Posts Tagged ‘chris carter’

Los Angeles Times Hero Complex: ‘The X-Files’ at 20: Chris Carter still wants to believe

May-13-2013
‘The X-Files’ at 20: Chris Carter still wants to believe
Los Angeles Times Hero Complex
Blake Hennon

[Original article here]

It’s been 20 years since “The X-Files” opened to viewers’ wanting-to-believe eyes, and the hit paranormal investigation drama’s creator, Chris Carter, doesn’t quite know what to make of that phenomenon.

“It’s surreal,” he told a sold-out crowd Sunday at the Hero Complex Film Festival shortly after entering to a standing ovation. “It’s like an X-File…. Twenty years’ missing time.”

Asked what he might do differently if he made the show now, he said, “It was of its time…. You probably could make the show today, but, I don’t know why, it just feels like it was made exactly when it should have been made.”

The festival’s closing night was devoted to the acclaimed Fox series, and included screenings of three fan-picked episodes – the pilot, which he wrote, “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” and “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.”

Carter said the pilot scene in which FBI special agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a skeptical scientist, first meets her new partner, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), a crusading believer in aliens and conspiracy, wasn’t just their introduction as a duo to the audience, but to him as well: “That’s the first time they really acted together. They didn’t audition together for the parts. We really cast them separately, so we didn’t know there’d be that chemistry. What you were watching was really a kind of test, and it ended up working.”

“Working” might be an understatement: Scully and Mulder’s chemistry quickly became a pop cultural fixation, with rampant will-they-won’t-they speculation.

During the series’ 1993-2002 run, Carter thought they wouldn’t, though he and the writing staff had some fun with fans’ expectations.

“We actually snuck in a lot of kisses, like secretly, like sneaky dream sequences and stuff where they get together. I knew they should never be together. It was wrong.”

His thinking changed, however, when it was time to make the second feature film spun off from the series, 2008’s “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.” In it, viewers saw that Mulder and Scully had finally become a couple. So why bring them together after all those years?

“You couldn’t keep it up any longer,” he explained. “It was ridiculous.”

Carter had a surprise for the fans, bringing out two of the show’s most popular writers, brothers Glen and Darin Morgan, the latter of whom wrote “Jose Chung” and “Clyde Bruckman.”

Glen Morgan, who noted it was his brother’s birthday, recalled being sent the script for “Clyde Bruckman” and, reading the lines for guest star Peter Boyle’s psychic-vision-haunted titular character, realizing, “Oh my God, this is our dad.” Then, clarifying to audience laughter, “He couldn’t predict when people die or anything …”

That episode, for which Boyle and Darin Morgan won Emmys, and “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” – which Carter called “still such an improbable episode for any TV show” – broadened the series’ stylistic scope by mixing in more humor with the series’ usual science-fiction and horror elements.

“That was the amazing thing to me,” Carter said. “That it could be so many different things.”

Darin Morgan said he appreciated now more than he did then the risks Carter was willing to take on unusual material.

“I’ve had so many situations since ‘The X-Files’ where producers said, ‘I don’t get this,’” the writer said. “People are so unwilling to take a chance on another person. That was so rare. Thanks, Chris.”

There was, of course, one question on every audience member’s mind: Will there be another movie?

“That’s a good question,” Carter said.

Gently prodded to answer, he replied, “The truth is out there.”

The fourth annual Hero Complex Film Festival was hosted by Hero Complex editor Gina McIntyre at the Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. It began Friday with a John Carpenter double feature and feisty Q&A. Saturday afternoon brought a screening of “The Mist” and a discussion  of that film’s shocking ending with writer-director Frank Darabont and surprise guest Thomas Jane. Saturday night belonged to Guillermo del Toro, who shared an exclusive preview of his upcoming “Pacific Rim” and gave lively responses to questions between showings of “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.” On Sunday afternoon, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin discussed “Independence Day” sequel possibilities after a screening of that film, and were joined by surprise guest Jeff Goldblum.

Check back in the coming days for videos of discussions with the festival’s special guests.

Daily Illini: X-Files creator speaks at University’s Fear Film Festival

Feb-25-2013
X-Files creator speaks at University’s Fear Film Festival
Daily Illini
Austin Keating

[Original article here]

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Foellinger Auditorium was packed with insect enthusiasts to celebrate the 30th annual Insect Fear Film Festival, sponsored by the entomology department.

The event was called “The Ins-X Files,” and Chris Carter, creator of the science fiction series “The X-Files,” spoke at the event and answered audience questions after screenings of his productions.

“I always try to accept all the invitations I get to stuff that honors ‘The X-Files’ because it was something I worked very hard on,” Carter said. “If people are willing to throw something in our honor, I’m more than happy to honor them by showing up.”

Other event attractions included a cockroach petting zoo, an art competition with local K-12 students and face painting.

May Berenbaum, event organizer and head of the department of entomology, said she felt a special connection to one of the screened productions, an “X-Files” episode called “War of Coprophages.”

“I was just ecstatic when I asked Chris Carter to pick from the nine or so episodes that feature insects, and he picked ‘War of the Coprophages,’” she said. “The screenwriter had used some of the books I had written as background, and when it came time to name the entomologist in that episode, he thought ‘Berenbaum’ was a good name, so he used it.”

Berenbaum said the goal of the event was to dispel the fear of insects generated by media.

“Always our goal is for people to gain a deeper appreciation of insects as they really are, which, as entomologists, we know is almost stranger than fiction,” Berenbaum said.


Hundreds of insect enthusiasts filled Foellinger Auditorium on Saturday night to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the entomology department’s Insect Fear Film Festival.

The event was called “The Ins-X Files,” and Chris Carter, the creator of “The X-Files” spoke at the event. The Daily Illini sat down with Carter to discuss the festival.

 Daily Illini: Why did you choose to show “War of Coprophages” out of all the episodes about insects in “The X-Files”?

Chris Carter: Because of May Berenbaum (festival creator), it was the obvious episode to show, and because it’s one of the best episodes of the show.

DI: What efforts did you take to make the show more realistic?

CC: We were really rigorous in our science research because, for me, the story’s only as scary as it is believable, so it’s got to start with real science, and then the science fiction is built in on that.

DI: “The X-Files” was really the first science fiction horror show of its kind. Was it difficult getting that past studio executives in the mid-’90s?

CC: It’s hard to get … anything past the studio executives. They’re always braced for failure. … I always say they dare you to succeed because most things fail, and they’re certain that when you’re making something in the beginning that you are tempting fate and failure by making whatever choice you make, so it’s a very nervous process.

DI: What was your major inspiration behind “The X-Files”?

CC: There were many inspirations. One of the big ones was a show that was on when I was a kid. It was called “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.” It really wasn’t all that much like “The X-Files,” but it was scary and I wanted to do something as scary as “Night Stalker.”

DI: There are people from across the United States who came here to see you speak. When you first started “The X-Files,” did you feel like it would become as big as it is now?

CC: No. It’s still amazing and surprising to me. It’s really one of the reasons we come to these things. Because when we were working on this show so hard for all those years, you really kept your head down. You worked really hard, and this is for me the wonderful result, a product of all that hard work. It’s a really nice thing.

DI: Not many people know that Vince Gilligan, creator of “Breaking Bad,” was a writer for your show. What do you make of his recent success?

CC: I couldn’t be a bigger fan. He’s created a masterpiece, and it’s not surprising to me because he’s one of the most original and bright minds in our business.

DI: What shows are you watching now?

CC: I’ve been watching “Breaking Bad.” I just watched the 13 episodes of “House of Cards,” which just came on Netflix. I went back and watched five years of “The Wire” recently, which was great. I just watched the pilot to “The Americans,” which I thought was good. I tend to go with something I like that’s been on before and watch it all, it’s just how I do it.

DI: What projects do you have going? What are your plans for the future?

CC: I have something with Showtime that might go this year. I’m talking to AMC about a possible television series.

DI: So what do you do with your free time?

CC: Well, I work really hard. When you’re in production on a TV show or two, you couldn’t be any busier. There’s not a moment in the day where you can goof off. So now I have moments in the day where I can kind of goof off right now, which is a luxury in my business, and I’m enjoying all those moments before I go into production again.

Austin can be reached at akkeati2@dailyillini.com.

Indiewire: Chris Carter Talks The Legacy of ‘The X-Files,’ Returning to TV and Why You Have to Read The Comments

Oct-23-2012
Chris Carter Talks The Legacy of ‘The X-Files,’ Returning to TV and Why You Have to Read The Comments
Indiewire
Daniel Carlson

[Original article here]

Chris Carter is responsible for the nightmares of a generation.

As the creator of “The X-Files” and “Millennium,” he shepherded in a new wave of horror and suspense on television, and his legacy can be seen in the success of everything from “Fringe” to “The Walking Dead.” For his contributions to the medium, Carter received the Outstanding Television Writer award from the Austin Film Festival, where he appeared on several panels and presented a pair of episodes from his best-known series. Indiewire got a chance to sit down with him in Austin to talk about everything from the rise of cable to the future of content distribution.

Let’s start with why you chose to screen these specific episodes of “The X-Files” (“Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”) and “Millennium” (“Pilot”).

First of all, it’s nice to be here. I’ve never been to Austin, so this is a big thrill. It was an amazing honor today to be among my other honorees, Frank Darabont and Eric Roth. Amazing.

aff
Frank Darabont, Eric Roth, Carter at AFF Jack Plunkett

The episodes I chose were for two reasons: I didn’t want to focus just on “The X-Files.” I thought that “Millennium” pilot stands the test of time. I think it’s a really good, scary episode of television, and I was very proud of it. I still am. It was very nice to see it again today myself.

The other episode I chose [“Final Repose”] was, for me, a high point during [the show’s early years], and I thought it was still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on television. It’s completely original; it was taking “The X-Files” and turning it on its head. The performances were wonderful, the direction was wonderful, the writing was wonderful. I thought it was just an excellent episode in every way.

“The X-Files,” in a lot of ways, paved the way for network genre shows, especially horror. I can’t imagine it was easy to get a show with so many straight-ahead scares off the ground in the early 1990s. Was that a fight with Fox? Was there ever any feedback from them about the content’s grimness?

The good thing and the bad thing about was that there was nothing scary on television then, so when I came in and said, “There’s nothing scary on television, and this is something that we should be doing,” they got that idea. But they didn’t get the idea of two FBI agents investigating the paranormal. That was weird to them, and they didn’t want to do it at first.

I had to pitch the idea twice to the network, and they finally bought it maybe just to make me go away. I was at 20th Century Fox Television, pitching it to 20th Century Fox network; it was kind of a no-brainer for them, because it’s one hand feeding the other. That was a fortunate thing in the beginning, not so much in the end.

Do you think any shows since then have been that scary?

It’s really hard to scare people on network television. You’ve got to be smart about it. You’ve got to parcel out the scares. I’ve seen a few really scary shows, episodes of them, but I have to say, I took a break from television after “The X-Files” was off and sort of didn’t pay much attention, but I’m back now.

What are you watching right now?

“Breaking Bad.” Love it. A little bit of everything: little bit of “Game of Thrones,” little bit of “Walking Dead.” I’m back into “The Wire.”

Has there ever been a show that’s made you say “I wish I’d been part of that”?

I admired shows like “Six Feet Under.” That was an amazing show. Never boring, always inventive, smart. Loved the characters. Completely original. Those are shows that I admire.

In terms of your writing process, how did you determine what works for you best?

It’s pretty much a regular workday, 9 to 5. That works for me. I’ve worked, believe me, from 4 o’clock in the morning until 10 o’clock at night when we were in production, so I’ve done those kinds of hours. I try to sort of have a regular life now, but I’m not in production, so it’s a luxury to have a regular life. When you do have to feed an ongoing production, you have a finite amount of time in which to do the best work possible, so you have to work really around the clock.

Speaking of productions, could you talk a bit more about the status of the project you’re writing for Showtime?

[smiling] The status is, right now, that they like it.

Any descriptions or ideas you can discuss?

I’m sort of superstitious.

You had a show, “Unique,” that didn’t go. This Showtime project is a different one?

Yeah, this is a different project.

What was the fallout with “Unique”?

There’s no fallout. It’s just a show that we tried to set up in a certain way, and we didn’t set it up, and then we took a step back, and so that’s where we are on that right now.

What’s changed in the industry and writing/production process since you launched “The X-Files”?

There are more and different places to pitch and to develop, and I think you’re looking at the obvious eclipse of broadcast television by cable in terms of content. Things that you can’t do on broadcast now that you can do on cable, which is making it feel like a superior product.

It’s not more popular, but you’re watching viewership go up on cable so that now cable is actually starting to give broadcast a run for its money. Look at “Sons of Anarchy,” look at the way “Hatfields & McCoys” performed. There are lots of instances of cable shows … what else did I see the other day that premiered to huge numbers? [We both drew blanks, but Carter was likely thinking of “American Horror Story: Asylum,” which drew 3.85 million viewers on FX.] You’re looking at a change, and that’s an exciting thing, but what it says to me is there are also opportunities to do inventive things on broadcast television and still get a large audience.

Was that what inspired you to write a cable show?

I love the idea — as do a lot of people who have done broadcast shows, where you’re doing 22 episodes a season — of doing six, eight, or 10-13 [episodes]. That is very appealing to me, and it actually allows you to attract a different kind of actor because they aren’t doing it 10 months a year, they’re doing it three months a year. That’s a benefit, too.

I want to circle back to “The X-Files,” based on some comments you made earlier today about how the show evolved to encompass procedural, horror, comedy, etc. Was there a type of episode that was the most rewarding to do?

Some of the big mythology episodes, where we did big production stuff — exploded trains. I mentioned an episode [“End Game”] at one of the panels where we trucked in tons of snow and created the polar ice cap with the conning tower. There were things we did just because we didn’t know we couldn’t. Those were really exciting times.

Then there were episodes like the black-and-white episode [“The Post-Modern Prometheus”] which were taking a whole other direction. Production design had to be switched up because you design differently for black-and-white. We filmed in black-and-white. We didn’t film in color like a lot of people do and change it. So we took some technical risks.

One of the episodes I’m most proud of in terms of taking a risk would be the episode called “Triangle,” which took place on the Queen Mary. 24 edits in the hour of television, so big, long takes. We would do one take before lunch. You just don’t do that in television production.

That was the one with two long shots down a hallway that crossed each other, right?

Yes, that’s right. There were big tricks in it, and it took some inventiveness.

You mentioned alternate routes of pitching and distribution. Would you ever consider online fundraising like Kickstarter or online distribution like Netflix?

It’s funny, I just gave somebody some money through Kickstarter to work on a documentary — I think it’s a really interesting way to do things. Right now, I have what I would call more conventional avenues open to me, so that’s the way I think I would prefer to work right now. But I actually like the idea of choosing these alternative methods, and people coming up with new ways to distribute content, and people taking control of their projects. I think that will be a future of sorts.

Would online distribution be a possibility for “Fencewalker,” your film in progress?

Possibly. I’ve sort of put that away right now, and I’m gonna come back to it.

Do you think you’ll revisit that in the near future?

I’m not sure.

I wasn’t actually sure of the status: if it had finished shooting, etc.

It had been filmed and was in the editorial process, and I decided I wanted to rethink some things about it.

There’s a big focus here at the Austin Film Festival about writers, pitching, getting projects off the ground, and so on. What’s the best or worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten as a writer?

It’s funny, no matter how much advice you get, the truth is that it’s kind of like “Throw Momma From the Train,” you know, “A writer writes always.” You must persevere. That’s the only way to find the gold.

You spoke at the panel about your relationship with the fan community, and how you read a fan letter in the first season of “X-Files” that influenced your approach to the show and steered you toward stories involving the relationship between the main characters. I can’t imagine what it would be like to mount a show like that today in the age of blogs, and comments, and recaps. Is that something that’s on your mind as you prepare the Showtime project?

You’re bombarded with, uh, “advice,” and with people wanting you to consider their ideas and their direction. Some of it filters through, and some of it doesn’t, so you filter a lot of it out. It comes to you in a variety of ways, and I still think I would pay attention [to it]. I’m sure every editorial writer in The New York Times reads the comments that come after, because they can be so — they are wildly varying in their meanness or sometimes insight. So you can’t disregard them. You must pay attention. It’s important. It’s a reality check of sorts. So it’s part of the process.

That seems like a tough balance to strike.

You could spend a lot of time just reading your reviews, basically. A lot of people don’t read their reviews, but I do. I read my reviews.

Press-Telegram: ‘X Files’ creator Chris Carter coming home to Bellflower

Jul-13-2012
‘X Files’ creator Chris Carter coming home to Bellflower
Press-Telegram
Phillip Zonkel

[Original article here]

BELLFLOWER – “The X-Files” creator and Bellflower native Chris Carter will be a special guest and featured speaker at an upcoming youth talent show.

The 13th annual Youth Cultural Arts Foundation Talent Show is hosted by the city on Sept. 29 at the William and Jane Bristol Civic Auditorium, 16600 Civic Center Drive.

Auditions and registration will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the auditorium.

“Chris’ artistic achievements are part of our cultural fabric,” said Steven Dollinger, president of the Bellflower-based Youth Cultural Arts Foundation. “This year’s theme is `Follow Your Dream,’ and nobody is a better inspiration to our participants than Chris, who grew up in Bellflower.

“By following his own dreams, Chris helped redefine science-fiction television,” Dollinger said.

Auditions are open to the public and will be divided into two age groups, 5-12 years old and 13-18 years old.

The top three winners in each division will be awarded a trophy and cash prize. More than $3,000 in cash prizes will be awarded.

Carter, 54, began his career as a writer for Surfing Magazine.

Eventually, he developed projects for 20th Century Fox, where he created “The X-Files” in 1993. The show, which became a cultural phenomenon with its stories about aliens and government conspiracies, ran nine seasons and was nominated for 52 Emmy awards.

The show won the Golden Globe twice for best TV drama. Carter was nominated for three writing and directing Emmys and won three Golden Globes, among other accolades.

Founded in 1998, the arts foundation is headquartered at the Bellflower Theater. Its sole purpose is to foster self-esteem in children of all ages, races, sexual orientations and religious affiliations by allowing them to participate in arts projects.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 562-867-3524 or go to www.bellflowertheater.org

Deadline: CAA Signs ‘X-Files’ Creator Chris Carter

Feb-24-2012
CAA Signs ‘X-Files’ Creator Chris Carter
Deadline
Nellie Andreeva

[Original article here]

EXCLUSIVE: The X-Files creator Chris Carter has signed with CAA. Carter had been a longtime client of Bob Broder, first at BWCS and most recently at ICM following the agencies’ 2006 merger. After a decade away from TV, Carter last fall teamed with MRC to shop female-driven mystery thriller spec Unique, which ultimately didn’t sell. He is attached as an executive producer to another spec, written by feature scribe Jon Bokenkamp, which is being shopped to cable networks by Sony TV. In addition to The X-Files, which ran on Fox for 9 seasons, Carter developed Harsh Realm, created Millennium and co-created the X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen. Since The X-Files ended its run in 2002, Carter has stayed largely out of the spotlight, only resurfacing to do the 2008 X-Files movie sequel and the upcoming thriller Fencewalker. There has been talk recently about a potential third X-Files movie.

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

Sep-29-2011
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.

Los Angeles Times: For ‘X-Files,’ the truth is still out there … but what about a third film?

Apr-27-2009
For ‘X-Files,’ the truth is still out there … but what about a third film?
Los Angeles Times
Yvonne Villarreal

[Original article here]

Liver-eating contortionist Eugene Tooms wasn’t there.  Neither were the Peacock Brothers. Extraterrestrials? Nope, not a one. But even without those memorable characters of any of the other paranormal beasties, shadow-government operatives or little green men from “The X-Files,” fans of the spooky franchise turned out in force last week at The Grove in Los Angeles to question and cheer X-creator Chris Carter and key writer Frank Spotnitz.

The two longtime collaborators (or is that conspirators?) were joined by Matt Hurwitz, a co-author of the lavish new book “The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, Myths and the Movies” (Insight Editions, $49.95). The event was on the third floor of Barnes & Noble and a crowd that went into triple-digits was eager to get autographs and answers, many of which were delivered by Carter with his wry, mellow-surfer baritone.

Is Walter Skinner still infected with nanotechnology? “He’s been to the doctors a number of times.”

Is the Agent Dana Scully immortal? “It’s kind of true, if you think about it. I mean, she’ll never die. She beat cancer.”

Any plans to take “Millennium” to the big screen? “That seems to be the question all the fans want answered. Nothing has been discussed.”

Carter’s favorite episode? “Beyond the Sea” and “Home” make the short list, but, he insists, he has a lot of favorites.

When is the series going to be available on Blu-ray? “There’s a technical problem … we just have to figure out how to solve it.”

But the pervading question of the night centered on one yearning hope: A third installment of “The X-Files” as a movie franchise, which would pick up where last year’s ”X-Files: I Want to Believe” left off. In an interview after the book signing, Carter was elusive … but he did give fans a reason to believe.

Noting the lackluster commercial success of the second film, Carter said the venture was hurt by its timing. The U.S. release “was foolish, opening a week after the blockbuster hit “The Dark Knight … it was really the worst weekend to open any movie.”

The film pulled in an anemic $21 million in the U.S., which fell short of expectations for a film that cost $30 million to make. It did go on, however, to make $47 million in foreign markets. “The movie did a lot of business worldwide so, I think, it’s really up to Fox to decide,”  he said.

Despite the lackluster grosses, there’s no denying the impact of the television series and its characters  on pop culture.  It demonstrated the potential of what the sci-fi genre could achieve on the small screen.  And though recent sci-fi series like “Battlestar Galactica” (a show Carter “likes”) and “X-Files”-influenced “Fringe” have picked up the torch, Carter said crime dramas have handcuffed TV’s limited programming schedules for scripted dramas.

“When you look at what’s on television right now, there’s a little bit of science fiction, but there’s mostly cop procedurals,” said the 52-year-old Carter.  “People see every episode of ‘Law & Order,’ and all its incarnations, so I don’t know … if you do science fiction on television it’s a little bit of a gamble sometimes.”

But, hey, if that doesn’t work, there’s always the Internet, right? “X-Files” fans have proven there’s an audience out there for all the fan content they’ve created. From fan-fiction to mash-up YouTube videos, people have taken notice. Even the actors that inspired the content, Spotnitz noted.

“You know, there’s a story that David [Duchovny] told when we were doing the movie last year,” Spotnitz said, “about how Gillian had seen a YouTube compilation of all their kisses and David saw that and said it actually affected his performance in the film because it was like reminder of the power of their relationship. So it just tells you how meaningful they are. It really is part of what the ‘X-Files’ is now. It’s just the way the fans re-interpret it.”

And with the release of the book — practically an encyclopedia of “The X-Files” franchise — fans will now have more to interpret, because as one fan said, “The truth will always be out there.”

Los Angeles Times Hero Complex: Chris Carter hospitalized

Sep-04-2008
Chris Carter hospitalized
Los Angeles Times Hero Complex
Geoff Boucher

[Original article here]

-

I just saw that Chris Carter,the mastermind behind “The X-Files,” is reportedly getting medical care for exhaustion and “an acute sleep disorder.” Whitney Pastorek at EW.com has this brief item:

Chris Carter, writer, producer, and director of “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” was hospitalized on Tuesday due to “physical exhaustion and an acute sleeping disorder,” a source close to Carter tells EW.com. The source says the hospitalization stems from Carter “working on multiple films back to back over a two year period” — the recently released “X-Files” sequel and “Fencewalker,” a covert project he is rumored to have begun shooting earlier this year. He is expected to recover quickly.

This news follows the announcement last week by David Duchovny’s attorney, Stanton Stein, that the “X-Files” and “Californication” star is in rehab to deal with his sex addiction. Roger Friedman at FOX is reporting that Duchovny was in a program to deal with his pornography addiction and went public with it because a fellow patient took that tidbit to the tabloids, which were about to pop the story. Friedman has been wildly wrong before so I would take that with a grain of salt.

 It was a grim summer for the X-folks. “X-Files: I Want to Believe,” was an afterthought even among sci-fi and genre fans because of the massive competition in the sector this summer. The $30 million film pulled in about $21 million in the U.S. (and about $57 million worldwide), far below expectations. I think it will do quite well as a DVD (people are accustomed, after all, to watching Mulder and Scully on the small screen), but I can’t imagine we’ll ever see another “X-Files” project at theaters.

I interviewed Duchovny over coffee a few months ago for a feature on the film and he was great, very droll but bright and engaging. I wish him well with his efforts to keep his marriage and family intact. I’m sure he loathes that this happening in a public space now. It’s hard to tell if there is some Hollywood code-talk at work, meanwhile, in the announcement about Carter’s medical treatment. I hope things go well for him. I absolutely adored the early seasons of “The X-Files,” and Carter has always seemed like a cerebral innovator as a storyteller.

Writers Guild of America, West: Something to Believe In

Jul-25-2008
Something to Believe In
Writers Guild of America, West
Denis Faye

[Original article here]

Since The X-Files ended its decade-long television run six years ago, our world has only gotten weirder. So hopefully, when The X-Files: I Want to Believe hits the big screen this week, FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully will yet again clear up a few things for audiences and finally prove that “the Truth” is indeed out there.

Among those cheering the characters return are series creator Chris Carter and series executive producer Frank Spotnitz. “I really had missed them,” confides Spotnitz, who co-wrote and produced the new film with Carter, who also directed, “which is a funny thing to say about make-believe people. We had spent thousands of hours writing these characters and then they were just gone when the show ended.”

Carter and Spotnitz talked to the Writers Guild of America, West Web site about returning to these long, lost friends and the realization that the more they help Mulder and Scully find their answers, the less they know about the world themselves.

What keeps you coming back to The X-Files?

Frank Spotnitz: I think it’s incredibly rich for storytelling. The subject matter is about the limits of what we can understand about the world around us. I think all of us, whether we are skeptics or believers, sense there is more to the world then what we know. Even the most ridged scientist is humbled by what science has not yet conquered. So it’s endless the stories you can tell about what’s beyond our understanding. And then Chris created such really beautiful characters, especially in Mulder and Scully who are perfect opposites and such a great vehicle for telling these stories about the supernatural, but also embody this incredible love story.

Chris Carter: What kept me coming back were the characters as they had aged and the time we had been away from them.


Photo: © 2008 Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

Frank Spotnitz: I realized how fortunate we were and how unusual it was to be able to return to characters you love in Hollywood. Instances like that are so few.

What’s the difference, creatively, between having years to work on a movie script and having to bang out a new television script every week?

Chris Carter: When you do a TV series, you must parcel out the personal and professional relationships carefully or you’re going to tire the characters out, you’re going to tire yourself out, and you’re going to tire the audience out. Then it turns into something we never wanted to turn it onto, something more melodramatic then The X-Files wanted to be. We explored these relationships through the episodes now known as the “mythology” episodes, which represent a third of the 200-plus episodes. That was our chance to do what I think what made those characters very, very popular and what gave them depth that the stand-alones couldn’t — but the stand-alone episodes still made up most of The X-Files. What we’ve done with this movie is a stand-alone story, one that doesn’t depend on knowing the series or the characters, and yet we still wanted to do what we’ve done with those mythology episodes, which is explore the characters’ relationship in a new way.

Frank Spotnitz: The pressure in television is incredible because you’ve got to keep coming up with another script, another script, another script. The movie was completely different. We started work on the story in 2003, and then got derailed for four years by deal-making and the threat of a lawsuit. Then when we returned to it in 2007, we’d lost our notes.

Lost your notes?

Frank Spotnitz: We’d put them on note cards to pitch the studio, and we couldn’t locate them. At first, we were very unhappy, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. We remembered what the case was about, but the emotional beats, the personal beats between Mulder and Scully, we had to start from scratch, and we had changed. Four years had gone by since we had last tackled the story and five years since the show had ended and we had different things to say about these people and about life — and it made it so interesting.

How important is it to appeal to the fans?

Chris Carter: We always listen, but we’ve always done what we think is the right thing. If you are driven by so many voices — and it is a large chorus out there now — if you’re driven to satisfy every one of those people, you’ll never satisfy anyone. You have to satisfy the characters — that’s who you have to satisfy.

How do you make the movie relevant to new audiences yet still appeal to seasoned fans?

Chris Carter: I’m talking to kids in college who say, “What’s the X-Files?” They were four or five when it first came on. We tried to do a popular movie, but the reason for doing the movie was the enthusiasm of the hardcore fans. So while we want to introduce the characters, we don’t want to punish the people who know the characters, their relationships and their journey, their quest, if you will, by going back over things, so we’ve hopefully integrated several of these things into the story.

Frank Spotnitz: That’s something we’re used to doing, honestly, having to serve several audiences. We had to do it in the first movie and as the TV show went on, it became increasingly obvious that that’s what you needed to do as well. As early as the third or fourth season, we started to realize that there were some audiences that knew every detail of the ongoing alien mythology storyline and were waiting for very specific questions to be answered and then there was a much larger audience that was vaguely aware of it and would be lost if you tried to answer these very specific questions. That was a balancing act we were engaged in for most of the life of the series.

But how do you do it?

Frank Spotnitz: It’s very much an emotional, intuitive thing. You need to figure out where your heart lies as a storyteller. What are the burning things that you must address? There are many questions of the mythology we had to sort of let go. There was no way of addressing them without losing the larger audience or getting bogged down in a side channel that wasn’t interesting to most people.

Is there anything you miss about working on television?

Chris Carter: I think that the big screen demands of a storyteller seems tyrannical to me. If there’s a moment’s boredom, a moment takes you out of the movie, the audience finds itself back in its seat. You can’t digress the way you can in television. I think some of the best storytelling is being done right now in television with digressions, explorations of character that are not a part of the artery of the plot system.

What’s your creative process together?

Chris Carter: We sit in a room and we just talk, actually, before we ever start really plotting. We come up with ideas. I think some of the best work we do is when we’re just talking about life and other things and about family and about the news. It’s almost as if you need to unhook yourself from the subject to find your way back to it. I’m not saying we actually do this in any conscious way, it’s just the way it’s developed over the years and it’s nice because it’s kind of social.

Frank Spotnitz: In this instance, we broke the story as we always do — very, very carefully — and spent a lot of weeks in [Chris’] office in Santa Monica. Scene by scene, we’d use 3×4, lined index cards — we were sort of superstitious about it. We use black Sharpie pens, and we use clear pushpins to put them on the board. It’s that precise. There’s a discipline for that precision for focusing your mind and making sure you’re really thinking about each card and each scene, what’s the conflict in that scene and where are the characters.

We did that and then Chris would write and send me the file, and I’d go through the file and send it back to him, and then he’d go through it again, and we’d bounce the file back and forth between Santa Barbara where he was and Los Angeles where I was. We never actually wrote in the same room.

Which one of you is Mulder and which one is Scully?

Frank Spotnitz: I think by inclination, we’re both Scully but both want to be Mulder — but we’re held back by our rational skepticism. But I’ve been humbled over the years by our research that there’s so much that we don’t understand. It doesn’t make me a believer, but it makes me humble in my disbelief.

But what’s interesting, in this movie, is that there’s an element of spirituality which may be surprising. Scully is a character of faith. She’s a Catholic. Chris is a person of faith. He’s not religious, but he does believe in God. I am not, although I’m very interested in religion and theology.

The movie has something to say about spirituality, and we spent quite a lot of time coming up with something that we could both believe in, that we both could say is true. That was the interesting challenging in this movie.

MTV: ‘X-Files: I Want To Believe’ Is For Loyal Fans And Newcomers, Cast And Crew Insist

Jul-24-2008
MTV
‘X-Files: I Want To Believe’ Is For Loyal Fans And Newcomers, Cast And Crew Insist
Tami Katzoff

[Original article here]

‘You want to reach as broad an audience as possible with as little foreknowledge as they can have,’ David Duchovny says.

If you pay close attention while watching the new film “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” you’ll probably catch a few familiar names and faces buried in the heightened action — but only if you’re super-familiar with the TV show.

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:uma:videolist:mtv.com:1591508

It’s a gift that “X-Files” creator Chris Carter, who directed and co-wrote “I Want to Believe,” presents to the true fans: the X-Philes. It’s for the ones who have been waiting eagerly to see what has become of their favorite FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson), in the six years since the TV show ended.

Carter said he can’t help himself: “I try to throw as much into a story as possible. If I have a chance to put a number in there, if I have a chance to put a face in there, if I have a chance to put a reference in there, I just put it in there. And oftentimes these are not perfectly well thought out. … They’re just inspiration.”

But those who are new to “The X-Files” needn’t worry — no prior knowledge is actually needed to enjoy “I Want to Believe.” Unlike the first “X-Files” movie, 1998’s “Fight the Future,” this film has a self-contained story, unconnected to the larger alien/ government-conspiracy “mythology” of the nine-season-long TV series. It’s more like a straight-up horror thriller than a sci-fi adventure.

“I think the movie does a really good job of weaving in certain things for the fans,” said Duchovny, but he stressed that the standalone nature of the plot was the only way to go. “To re-establish the name and the franchise six years after the show’s off the air and 10 years after the first movie, I don’t think you could build that next movie on any specialized knowledge. You want to reach as broad an audience as possible with as little foreknowledge as they can have.”

Anderson agreed: “For this one, coming back after such a long stretch of time, it actually does make more sense that we’re not dealing with all the complicated aspects of [the mythology].”

Back when “Fight the Future” was released, the TV show was still going strong. The movie served as a sort of bridge between the fifth and sixth seasons, and those unfamiliar with the show probably had a hard time understanding it all. “When we went out to publicize the first movie,” Duchovny remembered, “our marching orders were, ‘Tell people that they don’t have to know anything about the show,’ but that was a lie. We’re actually not lying this time.”

So if you’re not an X-Phile (yet), go to the theater, relax and enjoy. And if you are, you’ll be rewarded for your loyalty — but don’t think that you can catch every one of the hidden in-jokes and references. “There are things in there that no one will ever know that I’ve put in,” Carter said.