Archive for July, 1998

The Guardian: Agent provocative

Jul-31-1998
The Guardian
Agent provocative
Libby Brooks

He’s loved by millions, gets paid millions and stars in a hugely successful TV series. So why is David Duchovny so annoyed by his co-star’s pay dispute? He tells Libby Brooks about his poetry, the X-Files movie and his dream of bringing the World Cup back to Scotland

He looks a lot like Mulder. There is the same air of wearied naughtiness. But the familiar face, free from the softening broodiness of his X-Files persona, morphs from wounded pup to bond-broker bastard. In exquisitely tailored midnight blue, he is less the visionary canker and more the acquaintance of American Psycho’s socialite psychopath, Patrick Bateman.

At 38, Duchovny is a big star on the small screen, a Hollywood bankable yet to prove his mettle in movies. Internationally identifiable as his wry, doubting alter ego Fox Mulder, the completion of the first X-Files feature film, which has grossed $80 million in the US, has coincided with further television demands. This February he accepted a reported $4 million to appear in 40 more episodes of the ludicrously popular series, which begins its sixth year in the States this September.

He is taller and more awkward off camera, gangly limbs in glossily formal shirt and tie. Unscripted, he sustains the ability to speak in sentences. He is bright enough to recognise the debt of gratitude he owes to the X-Files, professional enough to pitch it as a debt of honour and, initially, convincingly untouched by either. But one senses immediately that there is little he’d like to talk about less.

“If I could make my choice right now I wouldn’t do it, but I made a commitment. What I want is not important,” he says without lustre. “I signed a piece of paper, I’m a professional and I’ll do the best I can.” Beginning with 1993’s pilot show, the series quickly became an industry phenomenon. Garnering a library of literary analysis, a thriving merchandising industry, and the obsessional devotion of a legion of ‘X-philes’, it is now shown in more than 60 countries, and in the US alone is watched by around 25 million viewers.

Every other month sees another report that Duchovny wants to leave the show for good. But if he is equivocal about the X-Files albatross, he glosses it well. “Only in the sense of the time it takes to do it. It’s 10 months a year, then last year 12 with the movie,” he says with glib professionalism. “It’s not that I’m not able to do other characters, but I don’t have time to. I feel trapped by the job, not the character.” He is equally unmoved by his own popularity. The Internet is regularly clogged with drooling consideration of ‘Spooky’ Mulder’s motivations as protector of difficult truths, while Duchovny’s previous life as butt-exposing bit-parter in a selection of dubiously titled B-movies, including The Copulating Mermaid, has caused much tabloid titillation.

“I’m flattered by the attention, if it means they appreciate what I do, but I think that it would be wrong to really believe that they are as obsessed as they seem,” he says, downplaying insistently. “People like to play at being obsessed with certain things. It’s like kids screaming at the Beatles. After a certain point the kids are screaming because that’s what they want to do. They are pleasuring themselves by getting so excited. It really has nothing to do with me or the show.” Nothing to do with the show’s alleged provision of a niche outlet for new-age spiritual yearning, and that peculiarly Stateside conspiracy-theorising cynicism? “It’s not really for me to say. Apparently the show has [tapped into the zeitgeist], because we’ve decided that it does and we like to talk about it that way. Those are the only terms you can put it in but I still think that it’s wrong.” So it is possible to over-analyse the X-Files? “I think that’s one of people’s greatest joys” he parries neatly. And is it possible to over-analyse Mulder? “Oh no. He’s a very complicated individual. You can think all about him that you want.” He smirks. Does he? “Not any more.”

The feature film itself is enjoyable enough, although in celluloid translation offers little more than an extended double episode with added vista shot potential. All that is missing is the option to make a cup of Téa in the tense bits. The plot has been closely guarded, to the extent where scripts were numbered in order to identify leaks.

The film opens with the X-Files closing and Mulder and Scully being re-assigned. It delves further into the mythology of the cult concept, ultimately exposing the truth behind an international project that threatens to alter the future of mankind, and contains a sufficient splattering of in-jokes to satisfy series trainspotters. The teasing relationship between Mulder and Scully is explored in greater depth than ever before.

And what of his co-star Gillian Anderson who, depending upon which gossip column one reads, he is alternately biffing or bonking. “We work long hours together, many months out of the year, we’re both still alive and that’s a testament to a successful relationship. I trust her to show up and be prepared and not waste my time, and she trusts me to do the same. We don’t socialise.” Duchovny came to acting the long way round. Born in New York to a Scottish mother and Polish-Russian father, he talks oddly about his American identity. “The sense of foreignness came from my mother. It was important for her that I remembered that I was half-Scottish. It didn’t mean reading me bedtime stories about Bonnie Prince Charlie, but there was a difference in outlook. I was a foreigner to my own mother. She didn’t understand me.” It is a surprisingly powerful remark to throw away like that.

Duchovny’s parents divorced when he was 11 and he is similarly, deliberately, sanguine about its effect. “It was a primary incident in my life, but everyone has profound experiences in their childhood. Some are more easy to spot than others. People say: ‘Oh divorce, that’s a red marker,’ but sometimes I’m happy it’s like that, because I don’t need to search for that event.” Much to his teacher mother Meg’s delight, he appeared bound for a career in academia, sailing through Princeton then Yale, where he gained a master’s degree in English literature. He was awarded a graduate fellowship to pursue a PhD in American literature, which he swiftly abandoned. His first professional acting assignment involved beer swilling for a Lowenbrau commercial. He left academia, he says, because he wanted to try real life, away from the cloistered campus atmosphere. “So I ended up in Hollywood, which is the obvious choice.”

He denies that there is any frisson for fans in the knowledge that those envied eyes are connected to a fully functioning cerebellum. It is, of course, an entirely professional issue: “People like you to do the job you do. Do people want a chef with a PhD? If your meat is overcooked, they don’t care that the guy went to Yale.” But Duchovny’s academic credentials, along with his poetry writing and vegetarianism, are oft vaunted as proof of his otherwordly charm. Indeed, in this month’s edition of the American magazine Movieline, he ‘shares a poem’ called Cliche Juice: “Home is where the heart is and my heart is/ out travelling. Up into the wild blue yonder,/ wingless, prayerful that this miracle of flight/ will not end, just yet.” The poem is fascinating in context rather than content: why someone so sharp, so darkly professional would be tempted into an act so revealing.

He was inspired as much by a passion for his art as by what his art was not, he says. “What acting wasn’t made me very passionate. It was not thinking, it was feeling. It was athletic, in the sense that it was instinctual. You could lose your self-consciousness, you become like an animal without notions of the past or the future. And that felt good.” After inevitable low-budget beginnings, Duchovny went on to play a cinematographer in Chaplin, and one of Brad Pitt’s hostages in the serial killer thriller Kalifornia. His role as a canine-confounded yuppie in big dog film Beethoven hinted at comic potential. But his latest ex-X-Files excursion, Playing God, slumped at the box office, averaging an audience of 20 per screening.

A dedicated Buster Keaton fan, rumour has it that Duchovny’s true talent lies somewhere further left field. After all, he did play a transvestite agent in Twin Peaks. Many who saw his Emmy-nominated guest appearances on the Larry Sanders Show last year, pronounced him too clever for the X-Files. In one of the Sanders episodes, Larry feared (wrongly) that his old friend Duchovny fancied him – a comic role which he played up hilariously.

On comedy he really begins to chatter. “Certain X-Files are comedies,” he says. “I don’t mind Mulder’s straight face, because when I’m funny that’s the kind of funny I am. I’m not Jim Carrey funny.” He has already checked out the British competition, it would appear. “I was flipping through the channels last night and they had this show Top Of The Pops on. They were funny. Very funny. Very witty.” He is eager now. “Two guys going on about the soccer. Then they got up and sang a song about soccer. About three stripes on the shirt?” Skinner and Baddiel are finally identified. “First I thought it was so corny: these guys were funny and now they’re doing this kiss ass patriotic soccer song. Then I thought it was kind of better than the Bay City Rollers.”

Duchovny is more of a basketball man himself. It’s patently obvious that he was always picked first for sports at school. “Is that a trick question? I was always a very good athlete…” he announces evenly. “As a kid, probably if I’d had one of those horrendous parents who make their child focus on one thing I could have been a professional athlete, but thankfully I didn’t.” He wouldn’t expect that from his own children. (Duchovny married Deep Impact actress Téa Leoni last year. She previously starred as a photo-journalist in the comedy series The Naked Truth. It is rumoured that the pair plan to embark on an update of I Love Lucy together, though they strenuously deny it.) “Sitting here with this privileged perspective I say I’d be a wonderful enlightened parent, but we’ll see what happens. When push comes to shove.” He pauses, once again the convivial professional, relishing the wordplay.

His expectations for himself are measured too. “I’d like to bring the World Cup back to Scotland.” No you wouldn’t. “Yes, I’m ambitious, it just doesn’t take any specific dreams.” He would like a full creative life and a personal life that has decency, he intones rather bleakly. “Jim Carrey wrote himself a $10 million cheque and dated it five years in the future, then it actually happened and it was this big moment. I’ve never had anything like that with money.” Although he is hardly impoverished. “Yeah, well I don’t get paid that much. It was never a goal, a nice side- effect.” Is there any subject that elicits some fire? Perhaps he could explain last autumn’s dispute over Gillian Anderson’s pay, which led to a distinct frosting of relations on set? Duchovny was quoted as saying that his higher salary was related to his seniority in the series.

“The truth is in Hollywood you make as much money as you can get. If she’s making less money than me she should blame her agent, or her lawyer or herself. She shouldn’t blame the fact that she’s a woman, or me,” he gabbles, with more detail than is strictly necessary. “Demi Moore gets paid more than me, and I work just as hard as her. Is it because she’s a woman, is it because she has breasts? I resented the implication that I’m making more money than I deserve. I thought it showed a lack of class.” Duchovny is suddenly warming to his subject, leaning towards me, wrapping and unwrapping his long legs. “The other thing that pisses me off is when women want not just equality but separate but equal. Men and women are two very different things. They should be treated by society with the same laws, get paid the same amount for the same job and all that stuff, but to say we’re not different is just bullshit.” The silkiness is out the door now. The toffee tones are becoming brittle. “Even with the show, people say ‘Why is Scully in danger, why must Mulder save her?’ It’s ridiculous! Somebody has to be in jeopardy and someone has to save them.” He articulates each word peevishly.

“Mulder has lost every fist fight he’s had on the X-Files. Scully has won almost every one.” This is clearly a sore point. “Gillian is 5ft 2in, I’m 6ft, the odds are that I’d probably win more. However, because she’s a woman, Scully can’t lose a fist fight. You become tyrannised by this notion that women must not only be treated equally but they must never fail. It’s crap to me and it makes for bad drama.” But surely those precise pressures have been the subject of a recent backlash in the States. “There will be and there should be because it’s fucking ridiculous. America is being tyrannised by sexual bias suits. You can’t say to somebody: ‘If you don’t fuck me I’m going to fire you’. But an employer saying one time: ‘Gee that girl has nice tits’. I shouldn’t have to lose my business because of that. If you are offended by it, you can say so.

“But people’s lives are being ruined, and I believe that the cause of feminism is actually being set back.” When you start addressing art as if it has to be politically correct,” he argues, you are making a mistake. “Art can’t serve an agenda. By it’s nature it is disruptive, anarchic, mean. The best jokes are at somebody’s expense.” Would he like to be making those jokes? “I don’t know. We all want to be loved…” And he certainly is loved. “It doesn’t impact on me personally, it’s abstract. I’m acceptable and attractive enough. But I have this fantasy that people find me more attractive than I really am because they like what I do.” The silk has returned seamlessly. “Because something comes from inside me. I like to make believe that,” he says, unconvincingly wistful. “It’s the little lie I tell myself.” The liquid eyes are sparkling hard. “Does it convince you?” The X Files movie opens on August 21

Philadelphia Daily News: X-tra! X-tra! Carter explores new season

Jul-19-1998
Philadelphia Daily News
X-tra! X-tra! Carter explores new season

HOLLYWOOD — It is, in every respect, a typical Fox network party.

The music is a little too loud, the drinks are probably flowing a little too freely, and inside the Garden of Eden club off Hollywood Boulevard, Brian Austin Green of “Beverly Hills, 90210” is under siege from TV critics and industry types, while nearby a knot of reporters tightens around his diminutive boss, Aaron Spelling. Even the Internet’s rumpled “citizen reporter,” Matt Drudge, is there, courtesy of a pundit gig he’s landed with Fox News.

It is not exactly the kind of setting where you’d expect to find truth-seekers.

Watch carefully, though, and you’ll see them whispering among themselves, slipping off one or two at a time for an audience with the All-Knowing, All-Powerful Oz, a middle-aged surfer with a wave of prematurely white hair that just grazes his shoulders.

“X-Files” creator Chris Carter is holding court.

If there’s a high point of the Television Critics Association’s summer meetings on the West Coast, for some of us, it’s the chance to interrogate Carter, even if the music is so loud we can barely hear him, even if he’s no more likely to tell us the whole truth about the truth than Mulder is to kiss Scully while she’s conscious, even if we might as well be wandering in the vast whiteness of Antarctica in search of answers.

Fresh off the moderate success of the first “X-Files” movie and looking ahead to a sixth season that the movie plot broke wide open, Carter seemed to be in a particularly good mood that night.

The previous day, he’d gotten a call from the studio, asking him to “start thinking about the next one,” he said.

Carter’s a quick thinker, but even if he started writing as soon as the party ended, it’ll still be the summer of 2000, following the show’s seventh season, before the second movie hits the theaters. So could the movie turn out to be the series finale?

“It could.”

If it happens that way, it’ll take “The X-Files” two seasons past Carter’s original five-year plan, but one part of the plan is still on schedule, he said.

“I said to the people who originally hired me that we wouldn’t see a spaceship until Year 5, and in a way, I kept that promise, even if we saw things that we thought might be spaceships,” he said.

The spaceship, of course, showed up toward the end of this summer’s movie, which might be considered an adjunct to the fifth season. We saw it and Mulder saw it, but did Scully?

“She was hazy,” Carter said.

(I tell you, these things are never simple.)

But having now shown viewers at least part of his hand, Carter’s not planning to cheat.

“We have this mythology now where we have seen a spaceship and we have seen aliens,” he said. “We’ve got to deal with it, and so that will become an ongoing storyline.”

Those fans who didn’t choose to pay for whatever piece of the truth was out there at the movie house won’t be left in the dark, Carter promised.

“They’ll still understand. We’re going to do a recap that will involve the movie.”

Research, he said, has also shown that there were moviegoers who’d not been regular viewers of the show: “I think some of the first-timers didn’t understand it because it’s sophisticated and complex, and then a lot of fans came a second time. I always tell people if they didn’t get the movie, go see it again.”

(Talk about a marketing strategy.)

Having come this far, though, some of us are starting to worry: Carter does know the truth that’s out there, doesn’t he

“Don’t you?” he asked, grinning.

“I have an idea where we’re going,” he added. “I don’t necessarily want to even think clearly about how we’re going to get there.”

Told that some people worry that the closer the show gets to its elusive “truth,” the sillier it begins to seem, Carter just kept grinning.

“The truth is a very slippery little thing,” he said.

Entertainment Weekly: ‘The X-Files’ Movie Decoded

Jul-10-1998
Entertainment Weekly
‘The X-Files’ Movie Decoded
Benjamin Svetkey

[Original article here — Published in issue #440 Jul 10, 1998]

What exactly do black oil and killer bees have to do with the price of corn in Tunisia? We get to the bottom of all “The X-Files” mysteries — sort of.

Let’s get this straight. Aliens from outer space have been hiding on earth for millions of years, hatching a secret scheme to colonize the planet by infecting swarms of killer bees with Gooey black stuff that turns humans into zombies. meanwhile, a shadowy quasi-government group known as the Syndicate has been helping the aliens by bombing buildings in Texas and growing corn in Tunisia. It all makes perfect sense—except for the part about the aliens, the killer bees, the black gooey stuff, and those cornfields in Tunisia.

Maybe we’re thicker than Martin Landau’s hairpiece, but we’re still trying to figure out what the heck happens in the X-Files movie. Of course, some degree of enigmatic uncertainty is to be expected when X marks the spot—it’s one of the things that has made the Fox TV series so irresistibly eerie these past five seasons—but we doubt even Cancer Man could unravel all the twisty plotlines coiled into this film. Ambulance-driving assassins? Flying saucers buried in Antarctica? Glenne Headly playing a bartender? If the truth is out there, it’s sure playing hard to get.

Not that anyone cares. As amusing as it is confusing, the X-Files film has grossed more than $55 million since its June 19 opening, pretty much guaranteeing that at least one more X flick is sure to follow. Before that happens, though, we’d like to take this opportunity to raise a few dozen nitpicky (and not-so-nitpicky) questions. Be warned: If you haven’t seen the film, keep an eye out for the !, which indicates answers giving away key plot points. At least we think they’re key plot points—we’re not entirely sure.

WHAT’S THE BEE STORY? The aliens spend millions of years cooking up a plan to colonize Earth—and this is what they come up with? Getting killer bees to cross-pollinate with corn that’s been infected with a zombifying black-oil virus, then presumably having them buzz around stinging every person on the planet? Well, we checked into it. In reality, bees don’t cross-pollinate with corn. What’s more, according to experts at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, it’s impossible to grow corn in the arid terrain of Tunisia. Even more incredible: Are we really supposed to believe that Mulder and Scully could have been trapped in that huge artificial hive with hundreds of thousands of bees and not get stung?

“I’m telling you, we did it,” insists the man who is Mulder, David Duchovny. “We ran through that scene 15 times and never got stung. What they do is take away the queen bee—put her in a nice trailer and let her kick back—and the worker bees aren’t as aggressive.” His costar Gillian Anderson backs up the story: “The bee wrangler was throwing buckets of bees at us,” she says. “But it wasn’t so bad. The only people who got stung were the people who were most afraid of being stung.” As for bees cross-pollinating with corn, X-Files creator Chris Carter says sure, it could happen. “Remember, it’s mutant corn,” he points out. “It’s been genetically altered to attract bees.” He doesn’t think cornfields in Tunisia are such a stretch, either. “We filmed that scene in Bakersfield, California,” he says. “Believe me, it was plenty hot there.”

WHY BLOW UP A PERFECTLY GOOD BUILDING? Early in the film, the Syndicate plants a bomb in a Texas office building where the bodies of four black-oil victims are being kept. Can’t the Syndies think of a way to destroy these incriminating corpses that wouldn’t wipe out hundreds of bystanders? And why did they bother to phone in a bomb threat if they actually wanted the building to explode?

“If Mulder and Scully hadn’t found the bomb, hundreds of people would have been killed—that’s the whole idea,” explains X scribe Frank Spotnitz, who cowrote and produced the movie with Carter. “Those bodies would have been lost in the group.” Calling in the bomb threat was merely the Syndicate’s “cover story so it would look like a terrorist fringe group did it.”

Duchovny provides another explanation for the eye-grabbing kaboom: “It’s kind of a big cheat to start the movie,” he admits. “It gets your attention at the beginning.” That it does. However, no real buildings were harmed during the making of this motion picture. Instead, X’s F/X experts built a facade in front of a real office building and blew that up. “The real building wasn’t touched at all,” Carter swears.

! WHO CALLED THE KILLER PARAMEDICS? The fake ambulance the Syndicate sends to kidnap Scully—how did that happen? The Syndies couldn’t possibly have known an errant virus-carrying bee was hiding in Scully’s collar waiting to sting her and put her into a coma. Also, is the ambulance driver seriously trying to kill Mulder when he shoots him through his window—or did he deliberately just graze him?

“The ambulance driver wasn’t instructed to kill Mulder—that was his own idea,” thinks Spotnitz. “And Mulder’s phone had been tapped, which is how the Syndicate knew he was calling for an ambulance. We had a scene explaining that, but it got cut. These sorts of questions make me nuts. Frankly, the answers weren’t interesting enough to put in the film.”

Here’s one that’s interesting enough: “Why doesn’t the Syndicate just kill Mulder?” asks Duchovny. “That’s always the question. There’s the suspicion on the show that he’s somehow helpful to them. That’s possible. I think Mulder is the worst FBI agent in the world. He spends millions of dollars investigating these paranormal phenomena and never comes up with any evidence. He’s the Kenneth Starr of the FBI.”

WHERE HAVE ALL THE CUTE ALIENS GONE? The ones we meet in the movie are so vicious they make Sigourney Weaver’s Alien nemesis look like Big Bird. What happened to the silvery big-eyed ETs from the TV show? And what about the others missing from the series? Like Alex Krycek? Or the eyes-sewn-shut zombies from last season? Or the clones of Mulder’s sister? Or Mulder’s sister herself, for that matter?

“There was a scene in the film about Mulder’s sister, about the meaning of her abduction, but we cut it,” reveals Carter. “There was just too much information. You can’t fit everything into one movie.” Still, Spotnitz promises there is a connection between the kill-first-abduct-later aliens on the screen and the big-eyed ones on the show. “But I can’t tell you about it yet,” he says, hinting that the issue will be addressed this fall in the show’s sixth season.

! AT LEAST TELL US WHY THE ALIENS WAITED SO LONG TO ATTACK. Not a chance. “That’s something you’ll learn on the TV show” is all Carter will say. “Keep watching.” Spotnitz won’t talk either, although he will explain why the saucer in Antarctica suddenly blasts off at the end of the movie. “As soon as Mulder injects Scully with the antivirus, you see her nutrient tubes get corrupted and the ship starts shimmering and shaking,” he says. “Clearly the antivirus is a contaminant that sends the ship away.” Clearly.

! WHAT DOES ‘THE X-FILES’ HAVE AGAINST FEMA? This harmless, huggable bureaucracy—the Federal Emergency Management Agency—does nothing but pull kittens out of trees during floods, yet it’s portrayed as a traitorous Syndicate front with powers to suspend the Constitution. “From what I’ve read, FEMA can declare martial law,” insists Carter. “They figure prominently in all the conspiracy literature.”

Morrie Goodman, director of communications for FEMA—which has been so nervous about X-Files-inspired terrorism it ordered security beefed up during the opening—begs to differ. “There’s nothing in the film that has anything to do with reality as it pertains to FEMA,” he says coolly. “These fringe groups believe we have all kinds of powers. All FEMA does is respond to floods and other disasters.” He promises the agency has no current plans to declare martial law and unleash swarms of alien-DNA-infected bees. “Not this week,” he says.

“Maybe we got FEMA mixed up with PETA,” Duchovny suggests. “We’ll have to put Babe the pig in the sequel.”

WHAT’S UP WITH SCULLY’S WARDROBE (I)? Not that we’re complaining, but when did the dowdy agent develop such killer fashion sense? Is it a side effect of alien abduction? “In the beginning of the series, I was into the frumpy FBI agent look, but I got tired of it pretty quickly,” Anderson says. “I’ve been paying more attention to my clothes. And with the movie, we had more money, so we could start doing things with Italian fabrics and stuff.”

Carter, always a stickler for verisimilitude, resisted the makeover at first but ultimately came around. “I met with an actual FBI agent who really was a babe,” he says. “She dressed beautifully. So they’re not all dowdy.”

IS THAT WHO WE THINK IT IS POURING DRINKS? Yep, it’s Glenne Headly (Steppenwolf veteran and star of Mr. Holland’s Opus) doing an uncredited bit part as a bartender. According to her agent, Headly did the scene—a brief but memorable turn in which she cuts Mulder off after he drunkenly rambles on about extraterrestrials and government cover-ups—because she’s a huge fan of the show. According to Duchovny, she was indispensable. “I was worried about that scene,” he says. “It just seemed like a lot of exposition to explain who Mulder was and the history of the show. But she made it funny. Glenne Headly saved my ass in that scene.”

NOT THE STRUGHOLD? Armin Mueller-Stahl plays an evil Syndicate overlord named Strughold. Any relation to the real Strughold, the Nazi scientist who conducted experiments on prisoners during World War II—and whom the U.S. secretly brought over afterward to work on the space program?

“He’s either related to him or a big fan,” guesses Duchovny.

“Very good,” says Carter. “You got it.” He also cops to planting a few other nonfiction names in the film. Martin Landau’s flaky doctor character, Kurtzweil, is inspired by a real doctor who supposedly died under suspicious circumstances (Carter says he read about him in the conspiracy literature; this guy definitely needs to join a new book club). And Stevie, the boy who finds the ancient alien goo at the beginning of the film, is named after one of Carter’s boyhood friends (“We used to dig holes a lot, just like in the movie”).

WILL MULDER AND SCULLY EVER KISS? “I think so,” says Duchovny, who almost smooches with his costar in the movie. “If you tease the audience too long they get frustrated.” Good luck convincing Anderson. “It’s not appropriate,” she says. “The series isn’t about our relationship. If it happens, we should wait until the very last episode.”

! WHAT’S UP WITH SCULLY’S WARDROBE (II)? At the end of the movie, when Mulder finds Scully frozen inside that buried flying saucer in Antarctica, she’s buck naked. Moments later, she’s dashing through the snow in a cozy ski suit. Where’d she get it? And while we’re on the subject, how do the two of them get home after the saucer takes off? The Sno-Cat Mulder arrived in is nowhere in sight.

Duchovny clears things up. “I was wearing three layers of clothes, so I gave her some of mine,” he says. “That naked scene, by the way, wasn’t in the original script. But my wife [that would be Tea Leoni] read it and said, ‘You’re missing a great opportunity—it’s the one time Mulder gets to handle Scully naked.'” Not quite as naked as Mulder might have liked. Recalls Anderson: “He was supposed to pick me up naked and throw me over his shoulder, so that we’d be cheek to cheek. But we didn’t film it that way. If you’re not going to see David’s bare butt, you certainly aren’t going to see mine.”

Oh, and according to Carter, Mulder’s Sno-Cat was “parked behind a snowdrift,” out of camera range, which is how they got home (never mind that it had run out of gas). Duchovny offers another scenario: “It was all downhill, so we just got on our asses in the snow and slid the whole way back to D.C.”

SPEAKING OF DUCHOVNY’S BUTT—WHERE’S THE BEEF? What happened to Mulder’s much-talked-about naked-butt shot? The David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade is demanding to know. “We shot it,” says Duchovny. “It was me in a hospital gown. But the sight of my bare ass 40 feet high on the screen was just too frightening even for X-Files fans.”

“David is being modest,” says Spotnitz. “It wasn’t so bad. We just needed to cut that hospital scene and the butt shot seemed gratuitous.” Carter, though, sounds like he regrets the trim: “I’m looking at the shot right now,” he says. “We blew it up and framed it for posterity. In fact, we’re thinking of making the next movie all about David Duchovny’s butt.”

Fine. Just so long as it doesn’t cross-pollinate with any corn.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Fierman)

CNN: Chris Carter having a splash with ‘X-Files’

Jul-08-1998
CNN
Chris Carter having a splash with ‘X-Files’

LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Chris Carter is riding an amazing wave. The creator of “The X-Files” has watched as his Fox television show has transcended its rocky start and turned into the “Star Trek” of the 1990s, developing a cultish following highlighted by the release of his “The X-Files” movie this summer.

All the while, Carter has been hailed as a creative visionary, and a pretty good surfer, as well. Showbiz Today Correspondent Paul Vercammen caught up with Carter in Los Angeles recently, where the two spoke about wave-riding, writing, and Vin Scully.

Carter, on writing as an athletic endeavour

CHRIS CARTER, CREATOR OF “THE X-FILES”: Writing is a little athletic for me. I get worked up a little bit when I do it. So I guess I’m a little bit like that composer conducting. There are a lot of things that go into what I do, but I think athletics really sort of shaped my ethic.

Gillian Anderson’s character was named after legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. Carter, on naming Gillian Anderson’s character

CARTER: You know, Vin Scully was always the voice of God. When I was growing up my mom would fall asleep with Vin Scully in her ear on the pillow. I can hear him right now. During Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Chicago Cubs, I can hear his voice. and I named (Gillian Anderson’s character) Scully after him. I’ve never been able to tell him that. I’m sure he knows now.

With its mysterious plot lines and non-conclusive endings, Carter had a hard time selling “The X-Files” to Fox Carter, on selling “X-Files” to Fox

CARTER: “The X-Files” was a hard sell because people didn’t know what it was. The network didn’t understand what it was that they were buying and at the beginning, they wanted us to have closure. They wanted us to put the cuffs on the bad guy at the end of each episode.

Carter, on the conspiracy plot line

CARTER: The conspiracy is what originally fueled the show, and was the sort of core idea which drove the series — the conspiracy of the government to keep the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials from the public. And that is the story we’ve gone back to, it was the original story. It has now become the movie and we answer a lot of questions about that. And as any hard core fan knows, there are a lot more to answer.

Carter, on working with Martin Landau and other top-name actors

CARTER: It was a thrill for me to cast these guys. I’m a big fan of all of them. That’s why they’re in the movie. But they are not just marquee names, they are great actors and character actors who have added to “The X-Files” now in an interesting way. I have a secret desire to see them in the series. Next year, in some way. It’s going to be a difficult trick to get them to come and be a part of the series.

If the surf’s up, Carter has a hard time concentrating on work Carter, on the science of ‘The X-Files’

CARTER: I know we get our science right and because Scully’s point of view is a scientific point of view, the science has to be great. We’ve had a big following in the science community, by the way. And even in the movie the science is absolutely accurate. I went over the genetics, I went over the biology with a friend of mine who is a Ph.D. and teaches at UMASS (the University of Massachusetts). So everything in the movie comes from a scientific base. We’ve done that from the very beginning, we’ve had a lot of nitpickers try to pull our science apart, but it’s that hard core science which really is the foundation and the jumping-off point for the rest of the series.

Carter, on his first love: surfing

CARTER: When the surf is really good, it’s hard for me to concentrate on work. So I really have to watch when and where I surf — I won’t get anything done if I get the fever. Then it’s like I come into work and I’m wet and waterlogged and ready for lunch.

Seattle Times: Man behind The X-Files exhibits same stoic calm as his characters

Jul-03-1998
Seattle Times
Man behind The X-Files exhibits same stoic calm as his characters
Keith Simanton

In The X-Files movie, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully get attacked by bees, bad guys and some serious bio-hazards, but their voices rarely rise above the pitch of faraway freeway traffic. They must get it from their boss, creator and principal writer of The X-Files, Chris Carter.

On the phone, Carter sounds as implacable as his stoic main characters. That’s quite a feat, as The X-Files movie was a gamble in many respects, and as dicey a deal as the television show ever was. (It’s made a respectable $55 million to date.)

The film takes off from the fifth season’s finale and incorporates characters and mythology scrupulously developed by the show. The X-Files also aims to be a solo event that doesn’t rely on past knowledge or the total support of the show’s 20 million fans.

Yet Carter is too busy to sit back and count box-office returns. The X-Files series has already finished the third show of its sixth season. Carter spent five years in Vancouver, B.C., where the show’s first five seasons were shot, but complains he never had a weekend to go skiing at Whistler.

Part of his packed schedule, no doubt, is compounded by the show’s move from B.C. to L.A. The move was precipitated by David Duchovny, who stars as Fox Mulder, marrying L.A.-based actress Tea Leoni. But the relocation had been discussed by others long before the Duchovny nuptials.

And where, now, is he going to find locations for the show’s frequently used big, spooky, foggy forests?

Well, we’ve told a lot of forest stories, and now I suspect we’ll begin telling desert stories, he says with a laugh. Then he quickly turns serious. There was a lot of terrain we couldn’t cover in Vancouver. But the show was never really meant to be located there, and, as Duchovny had frequently put it, and Carter agreed, it was a three-week shoot that turned into five years.

His other show, Millennium, will remain in B.C. For The X-Files, however, he says he’ll miss the way Vancouver embraced the show and allowed more license than other productions would enjoy. How people would embrace the movie is still preeminent in his mind, however. The film answered a lot of questions, but not the ones that people most want to know. A few scenes about Mulder’s abducted sister were cut from the movie.

Carter promises that the information is in the novel and will be included in the DVD release of the film (he is nothing if not a shrewd marketer).

He’s also an entertaining writer, balancing a sarcastic sense of humor with a true ability to unnerve and scare. He suffused the show and the film with a symmetry, but he’s a tad unnerved, as he’s not sure people are noticing his efforts. At the beginning of the movie there’s a boy who falls down a hole, at the end there’s a man who falls down a hole and there are other things that aren’t getting much comment, he says. Sometimes his subtleties even escape the actors. When Gillian Anderson was told by Entertainment Weekly that the Blythe Danner character in the film is a representative of what Scully would have become if she hadn’t been assigned to the X-files, Anderson wanted to go back and reread the script.

While there may be a hint of letdown in Carter’s voice that some of his nuances were being missed, but he is still sanguine about the whole thing.

After all, The X-Files had half its roots in the sometimes frightening, sometimes hokey Darren McGavin TV show The Night Stalker, and it has ballooned into a multimillion-dollar industry with obsessed fans and worldwide attention.

Carter is riding high on that crest, and with the The X-Files a sizable hit, it doesn’t look as though he’ll manage time to finally hit those slopes.