber

NYPD Blue’s David Caruso is clearly TV’s poster boy of the season.

But for viewers who like their leading men darkly rebellious, consider David Duchovny as UFO-obsessed FBI agent Fox Mulder of The X-Files.

Duchovny has the looks, the wit, the haircut. And he plays Mulder, a true believer in extraterrestrials and government cover-ups, with an understated intensity that is magnetic. The character single-mindedly probes unexplained cases – X files – the FBI and certain shadowy government figures would rather he and fellow agent Dana Scully (costar Gillian Anderson) drop.

No Blue sex scenes for our hero; it’s all nerve-jangling alien encounters mixed in with immoral killers and science gone badly awry.

There is a tantalizing trace of chemistry between Mulder and the lovely Scully in the Fox Broadcasting Co. series, airing at 9 p.m. Fridays, but producer Chris Carter has vowed not to exchange chills for romance.

Playing a man whose work is his passion is a turnabout for Duchovny, who racked up his share of sexy scenes in movies pre-X-Files.

He was a sweet-talking bounder in Julia Has Two Lovers, a swinger who gets religion in The Rapture and a cuckolded (but not sexually deprived) architect in Showtime’s The Red Shoe Diaries.

Duchovny’s most recent film was Kalifornia, in which he played a writer making a dangerous foray into the realm of murder – with a comely girlfriend, of course.

Given the clever plots and sharp writing of The X-Files the actor is willing to take a dramatic cold shower for now. Besides, he says, it’s a refreshing change.

“I was kind of happy to play a character that didn’t have women register at all on his radar,” Duchovny said. “I take the energy that another character might have directed toward women and direct it toward UFOs.”

Or, he suggests wryly, viewers can come up with their own off-screen scenarios: “You can just imagine what happens in between cases: When I’m not chasing UFOs, I’m chasing skirt.”

Duchovny, 33, a native New Yorker, didn’t start chasing an acting career early in life. He was on an impressive academic path, attending swank private schools.

Following ability more than inspiration, Duchovny earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton and a master’s in English literature at Yale, where he prepared for a teaching career in the Ph.D. program.

He began acting in off-Broadway plays to help him develop as a film and theatre writer. But the performance, not just the play, turned out to be the thing.

Chicago Sun-Times: Fox’s ‘X-Files’: Otherworldly Entertainment

Chicago Sun-Times
Fox’s ‘X-Files’: Otherworldly Entertainment
Mike Hughes

Let’s say you’re a serious actress, steeped in theater training. What do you do for a living?

Well, Gillian Anderson spends some time seeing and not seeing UFO’s. She and her “X-Files” partner pretended to see them together for one episode in the wee hours of the morning. “It was, like, 2 o’clock in the morning and we were standing on this hill and it was kind of drizzling,” Anderson groans.

“And we both had to synchronize our eyes with the way the UFO’s would eventually be moving . . . We stood there for God knows how long.”

OK, let’s say you’re a serious actor with an Ivy League education. What do you do for a living?

Well, David Duchovny spent some time lying on a parking lot, pretending to be horrified.

“We did an (‘X-Files’) episode with kind of a beast-woman,” Duchovny says, “a feral humanoid . . . She was 6-foot-1 and matted hair, and beautiful in her own way.”

The director decided his reaction wasn’t horrified enough. It had to be reshot.

“The X-Files” is not your standard TV show.

The series, at 8 p.m. Fridays on Channel 32, is the home of UFO’s and the paranormal. It’s the place for beast-women, arctic monsters and more.

This week, it has a killer who can switch gender at will. You don’t see that very often, even in rock ‘n’ roll.

And one more thing: In its own way, “The X-Files” is a terrific show.

” ‘The X-Files’ is a show people are really starting to talk about,” says Fox programming chief Sandy Grushow.

Lucy Salhany, his boss, goes a step further:

‘ “The X-Files’ is a hit,” she says.

Fox officials are prone to exaggerate, of course. This time, however, there’s a kernel of truth.

In an awful time slot, “The X-Files” has found viewers. This year, Grushow says, it’s given Fox a 27 percent increase for the hour.

When people discover the show, they find a terrific blend.

The filming (in Vancouver) is stylish and the music (by Mark Snow) is terrific. Duchovny and Anderson create believable characters, from surprisingly solid scripts.

At the core is a fascination with the unexplained and the unexplored.

The groundwork was laid during previous seasons, when the “Sightings” documentary series held the time slot. Indeed, producer Henry Winkler implies that the show was canceled mainly because of company politics.

” ‘Sightings’ was produced by an outside company,” Winkler says, “and ‘The X-Files’ is done by . . . Fox itself. I have never watched ‘The X-Files,’ and may they live in health.”

Whatever the reason for the change, “The X-Files” started with a core of believers. Then it added a layer of dramatic oomph.

Anderson, who plays the show’s skeptic, is sometimes a believer in real life. “I have, for a long time, believed in certain aspects of the unknown — ESP, psychokinesis, UFO’s.”

Duchovny, who plays the believer, leans the other way.

“I believe in the abstract, but not in the specific,” he says. “If you ask me if I believe in the possibility of the things we do on the show, I would say yes. But if you ask me if I believe that they actually have happened, I’d say no.”

And producer Chris Carter thought that he was a pretty good buff of these things . . . until he met his staff.

Two of them brought their own extensive library, Carter says.

“But they had these crazy journals and newsletters that come from who-knows-where,” he says. “And they were able to write a story using a lot of very factual, if you will, information.”

Now “The X-Files” has become part of the lore. One intense letter was mailed to Fox Mulder, Duchovny’s fictional character; zealots already have started storing “X-Files” trivia.

These are the newest variation of Trekkers or Leapers, but without an official name. “I’m calling them ‘File-o-philes,’ ” Carter says.

That’s not so bad, actually. On a Friday that includes Urkel and old detectives, we could do worse than become a nation of File-o-philes.