The Kevin and Bean Show, KROQ radio
Interview with Chris Carter
Kevin: How are you doing, Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files? Good morning.
Chris: Thanks for having me.
Bean: Good to see you. What have you been doing? How you been?
Chris: I’m good. Doing the same thing, ninth year of The X-Files.
Kevin: Nine years!
Bean: Ninth! Damn you!
Chris: Ninth inning. And, you know, just sort of doing the same thing. I went on a big surf trip this summer. That was my big summer vacation.
Kevin: Oh, really? Where’d you go?
Chris: I went to Indonesia.
Kevin: Indonesia to go surfing?
Kevin: Wow. It’s good to be Chris Carter.
Bean: Why — Chris, by the way, has a deep background in surfing, has done a lot of it — why Indonesia? Is there something special about the water or the waves down there?
Chris: Yeah, it’s this perfect surfing destination, and that’s where everyone wants to go.
Bean: Oh, is that right?
Chris: Yeah, so I went on a three-week trip.
Bean: That’s, like, the ultimate place?
Chris: It is right now.
Kevin: Now, did you run into any trouble? They’re having bad times down there in Indonesia. They’ve got a civil war going on. Was there trouble for you on land?
Chris: I was there just before all hell broke loose.
Bean: You weren’t dodging bullets as you were surfing?
Chris: I was dodging a lot of things but they weren’t bullets.
Kevin: Wow. Well, that’s good. A guy like you — and we’ve visited Chris on the set and we know how hard he works and the deadlines that he’s up against — you just need some time where you can just forget it, right? Just not think about the job.
Chris: Yeah, one of these days.
Bean: How do you keep — I know it’s an impossible question to answer, but you have to keep coming up with interesting storylines after nine years.
Bean: I mean, at the beginning at least you hadn’t exhausted everything.
Chris: Actually, I think what happens is that when you have exhausted the obvious stuff it actually gets better because it’s stuff no one else has thought about, so it forces you to work harder.
Kevin: So, the original stuff is just basically off the top and then you start really having to delve deep.
Chris: You have to figure out new ways to deal with the characters and new stories, just new ways to tell good X-Files stories.
Bean: Do you have what most writers consider writer’s block, where you just throw up your hands and say I can’t get past this place? And what do you do when you hit that spot?
Chris: They have a gun to your head so you’re just (laughs) not allowed to —
Kevin: You can’t do that?
Chris: You can’t have writer’s block.
Bean: In other words, you’ve got to write it even if it’s bad because it’s got to be done at a certain time.
Chris: It’s never bad, Bean.
Bean: I don’t mean — I don’t mean you — I mean — (Chris chuckles as Bean sputters) (all three laughing)
Kevin: What did you mean, Bean, exactly?
Bean: I’m just saying sometimes you just have to write. You don’t have any choice, and that forces you to pull from places you didn’t even know you had because of the deadline.
Chris: Well put.
Kevin: Do you have — A lot of writers have to figure out a way to get input. Do you? What do you do to try and replenish the well? Do you go to books? Do you read, watch movies?
Chris: I think we just really go to what scares us most. And then try to figure out interesting ways to tell good stories with the characters, take them through the journey so the audience kind of goes through it, too.
Bean: The truth is, there aren’t a lot of shows that have ever been on nine years on primetime television. That’s pretty remarkable.
Bean: And isn’t the show on X — I mean —
Chris: FX. Yes, and in syndication. You can’t miss The X-Files, it’s on at least three times a day. (laughs)
Kevin: It’s everywhere!
Bean: And you tune in and you go, “Man, Duchovny was, like, 17 when he started this show! Look at him!” And obviously Gillian didn’t have a stylist back then. It’s just so funny because you have literally seen these people grow up since they’ve been on TV.
Chris: Yeah, it’s true.
Bean: Now, I was telling Kevin earlier, I got the opportunity to get a sneak peak of the show that’s airing this Sunday night at 9 on Fox, and tell me if I’m overstating this — the best vomit scene in this history of primetime television. (Kevin laughs) Wouldn’t you say that’s accurate, Chris?
Chris: I think it is, actually. The guy who wrote and directed the episode, that’s his metier. That’s his deal.
Kevin: What’s that mean? He’s good at vomit?
Chris: Yes. He puts vomit in every script he writes for us.
Kevin: Really? Why?
Bean: In other words, he’s the vomit expert? If American Pie 2 is filming and they need some guy to throw up, they call your guy?
Chris: They should.
Bean: There is also one of — and you talk about having to mix it up, you think about how many people have been killed on The X-Files, I don’t know what the body count is over nine seasons, but one of the great murder weapons of all time, I think, is on the show this week, too. You know the one I’m talking about, Chris?
Chris: Which is?
Kevin: Are you guys just going to tease us all day, or what?
Bean: That’s the whole point of Chris coming in. The doctor in the chair. You know what I’m talking about.
Kevin: Doctor in the chair. Doctor in the chair. He must use a needle?
Bean: Come on, Chris. You’ve seen the episode.
Chris: (laughing) You’re gonna have to tell me. Oh, you mean the hypodermic needles?
Bean: Hypodermic needles all over her.
Kevin: Oh, ouch.
Chris: Human pin-cushion.
Bean: Yes! I mean, you just talk about something that just creeps you out when you see it, you’re like, “Oh man, I wasn’t prepared for that at all.”
Kevin: I see what you mean about stuff that scares you. That would freak me out. I am not a needle guy. We had your friend Robert Patrick in a couple of weeks ago, had not had him on the show before. What a terrific guy he is.
Chris: Yeah, he’s great.
Kevin: And you think about what he went through. He made it clear when he was on, “Look, I wasn’t brought in to replace Duchovny, no one replaces Agent Mulder on the show. I was brought in to play another character, to do something else.” And he’s just so good on that show.
Chris: Yeah, we actually lucked out. Not only is he a good actor and it’s great to write for him, but he’s just a great guy, a really hard-working, solid guy.
Bean: Is it hard to find people that are both good actors and good people?
Chris: Well, um … no, it’s just one of those things. When you get both you are blessed two ways.
Kevin: And tell us about — because I didn’t fully understand the need to bring in — I guess it’s Annabelle?
Kevin: Annabeth, and also Cary Elwes. What was your thinking in terms of expanding the cast so much this year?
Chris: Well, it had been Mulder and Scully for eight years and so we just thought, let’s see if we can tell these stories in a different way, try not to repeat ourselves or duplicate ourselves, so we kind of went to an ensemble situation. But it’s really still a three-lead show now with Gillian still on the show.
Bean: How many times do you come up with an idea and then somebody else says, “Uh, no, that was year two?” “Sorry, we did that in year four.”
Chris: Every day.
Bean: It’s hard to keep track of, I imagine.
Kevin: What’ s your goal now for the movie franchise? Is it going to be difficult to bring back Duchovny for the movie, as we’ve always heard that he would do, now that he’s not on the TV show?
Chris: No, that was always the plan. I think it can become a movie series. We probably have 3-4 movies, X-Files movies to make. We’re very excited.
Bean: Really? Do you know in your mind where those three are gonna go?
Chris: Yes, and I tell no one so they can’t fire me.
Bean: So, you pretty much already have that figured out?
Bean: Damn, if it were me, I’d be going, “Oh, my God! I got to come up with three movies? How the hell am I gonna do that?” You’ve already got them in your mind?
Bean: Now, the first one was so great. It was better than anybody expected it was gonna be, because people looked at it as, oh, they’re cashing in, it’s a TV spinoff, or whatever. But it was terrific, and it held up on its own. You really took advantage of the things you could do on the movie screen that you couldn’t do on the small screen. It was just fantastic.
Chris: Thanks, and I think this next one will be even better.
Kevin: We need to take a break. We have Chris Carter in the studio. I would like to bring up — they always give us bio information on our guests that come in, and I had forgotten that you wrote and directed The Nanny. (laughing)
Chris: It’s not The Nanny that you know. It’s another Nanny.
Kevin: Good, because I was telling Bean, “Did he do The Nanny? Chris Carter — The Nanny?! No way!” All right, good, that’s good to hear. We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll come right back with Chris Carter and talk The X-Files next.
Bean: In the studio, one of the guys who has been on our program many times over the years. We are always happy to make some time for Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, Sunday nights on 9:00 on Fox. You know, porn legend Ron Jeremy is coming in next hour, Chris. He wasn’t in The XXX-Files, was he? He didn’t star in that movie, did he?
Chris: I think he wasn’t.
Bean: Because he was in Ally McFeel, so we weren’t sure if —
Kevin: He was also in I Love Juicy, so… (laughs)
Bean: We are talking about The X-Files. The 200th episode is on Sunday night. Is that right?
Chris: Uh, no, it’s coming up this year. We are in the 190s now, I think.
Bean: Wow. That is unbelievable.
Kevin: That is amazing. You got time for a couple of calls, Chris?
Chris: Yeah, sure.
Kevin: ‘Cause every time you come in, the fans have questions they’re burning to ask you.
Bean: Let’s say good morning to … Katrina?
Kevin: That’s a made-up name.
Bean: That’s what it said, I just didn’t believe it. All right, Katrinka from Cyprus.
Katrinka: Hi. Chris, I just wanted to say thank you. I’m a big X-Files fan, such a big fan, my 4-year-old son knows that Sunday night is X-Files night. We love it. My question is, we just started watching Smallville this season and started noticing a big similarity in the show, especially Tuesday night, they did one where the girl was sucking the fat out of people —
Katrinka: And that was a big X-File once. When stuff like that happens, do you feel flattered, does it upset you, or you don’t care, or what?
Kevin: You don’t have anything to do with that show, do you?
Chris: No, I have nothing to do with that show.
Kevin: Okay. They copy you?
Chris: You know, actually, I saw a little bit of the pilot. People have been saying they have been seeing some X-Files stories on the show. I don’t know, I guess it is flattering.
Kevin: Well, they do draw from the same well, too. So, there are people who come up with ideas independently who are working in the same genre.
Bean: You have developed that well for quite some time, too.
(K&B ask the caller about her name, etc.)
Kevin: How much time do you have to even watch TV or movies, Chris? Any?
Chris: (chuckles) None.
Bean: Chris has a miserable life. I’m telling you right now, Chris is miserable. He sits in front of his little computer screen and just types. Twenty hours a day.
Kevin: That’s so sad.
Chris: (defensive) No, I watch enough TV.
Bean: No, you don’t.
Kevin: What are your favorite shows on TV?
Chris: I like The Sopranos.
Bean: So this is great for you, ’cause you got a year off. You don’t have to worry about watching that.
Chris: That’s true. I want that job.
Bean: What else? (silence) You can name one TV show.
Chris: I’m a surfer. I watch NYPD Blue. I think it’s great.
Bean: Yeah? What’s the last movie that you enjoyed?
Chris: I saw Spy Game the other night. That was kind of good.
Kevin: I liked that a lot.
Chris: And … um …
Bean: And that’s it. (all laugh) Let’s talk to Joe from West LA. This is a question that is asked of every person who creates entertainment in Hollywood these days. Joe, good morning, you’re on with Chris Carter.
Joe: Hi. When you did the movie, you blew up a building in Dallas which looked reminiscently like the Oklahoma City bombing —
Joe: And also the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen, you had a plot for a passenger jet to be crashed into the World Trade Center. I’m just wondering, in light of the September 11 events have you gotten more self-conscious with your writing?
Chris: You think about it every day. So, it’s something that we won’t touch on the show. I don’t think we have any perspective on it, and we do entertainment.
Bean: So, you’ve tried to stay away
Chris: Yeah. It’s a very sensitive subject right now, and I don’t think that it’s subject matter for us.
Kevin: You also depict people high up in the Government and for a while after September 11, you weren’t allowed to cast aspersions on the President or any of his staff.
Bean: Boy, did we find that out the hard way.
Kevin: Yeah, we sure did. I mean, your presentation of the government, even, some people could look at and kind of feel weird about it because it’s not patriotic right now.
Chris: Well, we deal with factions inside the government, so it’s not the government, per se. It’s not the big bad evil government, it’s factions within it.
Bean: And that’s how you make yourself feel better at night? (laugh)
Kevin: One more, from Mike in Hollywood. Hello, Mike? (no answer) Oh, he’s gone. He wanted to know if you were going to release seasons 5-8 on DVD.
Chris: Yes, we are.
Kevin: I imagine that makes sense. Isn’t it great to be have DVD, to be able to have the entire collection?
Chris: Yeah, it’s incredible to me
Bean: Have you been able to do stuff? What kind of things have you been able to add to The X-Files DVDs?
Chris: We add some stuff in, scenes that were missing or deleted or had to be taken out for time, and then there’s commentary. So it’s got a lot of bonus stuff.
Lisa [a show staffer]: Will it help us understand?
Chris: Follow the bouncing ball?
Bean: Nothing will do that.
Kevin: Although we’re convinced — we didn’t even bring this up — Chris has no idea what’s going on in The X-Files.
Lisa: He lost control in season two.
Bean: He doesn’t have a clue.
Kevin: All along he said, “I know what’s going to happen, I know what’s going to happen.” And we just doubt him.
Bean: We are calling bogus on that. Absolutely calling bogus!
Kevin: We have to go, but what else you can tell us about Sunday night’s X-Files, except the throw-up scene? What else have you got for us, anything? Whet our appetite?
Chris: It’s a stand-alone episode, which means it’s not a mythology episode. It really does what The X-Files, I think, does best, which is scare the pants off of you.
Bean: It does that. I’ve seen it, I recommend it, folks. You should check it out, Sunday night on 9 on Fox.
Kevin: There you go. Chris Carter, thanks very much for coming in.
Chris: Thanks for having me.
Kevin: We appreciate it.