X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Archive for 2011

Monster & Critics: Michael Bublé talks future diaper duty, new video

Monster & Critics
Michael Bublé talks future diaper duty, new video
April MacIntyre

[Original article here]

What does Canadian crooner Michael Bublé wish for in 2012?

“To live more in the moment and to be happy with what I have,” he says in the December 4 issue of Parade.

On Bublé appearing on The X-Files:

MB: It was a very small part. I was a sailor. I just needed the money—my singing career was nonexistent at that point.

On his worst pre-fame gig…

MB: I did singing telegrams, but I wasn’t very good because I don’t have a big, loud voice. There were times I didn’t get paid. It was tough on the ego.

What do you always take with you on tour?

MB: I’m trying to learn Spanish, so I have my Spanish for Dummies book. And my wife bought me this little stuffed pig that she thinks looks like me—and it does, which is weird—so I bring that for good luck. He’s always there when I walk into my dressing room, looking at me with these big, sad eyes.

Do you want to have enough kids for a hockey team?

MB: I hope not! Watching my best friend with his newborn, I think one is enough. This poor guy doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. I went to see him the other day and he had poop all over him—and he was happy! I was like, “Wow, I can wait for that.”

Check out more from Michael Bublé on Parade.com and watch the singer’s hilarious rendition of his least favorite Christmas song in this video…

SciFiAndTvTalk: Sci-Fi Blast From The Past – Brian Markinson (The X-Files)

Sci-Fi Blast From The Past – Brian Markinson (The X-Files)
Steve Eramo

[Original article here]

In today’s Sci-Fi Blast From The Past, veteran actor Brian Markinson talks about his guest-starring work in The X-Files.

“I’ve been very fortunate with my career in that I’ve played everything from attorneys, doctors and cops to serial killers and psychopaths,” says actor Brian Markinson.  “I haven’t been pigeonholed and that’s been great.”  In The X-Files episode Born Again, the actor had the opportunity to play both good cop and bad cop in a story linking a series of bizarre murders to a little girl.

“My audition for The X-Files was pretty much like all the auditions actors go on,” recalls Markinson.  “I had a meeting with one of the show’s executive producers, Howard Gordon, who also co-wrote Born Again with his then partner Alex Gansa.  I read the first scene in which my character Tony Fiore meets Special Agents Fox Mulder [David Duchovny] and Dana Scully [Gillian Anderson] for the first time.  They taped it and that was that.  The meeting lasted all of ten minutes.  At that time I didn’t even have the opportunity of really reading the whole script.  They were only releasing sections of it because it had not yet been completed.

“The ironic thing about getting the role is that Tony Fiore, at least on paper, seemed like this Italian guy.  When I went in for the audition it was me, a good Jewish boy, and a bunch of, ‘Hey, how ya doin’?’ Italian guys.  I thought, ‘There’s not a chance in hell that I’m going to land this thing.’  My audition tape was sent to [X-Files creator] Chris Carter and Jerrold Freedman, who directed the episode, and I got a phone call shortly thereafter booking me on the series.”

As one of three men responsible for the murder of a fellow police officer, Tony Fiore is targeted for death by an eight-year-old girl named Michelle.  The girl, whose body has been taken over by the spirit of the murdered officer Charlie Morris, manages to eliminate two of his killers and then goes after Fiore.  The dead officer is particularly interested in seeking revenge on the detective who not only was his partner but who also married Morris’ wife after his death

“I guess the best way to describe Tony is that he’s a bad guy with a conscience,” explains the actor.  “Without going into too much exposition, he’s a man who made an epically tragic mistake in his past and compounded it.  The story is really a morality piece and years later Tony is forced to confront that particular demon from his past.

“We really don’t get a chance to see the kind of guy he was back then,” continues Markinson.  “We just see him when things start crumbling, but, yeah, he’s a bad man,” the actor laughs, “and not a very bright guy, either.  He’s a follower.  I don’t necessarily think he’s the guy who was the ringleader.  I just think that he got caught up in the whole thing and it came back to nip him in the ass.”

Although he was not previously an avid viewer of the series Markinson had watched a handful of XFiles episodes and was familiar with the show prior to being cast in the program.  “What I love about it is that it’s unlike so many other shows.  The writing is phenomenal and, again, it has the whole morality play aspect, which sort of reminds me of Star Trek,” he notes.  The actor enjoyed working with the Canadian production crew and found series’ stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson extremely friendly and generous.  This sort of rapport gave Markinson the chance to really sink his teeth into what he feels is a very character-driven piece.

“Working with the crew up in Vancouver [British Columbia, Canada] was such a positive experience.  You really got the sense that everyone there was so excited to be working on this together.  There was no dissension and no one throwing fits on the set.  All of this made it a really easy place to work.

“As for David Duchovny, he is just terrific.  Fox Mulder is such an understated kind of character and Duchovny is just the antithesis of that.  He’s got a very good sense of humour.  David made the whole experience a lot of fun and I loved working with him.  Gillian is a very warm individual and a wonderfully talented actress.  Not only did I enjoy working with her but I also enjoyed watching her work.  Her eyes are incredible and she’s just so amazing.  Sometimes it can be kind of a boys’ club up there on the set because most of the crew are men, but she does her own thing and fits in very well.  My wife is from Vancouver and she went to school with Gillian’s husband, so, we have this sort of weird connection.”

Markinson also had the opportunity to work with director-turned-award-winning author Jerrold Freedman on the episode.  The actor recalls Freedman as being a take-charge sort of person on the set.  “Jerry was extremely helpful and spent a lot of time talking to me about performance.  He was very encouraging all the way through the shoot and it was great to have him as an ally.

“When you’re guesting on a show you walk on the set knowing absolutely no one.  It’s much easier if you’re David Duchovny because you’re there every week.  You know everybody and you feel like this is your home but coming in as a guest you really have to rely on the good faith of the group and they were all great.”

Did the actor have much contact with creator Chris Carter while he was working on the series?  “Chris really was sort of hands-off with Jerry.  There was a lot of trust and friendship there.  Chris was around but it was like he wasn’t there, if you know what I mean.  We had lunch together but he pretty much left the episode in Jerry’s hands.”

The climax of Born Againbrings Michelle and Tony Fiore face-to-face for a showdown in the detective’s own home.  After Fiore’s legs are snared by an electrical cord the little girl begins to turn every object around the house against her captive.  As Fiore struggles frantically to free himself a fire poker flies up into the air and hurls itself directly towards him.

“The way they did that trick was not terribly scientific,” recalls Markinson.  “The poker itself was hard rubber, not steel.  The prop guy squatted down out of frame six feet or so from me.  He was supposed to throw this poker and have it sort of glance off the back of my head.  We did it and did it and we got it down pretty well.  When we rolled the cameras he wound up and threw this thing.  To everyone’s surprise, especially mine, the poker hit me straight on the temple.  I saw stars.  I have a feeling that’s the take that they used, too,” he chuckles.  “It hit me full on and I just went down and kind of crashed.  It took me a little while to get my wits about me.

“It was also very cool having a fish tank explode on you,” he adds.  “The production team took a long time to rig that thing up and they also had one other dummy tank standing by, but they ended up not having to use it because we did it all in one take.  I really had a good time shooting the episode.”

The son of a chemical engineer, Markinson thought about pursuing the same line of work when he got into high school.  He started doing plays in his junior year and continued in college.  “I studied acting in England, actually London, for a year.  I saw a lot of theatre there and then came back to the United States and went right to school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.  I think my year in London was really the catalyst for making that decision.”

Markinson did some professional theatre work before going to California to make his television debut playing a doctor testifying about crack babies in the American drama series Equal JusticeHe found the process of acting on television quite a bit different from appearing on the stage.  “When I worked onstage I was used to rehearsing a show for four weeks.  In television all that time is condensed from the time you get the job to the time you show up on the set.  That could be a day, two days, it might be a week, but you’ve got to do all that work and show up on that set ready to work.  So, it was kind of daunting.

“When you’re working in television, rehearsal means blocking it with the camera and maybe running through it once.  You really have to rely on yourself and your wits much more.  There’s less of an opportunity to break down the material and hash it out.  [Spencer Tracy] once said, ‘Just know your lines and don’t bump into the furniture.’  That’s particularly true when it comes to working in front of a television camera.”

Since his arrival on the West Coast in 1991, the actor has appeared in such motion pictures as Apollo 13, The Birdcage and Wolf with Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer.  His television credits include the made-for-TV films The Betty Broderick Story, Shame II, Web of Deception and White Mile for HBO as well as guest-starring roles in such series as L.A. Law, China Beach, Sisters and Love and WarHis appearance in The X-Files was not his first foray into the world of beyond, having worked on an episode of Star Trek:The Next Generation and two episodes of Star Trek:Voyager.

“I appeared with Paul Sorvino in The Next Generation episode Homeward.  I play the guy who stumbles onto the Enterprise from the holodeck and ends up killing himself.  When I worked on the programme they were on their last season. The cast was all old pros and knew each other incredibly well.  These people were family and felt very comfortable with each other.  I got to play a scene with Patrick Stewart [Captain Jean-Luc Picard] and I really enjoyed having the chance to talk to him afterwards because I’m a great fan of his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

When casting began for Star Trek: Voyager, Markinson auditioned for the role of The Holographic Doctor, which ultimately went to Robert Picardo.  Although the actor was not signed up for a regular of tour duty aboard Voyager he was eventually cast as Mr. Durst in the first-season episode Cathexis.  He went on to appear briefly as the crewman in the following episode Facesuntil a Vidian scientist grafted Durst’s face over his own disfigured features in an attempt to woo B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Biggs-Dawson).

“When I auditioned they had me read for the part of the Vidian scientist and not Durst.  I think they set Durst up in Cathexis to end up having him sacrifice his face for the lust of a Vidian,” he laughs.  “Durst was always meant to bite the dust.

Voyager was so much fun because I got to appear as Durst in both episodes and then play that alien doctor under all that makeup in Faces.  In playing the Vidian I found that I had to rely on the sort of work I learned in England in terms of the theatre.  I was wearing these prosthetics all over my body, had false teeth in my mouth and was pretty much blind because I was wearing an opaque contact lens.  I not only had to overexaggerate everything and try to blow through all of that rubber but I also had to play a pathetic sort of being and do a love scene.  That role is certainly one of the most challenging things I’ve every had to do and I really worked hard to make it all work and play those scenes opposite Roxann-Biggs Dawson.”

The actor recently worked with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer in the feature film Up Close and PersonalAlong with a guest-starring part in an episode of the UPN series The Sentinel the actor appeared as Jason Webster in the television film Alien Nation: Millennium.

“Ken Johnson who created the Alien Nation series is an amazing guy.  He’s a real hands-on type of person who has crafted this entire world, much like [Star Trek‘s] Gene Roddenberry, with a jargon all its own.  I remember in one scene I was up on this balcony holding a woman hostage.  I was wielding a gun and screaming about a giant scorpion that was after me – you get to say some really incredible things on these types of shows – and when I looked down there was Kenny with a broom in his hands sweeping up the street.  He does everything.  It’s his baby and he makes it fun for everyone on the set.  When you’re working on The X-Files or Star Trek you can see the amount of money they put into these shows.  I’ve got to give Kenny a lot of credit because he gets the job done on a much more limited budget.”

Markinson’s upcoming role is one he will be sharing with his wife, that of parent to a newborn baby.  He’s very much looking forward to playing this particular part and feels his job as an actor will allow him to be an even better parent.  “I’m very lucky because I can pick and choose when to work and went not to work.  I can stay at home and be a father,” he says happily.  “Acting’s a nice way to make a living.”

The A.V. Club: William B. Davis

The A.V. Club Toronto
William B. Davis
John Semley

[Original article here]

The actor: There are few villains—in television or in fiction, writ large—as compelling as the Cigarette Smoking Man (a.k.a. Cancer Man, a.k.a. CGB Spender), the primary antagonist for the first six seasons of The X-Files. Played by Toronto-born character actor William B. Davis, Cigarette Smoking Man pulled the strings on a vast conspiracy that motivated the show’s gripping, if at times unfocussed, “mythology” arc. Though primarily associated with “Smokey,” Davis has had a broad career across film, television, and theatre. And it’s all detailed in his new autobiography, Where There’s Smoke…: Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man, which Davis launched last night at the Gladstone. We spoke with him before the launch about his career, his signature role, and his emergence as a spokesperson for skepticism.

The Dead Zone (1983)—Ambulance Driver
William B. Davis: Have you seen that film?

The A.V. Club: Yes, but I can’t recall seeing you in it, not that I can remember offhand anyways.

WD: Not that you can remember! That’s right. You’ll see my name in the credits. But you will not see me in the picture. I still have fans who will read my IMDB and send me fan mail saying, “Loved your role in Dead Zone.” Well, my role ended up on the cutting room floor. Yes, I worked on that film, but I did not appear in it. … I’d been a theatre director for 20 years. But I actually had not acted in about 20 years since my first year of university, until about the late ’70s and early ’80s. And that’s when I did Dead Zone.

SCTV (1984)—Man On Phone
WD: Was I on that? Okay…

AVC: Well it’s listed on IMDB that you appeared on an episode of SCTV.

WD: By God, you’re right! I had totally forgotten about that. I have the dimmest memory now that you mention it. As I remember, it was quite a good time!

AVC: You should revisit your own IMDB profile more often, to shake loose more of these memories.

WD: I should really look at it. If only to make sure it’s accurate. I remember last time I looked at it, there was something that I didn’t do, and I corrected it. One needs to keep on top of these things. I remember I was reading—who was it? I think it was Maggie Smith’s entry, or Albert Finney’s. I can’t remember. But this was on Wikipedia. And they had stage credits and left out completely this production of Miss Julie at the National Theatre of Great Britain, on which I was the assistant director. And it wasn’t mentioned at all, so I put it in. And of course, while I was putting it in, I mentioned that William B. Davis was the assistant director.

Beyond the Stars (1989)—Hal Simon
WD: I used to equate the work we did in those earlier years as being like “studio actors.” Kind of like studio musicians who are called in to put together music for a piece, and they lay it down, and they go home. We come in, we do our piece, we do the best we can, and we go home, until we get called for a different one. It’s a workmanlike part of the job. At the time, as I say, I was a theatre director and running my own acting school, so [acting] was just another string to my bow, rather than my whole career.

AVC: What spurred your move from theatre to acting, where acting became not just a string to your bow, but a larger part of the bow? If not the bow itself…

WD: Well, it was not planned. It’s just what happened. I started doing more and more work. But really it was The X-Files that did it. And it took two or three years for The X-Files to do it. But once that part blossomed, I started getting more and more roles. Finally, at age 57, or whatever it was, I could put down my profession as just “actor.” And I didn’t sell my theatre school, but I handed it over to people I trusted.

The X-Files  (1993-2002)—Cigarette Smoking Man/Cancer Man/CGB Spender
AVC: Is it true that even this role was meant to be just a cameo in the first episode, where you’re just sitting in the background smoking?

WD: I don’t think it would be fair to say about The X-Files that anything was “supposed” to be anything. I don’t think they had any plans or any idea what they were going to do. But in spirit, yes, you’re right. Apparently someone in Los Angeles hard turned it down, apparently because there were no lines, but I don’t know if that’s a true story or not. But yes, I was just a figure in the background. And it got a little more prominent and a little more prominent.

Finally one of the writers said, “Let’s do something with that!” The fans were interested in that character, so they started to give him more episodes. I think the producers were a little bit unnerved about that, because they didn’t know if I could act. I love Bob Goodwin’s comment on the back of my book. He was one of the executive producers who was assigned to direct the first major episode [the character] did. And he said that within the first five minutes he was thrilled. It reminded him of working with Donald Sutherland, and he just thought I was great.

AVC: Is the title of your book borrowed from the episode of the show, “Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man”?

WD: Well, the subtitle at least. The main title is Where There’s Smoke…, which is about the fact that the character smoked a lot, but also a metaphor for the fire that burned within me, going all the way back to my early life. But yes, the subtitle is a play on that episode, except these are my musings on my life.

AVC: For this role, you were required to constantly smoke cigarettes…

WD: Yes, but I had given them up years before.

AVC: So how did you work around that?

WD: I think it had been like 17 years since I’d last smoked, so I wasn’t really worried about becoming addicted. They offered me these herbal cigarettes, as well as real tobacco cigarettes. I said, “Oh no, I’m an actor. I’ll take the real cigarettes.” And we used those for the first two episodes. Then I found myself thinking, “Hmm. Well I sure would love to do some more of those X-Files episodes, just so I can smoke.” So, after that, we switched to the herbal cigarettes and used them throughout the run of the show.

AVC: You mentioned that this was the role that allowed you to work just as an actor. But was there ever a worry about the character being too iconic that you’d be too closely associated with him?

WD: It’s a double-edged sword. The visibility is great, and the attention is great. But there are terrific shows that did not use me, specifically because of that association. A great show shot out in Vancouver, Da Vinci’s Inquest, which ran for years, did not want to have me on the show. It was a very truth-oriented show, and they did not want the referential thing of, “Oh, there’s the Cigarette Smoking Man.” So I never so much as auditioned for that show.

AVC: Even based on the title of your book, though, it seems as if you’ve always embraced the role. Or at least come to embrace it.

WD: Oh absolutely. And I still go to fan conventions and deal with fan mail, and all this stuff that’s still associated with [The X-Files].

AVC: Do you get a lot of fans stopping you on the street and offering you cigarettes?
[Laughs.] Not as much as I used to! It used to be that I could hardly walk down my street without someone leaning out their window and saying, “Hey you got a smoke?” It still happens, but not nearly as often. Now more often it’s, “Gosh, you look familiar? Are you from Kitchener-Waterloo?”

Robson Arms (2005)—Dr. Carlisle Wainwright
WD: They contacted me and wanted me attached. They thought it would give it some help with the funding and so on. And it sounded like a terrific concept. When the scripts came, there were some minor issues—there seemed to be a bit of ageism in there—but we worked through these. I had Lois Lane, Margot Kidder, as my wife. But eventually she ran off with some young man, and there wasn’t much left to do with my character. But it was fun.

AVC: What was it like returning to Canadian television after working on a major series in the United States?

WD: Well, I had never left Canada. I was always based here, and would just go down to Los Angeles to shoot. And the first five seasons of The X-Files was shot in Vancouver, so even most of what I did on that was based in Canada. I’ve done such a range of things, from the big X-Files feature film to smaller shorts for my friends in Vancouver. And Robson Arms sort of falls in the middle somewhere. It was a little friendlier, more low-key. In the end, it’s not that different, one shoot from the other. Some are more money, and some move faster, but the process is always similar.

Amazon Falls (2010)—Calvin
WD: That was really fun. Again, I was in on it from the beginning. I wanted to be part of it, so I was involved through casting. That was filmed in 12 days, so that’s a different rhythm.

AVC: After the film premièred at the Toronto International Film Festival, it screened in a few places in one-week runs, but never really got a proper release. Is this frustrating, especially after working on a film like X-Files: Fight The Future, which opened nationwide on hundreds of screens?

WD: Yeah, and that’s frustrating not just on a personal level, but for Canadian film in general. There’s a hurdle that seems impossible to get over. I’ve seen many fascinating low-budget films that don’t get seen. I mean, when you compare it to the marketing of Fight The Future, never mind the cost of making the picture, it’s hard to imagine how these smaller films can get seen. But Amazon Falls has had a light. It’s won a number of awards, and people seem to really, really like it.

Critical Eye (2002)—Host/Narrator
AVC: Here’s another show, although nonfiction, which deals with the paranormal and the unexplained. Working on The X-Files, did you develop an interest in these topics?

WD: I did, in a kind of curious way. I was never a believer in aliens or UFOs, or whatever. And people who don’t really understand how the film business works assumed I had chosen to be in this series because I believed in these things. And they’d come up to me with glee, excited to tell me about a new sighting or something like this, and I’d tell them that I don’t actually believe in these things. They’d say, “You don’t?! Why not?” Well, the onus is on them to prove that these things exist, not on me to prove that they don’t. I don’t have to prove why Santa Claus doesn’t exist or why fairies don’t exist or why UFOs don’t exist. And they’d say, “Well, we have!”

AVC: So you’re a skeptic?

WD: Well, yes. One time I was listening to an interview on the radio with Barry Beyerstein, who’s a professor at Simon Fraser University and a member of something [formerly] called CSICOP—the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims Of the Paranormal [now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry —ed.]. This is a very reputable organization, with many scientists on the masthead. So I contacted him and became very interested in how they had examined so many of these issues, and tested them with scientific rigour to see if there was anything to them or not. I ended up becoming a kind of spokesman for the skeptic community. Because of The X-Files, I had the notability, and now I had some knowledge. So I did some talks on the subject at various places, and then Discovery Channel grabbed me to host a couple different shows, where I’d look at paranormal events and see what the science behind them is.

AVC: It’s interesting that you’re a skeptic. Because in one sense, you’re so associated with a seminal television series about the supernatural that it’d seem like something would rub off. But at the same time, The X-Files was obviously just a fictional TV show, and all these paranormal events were scripted, which would naturally make you more wary of them.

WD: I mean, there’s no relationship between me being an actor working on a show. Nobody thinks that if I play Macbeth that I’m going to go around killing kings. These are fictional stories.

The Tall Man (forthcoming)—Sherriff Chestnut
WD: That’s still in post-production. I just did the [additional dialogue recording] for it just last week. I think they’re trying to get it ready for Sundance, so maybe it will première there.

AVC: And you play a sheriff in this film? What’s the role exactly?

WD: It’s an interesting plot. There are children disappearing in this small town. And everybody assumes that they’ve been murdered. Without giving a spoiler—well, I am giving a spoiler—but it turns out that they’re actually being kidnapped from poor families and sent to rich families, where they can get a better childhood. It’s someone’s perverse idea of how to make a better a world.

AVC: That’s interesting. Pascal Laugier’s previous film, Martyrs, has a similar plot. But Martyrs seems much grislier than this.

WD: Does it? I haven’t seen that. Maybe I will. The Tall Man is beautifully shot, though. It looks great.

AVC: And you star opposite another great Canadian actor, Stephen McHattie.

WD: Yes! And he did a great job in that.

AVC: Had you two worked together before? It seems that, in this industry, you’re bound to cross paths eventually.

WD: You know I’m trying to think … I feel like we might have rubbed shoulders in something, but I can’t remember from what. When we got on a set we had the feeling that we knew each other before.

The Hollywood Reporter: 'X-Files' Creator Chris Carter Plots Return to TV With Police Thriller

The Hollywood Reporter
‘X-Files’ Creator Chris Carter Plots Return to TV With Police Thriller
Lacey Rose

[Original article here]

Media Rights Capital is producing the female-lead “Unique,” which has a supernatural element.

X-Files creator Chris Carter is heading back to the small screen.

After several years away from Hollywood despite heavy demand, Carter has reemerged with a female-lead mystery police thriller titled Unique. The project, which is set up at Media Rights Capital, has a supernatural element to it. He is set to write and executive produce.

Carter spent nearly a decade at the helm of the David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson vehicle, which ran from 1993 to 2002. The series not only helped put host network Fox on the map but also define it as a destination for edgy, quality fare.

In addition to a rich ancillary revenue that came from DVD and merchandise, the franchise spawned two feature films, 1998’s The X Files and 2008′ The X Files: I Want to Believe. Last month, Anderson told an Australian morning show that there’s talk of a third X-Files feature. “I hope it happens,” she said. “There’s talk of it.”

Carter, who also created Millennium, which ran on Fox from 1996 to 1999, is repped by ICM.

Herald Sun: The jest files

The jest files
Herald Sun
James Wigney

[Original here]


Gillian Anderson in Melbourne to promote her latest film Johnny English Reborn. Picture: Chris Scott Source: Sunday Herald Sun

DRAMA and thrills have left Gillian Anderson with a taste for comedy.

GILLIAN Anderson shot to fame as Special Agent Dana Scully over nine seasons of The X-Files. Since leaving the cult sci-fi hit nearly a decade ago, the Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor has shifted effortlessly between the stage (she was nominated for an Olivier award for her West End role in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House), TV (nominated for a BAFTA for Lady Dedlock in Dickens’ Bleak House) and film (two X-Files films, and The Last King of Scotland). The US-born, England-raised actor lives in London with her three children and partner Mark Griffiths. She visited Australia with co-star Rowan Atkinson this week to promote their film, James Bond spoof Johnny English Reborn.

What was the appeal of Johnny English Reborn for you – was it working with Rowan Atkinson?

It was a mixture of Rowan and the thought of playing the head of MI7. It sounded like a really cool thing to do. I could also see the potential in the script of what they were aiming for and the idea of it essentially being a James Bond with humour.

Are you a Bond fan?

I think I am a Bond fan like any other. I have all the Bond films but I haven’t seen one in a really long time. And if you really look at them, there are really only one or two really good ones. I think Goldfinger is one of them. The others are really just cheesy, bordering on parody.

All the Bond parallels in the film place you squarely in the shoes of Dame Judi Dench. Did you go back and watch what she had done as M?

I didn’t, because it’s clear that the two characters are quite different. But in thinking of her as M, I realised how much power she has as an actress to be able to basically whisper and allude to so much power over everybody. She doesn’t raise her voice at all. It’s really quite straight and laser-like. I found that fascinating.

Am I right in thinking you are both attached to a movie with the unlikely title of The Curse of the Buxom Strumpet?

Yes. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that. It’s a zombie film and that title is alluding to a ship. But we will see. If they get their financing together and we are both still available, then maybe. It’s quite funny.

Is there a big difference between Rowan Atkinson on and off set?

There is a big difference when the camera is actually rolling to the Rowan Atkinson off-set. Especially if there are physical gags involved. Very often it will be discussed, but he won’t necessarily go through the motions of it because it’s exhausting and he very much saves himself for when the camera is rolling. He is not one of those actors or comedians who spills out all over the place and you get it in spades before the take. It’s quite disconcerting when you are talking on an intellectual and technical level and all of a sudden the camera rolls and this master of comedy pops up out of nowhere.

Did you enjoy the comedy aspect?

Actually a good portion of the theatre I have done has been comedy and a fifth to a seventh of the X-Files were comedy episodes. I have done a couple of comedy films but I would actually like to get to be more funny. This is a straight character to Rowan’s comedy and I am very much interested in getting to be the comedian because I enjoy it very much.

You came very close with what you did on The Simpsons, but The X-Files is surely ripe for its own spoof?

We actually talked about it for a while. There has always been the idea that every few years we would come back and do another picture and within that there was always a desire that at some point we come back and do a spoof. It may be too late now but I love the idea of it. There is so much stuff we could pull from. There is one episode called Bad Blood which is actually one of my favourites and we kind of take the p— out of ourselves in that and it was so much fun to do.

I think a lot of people were hoping the second X-Files movie would answer a lot more questions. Were you happy?

I think that if we were to do a third one, it would answer a lot more of those questions and maybe also have something to do with aliens, which is ultimately what people want to see. David and I have been very vocal about the fact that if Chris or the studio were to come to us to do another one, we would do it. Recently Chris announced that it was likely to be in the works but I have no idea what that means or at what stage it is or who is writing it or whether Fox is even interested.

Do you miss Scully?

I miss her when I am together with David and Chris and we are reminiscing about it, or somebody is a particularly big fan and brings something up, but I don’t think about her on a daily basis. I think I am more appreciative of all that she was now than I was even at the time.

Why does the show continue to strike such a chord?

I have no idea. I really don’t know. There are new generations of fans out there, which always surprises me. I get letters from people who say ‘I’m 12 and I just started watching the series and I am so glad it’s out there. That’s cool.

You are becoming quite the Dickens specialist too, after Bleak House, and now you are playing Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. How do you go about breathing new life into these revered literary characters?

When I read a script I generally know on the first read whether that person is inside me somewhere, and that was a case where I got her. It’s my version of her, but there is something inside that went ‘Oh, I can do this. I get who this is’. Sometimes I read stuff and I just don’t get it – it doesn’t resonate. I get very specific images and vocal mannerisms, and then it’s just down to hoping they come together in the right way and other people agree you are on the right track. When I showed up to the set for Great Expectations I hadn’t really discussed that much with the director about the direction I was taking her, and it didn’t actually occur to me until the second day that he could have said ‘What the f— are you doing?’ I just really hope it’s good. It looks like it will be, but you never know.

You keep returning to the stage. What is it you get from theatre that you don’t get anywhere else?

It terrifies me. I hate it as much as I love it and I only decide to do something every few years because of that. Along the way there is at least 100 times where I go ‘Why did I subject myself to this again?’ But at the same time there is a part of me that is fed in a completely different way to anything else in that live process with an audience and discovering stuff in the moment and the danger of it.

Johnny English Reborn opens on Thursday.

Fox All Access: 'X-Files 3: The Truth Is… Gillian Anderson Doesn't Know!

Fox All Access
‘X-Files 3: The Truth Is… Gillian Anderson Doesn’t Know!

[Original article here]

Are rumors of a third “X-Files” movie the truth?  Or are they just out there?  That’s what we wanted to find out when we spotted Gillian Anderson this afternoon at the Television Critics Association meetings today in Beverly Hills.  She told us she wishes she knew what was going on, and that she’d be happy to read a script — if only somebody would give her one!  (Click on the on the audio player to hear Gillian Anderson)