Archive for October, 1998

Kevin & Bean: Interview with Chris Carter

Oct-30-1998
Kevin & Bean
Interview with Chris Carter

Transcript from PA X-files site
K/B: Kevin or Bean (can’t tell these guys apart on the show)
LM: Lisa May (traffic girl/girl in the two-guys-and-a-girl formula used for any kind of show these days)
CC: Chris Carter

K: …people who haven’t met him, think a guy who writes all this, just, bizarre weirdness, is… He’s just, like, a — he’s just, like, a… easy-going…

LM: …surfer dude…

B: …surfer dude, yeah.

K: Like, a nice, just a really nice — doesn’t want to upset any-anybody — kind of a guy.

B: Yeah.

K: It doesn’t make sense. [gives off an abrupt puff of amusement]

B: People who are famous in horror are — I mean, you expect when you meet Wes Craven, he’s gonna have fangs.

CC: Right.

B: You know what I mean?

CC: But he doesn’t either.

B: He doesn’t either. He’s a very normal nice guy. Yeah, exactly. It’s a surprise. I guess it all, it just comes from the mind. Did you — Was Halloween fun for you when you were growing up? Was that a holiday you enjoyed?

CC: [says this in the middle of starting to laugh] I, actually, I hate Halloween. [KBL chuckles]

B: No! Really?

LM: [in a mocking tone] …don’t want to dress up…I hate the pumpkins…

CC: It’s-it’s like a-a, uh, day for closet drag queens. [KBL crack up]

B: So the people who are doing Halloween year ’round, those are your folks.

CC: Yea-heh-heh… [KBL still chuckling]

K: [chuckling] …closet drag queens, I like that.

B: So how you’ve been? How was your summer? How’s your fall been?

CC: Uh–

B: Just crazy? Busy?

CC: — It’s been busy…with two shows again now and uh, (takes a breath in) travelling to Vancouver now and again. It’s just been a, uh, whirlwind. (lets the breath out)

K: Oh, you’re gonna forget about all those Vancouver people. [C chuckles]

K: What the hell, you’re back in L.A. now.

CC: I-I– Millenium’s still back there. So I still…

K: Oh, it is…

CC: yeah, yeah

K: I didn’t even realize that. No wonder you go back and forth.

CC: Yeah. And I love it actually.

K: Yeah, well, it’s a great city.

CC: yeah, yeah

K: Been up there a couple different times. It’s a great city.

B: What–

K: You have a lot–you have a lot, uh, to do with Millennium, too, this season again, right?

CC: Yeah, I’m back on the show. I-I left the show last year to do the X-Files movie. But I’m back in full force this year.

B: We love that show so much and you, you probably know this, but every week, we talk about it and every week, we urge people to check it out.

CC: thank god

B: Cause it’s on, I mean, let’s be honest, it’s a tough time slot, as you found out when The X-Files use to be on Fridays.

CC: yeah

B: It’s just a tough time slot.

K: I tape it every single week and watch it over the weekend.

CC: Although, we’ve hung in there. This is year three and, uh, last-last (?) we got a big victory over, uh, some new shows. So we’re still [some more proverbial CC-stutters here] we’re, uh, uh, still, uh, a strong show on the Fox network.

B: Alright let me ask you this because I know they’re a lot of Millennium fans who are wondering. You made quite a few changes in the off season

CC: mm-hmm

B: with, uh, with, uh, Frank Black and his family–situation. What was the, uh, what was the, uh, impetus behind jettisoning the wife?

CC: uh… [CKBL chuckle]

K: Do you consider it jettisoning the wife?

CC: The, uh, the truth is that she was a terrific actress and we just could never write enough story for her, uh, because Frank Black tended to, uh, get all the, uh, all the, uh, drama. So, uh, it was an over-idealized marriage, uh, he loved his wife, there wasn’t, there were no issues and so, uh, it was something that seems like it was time to go.

K: There wasn’t, uh, there wasn’t enough for her to do.

CC: Yeah, exactly.

K: Which is what– When we’ve had Megan Gallagher in here before, I mean, that was her fear that when she first signed up was just cause she knew it wasn’t gonna be a traditional relationship show, she was afraid she would be squeezed out.

CC: And I-I promised her otherwise but [L chuckles]

CC: in the end [starts to laugh] I couldn’t do it. [CKBL laugh]

LM: oh, well. heheh…

B: Let me, uh–

K: You’ve had a lot of these problems lately, Chris.

B: what–

K: Chris has convinced everybody in Hollywood that he’s the King… [CKBL chuckle]

K: …and now he’s got, like, 75 different projects to do… You gotta come through on them — that’s kinda tough.

B: Hey, let me read this, uh, email, because, uh, Chris, uh, wrote in yesterday with this question for you, Chris Carter. “As a loyal Millennium fan, I was glad to see Megan Gallagher’s character eliminated as the character grew tiresome for me. Ask Chris why we didn’t get to see her death though. It left this viewer really cold.” [CKL chuckle]

B: “Is there some way you could do some flashbacks? I understand she may not be under contract anymore, but someone dressed up as her should suffice.”

K: Cause we never actually got to see what happened to her. She just kinda wandered off into the…

CC: This-this guy wanted to *see* her die. [L laughs]

K: Yes, he wanted to see her.

CC: He really didn’t like her character. [KBL laugh]

K: I guess not. But, uh, there’s probably no plans for a flashback or anything of that, uh, sort at all, right?

CC: You never know, I mean, uh, the truth is I’d really like to get Megan back on the show and she is part of the mythology, if you will, of the show so, uh, I think there is reason to bring her back.

B: She should come back as a member of the Millennium group.

K: Yes, exactly. That’s right.

B: Dude, and Frank sees her and says, “What’re you *doing*?”

CC: Can I–

K: “I’m a member of the Millennium group.”

CC: –can I have a pen? [KBL crack up]

B: And then it’s a big end-of-the-season show-down between Frank and her! [pause]

B: You know, Chris can have this written by nine a.m., Lisa? (It’s 8:15) [K cracks up]

LM: I know, he’s that fast. [K still laughing]

B: Alright, now, what– Can you get rid of the, uh, the kid, though? Can you get rid of the annoying little girl? Is that possible? [K chuckles]

LM: She *is* annoying.

CC: I-I– She’s great. I like her.

B: Nooo. Nooo.

LM: in an annoying way

K: Bean doesn’t like kids at all. So you have to know that… [C chuckles]

B: She’s really annoying, Chris. [K chuckles]

B: What is she doing for ya? Does she just give– Is she supposed to give Frank some humanity? Is that why…?

CC: E-exactly. And it-it’s what grounds him. And it’s his reason for, you know, for doing what he does.

B: I wanna see her hit by lightning or something cool. [KLC chuckle]

B: Alright, now, uh, so now tell us about, uh, now on Millennium, Frank has kind of-kinda an unofficial partner…

CC: Right, right.

K: Let’s take a phone call about that real quick.

B: Oh, we have someone…

K: Right, we have Keith. Hello Keith.

Keith: Hi, I have a question about, um, someone who I really liked, was C.C.H. Pounder

CC: yeah

Keith: I know you made her, uh, a bad, uh, guy, as it were a bad woman,

CC: uh-huh

Keith: but I would’ve loved to see her becoming the new partner or something.

CC: She-she’s coming back this year.

Keith: Oh great.

CC: Yeah. So, uh, stay tuned.

B: Alright, what is the, uh, so, why does Frank now have, a, kind of a partner? Why did you decide to do that? Cause he’s kind of famous as a, as a loner.

CC: Right. Well, I-I didn’t want to do another cop show with Millennium so I wanted to do something different and I-I went outside of the-the typical t.v. franchise thing with the show and, uh, what I found was that, uh, moving to season three, we needed that franchise again and so we brought Frank back to the FBI again and gave him a partner, a woman, we didn’t want to do the Mulder-and-Scully relationship, um, so we gave-made it more of a teacher-student relationship and I think it’s worked out really nice. She’s a terrific actress and she’s really fun to write.

B: She is good.

K: yeah

B: She’s real good. And tonight you have KISS on the show?!

CC: Yeah.

B: Now you don’t picture a lot of stunt casting on a show like Millennium. [KL chuckle]

B: I was really surprised–

K: Would you consider this stunt casting?

B: When I saw this in the promos, I thought, well, it’s Halloween weekend. It kinda makes, uh, sense. We talked to Gene and Peter from-from KISS, earlier and they were telling us from their perspective. Now tell me where the idea came from.

CC: Um, Fox told me they were doing some promotional stuff with KISS and would we consider putting them on the show? And my first response was “You-you must be kidding.” [KB chuckle]

CC: Then we sort of tossed it around and thought why don’t we do a sort of spoof, a Halloween spoof, for, uh, Millennium, for, you know, Halloween, and, uh, uh, and so that sort of, uh, gave us an idea to use KISS. And, uh, they need the money. [KBL crack up]

K: Oh yeah, KISS really needs the money, alright. Did they need to do any sort of acting? Or are they pretty much playing themselves?

CC: They have cameo roles and you might not recognize them out of make-up, uh, we certainly didn’t. [K chuckles]

B: They are really *the* most unattractive band–of all time.

K: They’re the four ugliest guys in America.

B: I mean they really are.

CC: They’re hanging in there.

K: But they were good on the show then?

CC: yeah

B: They’re alive if that’s what you mean by ‘hanging in there.’ They are alive…barely. [K laughing]

K: Uh, so they’re, uh, so they’re playing themselves. And they– Did they perform on the show?

CC: They perform on the show too.

K: Wow, that’s wild.

CC: yeah

B: Now what if Fox had come to you and said, you know, “Hey, we’re doing a big Celine Dion pay-per-view.” [KL chuckle]

B: “Can you work” there? Would you have done that? I mean, are you a whore now? You sell yourself out? What’s the deal here? [CKL crack up]

B: Whatever Fox says, you know, you do?

CC: (chuckling) I-I actually like Celine Dion. (chuckling)

K: Oh!

B: Chris!

K: for god’s sake!

B: Dude, you could kill her on the show though. That’d be cool. [C still chuckling]

B: W’ that be neat?

LM: Drown her.

K: Come on, kill Celine. [L cracks up]

B: You’ve got the power to do that, Chris… [C still making little chuckles in the background]

B: Alright, we need to take a quick break. Uh, so, Millennium, nine o’clock tonight with the big Halloween spectacular, uh, with KISS on the show. We want to take a break. We want to find out some more about what’s coming up with The X-Files this season. And uh–

K: If it’s ever gonna start. [CC chuckles anew]

B: As the, officially, the last show *ever* to premiere, with the new season. The first show is the Christmas episode, right? [K chuckles]

B: …the way it’s going? And we’ll take some phone calls if you want to speak to Chris Carter.

(BREAK)

K: Chris Carter is in the studios. Millennium tonight, nine o’clock. Uh, X-Files is returning on the…eighth? Is that right? The eighth of November?

CC: Yes.

K: Coming up a week from–a week from Sunday, it’ll be coming up. Uh, let me ask you a couple X-Files questions and then we’re gonna take, uh, take some calls for you, Chris. First of all, we had an interesting conversation on the air last week when FX re-aired the incest episode.

B: Oh man, that was ‘f’-ed up.

K: Which is one of the all time great hours in the history of television. [KBL chuckle]

B: You wrote that?

CC: No.

B: Oh, thank god.

K: Uh, here’s the question, is it true or is it just hype: Does that one not rerun on Fox?

CC: Yeah, the, uh, network will not, uh, will not rerun the show.

B: That’s the one where the mom is kept

LM: …under the floorboards…

B: under the floorboards.

CC: It’s funny cause it’s one of the all-time favorite episodes for, uh, for fans.

LM: oh yeah

CC: And yet there were enough complaints that…

B: And rightfully so. That was ‘f’-ed up. [KB chuckle]

K: When-when the thing– I-I wanna hear cause you were there at the time, when the episode was turned into Fox

CC: yeah

K: was there a phone call made to you from some big-wig at the network who said “Listen, you know, Chris, we love you, man, but we can’t–with the woman–and the–under the floorboard–and the kid–” Did they make a call to you and say “Don’t make us air this.”?

CC: There was a lot of nervousness before it ever aired, um, uh, just even in script form. Uh, Standards and Practices had a little, uh, problem with the, uh, scene where the son gets into the trunk with his mother–

K: yeah [KBL laugh]

B: But isn’t incest one of the great American values though?

CC: But it leaves a lot to the imagination and, uh, actually, people thought it was a very violent episode but if you look at it carefully, um, the violence is all imagined

B: yes

CC: it-it’s actually edited in such a way as to, uh, uh, you know, make the violence, uh, implied.

B: Mm-hmm. And, uh, did they ever, did they run it again at all? Or did they just run it one time on the Fox network?

CC: It aired one time and, uh…

B: It didn’t even come back for repeats.

CC: nope [K chuckles]

B: Wow, but, but FX, are they not getting the same complaints when they air it?

CC: Uh, they, they may be. Actually they asked us to edit out, uh, for network run again, scenes that we decided we didn’t want to edit out, so I-I don’t know what’s been edited out of the FX version, but, uh, all those FX episodes have at least a minute edited out of them. so.

B: oh I see

K: oh they do

B: We, uh– I hope you won’t be offended by this, but I taped it when it was on last week and now I’m selling copies to my friends for ten bucks a pop. [KL chuckle]

B: Uh, and this was weird. I had never seen the black-and-white episode

CC: yeah

B: that aired this past week, which was your Halloween show.

CC: yeah, yeah

B: That was *very* funny

CC: thank you

B: very funny. And Jerry Springer was on the show.

CC: Jerry Springer

B: The last person you’d except to show up on an X-Files but he was very funny on that thing. That was cool. It was a good episode.

CC: thank you

K: Alright, let’s take a few phone calls. Ted?

Ted: Good morning.

K: Say hi to Chris.

CC: Hello.

Ted: How are you?

CC: good

Ted: Good. Um, I was wondering about the X-Files expo. Are you gonna make it more intimate? It just seemed kind of…not as intimate as the previous ones.

B: Are you having trouble stalking Gillian? [KL chuckle]

B: What’s the problem here?

Ted: No, actually, thanks to KROQ, I got to meet her at the, uh, X-Files post party. So thank you.

K: okay

B: I don’t know but, Chris, you don’t have much to do with the expos, do you?

CC: Um, we do but, uh, I think right now they’re on hold, uh, until we figure out how to do them a little bit better.

B: Because they were getting a little too big?

CC: It-it-it’s just, uh, uh– We-we went around the country, uh, last year, and, uh, there were places where the expos really were, uh, big turn-outs for the expos and some places, they weren’t so we have to figure out where to do them again.

K: Oh I see. Okay. Hey thanks for the call. By the way, we talked to Gillian a, uh, couple of weeks ago. She seems real happy about being back here in Los Angeles.

B: yeah

K: She sounds like she was just having the time of her life.

CC: Both Dave and Gillian, I think, are very happy to be close to home.

B: How has it been for you, uh, envisioning the show, here in Southern California.

CC: It was a lot of work for me because we came back here and I had to hire a whole new crew and figure out how to do the show in Los Angeles. I’m still figuring it out and we’re in episode–doing episode nine.

K: yeah

CC: So, uh–

K: Where the aliens come on to the beach surfing? [KB laugh]

CC: Yeah, exactly. [C chuckles]

K: I mean, that’s kinda tough, isn’t it?

B: You’re just, uh, you’re just, uh, you just have to look at everything a little bit differently. I mean, that’s what Gillian said

CC: yeah

B: is you’re just doing a lot of deserts

CC: yeah

B: and stuff like that.

CC: David was funny. We were out in Lancaster for, I don’t know, a week straight or something. He said, “When’s the show coming back to Los Angeles?” [KB chuckle]

K: Alright, let’s, uh, say good morning to Ron. Hello Ron.

Ron: Good morning.

K: You have a question for Chris?

Ron: Yes, Chris, I, uh, was just wondering now that Frank is involved with the, uh, FBI,

CC: mm-hmm

Ron: is there a possibility of a Millennium/X-Files crossover?

CC: Yeah, this is the year to do, if we do it.

Ron: Yeah, oh great.

K: Wow, that was kind of a non-answer answer. [C chuckles]

B: Wouldn’t that be funny though if Frank’s walking down the hall of the FBI and, uh, Scully and Mulder just walk right past him and they don’t say anything, they just see him…

K: bump into him

CC: That would be the [chuckles] easiest crossover.

B: yeah, no kidding

K: Like, these guys, like, your staff has any more time to do a crossover, right?

CC: yeah, yeah. Well now, of course, you’d have to either get the Millennium people down to Los Angeles or the, uh, David and Gillian back up to Vancouver.

K: Now you said this year would be the year, if you were going to do it. Are you thinking of doing it?

CC: Yeah, actually, I thought about it but, um, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do it, so it doesn’t just seem like some, sleazy, you know, ratings–

Ron: Hey Chris–

CC: yeah?

Ron: How ’bout, you know, um, uh, Scully and Frank kind of getting a thing on for an episode or two? [B chuckles]

K: Yeah, that’s not a sleazy, uh, ratings thing.

B: No, no, no, that, uh, that Lance Henriksen, man, he’s, uh, he’s a sexy guy. [CKB laughs]

K: I could certainly see that one working out. We had the director of your movie, Rob Bowman, in a little while ago and he was telling us that there’s additional footage on the home video too.

CC: yeah

K: What, uh, what kind of stuff did you leave in that was not on the, uh–

CC: There was some stuff to do with, uh, Mulder’s sister that was explained, and, uh, we just thought it was too much information for the, uh, for the movie, which was, uh, pretty complex. So we decided to take it out and deal with it in season six of the show, but, uh, we put it back in for the widescreen movie version.

B: So for folks who’re watching on the t.v. show, they’re not gonna get that, they’re not gonna know what that information is. You’ve gotta see the movie on home video, right?

CC: Yeah, you can get it in the movie or, you know, season six will explain a lot that, uh, was set up in the movie.

B: Yeah, if season six ever starts, dude. [CKB crack up]

B: Come on, get with the program.

K: Chris Carter’s in the studio. Can you stay for one more?

CC: Yeah, yeah.

K: Do you mind? We’ll take some more phone calls.

B: We have our big interview with the Los Angeles Kings coming up next. That’s my only fear with Chris.

K: We can move that.

B: Okay, I didn’t know that.

K: Yeah, we can move that. Trust me. Everything can be worked out.

CC: Trust no one. [KB crack up]

(BREAK)

B: Hey, speaking of Billy Corgan, by the way, Chris, you know him, right?

CC: Yeah.

B: Hasn’t he been up to the set of The X-Files in Vancouver?

CC: He spent some time on the set but I got to see, uh, one of his shows up there and go back and meet him and he was cool.

B: He’s a hell of a guy. I can’t remember if it’s–if he told us this story or Duchovny told us this story, but somehow somebody got somebody’s watch. Do you know anything about that?

CC: Yeah. He got–[chuckles]

B: He got Dave’s watch.

CC: I-I was informed that an X-Files watch had disappeared, uh–somehow, someone had stolen [chuckles] it and then I later learned that David had actually just given it to Billy.

K: Given it to Billy. [B chuckles]

K: Well, we can, you know, we can ruffle him up and get it back for ya if you want–we’re gonna talk to him in, like, thirty minutes here or so. Alright, Chris Carter is in the studio, with two great shows, uh, on the Fox network. Millennium, tonight, nine o’clock. It’s the special Halloween episode. And then The X-Files premieres a week from Sunday. By the way, before we go to some more phone calls here, what did I read in the paper about you, uh, signing, uh, a big contract for some–to write some books.

CC: Yeah, it’s a little premature. It’s not finished.

B: It’s not gonna happen.

CC: yeah, yeah–well, it may happen.

K: Have you written books before?

CC: Uh, not books. [pause]

B: But there’s *nothing* he can’t do. [K chuckle]

K: What kinds of stuff are you interested in writing?

CC: It-it actually has to do with, a little, with the supernatural but they’re period pieces–something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And just an opportunity arose.

B: Could there–could this be the, uh, could this be, the, the, genesis of some new series down the road, maybe? Or–

CC: Quite possibly.

K: Who knows.

B: Wow.

K: Man, you’re just, uh, you’re a tumultuous (?) machine.

B: Well, with all your spare time, you think you gotta write books, right? You gonna do a Broadway play? [CKL chuckle]

B: A one-man Broadway play?

K: Why not. Alright, let’s take a few more calls. Cathy in Pico Rivera. Hello.

Cathy: Hi. Hi Chris.

CC: Hi.

Cathy: I wanted to know how can you, um, cast your extras. It would be kind of fun to be a creepy person on one of your shows.

K: Now that you’re down here.

B: Well, they let Tad audition for the show before. (Tad is an intern on the show who tried out for the part of the pizza boy in Bad Blood.) So there’s not much of a process. [K chuckles]

Cathy: Yeah, that’s scary.

CC: I think you have to be a member of the, uh, Extras Guild, which is a part of SAG now, so you actually have to go through a process to, uh, be, um, considered.

B: Is that true? Even to be on just one time?

CC: Uh, no, you could, you, I mean… if-if you know me [chuckles] you could be on– [CKBL laugh]

B: Alright, then let’s dust Cathy and let’s hit up Chris again. And how many times have we said this to him? Kill us on The X-Files.

LM: Yes, kill them.

B: Chris, you’re here in L.A. now.

K: You got some kind of scene where we flash onto the screen for maybe two seconds, and then a train, and then just, like, a train hits us. [C chuckles]

K: Come on.

CC: It’s a deal.

K: We’re not asking for that much.

LM: Whoa, whoa. Did you hear? It’s a deal.

K: Are you gonna do it though?

B: Yeah, but he’s said that five times last time.

LM: Oh he did?

K: And he’s already, he’s already in episode nine for this season. You’re telling me you haven’t killed *anybody* in the first eight episodes?

CC: We have, uh, a year and a half to go.

B: alright. [K chuckles]

K: Chris… [L groans]

K: Don’t be stretching it out ’til the last episode. We’ll have to hunt you down.

B: Chris–

CC: Let me know if your ratings are descending. [B chuckles]

K: Dude, we want you to put us on the show as bodies, as corpses. [C chuckles]

K: seriously [C chuckles]

K: we’re not joking here, pal

CC: Don’t-don’t you want do something else besides be corpses?

K: No, we just–

LM: –wouldn’t look good as anything else. [C chuckles]

B: Well, we want the audience to see the process of going from human beings to corpses.

K: We wanna die.

B: I mean there are times when people, uh, uh–very brief roles where people get killed on the show.

CC: That’s true.

K: That’s all we’re asking. I mean, we can be bad guys who get shot or something. We don’t care how we die. We leave that up to you. We just wanna die.

CC: Okay.

K: Alright.

B: It can be like an Airplane, uh, scene, like the movie Airplane, where Dave and Gillian drive up in a car, and they just hit us for no reason. [CL chuckle]

B: Alright, let’s say good morning to JoAnna. Hello.

JoAnna: Hello my funk soul brothers. [B chuckles]

K: Yes, JoAnna, you’re on with Chris Carter.

B: I think Chris Carter would, uh, would be, uh, a funk soul brother too.

K: I think so.

B: If I’m not mistaken.

K: Alright, go ahead JoAnna.

JoAnna: Uh, I had a question about the movie.

CC: mm-hmm…

JoAnna: Where is that in the planning stages right now? Is it being shot? Is it still being written?

CC: You mean the next movie?

JoAnna: Yeah.

K: Oh, your staff is gonna commit suicide if you get them on another movie right away.

CC: Yeah, we’re think–it’s in the thinking stages right now. Uh, there was some talk about trying to do it, uh, this coming summer so it would come up at the end of the X-Files series, which would be after season seven but, uh, that’s not gonna happen.

JoAnna: What ever happened to the last movie that came out? The rumors were it was supposed to pick up where the season finale ended and that didn’t happen.

CC: It-it kind of did. Um, the X-Files had been closed and, uh, Mulder and Scully began anew in the movie. So that was really where one picked, uh–left off and one picked up. Um, but now when you watch the season opener this year–November eighth–um, Sunday night [KBL chuckle]

CC: uh, you will see that, uh [ching sound] [C chuckles]

CC: it emphasizes both the season finale and the movie, and, uh, we pick up from there.

K: Was the plan when the movie came out–and was obviously very successful–is that when you started thinking “hey we should do some more of these, you know, every couple of years maybe. I mean, even perhaps like they did with the Star Trek movie where the show is not on anymore but the movie’s still come out.

CC: It’s kind of the idea. I think it’s a chance for us to get together and do some, something every year or two. Uh, and, um, the t.v. series will become the movie series, I hope.

B: How do, uh, how do your actors feel about that in terms of the long-range plans?

CC: I think they’re cool with it. Uh, I think everybody’s going to be, after season seven, happy to, uh, you know, call it quits for a time. But, uh, I don’t know, we have fun working together I think, so, um, I look forward to it.

K: It’d be cool to have a new X-Files movie every year or two.

B: In your mind–so you have two seasons left, right–in your mind, do you already, kind of know, where it’s all, uh, going? Are you already now starting to put the pieces in play?

CC: For this year, I do. Uh, next year is a big year, of course, because, uh, we’re headed toward, you know, the, uh, the end

K: millennium

CC: the finale and so–yeah, the millennium, exactly–so there’re lots of questions to answer.

B: Do you know what the ultimate end is going to be? You just don’t know how to get there?

CC: I-I’ve had some ideas and they’ve changed over time but, but uh, I have a rough idea. I’m not telling anyone of course.

LM: Of course. [K chuckles]

B: I think that’s wise. [CKBL chuckle]

B: I can’t disagree with that as a strategy really.

K: Where you want to go to here?

B: Uh, let me see–blah…blah–I don’t know what Lisa’s calling about. Let’s try Lisa.

K: Lisa? Hello?

Lisa: Hello?

K: Hi. Lisa, are you west L.A.?

Lisa: Uh, yeah.

K: Go ahead. You’re on with Chris Carter.

Lisa: Oh, hi, um, actually, I work for Scientific American magazine…

CC: oh yeah?

Lisa: and we had read somewhere that you sometimes use the magazine as a background for some of your storylines.

CC: uh-huh

Lisa: Is that true or–?

B: Are you calling to sue? [CKBL chuckle]

Lisa: Oh god, no. [laughs] No, no, I’m just a listener of the show and I’m on my way to work.

CC: Actually the show has, uh–If it weren’t for, uh, Scully’s good science, uh, the show wouldn’t be, uh, would have no counterpoint to Mulder’s weird science. So we use, uh, magazines like Scientific American, journals and all sorts of really good, uh, scientific foundation to, uh, to do our stories.

Lisa: That’s great.

B: That woman that was profiled in People magazine as being kind of the science–

CC: yeah

B: We had her on the show.

CC: Dr. Ann Simon?

B: Yeah, yeah. She was terrific.

CC: She’s great.

K: She is a party waiting to happen. She, uh, she says she just does it for the love of science. I mean, she’s not interested in showbiz really and she didn’t really know much about the show. She just said “hey I’m just happy to be able to spread good information.”

CC: Yeah, she’s been great. Uh, anything to do with genes or viruses.

B: Yeah, yeah.

CC: she’s an expert.

B: She seems like a nice lady too.

CC: very nice

B: Alright, do we have one more, our big closer?

K: We’ll try Jeff.

B: alright

K: See what he’s got. Jeff in Tustin.

Jeff: Hey, how you guys doing.

K: Good, thank you.

Jeff: Chris, just want you to know that I’m a huge fan, right off the bat, of X-Files.

CC: thank you very much

Jeff: Yeah, and the Peacock episode was awesome, unbelievable. But, um, one of my favorite things about The X-Files is the use of a lot of your hidden meanings and stuff. How you use a lot of your relatives and influences’ names and characters and birthday numbers and file numbers and just any type of number, anything that comes up, sometimes have meaning behind it.

CC: uh-huh

Jeff: And I was just wondering if you could give examples of upcoming or unknown ones in future episodes or maybe where we could find out more about that.

B: He wants to know if there’s a key to crack the code of what everything means. [chuckles]

B: The internet is your friend, Jeff, I’m telling you.

Jeff: –behind it and a lot of information that you put out there.

K: Wow, this guy frightens me.

B: Yeah, it’s very scary.

K: I don’t care where you come up with your numbers. [L chuckles]

B: I’m a big fan of the show. I didn’t know all that stuff.

CC: Neither did I. [KBL crack up]

K: Do you do that? Do you put relatives’ names–

CC: Uh, yeah, there’s lots–there’s relatives’ names. I’ve got, uh, dead girlfriends, uh, strewn across the, uh, five years of the show. [CKBL chuckle]

K: Is that right?

B: Wow, how many dead girlfriends do you have, Chris? That kind of concerns me. [K chuckles]

CC: Um, I got a letter from, uh, an old friend high school who thanked me for being a dead person on The X-Files. [L chuckles]

K: Oh very nice.

B: Hey, uh, wouldn’t it be great to see Kevin and Bean get killed on The X-Files? [chuckles]

B: Alright, here’s one more plot idea, Chris. And I know you get tired of this because everywhere you go, people, I’m sure, everywhere you go, people go “dude, I got this great idea for the show.”

K: But we really do.

B: This is, no, seriously, I know this sounds fantastic, unbelievable, it could never happen, but I think you could pull this off on X-Files. You got a guy who’s running for sheriff, okay, but here’s the thing: he’s dead but he still wins. (This is a real news story in California right now.)

CC: That story is…too weird for me. [CKBL chuckle]

K: Isn’t it though?

LM: It could never happen.

CC: That headline this morning was unbelievable.

B: Here’s the headline in today’s Los Angeles Times. Tell me if you’ve ever seen anything stranger in a newspaper. “Sheriff Block Dies, His Campaign Still On, Backers Say.”

K: Everybody wants to vote him, still, sheriff.

B: Seriously, that’s the weirdest thing–it is stranger than fiction. [chuckles]

K: Alright folks, let’s say goodbye to our friend, Chris Carter. Millennium, tonight, nine o’clock on Fox, the big Halloween show. That is a terrific program. Lance Henriksen is one of the finest actors on t.v. It really is a great show. We’re so proud of that.

CC: Thank you very much. Thank you.

K: And we urge everyone to watch that. Then on The X-Files, premieres, like, in eight weeks or so.

B: I think it’s Valentine’s Day. [L chuckles]

K: That’s right. Valentine’s Day is gonna be the first one of the season.

B: No, actually, it’s gonna be a week from Sunday. It’s finally here–a week from Sunday.

CC: That’s right.

B: We can’t wait. Chris, say hi to the cast for us–

CC: Uh, David and Gillian and Lance and Claya–and–

B: everybody, everybody you know

CC: I want to say hi to my wife too cause I know she’s listening.

B: Okay, you can call her on the phone too, you know. [CKBL crack up]

B: We’re trying to do a radio show here, Chris. You can take care of your personal business– No, I meant, *when you see them,* when you see them: Hey, Kevin and Bean say hi.

K: We can say “Hi Dave” now, ourselves.

CC: I gotcha. [CKBL chuckle]

K: Chris Carter, everybody.

CC: Thank you.

The X-Files Magazine: L.A. Story

Oct-13-1998
The X-Files Magazine [US, #7, Fall 1998]: L.A. Story
The X-Files embraces its new home–sunny California
Gina McIntyre

While driving down busy Southern California Streets, you might notice brightly colored sings sporting random nonsensical words affixed to the odd telephone poll. The markers are written in a secret code that only those well-versed in Industry Rhetoric can decipher-weird alien sounding abbreviations for film or television location shoots that transform neighborhood streets and store fronts into something more or less glamorous, depending on the day. Occasionally, between curses and head-shaking, grid locked drivers will glance across the street at the cardboard herald. But more often, the signs, gateways to what some media buffs would consider nirvana, or else a really great story to post on the internet, remain on the periphery. They’re only another part of the West Coast landscape.

So it happens that these irritated motorists, trapped in their sport utility vehicles, pass right by any number of the sites The X-Files is employing for its sixth season episodes. Little do they know that the new production team assembled to take the weighty reins , once handled so competently by the Vancouver crew, labors nearby to craft their own take on the moody, compelling series. Or that two of televisions brightest stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson , are only minutes away, preparing to bust conspiracies and capture monsters. Then again, it might not matter. After living in a town where camera crews are a regular feature of the landscape, long-time Angelinos might not even bat an eyelash if they encountered a UFO.

Those willing to follow the paper trail, however, would find so such apathy awaiting them on the set of the show. An energy rises through the air, a culmination of the frenzied buzz of technical personnel shuttling back and forth, determining how to capture just the right lighting effect or the proper sound quality. Watching the members of the dedicated (and terribly friendly) crew give their all scene after scene, you might not realize that anything has changed since filming of Season Five wrapped in British Colombia last May.

Until you walk outside. Just down the street from The X-Files’ new production facilities, nestled deep inside the winding labyrinth of identical white trailers that comprise the 20th Century Fox lot, are luxury hotels, posh restaurants and even Rodeo Drive itself, quite a departure from the suburban strip mall that abutted that series’ studio home in Vancouver. As far as the eye can see, warm unfiltered rays of sunlight bathe the mid-August landscape. A gentle breeze blows in from the Pacific Ocean; it is a comfortable 80 degrees. And of course, there’s a lot of traffic.

Yes, things are different in the world of The X-Files, but series creator Chris Carter isn’t one to let things like relocating the show to another country, hiring an almost entirely new staff and encountering a little sunshine stand in the way of his vision. In fact, the sweeping changes only served to stimulate Carter’s imagination, judging from the first few episodes of the highly anticipated Season Six

So far, he has crafted a season premiere, aptly titled “The Beginning,” that picks up where both last season and the film left off, promising a host of professional and personal changes for Mulder and Scully and introducing at least one new recurring character, Assistant Director, Alvin Kersh, played by James Pickens Jr., to the show’s roster. Cater also handily managed to transport all the series’ key players back in time 60 years for an epic, “alternative reality” episode, which he wrote and directed.

Filmed aboard the historic ocean liner Queen Mary, anchored outside of Long Beach, Calif., the show features hundreds of extras, dozens of Nazis and is staged so that events seem to take place in real time, similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Rope.

Such a full plate might make the new crew wonder what they had gotten themselves in for. Obviously, The X-Files expects-and receives-miracles from its production team, by the beginning of Season Six is formidable even by the show’s own high standards. When asked about the workload, though, none of the behind-the-scenes players seem surprised. Those kind of never ending challenges, they say, attracted them to the series.

“The X-Files gives you the opportunity to try different things. Every show’s different. Every show’s different looking,” says director of photography Bill Roe. “Chris Carter loves to take it to the limit.”

That’s what we know how to do,” offers construction coordinator Duke Tomasick, whose team had only five weeks to reconstruct the standing sets for the show (including Skinner’s office and Mulder and Scully’s apartments) and build at least one elaborate set-the interior of a power plant-for the season premiere. “We’re used to doing that kind of stuff. Hopefully, we get a lot more time to do it in. You know, the more time you have, the better the quality, and you don’t wear the guys out as much. These guys are working seven days a week, Saturday, Sunday, just to get everything done in time. It’s a little exhausting, but everything’s coming together.”

Things have been just as hectic for set decorator Tim Stepeck, who says The X-Files is just about the only show he watched faithfully before landing his new job. So far, working on the series has been just as rewarding as tuning in every Sunday. “You never really know where it’s going to go,” Stepeck says, “It’s not like you’re going back to standing sets of anything like that. We’re always on the road. [Every episode is set] in a new state, so we’re constantly researching out each place we’re going to be in. This show, the pace never slows down. It’s like shooting a movie in a week. The pace doesn’t bother him; in fact, he says it’s rewarding to accomplish so much in such a short time frame. “It’s nice to work on [a series] you really enjoy watching,” he says. “That’s kind of hot.”

Prop master Tom Day echoes Stepeck’s sentiments. “What I was looking forward to the most was the difference in the shows,” he explains. “It can go from anything with period stuff to way-out there futuristic. The storylines always change. They aren’t always difficult. Even the continuing ones, they go somewhere. Then there’s the stand alone ones. They can really take you in a different direction.”

It didn’t take long for an item to surface that made Day scratch his head. Even before he finished the first script he was almost stumped. “One of the very first props in the very first episode this season was something that I read on the page and said to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, where am I going to come up with that?’ It was a special piece of forensic equipment that is only in forensic labs,” he says. “I thought, ‘I’m going to have to go home and take those little sugar cubes that kids make their little projects out of and build one of these things.”

Never losing his cool, Day demonstrated the resourcefulness necessary to survive the world of The X-Files. “I was able to contact the company that manufactures this thing in England. We wound up having a representative fly into Los Angeles with this machine and set it up for us.”

The business as usual attitude isn’t confined to the crew, either. Chris Owens, whose Agent Jeffrey Spender is treated to a big promotion in the season premiere, admits e is surprised every time he reads a new script: By now, he has learned to be ready for anything. I never know where it’s going to go,” Owens says. “It’s almost like watching the show from week to week. You really don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Case in point: Owens never thought he’d be traveling to historic locations, such as the Queen Mary, to film an episode, the third of Season Six. “It’s great shooting on the Queen Mary and being able to walk around the boat,” Owens says. “I’ve never been on anything like it. Walking around the state rooms you get the complete feel of the era. Then you get into the costume and before you know it, it’s all working.”

Which is exactly how things are supposed to happen, according to co-executive producer Michael Watkins. Another recent addition to The X-Files team, Watkins, in a matter of weeks, has managed to attain the quiet dedication the rest of his production team possesses. Like his co-workers, he signed up for duty well aware of what was required. If that means making sure cast and crew are shuttled from the Fox lot to location shoots–which can sometimes be two hours outside of Los Angeles–or that equipment crises are averted, or that the series continues to accomplish what no other television show has yet done, all the better. The challenges just make braving the traffic of his daily commute to the office (or to some secretive location) worthwhile.

“My goal is not to give up, to maintain the good fight, “Watkins explains. “It’s a huge show and you expect nothing less. We have to be clever and very finessed and efficient in how we do everything. [My job] is to make sure we get on the air for the fans, and that’s by God, what we’re going to do.”

The X-Files Magazine: World War X

Oct-13-1998
The X-Files Magazine [US, #7, Fall 1998]
World War X
Gina McIntyre

No one could have predicted that Spender, or the Cigarette-Smoking Man or even Skinner would don Nazi uniforms during Season Six, yet, that’s exactly what happened. Chris Carter’s imaginative narrative for his groundbreaking “real time” episode sends Mulder to the Bermuda Triangle where he boards a ship missing since 1939. On board, he encounters all the show’s characters — only they are not themselves but strangers from another era.

The beautifully restored Queen Mary, which is also an operating hotel, provided the ideal location for the historic episode, explains location manager Ed Lippman. “Chris Carter knew he needed an old ship and asked us what we knew of up front. We said the ‘Queen Mary,'” he says. “[Carter] actually came down and spent a long time walking the ship before he even wrote this episode, so he specifically wrote it to the location. Quite frankly, with this kind of location there’s nothing else in town that could have matched it. There’s only a few places in the country you could have pulled this off.”

Despite the authenticity of the ship, the production team still had their work cut out for them. All of the ship’s modern aspects, everything from painting to doorknobs, had to be replaced to fit with the period setting of the episode. Extensive exterior sequences required the crew to shoot the ocean vistas with no signs of civilization. Since views from the Queen Mary include the skyline of Long Beach, some special effects magic was required.

“We’re hanging a 30-by-80-foot green screen 20 feet out that will block out the city of Long Beach, so that when we pull [Mulder] up over the edge, we’ll have the option of seeing straight out with the camera and matting in our storm effect and not having to deal with the city of Long Beach,” Lippman says. “With a little luck in post-production, people will go, ‘Where in the hell did they do that?'”

The interior shots were equally complicated: The Queen Mary’s confined hallways and low-ceiling rooms needed to hold a larger-than-usual cast, which included hundreds of extras recruited to appear as the participants in an elaborate ballroom brawl. Extras casting directors Bill Dance and Terrence Harris hand-picked all of the people for the scene.

“We sculpt [the actors] together in terms of, “What do you think of this person? Do they have the right hair? Does this person look Nazi?” Dance explains. “The hair cannot be streaked or anything like that. It has to be either to the mid-neck for the ladies or long so we can make it look period. [When casting] the dancers, we had people come in [and asked them], ‘Can you do the Lindy Hop or the swing?’ Not professional dancers where it looks too showy, but people that can do it very naturally, yet have the period look, the pale complexions.”

It was up to costume designer Christine Peters to find all the period garb for the dancers, as well as uniforms for the ship’s crew and the Nazis who storm the boat. Such a task required locating existing costumes, some of which might seem familiar to viewers. “I managed to get costumes from Titanic for the British naval crew,” Peters says. “We’ve got probably 150 uniforms. It’s not the sort of thing where you can just fill a truck up on the day and just hand them things. Every extra for this episode has been pre-fit, the ballroom dancers, everyone.”

During the brawl, those carefully selected costumes took a beating. Some 50 or 60 extras were involved in a melée with 13 professional stunt people, according to stunt coordinator Danny Weselis.

“It took a few hours to choreograph and block out every move [because of] the way we’re shooting this episode with hardly any cuts. We just had to pay attention to where all the cameras were and make sure all the hits were hits and there were no misses.”

The unusual shooting method for the episode was foremost in the mind of director of photography Bill Roe, too. Generally, cuts or pick-up shots are inserted during editing to make scenes flow more smoothly. Because of the way this episode was shot, everything had to be perfect when director Carter yelled “Cut” for the final time. “You can usually get away with things, help things as you go, with different cuts and different shots, but when you’re doing it all in one [continuous take], it requires a lot of planning,” Roe says. “The hardest part is trying to find the right place for the light and still make it look good. Working at a practical location doesn’t help, especially when they don’t want you touching the Queen Mary walls. No drilling, no taping, no nothing.”

The secret to accomplishing such an extraordinary task, according to co-executive producer Michael Watkins, likes in extensive planning and a ready-for-anything attitude. Plenty of rehearsal time doesn’t hurt, either.

“All the actors have to be on board. It’s like comedians will tell you, it’s timing. We rehearse seven, eight, nine, ten pages in a row, and then walk through, change the lighting, move the actors. It becomes a series of events that all have to take place not unlike a live theater. The performance has to continue and go on from one venue to another. There’s no going back for inserts. It has to be complete and total. The sphere has to be an enclosed world by itself.”

The X-Files Magazine: The Next Files

Oct-13-1998
The X-Files Magazine [US, #7, Fall 1998]
The Next Files

As busy as ever, co-executive producer Frank Spotnitz graciously stepped away from his typewriter to fill us in on the latest happenings in the world of The X-Files. Here’s what he had to say.

The X-Files Official Magazine: Congratulations on 16 Emmy Award Nominations.

Spotnitz: All of us were really pleased and honored. It sounds trite, but it really is an honor. To get so many nominations in the fifth year of a television series is really gratifying and surprising.

The X-Files Official Magazine: Did that help generate a positive atmosphere for the beginning of Season Six?

Spotnitz: It sure did. The timing really could not have been better. The Emmy nominations were announced, and the very next day we had our first production meeting with our new crew in Los Angeles. It was just a great tone set for the beginning of the new year. they’d heard from us all along how much they had to live up to because we all love the crew we had in Vancouver so much. It was a confirmation to them how important the work is that they do.

The X-Files Official Magazine: Are you settling into the L.A. Set?

Spotnitz: We’ve met the challenge of being here head on. We’re not pretending we’re somewhere else. We’re writing, at least in the beginning, to this part of the country. It’s been a little startling. There’ve been some shots where it’s like, “My God, sunlight!” We’re making it part of the story and part of what’s scary about the story. I think it’s been successful so far. I must say it’s been nice having David and Gillian and Bill Davis and all the other actors a stone’s throw away. Walking over to the set, we’ve been able to talk to them about stories and actors and things like that.

The X-Files Official Magazine: Is there a different sort of atmosphere than in Vancouver?

Spotnitz: I think so. When you work with a crew closely, they become a second family. It really was a family in Vancouver. We were all sort of the little engine that could up there because we were in Vancouver and because The X-Files started from nothing and grew into what it is now. Everybody felt like we’d built this together and we had. Here, we’re coming in a well established hit and a mature series in its sixth yea, but everyone that got here had to beat out a lot of competition to be here. We had the finest talent in Hollywood vying to work on this show, so they feel like they’ve made the cut. They’re very motivated, very excited. [They] recognize what great work was done in Vancouver the last five years, and they’re determined to meet or exceed those standards. So far there have been very few growing pains.

The X-Files Official Magazine: It sounds like Season Six is going to be even more diverse than Season Five was?

Spotnitz: I think it is. All of us keep thinking, “How strange can we get?” It keeps it interesting.

The X-Files Magazine: Smoke and Mirrors

Oct-13-1998
The X-Files Magazine [US, #7, Fall 1998]
Smoke and Mirrors
Annabelle Villnueva

The reedy voice on the telephone, until now cheerful and friendly, suddenly cackles with familiar menace. “Kill me off for a few weeks?” it asks petulantly, referring to the events in “Redux II.” “Then I’m going to get revenge.”

William B. Davis seems to enjoy playing off of his devious television persona. During interviews he frequently speaks in first person to describe the Cigarette Smoking Man’s machination, and his tone often drops conspiratorially when offering caustic asides about The Project. While it’s all done in good fun, it can be a little disconcerting. After all, the CSM has become the show’s answer to Darth Vader-a dark, nasty arch-villain who may or may not have fathered half the people around him. When Davis steps into character to vow retaliation against would be assassins, he sounds pretty convincing.

It’s clear he relishes the role, and with obvious reason. Despite being unceremoniously offed, reports on Cigarette Smoking Man’s death turned out to be greatly exaggerated. A few months later he returned with a flourish, thwarting yet another attempt on his life by The Syndicate, out maneuvering the Well Manicured Man and Alex Krycek, locking horns with his son, Agent Jeffrey Spender, and burning Mulder’s office to a crisp. As the smoke from Season Five clears-literally- the CSM fittingly seems to be standing tall atop the ash heap while Mulder and Scully recuperate from recent physical and mental blows, Spender struggles to maintain his ground as the bureau and The Consortium regroups following the Well Manicured Man’s apparent death.

“I understand there are some very exciting plans for the character this year,” Davis says, speaking from his hotel room after a week of filming The X-Files’ season opener. “It’s quite exciting to have [the character grow], and it’s not done yet-we’ll all get to find out more about him. It should be very interesting.”

Of course, the CSM already has come a long way from being the morose figure puffing away on a pack of Morleys inside Section Chief Blevins’ office. While he remains thoroughly enigmatic, the character’s depth and substance have been amplified each season. Mythology episodes have hinted at his past relationship with Mulder’s mother, sparking suspicion that he may be the FBI Agent’s real father. A vast amount of (possible) apocryphal background surfaced in “Musings of A Cigarette Smoking Man,” when the conspirator was accused of, among other things, shooting JFK and being a failed crime novelist. Last year he was given the chance to interact with honest-to-goodness (or so it would seem) blood relative Spender, a plot twist Davis found refreshing. “It was fun to have something out in the open and revealed,” he admits.

“I think the character is becoming increasingly complex,” David continues. “In a way he’s kind of a classic bad guy. But more and more we’re seeing hints of inner conflict [and] some personal sacrifices he’s had to make. As we get involved in these personal relationships with Jeffrey Spender and the question of his paternity, it’s interesting to see how out of his depths the character gets when he has to deal with human relationships. He’s better at dealing with conflicts with The Syndicate or Skinner or more political things. [In those cases], he knows his strengths, he knows where he is. But when he’s with his son, it’s a lot harder.”

And how is this kid measuring up?

“I don’t know…I’m not sure if he’s going to shape up. I don’t think he’s got it in him–the concentration for a ruthless type person,” Davis says playfully. “It’s one of those situations that my character wants him [to be one]; and I want to try to correct him. And then there’s the other [aspect] of it, that he doesn’t want to see me. He’s blocking contact.”

Davis often has said that he tries to view the Cigarette-Smoking Man as a good guy, in the sense that the character believes in what he does and considers anyone who tries and stop him an enemy. That type of insight and analysis punctuates most of the actor’s commentary- he discusses the role eagerly, and it soon becomes evident that he closely dissected The X-Files mythology to learn more about his alter ego’s inner workings.

But this examination isn’t fueled by ego or an innate fascination with conspiracy. The 60-year-old stage and screen veteran takes his craft very seriously, as any good teacher would-when not performing, he tends to his Vancouver acting school, The William Davis Center for Actor’s Study. (The school’s most famous alumna, Lucy Lawless, trained there before embarking on her future as a warrior princess). One habit Davis tries to instill in his students is the technique of deconstructing roles by forging a history for their characters. It’s a suggestion he takes to heart himself, although fabricating a background for the ever mysterious CSM is an audacious undertaking.

“What an actor basically tries to do is to try and find the life of the scene at the time they’re doing it,” he explains. “So I need a back story that works for what I’m doing now. In a way it might be interesting to go back and redo my [X-Files] scenes from a couple of years ago with what I know now, even though that, of course, is impossible. So we’re always using information that we’re given and we’re also always inventing things. You may later find that what you invented wasn’t correct , but in a way it doesn’t matter as long as it brings the scene alive. So I am constantly reinventing and revising my story.”

That supplemental creativity often requires Davis to reach independent conclusions about the character, even if the script itself doesn’t offer concrete revelations. For example, during a recent scene he felt he had to make a determination about a relationship that has triggered frenetic fan speculation for years.

“I had just shot a scene with Agent Spender that had a couple of strange twists and turns in it, a sort of interesting King Lear type thing, and [it] made me have to make some personal decisions about aspects of the character. Basically, I had to finally decide for myself if Mulder was my son or not,” Davis says, remaining cagey about which side of the paternal fence he chose to land upon. “It was clear that it was how the scene worked for me.”

Still, Davis is quick to admit that the truth remains elusive even for him. “[The CSM’s] relationship with Mulder is always ambiguous,” he says, “He has a genuine respect for Mulder; they’re really similar [in] how they’ve dedicated themselves, [and are] almost fanatical in sacrificing their lives on opposite sides. And in ‘Redux II’ I try to get him to come and work for me. So I think it’s a complicated relationship, and it is going to become more complicated in the future.

In typical X-Files fashion, it’s unclear what shape the future will take; for all of Davis’ personal theories and speculation, he’s usually as much in the dark about the show’s direction as any other fan. However, there was one instance where he did get advance warning about a particular storyline. Before his character was killed off early in Season Five, Davis knew he didn’t need to be concerned about finding a new job. “They were very good at reassuring me right at the time that it wasn’t going to be a lasting death,” he says. Yet while Davis knew that his eventual return was virtually guaranteed (after all , he had spent a chunk of filming scenes for The X-Files feature film, which was set to be released the following summer) many fans weren’t so sure. The actor recalls hearing wildly differing reactions from fans following the CSM’s “death.”

“[Opinions] were very mixed,” he says. “A lot of the hard core fans were sure that he would return, the intermediate fans weren’t quite sure what to make of it, and the casual fans were really sympathetic. They said, ‘What are you going to do now that The X-Files is over for you?’ They were all quite sure that I was really dead.”

As for himself, David was grateful for being resurrected by the show’s writers. “It was an interesting storyline to pursue, and I thought it was kind of cute at first to be dead, but eventually I got pretty bored with it,” he admits.

While Cigarette Smoking Man’s constant evolution continues to challenge Davis, he points out that the crucial element that keeps the character fresh is the fact that he appeared in less than a quarter of The X-Files’ episodes. That makes the character’s immense popularity even more remarkable, especially considering that the CSM’s personality is as blackly corrupt as his lungs. Davis has been profiled in enough magazine and web sites that his acting credits (Including parts in Look Who’s Talking and The Dead Zone,), smoking habits (he quit years ago-herbal substitutes are used on camera) and athletic achievements (he’s a Canadian water-skiing champion for his age division) have become X-Phile gospel. When he toured North America in the X-Files Expos last spring, standing ovations greeted him whenever he took the stage. Some moviegoers burst into cheers when he made his big screen entrance in The X-Files motion picture. Canadian pop music group Barenaked Ladies refer to CSM in their song “One Week,” the video for which received heavy rotation on MTV. He also hit the rock’n’roll mainstream appearing in a video for a song by the band Filter, which appeared on the movie’s soundtrack. Even his negative publicity sounds pretty positive- one pro-smoking group protested that the character made nicotine addicts look bad. The consensus is clear: After Mulder and Scully, the Cigarette Smoking Man has become The X-File’s best known figure.

Although Davis has had time to get accustomed to being a pop-culture icon, he’s still a little amazed by his popularity. “It’s funny – sometimes I think I’m a very famous person, and other times I think I’m no more famous than I ever was,” he says thoughtfully. “It’s kind of strange how you’ll talk to strangers and they’ll treat you like someone they just met, and you’ll see other people and they’ll point and say ‘Look it’s the Cancer Man!’ It’s fun, I always enjoy meeting fans.”

Appearing in The X-Files feature film probably won’t help him retain his last scraps of anonymity. The actor, who makes a point of watching and critiquing his own work, went to see the movie twice. “The first time I saw it was at the premiere, which was sort of a weird time to see it. However objective as one would like to be, you really get wrapped up in [thinking], ‘How do I look?” he remembers with a chuckle. “Which is why I went back to see it again and look at it as a movie. I went to the most obscure matinee I could find, with only half a dozen people in the theater. The concession people and the ushers [recognized me]; it was the last day they were showing the film at that particular theater, so they gave me one of the movie posters from the wall.”

Fortunately, Davis didn’t spend his entire summer vacation in darkened movie theaters. The Vancouver resident also took time to appear in a couple of Canadian features and a cable TV movie where he played what he calls a “very warm, friendly, caring” doctor; in more than one scene, he even got t smile. He’ll be doing more of the same in The X-Files’ new Southern California home, where he expects to make some Hollywood contacts and further expand his resume.

“It’s going to be challenging filming in Los Angeles, mostly because of the distances between the residences of the crew and the locations,” he says. “But the crew is terrific and they’re all very nice people.” As filming continues, Davis keeps himself busy by trying to probe his character’s heart of darkness and unravel the mythology’s many secrets.

“I’ve been stumped sometimes,” the actor admits, “but I always try to know what’s going on.” The Cigarette Smoking Man would be proud.

The X-Files Magazine: Drive Time

Oct-13-1998
The X-Files Magazine [US, #7, Fall 1998]
Drive Time
Gina McIntyre

You might say Keanu Reeves inspired the first stand alone episode of Season Six, the action packed “Drive.” “I sort of wanted to do our version of the Speed,” says writer Vince Gilligan. “[I wanted] something to do with people who couldn’t stop moving. I guess it speaks to how fast paces society is nowadays.”

Fast paced is a good way to describe the episode, in which Mulder is taken hostage by a man who forces him at gun point to drive across the country. If the agent stops the car, the man dies.

“I had this crazy teaser [in mind] for about two-and-a-half years, where a guys on a Tilt a Whirl at an amusement park,” Gilligan explains. “He’s got somebody in the car with him, and he’s got a gun. He’s screaming at the operator, ‘Don’t shut off the Tilt-a-Whirl.’ You see the SWAT guys run up, and they pop a tear gas grenade. The guy drops the gun, and it clatters to the ground underneath the Tilt-a-Whirl. They shut it off, and they yank him out. Then we didn’t know what to do from there. I always joked, at that point his head exploded, which made it an X-File.”

Gilligan’s writing partners Frank Spotinitz and John Shiban remembered the idea when the time came to begin work on episode two. “They always laughed about the idea of the head exploding, but we talked more about it and we said, ‘Why don’t we actually do something with that?'” Gilligan says. “I was a little reluctant because i was afraid the science would be so phony. How do you explain that?”

Believe it or not, the writers, with some research help, managed to fin a relatively plausible way for the seemingly far-fetched concept to work. From that point, the episode seemed to flow naturally, Gilligan says. “Frank hit on the idea one day. ‘What if it’s just one guy and we follow him throughout [the episode]?” he says. “After that, it came together fairly quickly.”

Entertainment Weekly: Millennium

Oct-09-1998
Entertainment Weekly
Millennium
Ken Tucker

Get ready for another new Millennium as Lance Henriksen’s FBI guy loses a wife and gains a partner

Klea Scott and Lance Henriksen

When we last left “Millennium” — well, let’s see, hero Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) had found out that his Millennium Group, which was supposed to save the world, was involved in some sort of internecine, apocalyptic battle with a splinter faction called the Family; the human race was being wiped out by a virulent plague carried in part by birds; his fellow Millennium operative Lara Means (Kristen Cloke) had seemingly gone insane after a season-ending hallucinogenic trip starring the Virgin Mary and set to Patti Smith’s “Horses” (the entire song!); his wife, Katherine (Megan Gallagher), had blown her brains out rather than fall victim to the plague; and Frank’s dark hair had suddenly turned completely white. The whole thing was like a nightmare David Lynch might have had after eating a bag of bad E. coli burgers.

“Well, Frank’s hair will be gray this season,” says Duggan, chuckling. “And the world didn’t end, despite what that episode implied, so we’re going to pick up the pieces and move on by sending Frank to D.C., and giving him a new work partner and a new life.” The plague scenario will be contained and tidied up, and creator Chris Carter’s acknowledgment that “we took the serial-killer-of-the-week criticism seriously” is being heeded. Sounds like Fox should go with a new ad campaign: “Everything You Knew About Millennium Is Wrong.”

For its first two seasons this was the most uneven good show in prime time — sometimes scary, sometimes silly; sometimes daringly experimental, sometimes hollowly pretentious. Last year, under the guidance of former “X-Files” brainiacs Glen Morgan and James Wong, you never knew whether Black was going to be a dour killer-hunter or a deadpan conspiracy-nut-buster. It was an exhilarating run — Morgan and Wong have since moved on to feature films — but a decidedly confusing one. And such creative dissonance, combined with lackluster ratings (104th last season), nearly cost the show a slot this fall. A source at Twentieth Century, which produces “Millennium,” admits that the network’s decision to renew was down to the wire. (No doubt the cachet of Chris “X-Files” Carter helped.)

Now that Black is back, “we want to root the series more firmly,” says Duggan, who oversaw last season’s low- and underrated ABC FBI show “C-16.” “Megan’s character is gone. Frank is now a single father who has decided to go back to what he used to do — work with the FBI in D.C. on especially tough cases. He’ll get a partner, which will give viewers a fresh set of eyes to see the show through.”

Those eyes are the big brown ones of Klea Scott, who stood out in the crowded squad-room of CBS’ ballyhooed bomberoo “Brooklyn South.” Scott, who played a smart beat cop will now join Millennium as FBI agent Emma Hollis. “She’s not a rookie,” explains Duggan, “but she’s young enough to be in awe of Frank Black’s rep as a legendary crime solver.”

Variety: Carter tries novel approach

Oct-02-1998
Variety
Carter tries novel approach
Judy Quinn

‘X-Files’ creator finds seven-figure deal for original books

NEW YORK – Publishing industryites say “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter has scored a high-seven-figure deal to write two original suspense novels for Bantam.

The books are reportedly not related to Carter’s existing or recently signed upcoming new projects for 20th Century Fox TV, which may be a reason why this deal was, surprisingly, not made at News Corp. sister company HarperCollins, which formed new imprint HarperEntertainment in part for synergistic projects.

Carter recently inked a new exclusive development and production deal with 20th Century Fox TV (Daily Variety, Sept. 18).

Several publishers reportedly tried for the new Carter books. Bantam publisher Irwyn Applebaum could not be reached for comment. Renaissance agent Joel Gotler, who reportedly repped Carter on these properties, would not comment on the deal.

Horror Online: The Carter Administration

Oct-01-1998
Horror Online
The Carter Administration
Ed Martin

The creator of “The X-Files” and “Millennium” discusses his future plans.

Before Chris Carter makes any more X-Files movies, he’s going to make certain that his two television series are in good hands. There was speculation back in 1996, when 20th Century Fox formally announced that an X-Files feature film would be theatrically released two years later, that Carter, who wrote the screenplay in addition to overseeing both the X-Files and Millennium television series, was taking on more than any one man could handle.

REVIEWS

“I am dedicating myself to putting (‘Millennium’) back to a place where I think it can be.”

It now appears that the naysayers were right. While The X-Files enjoyed its highest ratings ever during the 1997-98 TV season, and the X- feature became one of the top grossing films of the summer, Millennium didn’t fare as well, suffering both creatively and in the weekly Nielsen ratings race. Last spring, rumors began to circulate in Hollywood and New York that Millennium would not be on Fox’ 1998-99 schedule. But Millennium was given a reprieve of sorts and returns for a third season this month.

As soon as Carter began making plans to revitalize Millennium, however, the X-Files movie franchise once again threatened to distract him from the show. In late July, weeks after the X- feature had opened and days before production of the third season of Millennium was to begin, Carter had his first official call from Fox asking about the possibility of doing a sequel,” he recalls.

Could Carter take on another X- feature? “I have no idea,” he replies, keeping his plans close to the vest. “It’s just something to think about. I don’t want to let anything suffer for any new projects.” Asked if he envisions a day when the X-Files movie franchise might begin to resemble the Star Trek movie series, with Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully moving over to the big screen and two or more new agents taking center stage on The X-Files, Carter says, “To be honest, I don’t even want to think about it until the time comes to think about it.”

“(“Millennium” is) scarier than X-Files in a way.”

For now, Carter is focused on the sixth season of The X-Files, which has recently moved from its long time production center in Vancouver to Los Angeles, and the third season of the troubled Millennium, with the latter undergoing a thorough creative overhaul. Indeed, Carter is making the care and nurturing of Millennium a priority. “I am dedicating myself to putting this project back to a place where I think it can be,” Carter says. “I am going to be traveling back and forth to Vancouver to prep the shows and to work on getting the crew to a place where we get everything running like a top again.”

Carter and new executive producers Chip Johannessen (who has been with the series from the beginning as a consulting producer) and Michael Duggan are determined to steer the show away from the supernatural storylines it had begun to flirt with last season. Narratively, the show will also move away from stories about the Millennium Group itself. “That’s not really where the looming war between good and evil, as we move from here to the future, is going to play out,” says Johannessen. “We want to take the storytelling away from the Millennium Group itself and have them be a piece of this puzzle that we’re going to start to articulate. [Last season] there was a lot of carrying relics around and that sort of thing. While we continue the idea that the Millennium Group has a history, we’re going to start looking to the future.” Step one will involve a dramatic midlife upheaval for Frank Black (Lance Henriksen): The death of his wife, Catherine (Megan Gallagher), and his return to Washington, D.C., where he becomes a consultant for the FBI.

Although Carter and his crew deny it, any resulting resemblance to the thriving X-Files franchise is undeniable. In his new capacity, Black will become mentor to a pretty young FBI agent named Emma Hollis (Klea Scott). She’s “someone who is slightly left of center from the mainstream thinking of the FBI,” Duggan explains. “[She’s] attracted to [Black] as a heavyweight consultant who comes back to the FBI; who views things quite differently than the standard proceduralists at the FBI. She feels a need to attach herself to his belt loop or under his wing and learn about the way he sees the world.” The two-part season opener will deal in part with the enormous emotional pain Black suffers following his personal tragedy, as well as his new status as a single parent and his involvement with Catherine’s parents. Duggan also notes that Frank’s relationship with the Millennium Group “changes quite a bit. There’s a lot of geography to explore there.”

“What we learned [last season] is that [the Group’s] agenda is not necessarily what it was stated as,” Carter adds, explaining that Frank will now be forced to look at the group “in a different light. There are things that have come out of the last two years that are going to play out now in a new, dramatic way with these new revelations.”

Carter also says that after two seasons of working on the show and talking to people about it, he has learned that “people really aren’t afraid of the Millennium. That was never the idea of the show, that people are dreading this date coming up.” Rather, Carter notes, people are uncomfortable with “the idea that we are heading into some unknowable kind of future, that we’re moving too fast technologically.” Still, Carter sees the approaching Millennium as significant on many fronts, and his observations will power the show.

“(Emma Hollis) is someone who is slightly left of center from the FBI.”

“We want to find meaning in the world,” he says. “This date is going to be a reckoning. It’s going to be a time of accounting, and that’s kind of a scary thing for us. It’s been an important date, the turn of the century, forever-or for as long as we can remember.”

With the stage reset, the focus of the series will return to “stories that are about real human emotion,” Carter continues. “It’s about what happens when bad things happen to good people. Those are the kind of stories we will explore. I would like to see if they have some relevance in relation to the world we live in. I’ll just say that the reason Millennium is even a show is because there were human monsters that [we] couldn’t do on X-Files that really were interesting to me as a storyteller. And I think that’s really what it will continue to be. That’s what makes the show scary. Scarier than X-Files in a way because the monsters are all too real.”

So what went wrong along the way, ultimately necessitating such sweeping changes to the show’s format? Carter says he thinks everyone involved with the series reacted to what he calls “serial-killer-of-the-week criticism” from the press during the series’ first season, when they were simply trying to “tell stories about human tragedy.” The result was a move toward sporadically exploring supernatural themes and the mythology of the Millennium Group in year two, which lead to Millennium losing “some of what I felt worked about the show in the first season,” Carter explains.

But Carter also admits that the original narrative structure of the series is partially to blame for its relative weakness. “When I approached Lance with this pilot script, I really had given him a story that, by design, had no franchise,” he says. “It was about a man who was an overidealized hero-overidealized by me. [He had] an idealized home life with a wife he loved and a daughter he loved, and he wanted to keep the darkness that he saw, because of his experiences, away from them.

I liked that idea a lot, Carter continues. “What we learned in the course of the storytelling [was] that when you try to protect something that is perfect to begin with or you imagine as perfect, it creates a non-dramatic situation. So, there was a sameness in that relationship, and we realized through the telling of stories that there were more opportunities to be had telling good stories, letting Lance be the character he was, by removing him from that home.

How close did Millennium come to being cancelled? “The way I understand it is that there was a slim chance that it would be, Carter recalls. “I think we benefitted from some things that happened in the development season, but I think the show deserved to be back. It’s actually got a very good hardcore audience. It really is, in a way, the cult show that X-Files used to be, and I’d like to see if this year we might not expand on that and build a bigger audience for it. I said this about X-Files originally: Fridays at 9 p.m. is a [time when] you cannot steal an audience. You’ve got to create an audience. You’ve got to change television habits. You’ve got to make people stay home to watch those shows. That’s what we have to do this year.

“Some people may have tuned in early on and tuned away,” Carter confesses. “I’d really like to get people to come back because I think that we know now, having had the last two years to go by, what we do best and what works best. If people come back this year, they’re going to see better and a little bit different kind of storytelling.”

It seems certain that one way to accomplish that goal is to cross-pollinate Carter’s creations. Indeed, talk of crossovers between Millennium and The X-Files this season has been at full boil since last May, when Fox Entertainment president Peter Roth announced that Millennium would return for a third season with Black relocating to Washington, D.C., and becoming a consultant to the FBI. “This would be a good year for a crossover,” Carter admits, but he says his first concern is to preserve the integrity of both shows. “I wouldn’t want to ask the actors to do it as a stunt,” he says. “If it made sense in a storytelling way to do a crossover, that might be a fun thing to do. It may not happen, but if there was a good reason to make it happen, we wouldn’t turn it down.”

Carter is also determined to keep his two shows separate and distinct from each other, especially now that they will both be centered in and around Washington and focus on FBI operations. “We’re all conscious of the similarities,” he says. “We are going to make them quite different. That’s something that we’re being conscious of, as I was conscious of not trying to recreate X-Files with Millennium. But they both do share an FBI franchise, if you will, and now that franchise is coming into more active use in Millennium. We’re trying to steer away from the obvious comparisons.”

Cinefantastique: Millennium: TV’s best kept secret improves in its sophomore season

Oct-??-1998
Cinefantastique
Millennium: TV’s best kept secret improves in its sophomore season
Paula Vitaris

The best kept secret on television last season was Millennium, which offered some of the year’s most thoughtful, imaginative, and suspenseful story-telling. Unfortunately, the second season received virtually no build-up— quite a contrast to the campaign waged by the Fox Network for the debut in 1996; since the noticeable drop in ratings after the premiere, the network no longer exerted a major effort to promote the show. The losers were the television audience, both first and second seasons.

For the second season, creator Chris Carter turned the show over to others while working on the fifth season and feature film of The X-Files. Glen Morgan and James Wong, who had served as consulting producers during the first season, were tapped for the job. New writers joined the staff. Glen’s brother Darin signed on and wrote and directed two episodes. Michael Perry, who had won an Emmy for an episode of NYPD Blue co-written with Steve Gagahn, had been recruited by Chris Carter. Morgan and Wong also brought on board writing partners Erin Maher and Kay Reindl. Held over from the first season were Chip Johannessen and Robert Moresco.

Both critics and the audience had expressed the opinion that Millennium’s first season was too grim, violent and monotonous, with the majority of the episodes devoted to serial killer plots and not enough time spent on Frank’s inner life or the Millennium Group. The network wanted changes, and Morgan and Wong were happy to oblige. “There was too much gore in the first season, and it was for shock’s sake,” Morgan said. “There was no humor. Everybody wanted to know more about the Millennium Group. What was Frank’s role with them? We needed to develop Frank. We had a good actress, Megan Gallagher, playing his wife, and what could we do with their relationship? Where can this go?”

Not everyone agreed with the changes, including some of the producing and writing staff who had been retained from the first season. “I think it was good to open the show up a little in terms of its tone,” Johannessen said. “To my taste, some of the stuff became much more adolescent, and it changed the center of gravity a little bit–but it did open up the show.”

Despite first year problems, Morgan and Wong believed Millennium possessed a number of strong elements. They had a strong leading man in Lance Henriksen as Frank Black. They were also intrigued by the symbolism of Frank’s yellow house, his ideal home. “What really appealed to me was that Chris had said that he had made the show because of the Black’s yellow house,” Morgan noted. “This year was an opportunity to make a hero-myth of the story; take the house away from Frank, have him go through the dark forest, and get back to the yellow house.”

At the beginning of the second season, Morgan and Wong sat down with Carter and explained their ideas. Carter told them to go ahead, and although they consulted with him during the season, he had very little input. Carter had been planning to write and direct an episode but eventually backed 6ff due to his X-Files responsibilities.

In the season opener, “The Beginning and the End,” Morgan and Wong quickly resolved the kidnapping cliffhanger from last season. Frank’s stalker, the Polaroid Man (Doug Hutchison), was now holding Catherine captive and taunting Frank. By the end of the episode, Frank has located them and killed the Polaroid Man, precipitating a crisis in Catherine, who is afraid of the feelings of hatred and anger she senses both within herself and Frank. She asks him to move out so she can gain some perspective. In the second episode, “Beware of the Dog,” Morgan and Wong introduced a character known as the Old Man (R.G. Armstrong, a long-time favorite of Morgan’s) who acts as a spiritual guide for Frank and begins to expose him to the arcane knowledge of the Millennium Group.

The third episode, “Sense and Antisense,” written by Chip Johannessen, was a government conspiracy about bio-terrorism that seemed more appropriate to The X-Files. “That didn’t quite come off the way I’d hoped,” Johannessen said. “That was one of those tortured things. To my mind, the rewrites got colossally worse, and part of that had to do with the fact that the first draft concerned a much more sensitive area–race–and Broadcast Standards had certain concerns.”

The fourth episode, “Monster,” about accusations of abuse at a day care center and the evil within one particular child, introduced a new recurring character, psychologist Lara Means, played by Morgan’s wife Kristin Cloke (previously seen in Morgan and Wong’s Space: Above and Beyond). Lara, like Frank, is a candidate for the Millennium Group and, also like Frank, experiences visions. Unlike Frank, however, her visions, often of an angel, fill her with fear, and by season’s end she suffers a complete mental collapse.

Morgan and Wong created Lara as a character who would both challenge and reflect Frank. “My biggest worry was that people would think we were trying to make them like Mulder and Scully,” Morgan said. “We wanted somebody with an incredible gift to counter Frank. Right from the beginning, the idea was to have Lara see these visions and know what the Millennium Group was saying was true. Knowing that would drive her crazy because if the world is ending, what’s the point of going on? Coupled with that, we had the Millennium Group saying, ‘We not only have the responsibility of knowing; we have the responsibility of doing something about it.’ The knowledge overloads her, and she goes insane. By seeing that, Frank Black will have a person to compare and contrast himself to: ‘This is my potential fate.’ And that took him back to the yellow house. Lara is a possibility of what Frank could be. If you’re going through the forest, you could be eaten by a troll, or you could get out. Lara did not get out of her dark forest. When the Millennium Group says to Frank, ‘Do you want to become an initiated member? You’re ready to move up a rank,’ he can look at Lara and say, ‘I don’t know.’ And yet, he believes in what she sees and that what the Group is after is right. It’s such an extraordinary responsibility. ”

Another new character was computer wizard Brian Roedecker, played by Allan Zinyk, who had been in Darin Morgan’s X-Files episode “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space.'” Roedecker was a sarcastic wisecracker created to serve as an occasional foil for the humorless Frank. Fans did not take kindly to Roedecker, who came across to them as a knock-off of The X-Files’ Lone Gunmen and totally out of place on Millennium. “I was surprised by the rejection of Roedecker,” Morgan admitted, adding that he wished the fans had given the character more time before pronouncing judgment. Roedecker remained a favorite with Morgan, however, and he and Wong were disappointed when Zinyk left the show to fulfill another acting commitment.

A major goal for the season was to give Frank’s life the kind of narrative drive absent last season, and many of the episodes dealt with his on-going relationship with Catherine, his estranged father, and his friendship with colleague Peter Watts (Terry O’Quinn). Intertwined with all this was Frank’s growing knowledge of the Millennium Group’s true nature and the ethical situations their actions forced him to confront. These episodes made for some of the season’ strongest story-telling, particularly the extraordinary “The Curse of Frank Black,” a surreal, ghostly journey from uncertainty to renewed determination, played out on the silent, wind-blown streets of Frank’s neighborhood on Halloween night.

Since Frank is often alone in this episode (which was influenced by the Japanese ghost move Kwaidan), there is very little dialogue; much of the meaning is conveyed visually. “I didn’t want to do any more dialogue,” Morgan said. “Lance is so great with looks.” The director was Ralph Hemecker, whom Morgan praised highly: “Ralph came up with some beautiful shots, and I really have to credit him with a lot of the episode’s tone.”

Frank’s Halloween journey is as much through his memories as it is through the streets of his neighborhood. At one point, he recalls his Halloween encounter at age six with the neighborhood recluse, Mr. Crocell (OZ’s Dean Winters). Crocell is a World War II vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but all Frank and his friends know is that he is a figure of fear to them. Crocell had killed himself, but now he appears as a host to challenge Frank to give up his fight against evil, because he can’t beat the devil. “Frank’s journey is similar to Lara’s,” Morgan commented. “That’s where Frank could go, where he could quit and find a place for himself. He is at the brink–he goes back to his yellow house and throws eggs at it, like kids do at Halloween. He was on the brink of becoming Mr. Crocell. But he’s got to go back and clean up the mess; otherwise he would just be giving up. What I liked is that it did seem like a slip-up in his quest.”

The episodes by Erin Maher and Kay Reindl also highlighted Frank’s development. Their first episode, “A Single Blade of Grass,” sent Frank to New York City to investigate a death at a construction site that employed a Native American crew. The story included a ceremony where rattler venom induced hallucinations. At Morgan’s behest, Reindl and Maher restored Frank’s gift–his near-psychic abilities–which had vanished early in the season. “I felt last year those visions were a cheat,” Morgan said. “The camera would go to a coffee cup and Frank would say, ‘The murderer used a coffee cup.’ It drove me nuts. What we were trying to do this year was to elevate Frank’s visions to a dream-like state, so he would have to interpret what he’s seeing. There would be more mystical, symbolic imagery that might give him more of a sense of what’s going on. I had wanted to strip away the gift for a long time and see if the show really played well without it. But we got back into that. The Old Man in ‘Beware of the Dog’ was trying to tell Frank, ‘Your gift isn’t gone; it’s going to be different.'”

Maher and Reindl’s next episode, “Midnight of the Century,” examined Frank’s relationship with his emotionally withdrawn father (Darren McGavin). The two writers had drawn the assignment of scripting “a scary Christmas episode.” They rented every scary Christmas movie they could find, like Silent Night, Deadly Night. “We came up with the idea of doing ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Frank,” Reindl said. “The three ghosts would be serial killers of the past, present and future. We pitched our board, and after the first act, Glen said, ‘Did we talk about this at all?’ And we said, ‘Well, not really, just generally.’ He said, ‘Well, we have this scene in the Halloween episode.'”

The scene Reindl and Maher had written was a flashback where a youthful Frank discovered his neighbor was a murderer. While not identical to the flashbacks in “The Curse of Frank Black,” it was close enough that it was jettisoned. At that point, Morgan gave new instructions about the episode: while he didn’t want a scene that close to “The Curse of Frank Black,” he wanted the Christmas episode to be similar in that it would be a day in the life of Frank Black, rather than have Frank investigating a case. “It was Frank being guided along some kind of spiritual journey,” said Maher. “Since it was a Christmas episode, we wanted to deal with Frank’s family. It was a good opportunity to show some of his past with his father. Originally we had talked about Johnny Cash as Frank’s dad, but then he got sick. And then of course we were very jazzed to get Darren McGavin. The Night Stalker as Frank’s father! It was so perfect. We could not have asked for a better performance. “We were thinking about Frank’s visions, and we thought if one of his parents had visions, that would mean something, since his daughter Jordan has them,” Maher added. “It’s something that’s passed from generation to generation. So we decided that his mother would have visions too, mainly because last year in ‘Sacrament,’ the episode with Frank’s brother, we got a very strong impression that Frank and his father weren’t very close and that his father was very remote and very strict. We were wondering why that was. And Frank and his brother never talked about their mother. So we came up with the idea of Frank’s mother dying when he was six years old, and he really didn’t understand how deep his father’s love was, so he blamed his father for letting her die alone. We also thought about the idea that Christmas is always supposed to be this perfect family holiday, but Frank’s family has split up–he’s without his wife and child. He really doesn’t have a good relationship with his dad. It’s sort of the Christmas that you end up with, rather than the Christmas that you really want.” This time., Reindl noted, by reconciling with his father and enjoying with Catherine a Christmas pageant in which daughter Jordan appeared, Frank finally got the Christmas that he wanted.

Maher and Reindl also wrote the one episode this season, “Anamnesis,” in which Frank did not appear. Instead, Catherine Black and Lara Means team up to investigate the strange behavior of a group of high school girls. One of the girls, Clare (Genele Templeton), claims to have seen Mary. Lara and Catherine both come to the case as psychologists, and in their discussions with the girls, eventually realize that the Mary of Clare’s visions isn’t the Virgin Mary by Mary Magdalene. Maher and Reindl became thoroughly fascinated with Mary Magdalene while researching the early years of Christianity. “We thought, ‘Wow, she rocks,'” laughed Maher. They were surprised by what they learned, that Mary, although portrayed for nearly two centuries as a prostitute, was more likely a woman of good family and reputation. “She’s the apostle to the apostles. She’s the one who really understands what Christ is saying,” Maher said. “She was pretty much weeded out of the Bible. Women can’t be in any position of power, but when you look back at the history there were early Christian women who are priestesses. What happened to them? Why was that so threatening? We wanted to play with that a little bit.'”

The episode questioned the purity of Jesus, a divergent view of Christ that Maher and Reindl had also come upon in their research. Network Standards and Practices objected, and the two writers spent many hours on the phone trying ~ to explain their position. “They suddenly realized what the episode was about, and they were horrified,” Maher said, “because we’re implying that since Jesus was Jewish and a rabbi, he probably was married and had children. Standards said, ‘You’re implying that Jesus had sex!’ And we’re going ‘Yep!'”

The two writers enjoyed playing the rational Catherine off against the visionary Lara, who senses the breakdown that awaits her. “We got to do a little Mulder and Scully thing with them, because Lara is the spiritual one and Catherine is more scientific,” Maher noted. “But in this episode you really see Catherine opening up a little bit more to the possibilities.”

Added Reindl, “She has a really great strength in this episode. I think that one of the things she learns is that although she’s very protective of her family, she’s not protecting out of fear but out of strength, and she can do that for Frank and Jordan. Nobody is going to mess with those two when she’s around, and that’s what we really wanted to bring out in this episode;”

Another episode that traced Frank’s growth as well as his relationship with the Millennium Group was “Luminary,” written by Chip Johannessen. Frank defies Millennium Group orders and searches for a young man lost in the Alaskan wilderness who may have already died from exposure. “I wanted to write a story where Frank chose to stand up to the Millennium Group and do something he felt was personally important, based just on his instinct and his vision,” Johannessen said. “Although the Millennium Group was clearly pleased with him in the end, it wasn’t a task they set for him. And yet it was the right thing for him to do, and they were wise enough to see that. I wanted Frank to get out in the woods, having followed his inner voices, and have this moment where he realizes that the kid is dead and that he had been completely wrong to go on the search. It should be one of those moments in your life where you just feel lost. And then he’d realize the kid was still alive and that he was called there for a reason.”

Although serial killer plots were downplayed this year, one of the season’s best episodes, ‘The Mikado,’ centers around a particularly baffling serial killer who calls himself Avatar. Writer Michael Perry based Avatar on the Zodiac serial killer who had plagued the San Francisco area in the 1970’s. Like Zodiac, Avatar sends cryptic telegrams and coded messages to the police, wears an executioner’s hood and robe and, also like Zodiac, is never caught. He comes to the attention of the police and the Millennium Group when he displays his victim on a camera hooked up to a website and slays her in full view of thousands of people. Before Avatar cuts the on-line connection, a teenage boy manages to print the frame, and brings it to the police.

“1 wanted a crime that no police department would have jurisdiction over,” Perry explained. “Who’s going to go after it? Ordinarily, if there’s a murder down the street, the city is going to take care of it. That’s how our entire society has been built. With a murder that isn’t tied to a physical place, this guy can go on forever, unless there’s a Millennium Group. That was the sport of it. It also has the great beginning for a mystery. It’s articulated by Frank, who says, ‘We don’t know who the victim is; we don’t know where the crime scene took place. We don’t have any crime scene. We don’t have any evidence except for a blurry print-out.’ That’s such a tantalizing beginning.”

With the location of Avatar’s set-up unknown, Frank is unable to connect physically with the evidence of the scene, a concept that Perry enjoyed. “Avatar cut Frank off from what he naturally does; this also has to do with the demonizing elements of the internet. It’s both a character and a thematic element, because 4,000 people per hour are logging on, hoping to see this girl die. The dehumanizing aspects of mediated communication, the internet in this particular case, are a sub-theme, and it ties in to how Frank, being cut off from being in a real place, can’t do what he normally does. That was a fun thing to play around with, and it works for both plot and character.”

“The Mikado” also marked the last appearance of Roedecker, a character Perry had loved from the beginning. “Frank and his colleague Peter Watts are accustomed to dealing with the macabre, so as a viewer you think they’re much cooler than you are. They don’t have to flinch; they’re tough guys. What I like about Roedecker in: this episode is that he becomes an advocate for the audience. Roedecker is able to express the revulsion, the tears that Frank has to constantly hold back. For the first time, Roedecker has a chance to see this is what Frank and Peter do all the time. It makes Frank seem grander because, if nobody in an episode reacts to the gruesome and macabre things that are around, they don’t seem so terrifying.” .

Millennium mythology–the development of Frank’s relationship with the Millennium Group and the revelations about the group’s mission–also took up a number of episodes, particularly “The Hand of Saint Sebastian,” and two-parters “Owls” and “Roosters,” and “The Fourth Horseman” and “The Time is Now.”

In “The Hand of Saint Sebastian,” Peter Watts calls upon Frank to help him on an unauthorized mission that brings them to Germany to retrieve the long-lost, recently recovered, mummified hand of St. Sebastian. They soon realize that someone is working against them, and the traitor turns out to be Millennium Group pathologist Cheryl Andrews (CCH Pounder). Wong, who wrote the script, wanted to write a Watts-driven episode, which would showcase O’Quinn and develop the Millennium Group. “I felt that by revealing that the Millennium Group had existed for centuries and setting the episode overseas, that would give the story greater scope and weight,” Wong said. “I also thought it would be interesting to get Peter excited about something that was not sanctioned by the Group and to show that he will do something like that. Terry is such a great actor, and we thought he deserved something to do instead of just saying, ‘That’s right, Frank’…’You’re right again, Frank.’ I thought, ‘What’s a great way to divide the Group?’ I thought about doing a spy kind of show. I was doing research on the Knights Templar and the Masons, and it seems like all those groups had other groups who were against them and betrayed them. There was so much intrigue. I realized that this is how groups act, and I thought, why shouldn’t the Millennium Group have the same thing?”

The two-parter “Owls” and “Roosters,” revealed a new level of conflict among the Millennium Group, when an artifact believed to be a part of the True Cross is stolen. One faction, the Roosters, believes it was taken by another faction, the Owls, to weaken the Roosters. Morgan said that “Owls” and “Roosters” grew directly out of “The Hand of Saint Sebastian,” an episode he had loved. “It’s nice to be so influenced by something your partner did,” he said. “I wanted to break the split we saw in that episode into a secular one. How can you make people believe that the end of the world is in sight? I tried to look to a scientific possibility. In the two-parter at the end of the season, I tried to tie those together with a plague. I started reading about germ warfare and thought, “Here are scientific events occurring in our world, and they’re predicted theologically.”

The season’s two-part finale, “The Fourth Horseman” and “The Time Is Now,” showed the outbreak of a plague which builds on the division within the Millennium Group and Frank’s growing distrust. He is tempted by an offer to join a rival investigatory group called The Trust. Meanwhile, he and Peter investigate the outbreak of a deadly plague, while Lara, who has been initiated into the Millennium Group’s secret knowledge, begins her final descent into madness. At the end, the Blacks have taken refuge in the remote cabin of Frank’s late father, where a sick and probably dying Catherine sneaks off into the woods so that already inoculated Frank can use their one vial of plague vaccine on Jordan. The cabin, for Morgan, had become Frank’s yellow house, where the Blacks are reunited, even if death soon takes Catherine away. “I didn’t feel right leaving Frank without his yellow house. I think in life you sometimes search for a yellow house, but for Frank, it actually was that cabin.”

Morgan and Wong wrote the season finale not knowing whether Millennium would be renewed. They pitched several endings to Carter, who made a surprising suggestion that they kill Catherine. Morgan and Wong were taken aback, but didn’t object, especially when Carter said to leave her death ambiguous.

After thinking how to make Catherine’s death meaningful, Morgan discussed it with Megan Gallagher and described the scenario to her. “I told her the neat part will be that after Frank Black has done so much sacrificing for his family, ultimately it will be Catherine who makes the ultimate sacrifice. She liked that. So that had a big part in the decision to kill Catherine.”

Like so many plot ideas, the plague as millennial doom emerged from the writers’ research. “When I looked at the current research, I found the thing that was most likely to get us was some sort of plague or virus,” Morgan said. “I didn’t really pay much attention during the mad cow scare in England, but in reading about it I found it horrifying.”

One of the most striking sequences of the two-parter is the third act depicting Lara’s visions of the apocalypse and her breakdown. It was shot and cut much like a music video, accompanied by the Patti Smith song about heroin, “Horses,” which had been a college favorite of Morgan’s. He had always envisioned someone going crazy to it. “Editing was really difficult. Doing this was rather naive on my part,” Morgan admitted. “Music videos probably have a budget close to what one of our entire episodes costs, and we had only three days to put it together. I don’t think we competed very well with the kind of imagery you see on MTV. But I felt that this hasn’t been done on a primetime, network drama. I’m glad we did it, but it was really, really hard.”

With renewal confirmed last May by Fox, the responsibilities of running Millennium’s third season have been given to Chip Johannessen and Michael Duggan (Earth 2). Michael Perry, Erin Maher and Kay Reindl have remained on staff. Chris Carter also plans to be more involved than he was in the second season. Morgan and Wong have departed, satisfied with their work on the show. “I’m really proud of a lot of the episodes this season,” Wong said. “The frustrating thing was that we didn’t find a new audience. Some of the people who watched it the first season decided it wasn’t for them and didn’t come to watch it this season to see if they liked it better or see how it changed.”