Posts Tagged ‘dean haglund’

BlogCritics: Interview: Catching Up with The X-Files’ Dean Haglund – Part One

Nov-24-2012
Interview: Catching Up with The X-Files’ Dean Haglund – Part One
BlogCritics
Barbara Barnett

[Original here]

Actor-comedian Dean Haglund is probably best known for his role as Richard “Ringo” Langley, a Lone Gunman member on the iconic Fox series The X-Files. The Lone Gunmen were so popular, they were given their own show, and although that only lasted 13 episodes, it had positive reviews when it aired in 2001. In the aftermath of 9-11, some of the parallels between the series and the real-life horror of the tragedy were incredibly eerie.

I caught up with Dean last week to hear about his post-XF projects, which include his long-running podcast Chillpak Hollywood Hour, his new graphic novel, the very cool-sounding documentary The Truth is Out There, and a forthcoming graphic novel. We also talked about comedy, our mutual admiration of beautiful British Columbia, and of course, The X-Files. Because of the length of our conversation, I’ve split the interview in half. Part One is largely about The X-Files; Part Two is largely not.

I was really delighted that I made the connection through Denise Dorman of WriteBrain Media. When I mentioned, among other things, that I had done a lot of writing about The X-Files, she thought it would be a nice opportunity for the two of us to talk.
Aw, that’s awesome. So you’ve written extensively in terms of critical reviews of The X-Files, is that it?

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It was probably how I ended up writing TV criticism at all—doing X-Files reviews on the old X-Files listserves back in the day.
Oh my gosh, that’s going back, isn’t it?

It is. And it led me to eventually write critical analyses of other TV shows, and the rest is history. Anyway, when I tweeted out this morning that I was going to be talking with you, I got all these tweets back asking me information on the alleged X-Files 3 movie.
There was a big push for getting that out before 2012 ended, but they would’ve had to already been shooting by now to get that out by 2012.

Hold that thought for a minute, because I want to get back to the movie. But I want to  talk about The X-Files series first. The Lone Gunmen were introduced how early in the first season?
We were just supposed to be day players back in an episode called “E.B.E.” which stood for Extraterrestrial Biological Entity. And I think it was a way to get Mulder inside a top-secret facility. They needed some guise. And at the time [episode writers] James Wong and Glenn Morgan said they saw these three guys in an airport handing out UFO pamphlets, and they were all very diverse, and they thought that was hilarious. So they created these characters, and it was just going to be a one-off thing. But I think because suddenly realized that the Lone Gunmen were the representation of the online, the early, early online fan gatherings that were happening back then. And they were happening in newsgroups. There was a newsgroup called alt.tv.xfiles.

Aha!
Do you remember that?

I not only remember it, that’s where I wrote my reviews back in the day.
That was the thing; everybody assumed that [creators] Chris Carter and Frank [Spotnitz] and [writer] Vince [Gilligan] were all lurking on the site. And in fact, they were, because they were so excited that this was the first time writers got a chance to get direct feedback anonymously. Like, you could see the feedback honestly. Because if you go, “I’m Frank, I write the show.”  Then everybody goes, “oh, I love the show,” and it’s hard to get honest feedback of what they [really] think of the show. But if you’re just lurking in the newsgroup, you can see how everybody is complaining about this, or you know, some of the ideas that the fans had back then were very, very passionate and very cogent. So Chris Carter really appreciated that, and [after] putting in the Lone Gunmen, the newsgroup went wild, going, oh, well, this proves it. And for seasons two and three, we would say lines that actually appeared on the newsgroup. So we would take an actual sentence from the newsgroup and give it to the Lone Gunmen to say.

Oh, that’s wild.
So we had this great symbiotic relationship with the fans early on, and I don’t think the Lone Gunmen would have been as popular were it not for the Internet and the newsgroups at the time.

At the time, the Internet was really sort of new. I mean, there had been newsgroups before, for a long time before, but I think that because being on the Internet had become all of a sudden fairly cost-effective, especially with AOL, suddenly everybody was online. You didn’t need like some crazy, $95-an-hour subscription anymore to hang out. There was some very serious discussion on alt.tv.x-files and alt.tv.x-files.analysis. Maybe for the first time about a TV show.
Yeah, and it actually sparked, like whole communities of debate, which I always found fascinating. But, you know, scientists would gravitate, and talk about the science aspects of the TV show, and then the [Mulder-Scully] “shippers” and the “no-romos” had their own newsgroups, and I really thought that was a great fragmentation of how you could find your own collective group and hang out with them.

And, for the most part, the discussion was very intelligent. I remember a lot of the participants were writers themselves, especially fanfiction writers, including me, and it was really cool. There was tons of X-Files fanfiction: some fairly brilliant novels, scripts, short stories…
I tended not to read a lot of that. Sometimes it delved into that slash universe that I wasn’t into, so I stayed away from it. And early on one of the executives said, “You know, if you read anything online, any fanfiction, and then that shows up in the series, and there is a lawsuit, you’re left out, hung out to dry. We’re not going to support you on that. So be careful what you read, because if it mirrors on the TV show, the lawsuit lands on your shoulders, not the Fox Network.”

Back then, writing fanfiction was a real risk, and frowned upon by the networks. And now, it seems it’s really encouraged. Over the last couple years I’ve talked to a ton of TV writers, people who write amazing scripts for major shows. These days, the writers I ask about it really appreciate it as a compliment to their characters and their own work.
Absolutely, and that was a huge learning curve too for the executives, because I remember even when you could show video for the first time, when the bandwidth increased and you could show video on your website, all the fans used to put The X-Files up there, and they would get a note from Fox saying that’s licensed stuff; take it down. And then I would get e-mails saying, hey we’re fans of the show, we’re promoting the show, we want this on our website, why can’t we do it?  And I had to then get up on the legalities of copyright law, and be in the position of defending Fox.

And that too has changed, because now they have, you know, embeds, so the studio will release something and you can just embed it and everyone’s happy.
Yes, I think that was the thing. Before embedding, they felt like it was just being released in the wild. Now with embeds and all the tracking stuff, you can still get all the metrics back so that you know exactly how it’s being used and where, and still use that to sell advertising, I think was the biggest issue.

So I have to confess, I think I stopped watching The X-Files after season seven.
Right, when Mulder left.

When Mulder left, yeah. The show changed when it came to L.A., a little bit.
It sure did.

And it wasn’t just the move to L.A., I think the whole show just sort of changed, and I’m not sure if I could put my finger on why, but it just…
I know Chris Carter originally, said “we’ve got a five-year plan for this series, and then at the end of five years, we can go and do movies”—that kind of thing. And of course when you sell your show to a network, the network tells you when it’s over, so…  That’s sort of changed now too. I mean, there’s a way of ending series properly, but back then, because it was so successful, the network demanded more seasons than perhaps the writers wanted it to continue.

Right, right. And I think the fans kind of picked up on that.
Yeah. At that point everybody kind of burnt out. We were doing sixteen-hour days, every day.  Nobody saw a Saturday towards the end of the show because you were shooting all day and Friday night, and just slept all day Saturday. Sunday you did some chores and then Monday you’re back at work. And so it burnt out a lot of people for sure.

And after awhile the conspiracy got kind of crazy after a while as well, don’t you think?
Yeah, it became more and more—It got larger and larger, and it was a large—any time you brought it up there was a lot of strings that you had to keep—a lot of plates you had to keep spinning on the poles, as it were.

Right. Was there ever even a Bible for the show?
Not originally. In fact, it was just going to be sort of an anthology of monsters of the week—

I remember.
Absolutely. And then Gillian Anderson got pregnant and had to sort of be written out for a couple episodes, so they just wrote in an abduction story that arced over three episodes, and then from that became, well why was she abducted? Now the conspiracy, now the alien-hybrid thing, all of that started because she was pregnant, so—

Wow.
Yeah, I know, right?  If that didn’t happen, the series would have just continued on as a crime-of-the-week kind of thing.

The conspiracy arc was actually pretty compelling, until it got really convoluted…
We kept adding different layers; the layering of the onion, sort of was working in two directions. So I think, yeah, around season three, they sort of arced out a Bible, but definitely in the beginning there wasn’t one.

Unfair question time: Do you have a particular favorite season or a particular favorite episode or episodes?
Wow, so, yeah, difficult. I guess my favorite season is… Well, no, there’s no favorite season because some of the shows stood out so great without a season, that you couldn’t really connect them. The truth of my favorite episode, I still think is [Darin Morgan’s] “Humbug” with the Jim Rose Freak Circus—

What a fabulous episode that was: pathos and comedy rolled into one.
I saw them live in a bar when I was in college, and I thought the show was hilarious, Enigma and all of them in the show, acting and doing what they do as well. And I thought that was so cool.

So they were a real act, then?
Yeah. Oh, yeah, there was a live stage act. It was almost like an old throwback to a big circus that you would see on the road in the south or something like that, and each person would come up and they would do something horrific or bizarre. And there was one guy who wasn’t in the show, and I don’t know what happened to this guy, because it was the most amazing act I’ve ever seen, but he would step off the stage to the pool table that was in the bar, and he’d put in some coins and release the balls. And then he’d take all the solid colored balls, you know, one through eight, and he would swallow them. And then he would say, call up any number, and people would shout out ‘five’, and then he’d sit there and wriggle his stomach, and he’d bring up, out of his mouth, the five ball.

That is very strange and bizarre.
I know. How do you keep track? How do you do that?  How do you train for that?  How do you not throw up everything you ate all day?  I mean, like, there were so many questions. And then everybody—It was so stunning that the applause was just a smattering, because you couldn’t believe what you were seeing. And I never saw that act again. I don’t know what happened to that guy. I don’t know, but it was the most amazing bar show I’ve ever seen, so, So Humbug is my favorite.

I can imagine. Darin Morgan wrote some really great episodes in addition to that one.
Oh, yeah. He was so good. I loved Clyde Bruckman’s Return. He’s a brilliant writer.

And he didn’t start out as an X-Files writer, as I recall.
Well, no, he came because of his brother, Glen, and acted in one episode. (He played the iconic Flukeman in the early season two episode “The Host.”) He’s the guy with the tail [in the fourth season episode “Small Potatoes].

And then, of course there were the various “shipper” camps. I have to confess, I wasn’t really a Mulder-Scully shipper, I was more of a Mulder-Scully USTer.
I was a Noromo myself, frankly. I appreciated a relationship that was based on respect and intellect, even though they didn’t agree on their points of view, and that they could be working together and not have to make it all kissey-gooey, so I was disappointed when it became kissey-gooey, as… Yeah, and it’s not just the tension, but it takes out the idea that you could work with somebody on a professional basis and still call that a relationship, you know? And have it as satisfying, and not be boyfriend-girlfriend or whatever, cohabitation thing. So when the second X-Files movie came out and you know, they’re just in a cabin together…  Just wrote me out of the movie.

Oh, yeah, well, in the first movie, there was that infamous “almost-kiss.”
Yeah, well, you know, there were a lot of executives involved in how that movie needed to play. So, yes, you had to answer everything from season four, and it had to be a lead-in to season five, and it had to be a stand-alone so that, for people who had never seen the TV series, they could watch the movie and still get it. And so, because of all of these demands put on that movie, I was surprised it was as good as it was.

What did you think of the second movie?
See, now here was the harder issue. I mean, already you had the romance thing. They’re already cohabitating in a cabin. And then, aside from the [2007-2008 Writer’s Guild] strike, they had a lot of restrictions. The writers’ strike was coming; they couldn’t do re-writes, so they basically had the script that they had. And I didn’t realize this, but they had written another script, and they had it in story notes, and Frank moved production offices and that shoebox went missing. So they basically had six months to write that script, and then had no opportunity for re-writes because of the—

Strike.
The writers’ strike, right. So that was a really tough position to be in. And then, for my taste, you know, a lot of the conspiracy of the government stuff [in the second movie]… I mean, here you are at the height of the Bush administration with, you know, Karl Rove and all these guys, and then you write about Russian head transplants. It just seems like you missed a real opportunity to explore conspiracy in the government.

I mean, when we had our own real-life insanity going on, real time, how do you not…?
Exactly, I know. You had this opportunity to do—Even if you couched it in some other thing, you know, different names and stuff like that, you could’ve still explored all of these ideas, and instead chose two-headed dogs, you know?

Yeah, yeah. That was a missed opportunity.
I agree.

So do you think there is going to be a third movie?  You think they’ll get a redux, or a do-over?
A do-over?  Well, you know I talked to Frank that—He moved to London, and he said he’s into it. It’s just once Chris comes up with something that his heart’s really into, then there will be a third movie. But right now it’s all resting on Chris Carter’s shoulders and his impetus to come up with a really great story.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

Who Forted?: Interview: The X-Files’ Dean Haglund

Apr-06-2011
Interview: The X-Files’ Dean Haglund
Who Forted?
Tony Hart-Wilden

[Original here]

Actor and comedian Dean Haglund, best known for his role on television’s the X-Files (and more recently, as the host of Ghost Adventures Live), has more in common with his television role than one might think. He’s a self-proclaimed geek, an inventor, and even a bit of a conspiracy theorist. Regular contributor Tony Hart-Wilden had the chance to sit down and pick his brain about HAARP, the second shooter, alternate dimensions, and even Jane’s Addiction’s feelings on Alien/Human relations.

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TW: You’re most well know for you portrayal of Richard Langley, one of the X-Files‘ Lone Gunmen, but you in fact have a long and varied career, tell us a bit about your background:

DH: It’s a green screen! (My background? Special effects? Anyone… hello?) Okay…. I come from Canada and was acting since I was 12 when I was doing children’s theatre and moved into the comedy racket when I was old enough get into a bar. And I never looked back.

TW: People may be surprised to learn that you may have more things in common with your Lone Gunmen character than they are aware of..

DH: Yes, including me. I have invented a laptop cooling system called a Chill Pak.

TW: Do you think your fame as one of the Lone Gunmen has helped you persue your interest in conspiracies?

DH: Yes, I didn’t really know much about them till I started researching my character and then meeting real researchers and occult scholars and ex-military dudes. And the stories were too fascinating to be ignored. All of them would probably make great movies…

TW: Although a fictional TV show, do you think the X-Files influenced people to take a greater interest in real life UFO incidents and conspiracy theories, maybe even to question what their own government may be hiding from them?

DH: I think that may be true, but there is also an alternative viewpoint and that is the government keeps creating shows like the X-Files so that when real life UFO or paranormal occurrences happen they can all say “you watch too much TV.” Even Jane’s Addiction lead singer, Perry Farrell refused to participate on the X-Files CD that came out a while ago because he said that X-Files set back “Human/ Alien relations by twenty years.” They are using the media to dazzle and confuse us from the truth.

TW: Do you believe that earth has been visited by extraterrestrials? If so, what is your most compelling evidence to support this?

DH: I think that term extraterrestrial needs some highlighting before answering this. I do believe that the universe is too large for us to be alone out here. Statistically there has to be other life forms. But are they coming here and sticking flashlights up our ass, I am not so sure. The majority of UFO sightings are now in Mexico, and in all those sightings, not a single incident of anal probes. That would suggest that all previous sightings and abductions were tapping into some other primal brain issues.

But then what are these things, and I know from my mathematician friends that the math indicates 11 to 13 other dimensions existing right around us all the time, with it own set of physical laws and functions. These would also be extra- terrestrial. And I would think that DARPA and other military branches are working in these fields and getting multi dimensional vehicles or something like that in those particle accelerators they build everywhere.

So I would say we are visited but it could be others who are right in front of us and they just happen to change frequencies where we can see them. Of course, the recent report by the Brazilian air force also is intriguing and argues against everything I have just said here. So… that puts me back into the “I dunno” Category. ”

TW: Conspiracy theorists are often labelled as “crackpots”, do you think there is an element that deserves this label?

The X-Files’ Lone Gunmen: RIP

DH: Unfortunately, paranoia is a sliding scale and some is healthy and a lot is an imbalance. So if you have lots of time and can follow some odd occurrences in your life and make a few logistical jumps (not everyone is trained in logic) then you can drive yourself crazy, quite literally. And some do. Others are clearly part of something, and choose to remain silent; I have met them as well. But “crackpot” is also comforting to those who don’t want to believe. Like in the Matrix when Joe’s character chooses to go back into the Matrix, He says “I know it’s fake, but it tastes so good.”

TW: The X-Files character you played was part of a group by the name of the Lone Gunmen, which was obviously a reference to the Kennedy assassination; do you think there was another gunman involved apart from Lee Harvey-Oswald?

DH: Yeah, I do. Even the 1975 acoustic ballistic tests found that a second gunman had to be involved. And that was commissioned by the government. A mob hit, a Vietnam cover-up, or something darker.

TW: Do you think we will ever know who killed Kennedy?

DH: They were supposed to open the files on that, but Bush pushed that date indefinitely into the future. That and his Dad’s records as well.

TW: Which conspiracy do you find the most disturbing if true?

DH: I would have to say the HAARP project which we know bounces 3.5 gigawatts of electricity off the Ionosphere from the University in Alaska, to help, they say, with cell phone reception. But if you research brainwave and neural disruption devices they are basically electric fields that alter brain wave patterns. So is HAARP a mind control device…? Let me just tell you that my cell phone still gets crap reception.

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Dean hosting Ghost Adventures Live

TW: Do you have an interest in the paranormal? What are your beliefs on ghosts and the afterlife?

DH: I love a good ghost story, and I think that no energy is ever destroyed, as Einstein stated… So whatever keeps us going would seem to have to the ability to go somewhere else. And for those who don’t read up on science you wouldn’t know that your energy could go anywhere else so you stick around and scare those who remain. Next time you see a ghost, explain quantum mechanics and tell them to move on.

TW: As a result of the freedom of information act, the U.S government has been forced to release some of its previously top secret documents to the general public; do you believe that the government would ever really release information that would implicate them?

DH: John Greenwald Jr. has been getting Government info through the FOIA since he was fifteen and putting it all at his site, the www.BlackVault.com. Here huge amounts of info are blacked out and key details are lost. So I think we will know everything one day, but it won’t come from the powers that be. Some other revolution will bring on complete disclosure.

TW: The CIA acknowledged that they employed “psychic spies” known as remote viewers under their Project Stargate programme, they claimed to have discontinued their research in 1995; do you think we should take their word for it?

DH: I think that they have discontinued the “research” and now employ them full time. All those books, like the Psychic warrior and the like lay out the way it is done and what they saw. The simplicity of it and the results would say that from the 70′s till 95 you probably got it all mapped out and then just hire as needed. Research is over.

TW: You have travelled around the world with your stand up comedy and convention appearances, do you find that there are particular countries that are more into conspiracy theories and have a stronger belief in the paranormal and UFOs then others ?

DH: No, they are all pretty good. Some seem to have more distrust of their government than others, and all seem to know that the US has some sort of hidden agenda. But the UFO stories stay fairly consistent and the ghost stories relatively, some would say eerily similar.”

TW: What do you say to the skeptics?

DH: I would say, prove that I am wrong and you are right. I present this plethora of information and facts. Now you prove that my conclusion, whatever it is, is wrong, because what was a conspiracy theory 5 years ago is now a best selling book by Carl Bernstein. Just because the research is ahead of the curve doesn’t make it wrong.

TW: What projects are you currently involved in, what are your future plans?

DH: Chill Pak, of course, and three or four movies on the go, perhaps hosting a show on Discovery. All too soon to say.

TW: Finally, will the Lone Gunmen ever be returning to the big screen?

DH: Hopefully, though we will have to find a way to come back from the dead.

Find out more about Deans laptop cooling system, the Chillpak: http://www.chillpak.com/

Dean’s Official Website: http://www.deanhaglund.com

This Is Who We Are: Dean Haglund and Mark Snow come to TIWWA

Aug-20-2010
This Is Who We Are
Dean Haglund and Mark Snow come to TIWWA

[Original article here]

Dean Haglund needs no introduction and in the time honoured tradition of then going on to give one that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Dean (born July 29, 1965) is a Canadian actor known for the role of Richard “Ringo” Langly, one of the Lone Gunmen on The X-Files. Haglund is also a stand-up comedian, specializing in improvisational comedy (formerly with Vancouver TheatreSports League.) Dean also portrayed Langly in the spin-off The Lone Gunmen, which aired thirteen episodes in 2001. As La La Land Records and Mark Snow have released a superb double-disc release featuring Mark’s compositions from the show I wanted to use the opportunity to celebrate a show I recall with great fondness. My gratitude, of course, to Dean for giving of his time so freely. As he would no doubt say himself, enjoy the Dean-ness.

TIWWA: If we could begin by taking you back to the time when your involvement with Ten Thirteen Productions began. Do you think that people are more or less paranoid than they were in the 1990s when the “The X-Files” was at its peak? Are there more reasons to worry now than back then?

DEAN HAGLUND: I think that we are more “informed” now than before, because of the internet providing more “information” than it did back then, but I put that in quotes because in this info tsunami we live in, any idea can be backed up by a web site that spouts exactly the same idea, regardless of how unfounded the idea to be. So therefore, the paranoid idea will have a echo back which will build it into a movement. I think of the ‘birther’s movement’ as such an example. The other side of the coin is that also individuals who know the truth can get that truth out there to a larger audience faster than before. So as more whistleblowers come forward, the worry is that one’s filter has to be razor sharp to know what to follow and what is useless.

TIWWA: When you were cast in “EBE”, along with your fellow gunmen, I believe it was the positive reaction of the fans that secured the characters recurring roles. Whilst the fans could evidently see the potential of the characters I wondered if the production team, or yourselves, realised at the time that something magical had been created in that episode? At what point did you realise (or get told) that your role of Langly would be a recurring one?

DH: We never really realized it till maybe Season 4 or 5 where we got to do “Unusual Suspects.” After Deep Throat and X were both killed off it seemed that none of the recurring characters could boast that we were sticking around. Chris Carter always kept you guessing.
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TIWWA: I was interested to learn that you disliked how the “The X-Files” subsequently developed from a cult show to something more mainstream can you explain why that is?

DH: It is not that I disliked it, so much as the pressure from executives increased as it gathered mainstream momentum. That caused the writers to battle with them instead of focussing on the stories and the later seasons seemed to be a testament that. The writers and producers split focus at that point, and it became tougher on everyone involved. I understand that is typical to all series and why some succeed is that there is a person who takes the brunt of that and gives space to the rest of the creative team.

TIWWA: Due to the success of your characters within that show you were given your own show back in June 2001. At the time the show was being developed did you have any trepidation at all about taking the characters out of their comfort zone and into new territory? Did you have any input into how the show was being developed and the direction it would take?

DH: No, we really didn’t have input on the show or its development, which is probably for the best. It is hard to have the proper perspective when you are acting day to day on a series. I was not worried at all of taking the characters out of their comfort zone because I think that we had already made incredible backstories for ourselves that it was kind of relief to finally learn what else these guys did other than help Mulder all the time.
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TIWWA: When The Lone Gunmen essentially became a quartet with the introduction of Jimmy Bond I am aware that Stephen Snedden was concerned about how this would effect the established dynamic of the team. What was the feeling amongst the three of you about the addition of a new character and how do you view Stephen and Zuleikha’s contributions to the show in retrospect?

DH: I loved them coming into the show. Bond provided the way the audience could relate to the our geek talk, and Yves’ character gave us the international scope so that we didn’t seem like we three were only affecting local politics and community actions.

TIWWA: A number of “The X-Files” cast had the opportunity to pen episodes on that show that allowed them to showcase their characters in a personally pleasing way. Was this something you would have liked to have had the opportunity to do during the run of “The Lone Gunmen” and what story would you have liked to have told with regards to Richard Langly?

DH: Had the show gone on to the second season there was a chance for us to add more to the show. Tom Braidwood was poised to direct an episode and I was talking to Pam Anderson to appear as herself in the show where she comes to Gunmen to help hide her. She was really into the idea.

TIWWA: One particularly well received episode of “The Lone Gunmen” was “Like Water for Octane” in which a car was created that was powered by water, the conspiracy theory being that the oil companies/governments had involvement. Did you like the premise of this episode and if one day a commercially available water powered car was invented, how do you think our world would change in terms of impact and how do you think the oil companies would react?

DH: I think of it in the same terms as Tesla’s “free energy”. At the time , the word ‘free’ worried Edison and the investors so they went out of the way to suppress the technology. It turns out that the corporate powers just had to learn how to meter and charge money for this service, and that free energy is the basis for our cell phone service. So it is just a matter of learning how to charge for water and we will have water powered cars. And just keep an eye next few years as the privatization of our water supply continues as they demonize the civil infrastructure currently in place. See my up coming documentary “the Truth is Out There” for more about that.
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TIWWA: As the show continued to air I know a great many of us felt that it wasn’t receiving the support it needed from 20th Century Fox. Were you aware of how the show was being received by the studio and would you agree with the fans that their support wasn’t adequate? I know Stephen explained that he felt they simply didn’t understand the show, would you agree with this?

DH: At that point, the tension between the executives and Ten Thirteen was pretty high so no one was doing any favors for each other. So whether they understood it or not didn’t really matter as to what filtered down to the day the day operations with other departments in the Fox building.

TIWWA: At what point did you learn that the show was to be cancelled and how was this news received by the cast and crew?

DH: I heard it from my lawyer at a Deli, so I was around the rest of the gang when I found out. By the time I saw everyone again, so much time had passed, that we never really discussed it again. In fact, the whole story is told in my comic book “Why the Lone Gunmen was Cancelled” which is available on my website – true story written and DRAWN by me.

TIWWA: Given the blow of having the show cancelled I would imagine the news that the Lone Gunmen were to be killed was another blow? I know Zuleikha and Stephen voiced criticism at the time of this decision I wondered how Tom, Bruce and yourself reacted to this news? A significant portion of fans still feel that this was a mistake, despite the decision not being something that was taken lightly, would you agree with them?

DH: No, I think that is was a great thing to do. It was better to go out in a blaze of glory that to us just help Mulder on last time and then walk off into the sunset with a hobo bag on a stick over our shoulders. Plus the show was lacking some emotional gravity at times, and this was an opportunity to give the fans a resonate episode to remember why you stuck with it for nine seasons.
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TIWWA: I’m hoping that there is some way you gentlemen can make an appearance in the third X-Files film if there is to be one as it wouldn’t be the same without you. On that note I am sure you are aware that the reception to the second film was mixed and I wondered if you had seen it and what your own feelings on it were?

DH: I think that there is ALWAYS a way for us to appear in another film. As for the second film, I tend to like a little more political intrigue in my story telling and I think that at the height of the Bush regime not to involve some of that evil skull drudgery into a story was unfortunate, but I understand the limitations that Chris and Frank were working under so I can’t fault them too much.

TIWWA: I know you have written the comic, “Why The Lone Gunmen Were Cancelled” and have gone on to express your desire to revisit the characters in other media. With Frank Spotnitz and Gabe Rotter writing another series of the X-Files comic for Wildstorm is this something you would like to pursueand are you still working on “Back from the Dead”?

DH: Absolutely. I would love to add to that, and Back from the Dead is very much alive. But that is all I can say at the moment.

TIWWA: You have a very popular podcast and continue to be active in the industry and I wondered if you could share with our readers the best way to keep abreast of your news and what to look out for in the future?

DH: The ChillPak hollywood hour is definitely the best way to hear what is going on with our production company and of course Facebook. But I recently re-did the web site and I’m trying to congeal all of it into one seamless platform of Dean-ness, but I am only one man and all my programming skills are from the 90’s. So if anyone has got any time and mad skills out there let me know.

TIWWA: May I express my gratitude for taking the time to talk to us and may we wish you all the very best for the future.

DH: Pleasure is mine.

Dreamwatch: Lone Star

Apr-??-2004
Dreamwatch
Lone Star

As one third of THE X-FILES loveable geek squad, The Lone Gunmen, Richard ‘Ringo’ Langly will forever be remembered for his flowing locks, huge IQ and love of Dungeons & Dragons. More than 10 years after he first stepped onto THE X-FILES set, actor Dean Haglund recalls his role as Langly and tells Kate Lloyd why he wasn’t *too* disappointed when THE LONE GUNMEN spin-off series was cancelled…

DW: What did you enjoy most about playing Langly?

The wardrobe! Seriously, I didn’t have to change a thing. The hair was real, I would just come in my jeans, change my T-shirt and I was ready to go. Everybody else had to wear leather or put on a suit or something, but I was in and out in a minute and a half. It was nice.

DW: Looking back, why do you think TXF became as successful as it did? Was is simply a case of right time, right place?

It was the right time. I believe the Germans call it zeitgeist. There was a moment in history where the Berlin wall had come down, there was an Israeli peace accord and there was no war on terror. For this 7 to 10 year gap there were no enemies. You could just sit in this kind of peaceful silence and go, “Oh yeah, up in space there are enemies. Oh, and I don’t trust my government.” And you had time to really enjoy this story. Now, if you came up with the idea of an alien hybrid invasion with your government against you, everybody would go, “Oh God, not again. Do I have to hear this?”

DW: As someone close to the show, did you have any idea where it was heading in terms of its mythology?

They kept that really under wraps. I think in the press they said they had a long, rich plan, but I don’t think it was that laid out really! [Laughs] It was sort of, “Well, we should eventually get to there, I guess, but in the meantime let’s just try to make crazy stuff.” So I really had no idea!

DW: Were you disappointed when TLG spin-off series was cancelled?

Not really, I think it was a great amount of time. I know the writers were particularly hurt because they were just laying out the groundwork of what they were planning to do, which was going to be *really* cool, and so they were like, “Aw, what a shame!” It ended too early for their part, but for me I was just thankful that we got to do 13 episodes.

DW: Why do you think the studio pulled the plug?

It was the year everyone was watching WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, which was showing five times a week in America. I don’t know, these game shows!

DW: In the end, the Lone Gunmen went out in a blaze of glory in TXF season 9 episode, “Jump the Shark”. Was that a good way to go?

I thought so. If they hadn’t ended it that way we’d probably have been walking into the sunset with a stick and a bag in search of another adventure. And that wouldn’t have been the smart way to go …

DW: What was the atmosphere like on the set of the final XF episode, “The Truth”?

There was this sense of relief because the show was really long and hard to do. Some of these guys would see the sun come up every Saturday morning because they’d worked all Friday night, for months on end. They were thrilled to finally get their lives back. So while it was sad to see it go it was also like, “Thank God, we can go shopping at a normal hour again!”

DW: Do you think it was the right time to end the show?

I do. I think it could even have ended with season 8. But, at that point, those are the decisions that the network makes and one is powerless to argue against. Plus, the writers still had some cool ideas, and didn’t really want to fully wrap it up and get that Smoking Man …

DW: Season 8 of TXF is coming out on DVD this month. Where does that year rank for you?

This was the year we were filming the Gunmen spin-off, so it became quite the ordeal logistically because we were in Vancouver shooting the spin-off and TXF was filming down in LA. We either had to get on a plane and film an episode, or they would send scripts up and we would shoot these extra scenes and they would be cut it. It was very confusing trying to keep track of the storyline. One minute we were at Mulder’s funeral, next there was a baby. But it was a lot of fun!

DW: What kind of reaction did you get from fans to the last few years of the show?

I think round about season 8 a lot of people said, “No David? I’m out of here, see you later.” And so those two last years just sort of hung on. Because of [Duchovny’s absence] some fans sort of went, “Oh dammit!”

DW: Do you have any favourite XF episodes?

Oddly enough, my favourite ones are the ones the Gunmen weren’t in. Maybe this is my taste but I really like the Jim Rose freakshow circus episode, “Humbug”, just because it was those guys and I’d seen them in the bar doing their act and always enjoyed it. Oh, and “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”. From a Gunmen standpoint, I liked the flashback episode, “Unusual Suspects”. That set up how the Gunmen started and how we introduced Mulder to the concept of conspiracies. That was a lot of fun to do and that was the first all-Gunmen episode, so it was a real thrill for us.

DW: You guys were a big hit with fans. Was there ever a time when you were getting more fan mail than David Duchovny?

No. [Laughs]. He got a *lot* of fan mail. He would get all these girls painting him pictures — you know, ladies in sweaters and that kind of thing …

DW: What are you working on at the moment?

Where shall I begin? I did a movie called SPECTRES with [STAR TREK actresses] Marina Sirtis and Linda Park. I’m doing a lot of standup comedy and I’ve also invented a way to speed up your laptop computer without installing any hardware or uploading any software. It’s called the Chill Pak. It’s a simple little thing. It goes in your freezer and then you just whip it under your computer and it draws the heat directly away from the CPU. Time Warner Cable had just heard about it so they’re taking it to their regional meeting. We’ll see what happens.

DW: Finally, how likely is a second XF movie?

Well, Chris Carter is off surfing and climbing the mountains of the world at the moment, so I think the last thing on his mind is sitting around his computer. So it might be a little way off. I think they’re going to give it a little time so that fans can forget the Brady Bunch episode and move on!

DW: But it’s not a definite no?

It’s not a definite no. In fact, I know some executives at Fox are really looking forward to a second movie. So if they are the ones who have the wallet, then they make the decisions…

The X-Files Magazine: Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood

Apr-??-2002
The X-Files Magazine [US]
Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood

It’s the last night on the set for actors Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, and Bruce Harwood. There is an air of impending sadness, because this could be their last night of shooting on any episode of The X-Files. So far, however, the mood is light. The actors and crew stand in clusters, chatting and laughing, as they wait to begin filming another scene. Several crew members ask for pictures with the cast of The Lone Gunmen. But later, the tone of the set will switch, as the cast and crew shoot close-ups for the trio’s final scene, which just happens to be the characters’ death scene. The script reads: Jimmy slowly lays his hand on the glass. The Gunmen do the same… three hands side-by-side opposite Jimmy’s, whose eyes now well with tears. This is goodbye. Reactions are mixed among the three actors. They all agree that the deaths of Frohike, Byers, and Langly while sad are fitting. “I’d already mourned the fact that the show was ending,” says Bruce Harwood, who plays John Fitzgerald Byers. “The fact that we were being killed, I don’t think made too much of a difference to me. It doesn’t surprise me that we go out this way.”

“Isn’t that how we all want to go?” remarks Dean Haglund, who plays Langly. “Well, maybe not so painfully,” he laughs.

Tom Braidwood, who plays Melvin Frohike, was not enthusiastic about the ending at first. “I guess I was a little disappointed,” he admits. “I don’t quite see why it had to happen.” Braidwood, who worked on the Vancouver set of the series as an assistant director for Seasons One through Five, is able to see the producers’ need to wrap up The X-Files characters once and for all. “In the end, it’s right for them,” he surmises.

Choosing to have the Lone Gunmen die at the end of “Jump the Shark,” did not come easy to co-writers of the episode, executive producers Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban. “It was actually a really hard decision to make,” explains Spotnitz. He exposes his fondness for the Gunmen, saying, “It’s funny, because they’re fictitious characters, and the show is coming to an end, but we really have a lot of affection for them.”

Spotnitz says that he, Gilligan and Shiban wanted to give the Gunmen a special ending, one that could only be achieved with such a dramatic climax. “It felt like the right thing to do,” he says. “We could really make them into big heroes and give them their moment to shine.”

Although they did not, at first, know how they wanted the Gunmen to meet their fate, the writers had definite ideas about how it should play out. “We just knew that we wanted it to be unequivocally heroic,” Spotnitz wholeheartedly.

Chris Carter’s announcement that this season of The X-Files would be the last came just as the writers were plotting out this one storyline. That was when they knew what they had to do. “It gave us the impetus to do this kind of ending,” Shiban says. Although a bit traumatic to comprehend at first, Shiban found himself excited at the story prospect. “If it is done well, there is no more heroic thing to do a character,” he says. “It seems just like the perfect end for the unsung heroes of the world.”

The producers did consider the effect on loyal Gunmen enthusiasts. “The ending is going to be challenging for fans of the Lone Gunmen,” guesses Gilligan. “It makes part of me sad, but it’s hopefully a noble end.”

Shiban has his own rationalization. “They die to save the world, and that to me is a fitting end.”

The guest actors in this episode are also well-versed in the Gunmen mythology, appearing in both The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen series with the conspiracy-debunking cabal. Stephen Snedden and Zuleikha Robinson make a reappearance (see ‘Shooting Co-Stars’ box-out), while Jim Fyfe also returns, having played Jimmy the Geek in The X-Files episode “Three of a Kind” and also dead Jimmy’s twin brother, Kimmy the Geek in The Lone Gunmen. Fyfe recalls his fondness for the three actors, as well as their on-screen counterparts. “I love them,” he says. “As guys they’re great, and as characters they’re great.”

When Fox canceled The Lone Gunmen in 2001, executive producers Gilligan, Shiban and Spotnitz were sure that they still had a story to round out. “It was such a big cliffhanger sitting out there,” Gilligan explains. “And we knew we wanted to resolve it.”

The ninth season of The X-Files was the obvious place to tie up those loose ends. “Within the X-Files context, we sort of vowed to ourselves to make this work,” states Shiban.

The return of this plot meant that they had to wait a whole year from the last episode of The Lone Gunmen to write the resolution. Gilligan admits to having some trouble when he actually had to sit down at the computer. “I spent a lot of time building it up in my head,” he says. “The whole time saying, ‘This has to be the greatest episode ever. This has to serve two masters – The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen series – and marry them together perfectly. It has to be beautiful.'”

While crediting Spotnitz with making sure that the episode would get done at all, Gilligan still toiled with developing the plot. “It’s taken me the longest of about any episode to work my way through,” he says. “It’s been a tricky one.”

The writers agreed that they could not simply make this show a continuation of The Lone Gunmen finale episode, “All About Yves.” “I was thinking along those lines,” Gilligan acknowledges, “but Frank rightly said we can’t exactly do that because this is a whole different television series – one that we’re using as a platform to finish this story.”

The writers also had to bear in mind that many X-Files fans may not have tuned in to the Lone Gunmen’s series. “It would have thrown The X-Files audience too much,” says Spotnitz.

The three put their heads together to figure out just where exactly the audience would find the Gunmen and their cohorts after a whole year. The story they came up with reunites the Gunmen, Jimmy, and Yves with arch nemesis Morris Fletcher (played comically and astutely by Michael McKean) was pivotal to The Lone Gunmen finale. Fans of The X-Files will also remember the character from the “Dreamland” two-parter and “Three of a Kind,” both in Season Six. In “All About Yves,” Fletcher orchestrated a dramatic con job, kidnapping Yves and leaving the Gunmen in a secure, underground bunker. Naturally, the Gunmen are none too thrilled to encounter Fletcher again.

In “Jump the Shark,” Fletcher first draws Agents Doggett and Reyes into Yves’ case by teasing them with the claim that she is a Super Soldier. The agents then bring in the Gunmen. The episode moves quickly out of the realm of Super Soldiers and into that of international terrorism, biological agents, and shark cartilage. Yes, shark cartilage. Sharks were incorporated into the story after the title of the episode was chosen. “Jump the Shark” is an entertainment web site launched in 1997, named for the famous Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumps over a tank full of sharks on his motorcycle. The creator of the website, Jon Hein, christened the term to portray the moment in a television series’ run when its originality has begun to go downhill. Spotnitz calls the title, “a funny joke at our own expense.”

Gilligan agrees. “I kind of like it when a show ribs itself, and the idea of jumping the shark is sort of fun.”

The producers arranged for Hein to have a walk-on role in the episode, but unfortunately, his schedule did not allow for the appearance. Hein, however, was delighted to hear of his creation’s use as the episode’s title. “I thought it was great,” he declares enthusiastically. “The X-Files has always ‘got the web’ and actively incorporated it into the show with a great sense of humour and cleverness.” The X-Files is the site’s second most popular vote-getter. Most of Jump the Shark’s voters feel that the show has never, in fact, “jumped the shark.”

After the writers secured their title, they looked for ways to incorporate sharks into the episode. Gilligan recalls that the writers liked the image of the shark in the first shot of the show. They came up with the teaser that features Fletcher on a boat in the Bahamas.

“We threw out the teaser for a long time because it felt, at first, that it got us off to the wrong start,” says Shiban. After several sessions of working out more traditional X-Files teasers, they came back to the original, more comedic one.

“We wanted to start it off and truly tease the audience in the classic sense of a teaser, to get them intrigued,” Gilligan opines. “Michael McKean does that.”

McKean is a favourite of the show’s producers. “When an actor exceeds your expectations, it’s great,” says Spotnitz. “He is a surefooted actor, period. Be he’s also a great comedic actor, with great comedic timing and instincts.”

“He’s just a delight. He so embodies this character that it’s scary,” Shiban gloats about his guest star. “One of the reasons he’s such a good fit with both The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen, is because, as comic as he is, he carries himself with such a sense of reality.”

Also praising McKean, Gilligan says simply, “He so gets it.”

The Lone Gunmen themselves are also exciting about reuniting with McKean. “We’ve been talking Spinal Tap, and I switch from fellow actor to annoying groupie,” jokes Haglund.

“Micheal’s great,” agrees Braidwood. “He’s a character and a very funny man. He’s a lot of fun to work with.”

Gilligan likens the character of Morris Fletcher to Louie DePalma from the television series Taxi. “He’s the guy you love to hate,” Gilligan laughs. “But you don’t really hate him. Deep down you sort of love him.”

After Fletcher’s humorous entrance, the story gradually becomes more serious, culminating in the Gunmen’s touching final scene with Yves and Jimmy. Balancing humour is something The X-Files writers have done numerous times throughout the series’ nine seasons, especially when the Lone Gunmen are on hand. In this episode, however, it was especially challenging.

“In the writing, we did a number of revisions around that very issue,” Shiban states.

“The world in which [these characters] live is not funny,” Spotnitz elaborates. “We had to make it more real.”

Over the course of writing The Lone Gunmen series last year, the producers, according to Gilligan, found the show “worked best when there was actually a little more drama rather than a little less.” He thinks they achieved this tone best in the series finale. “That episode struck a nice balance between comedy and sort of high stakes seriousness,” he recalls wistfully. “We tried to strike that same tone in this one.”

Admittedly, this episode hits both ends of the spectrum. “It is a balancing act, and we’re watching dailies every day and walking that tightrope,” Shiban confesses.

Another challenge was the actual melding of the two shows. Once they got into the writing of it, it became very difficult to merge the two series together. Spotnitz refers to the combination of the two shows, something they have done before with the Millennium series crossover in the seventh season X-Files episode, “Millennium,” as a “massive headache.”

Shiban remarks that it was difficult to communicate the complicated back-story that would have become The Lone Gunmen mythology had the series continued. “We kept running up to these moments where the three of us would be working on the script,” he recounts, “when we asked ‘Does The X-Files audience need to know this? Is the back story too complicated?’ You have a whole world for a series, but this is just one episode.”

The writers were now faced with the daunting task of communicating this world to a viewing audience that may not be familiar with The Lone Gunmen series. Calling it a “necessary evil,” Gilligan explains that they tried to keep exposition to a minimum.

Another challenge to writing this episode was, as Spotnitz puts it, “striking a balance in screentime between the Lone Gunmen and Doggett and Reyes.” Add Morris Fletcher, Jimmy Bond, Yves Adele Harlow, and Kimmy the Geek to the mix, and you’ve got a full plate for any writer.

“It’s an exercise in trunk packing,” says Gilligan. “You have to use every little bit of available space.”

Shiban, while discussing the difficulty of working Agents Doggett and Reyes into the initial story, says that he found it just as problematic as having to incorporate the characters into the X-file into any script. “The X-Files is a hard form to master,” he muses, “which is partly what I think makes it so good when it clicks. But we struggle every week.”

“We realized very early that our Act IV would mostly be the Gunmen, because we’re doing a story about how the Gunmen are unsung heroes,” Shiban says. “We want them to be heroic in the climax. Therefore, we knew that [Doggett and Reyes’] role would be diminished at some point, and that made it easier in some ways.”

The producers are happy with the final script as a tribute to the Gunmen, but they understand fan reaction will undoubtedly be mixed. “Some will hate us for it,” predicts Shiban. “But I bet the ones who say they hate the idea will cry when they see it.”

“At the end of the day, if the fans of The Lone Gunmen series are the ones pleased, that’d be enough for me,” sighs Gilligan. Although he hopes that all X-philes will enjoy it, Gilligan offers up some morsel of completion for the fans of the canceled series. “They stuck with us through thick and thin, and I wanted to see something resolved for them.”

As the late night on the set draws to a close, the actors reflect on the end of the Lone Gunmen, bringing up feelings about the end of The X-Files series as a whole.

“I’m really sad to see it go,” says Fyfe of The X-Files. “I think all successful shows become a part of the culture in a way. I’ll miss it.”

The cast and crew once again laugh together between takes. Although the sentiment of the episode is bittersweet, everyone on set is having fun with the one last go around.

“What I’ll miss are the people, because they’re all great to work with,” Braidwood reflects. “It’s been a wonderful experience, and that’s what I’ll miss the most.”

Intellivu: Interview with Dean Haglund

Apr-25-2001
Intellivu
Interview with Dean Haglund

Playing computer-hacking conspiracy geek Langly on “The X-Files” spin-off “Lone Gunmen” guarantees that Dean Haglund is constantly in touch with apparent illegal aliens from distant galaxies and other highly unusual fans right here on planet Earth via his www.deanx.com Web site.

“I get some strange e-mail for sure,” says Haglund, 33, who looks the part of a genuine geek with long, shaggy blond hair and really ugly frames for his prop eyeglasses. “The conspiracy theorists are always unusual, including the guy who thinks there is an entire city with back-up military runways for jet fighters under the 5 acres his house sits on. This person hears the rumbling of an underground city.

“The man doesn’t watch ‘The Lone Gunmen’ that much, so I guess he is just trying to rally support for his underground military base – good for him,” Haglund continues, dry as dust. “I also post some of the funny e-mails, including the one about taking Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and substitute it for the soundtrack of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as soon as you hear Leo the lion roar on the MGM logo. Lots of teen-age kids tell me it syncs perfectly and is totally cool.”

Haglund hasn’t tried the “Oz” bit yet (“It sounds like it was discovered by somebody on acid”), but expects to get around to it in the near future as he is a low-grade computer geek in real life.

“I know how the Internet works and get around pretty well, but I’m not a hacker,” he says. “I used to answer my own e-mail, but the volume has become overwhelming since ‘Gunmen’ hit the air. Now, after a 12- or 15-hour day on the set, all I have the energy for is to check the news, look at my stocks and look at the ratings of my friends’ TV shows.”

“Gunmen” was a blessed accident that climbed out of “The X-Files'” primordial ooze during its first season in 1993, according to Haglund.

“The writers came up with the weirded-out ‘Mission: Impossible’ team for one ‘X-Files’ episode, but had a hell of a time casting it. I showed up on the Vancouver set with about 45 other quirky-looking character actors, mostly friends of mine, and got the part along with Bruce Harwood (Byers) and Tom Braidwood (Frohike).”

Creators/executive producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz only envisioned the demented trio as a small group of bodies working one day on one scene, then disbanding forever.

“I had never seen ‘The X-Files’ and had no idea what the hell it was all about,” Haglund recalls. “But we said our lines and got out of there, happy it was all done before lunch so we could have the rest of the day off.”

Much to his surprise, Haglund was called back – along with Harwood and Braidwood – the following season for three more episodes. They have done at least a half-dozen shows per year ever since, and the “X” producers started developing “Gunmen” two years ago as a response to heavy viewer interest.

“It’s pretty bizarre,” he says, laughing, “but here we are, eight years later, with our own show, starring in 13 episodes.”

And he finally has a handle on his straw-haired (“I never got around to cutting my hair and that’s the way I showed up for the first audition”) character.

“If you want to be Freudian about it, Byers is the superego, Frohike is the ego and Langly is the id,” Haglund explains. “He is the emotional, irrational and somewhat impulsive guy fighting against ‘The Man’ as a computer hacker. I like to think he is the fighting spirit behind the team.”

The pride of tiny Oakbank, Manitoba, which is separated “by many wheat fields” from Winnipeg, is the youngest of four children born to an iron-willed homemaker and a hard-working mechanic for Canadian National Railways. Both parents are officially retired, but his father still works for various foreign aid organizations as as a senior quality control consultant on distressed railroad systems that take them from Bosnia to Bangladesh for years at a time.

“I still have fond, fond memories of summer train trips across Canada and the U.S. when I was a kid,” he says. “We met a lot of people – and it was a cheap way for us to travel.”

Passing up a certain amount of job security, Haglund decided to become a professional class clown during his very first semester in school. He began private acting studies at the age of 12 and, two years later, made his professional debut as Uncle Sam (“They decided my long blond hair looked gray and gave me a beard”) in a “badly done multi-cultural event” at an obscure Winnipeg theater. It was enough to whet his appetite for more punishment.

Majoring in theater and minoring in modern dance, he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and performing arts in 1991 from Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University.

“I was in a couple of dance shows – it was standing room only,” he says, delivering a bald-faced lie. “They were real esoteric productions involving running around in rubber boots and so on. The audience was composed mostly of fellow performers who also ran around in rubber boots doing similar shows.”

Haglund started his long, slow climb toward financial solvency with guest shots on U.S. shows produced in Canada, including “The Commish,” “Sliders,” “MacGuyver,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years.” Since dividing his time between Southern California and British Columbia (“We are what you call ‘West Coast International'”), the laid-back actor added such Hollywood-based shows to his resume as “V.I.P.” and “Instant Comedy With The Groundlings.”

Between straight acting gigs, Haglund adds to his retirement fund by voicing cartoon characters in the TV series “Robocop” and “The Big Guy” – and he provided his vocal chords to Sid in the animated feature film “Tom Sawyer.” But he is most animated while doing his stand-up comedy act at clubs and college venues all over North America when “The X-Files” and “The Lone Gunmen” go on hiatus. Hence, “home” is where his laundry is.

Married for eight years to a woman “who likes her name out of the press” and runs his two TV production companies (that shall remain secrets), there are no children involved yet and thus plenty of time for play.

“We love the outdoors and I’m into mountain biking and kayaking,” says the fitness freak. “For rest and relaxation, I’m also a cartoonist, published quite a few times in The X-Files magazine. I have samples on my Web site. Want to buy a cartoon?”

TV Week (Vancouver): Hip To Be Square – The Lone Gunmen Shoot From The Hip About Their Techno Geek Personas

Mar-10-2001
TV Week (Vancouver)
Hip To Be Square – The Lone Gunmen Shoot From The Hip About Their Techno Geek Personas
Robin Roberts

[typed by Megan]

As much as Chris Carter would like you to believe his X-Files spinoff, which debuted last week, is a comedy starring the three stooges in question shift oh-so-slightly in their seats when you mention it. Sure, they’ll go along with it; they want the thing to succeed more than anyone. But you get the feeling they’d like to be taken a little more seriously, despite the delight they obviously feel at finding themselves stars of their own series.

“I don’t think any of us seriously for a moment think [we’d get our own series],” says Tom Braidwood (the short one). “We always joked about it, but…”

But Carter warned early on to the notion of a spinoff, if only for relief, comic or otherwise, for his X-Files stars, David Duchonvy and Gillian Anderson. “I think we first did an episode dedicated to them [the Gunmen] the year we did the movie, because we need some time off for David and Gillian,” says the snowy-haired one. “That was the first time the Lone Gunmen had their own episode. And I think it worked so well and it was so fun to do, and it was so successful, I think that’s the first time anybody believed there was a chance we could spin these characters off.”

But the new “stars” – Braidwood, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood, all Vancouverites – weren’t among the believers. “The three of us certainly thought that it was a one-off, that we there to serve a purpose for one show,” says Braidwood, an assistant director as well as a series star. “No one was more surprised than the three of us when we were brought back the next year for two or three episodes.”

So in the dark about their destiny were they, the three found out about the spinoff in the Hollywood Trade paper Daily Variety. And you thought your office kept you out of the loop.

“All I remember about the first time I did the character was that I did this thing with my hands in my pockets the whole time,” says Harwood (the tall one).

“What?” asks a stunned Haglund (the blonde one), turning to his co-star. “That just doesn’t sound right.”

“Only to you,” shoots back Harwood.

“I only had one line,” recalls Braidwood, interrupting the hijinx, “which I managed to stretch into two by saying it twice, but I didn’t see a lot of depth in the character at that point.”

“The glasses I wore on the show were pulled out of a giant bag of prop glasses and then I threw them back in [after the scene],” remembers Haglund. “And when we were called back, I was asked to remember which one of the glasses were the ones I wore, and I couldn’t remember. So if you watch the first three seasons on DVD, you see my glasses change every episode. That was literally how much thought we had actually put into it.”

“In the first [X-Files] episode that featured the Lone Gunmen, we’d only had last names,” recalls Harwood. “So I remember that was part of the thrill [with the spinoff]. Getting the script and going, ‘I’ve got a first name! Hooray! Hooray!'”

“Yeah,” adds Haglund, “and before that, we had to make up a back story. We didn’t really know how the three of us would know each other, and then they did a flashback episode, where we learnt that we were selling illegal cable…”

“And I’d been working for the goverment,” cuts in Harwood. “Up ’til then, I thought I was one of those guys who comes to fix the photocopier and is always dressed in a suit and tie for some reason.”

“That’s right,” says Haglund, “and I thought I was a roadie for the Ramones or something.”

Always the more serious of the three – despite the fact he’s the one who tends to meet mud puddles face on in the Gunmen pilot – Braidwood says, “We actually came to the series already with a fair bit of background that had developed over the seven years on X-Files, particularly the two shows that concentrated on us. So in a way we’ve just kind of fallen into it naturally, and if anything’s grown, it’s more of a reationship on a day-to-day basis that we have with each other on the screen. And you see a lot more of that and how we relate to one another, how we develop stories, how we argue over how we’re going to handle a story. I’ts been an odd osmosis and, you know, a lot of people use the word ‘spinoff’ but I’ve never seen [The Lone Gunmen] as a spinoff. It’s sort of like what we do in our life when we’re not helping out Mulder and Scully. It’s like, ‘What do these guys do?” And this is what we do, this is our life, which is very different than The X-Files life.’

The very different lives of the trio computer hacking geeks while they were awaiting their big break. Harwood, who plays John Byers, graduated with a Fine Arts degree in theatre from UBC and quickly landed roles in locally shot series like EarthStar Voyager, 21 Jump Street, The Outer Limits, MacGyver and the feature Honey, I shrunk the Kids before snagging the role of Byers on The X-Files in 1994.

Before his groundbreaking part as Ringo Langly, Haglund was chasing stand-up stardom after earning a theatre degree from SFU. His TV credits include Vancouver-shot series like The Commish Sliders, Robocop and the upcoming animated series The Big Guy, while his film roles, like Harwood, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids as well as the upcoming animated feature Tom Sawyer.

Braidwood, meanwhile, had been toiling behind the scenes as an assistant director, director, production manager and writer in both TV and film before landing the role of Melvin. His producing and directing credits include DaVinci’s Inquest as well as the films Kingsgate, The Portrait, Walls, Low Visablility and Deserters. He’s assistant directed The Sentinel, Strange World, Pittsburgh, Mercy Point as well as Carter’s Millennium and The X-Files. He began acting at the Tamahnous Theatre Workshop Company, where he also wrote and preformed as a musician.

For the leads, being back home is a good thing, as it is for creator Carter, despite the ill will amoung some of the local press and fan base who took it as a personal insult when The X-Files moved to L.A. “I just think people really thought of The X-Files as a Vancouver show, and so when it left, it was hard,” he says. “It was hard for me, very hard for me. But I think all has been forgiven. I’d worked so long in Vancouver and I knew a lot of the crew. And we have three Canadian actors, so it just seemed a natural for us to go back, where we’d established a sort of winning formula. Vancouver could double as anywhere in America, it has so many great looks.”

And those looks will stand in for Anywhere, U.S.A., as the publishers of The Lone Gunmen, their fledging underground newspaper of rampant goverment coverups and conspracies, encounter evil villians while ferreting out the truth, with the aid of high-tech gizmos and blind bravery.

In the pilot episode, Byers’ father, a military man, dies, prompting Byers to, of course, believe it is a coverup for something more sinister. Along the way, he discovers his father is still alive, and the trio’s missing adventures lead them to the beautiful but mysterious Yves Adele Harlow – an anagram for Lee Harvey Oswald – their competitor in the “information business,” who further flames consipracy fires. In a hilarious tribute to Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, Braidwood at one point hangs from the cable while attempting to intercept incriminating documents. And that’s what will likely help this series succeed – Carter has wisely played it tongue in cheek, with a wink-and-nod awareness of the campy goofiness.

And although there will be crossovers with The X-Files, Carter, who’s also working on another Files film, insists, “Even though these guys come from The X-Files, the show doesn’t owe a whole lot to The X-Files I don’t think, except that it spawned these characters.”

TV Guide (Canada): We Geeks

Mar-02-2001
TV Guide (Canada)
We Geeks
Brian Hartigan

[typed by Megan]

An X-Files spinoff gets the spotlight. Tell everyone

After eight seasons of guest spots on The X-Files, those computer-loving conspiracy buffs known as The Lone Gunmen are now on their own, championing the rights of Americans everywhere.

Pretty funny, considering all three are red-blooded Canadians.

“There’s a line in the pilot,” says Bruce Harwood (aka John Byers), “where Tom [Braidwood, aka Melvin Frohike] comments about fighting for ‘Truth, justice and the American way.’ After he read the line, he turned to me and said, ‘Can you believe we’re two Canadians saying this stuff?!'”

The irony of that line is nothing compared to the unlikely circumstances surrounding the creation of The Lone Gunmen series itself. In fact, all three stars are still in disbelief that they have a show of their own. “It’s astonishing, to tell you the truth,” admits Dean Haglund (aka Ringo Langly, the blond one).

“If you created a plot line that went: ‘Three actors do one-day stint on a series that ranked 66th, and eight years later get their own show,’ your editor would fire you.”

Harwood is also quick to admit that he was skeptical that the three could hold their own in an hour-long format, but realizes now “that we won’t have to explain a lot of background regarding our characters.” And what characters they are! In each of Byers, Frohike and Langly, you’ll find enough deep-seated paranoia to keep a good psychiatrist in caviar for life.

First, there’s the bearded Byers (Vancouver’s Harwood), a snappy dresser with serious father issues. “Byers must be pretty paranoid or else he wouldn’t walk around dressed like that,” he says.

Then there’s the shorter Frohike (Braidwood, also from Vancouver), an unkept grump who takes the brunt of the jokes and pratfalls. “I’m probably the most paranoid because I’m the oldest and most cynical,” he says of Frohike.

Finally, there’s Langly (Manitoba’s Haglund), a cross between Garth from Wayne’s World and your average high-school AV tech. “I’m paranoid because I’m outraged against the establishment,” he explains. Despite their obvious foibles and eccentricities – or maybe because of them – the fact is , if you’re fan of The X-Files, you’re undoubtedly a fan of The Lone Gunmen.

Since their first appearances in 1994, during the show’s first season, the sneaks have become fan favourites by adding a dollop of fun to The X-Files’ mounting sense of doom.

Their popularity isn’t lost on co-creator Chris Carter, who says the tone of this series will be different than its originator. He and his co-hosts (X-vets Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan among them) hope that the premise will appeal to fans of early X-Files who enjoyed the occasional light-hearted episode. “We’re playing to the same audience,” says Carter. “But we’re doing outrageous comedy.”

Gunmen will also be filmed in and around Vancouver, the city that The X-Files called home until series star David Duchovny (aka Fox Mulder) criticized its weather and said he wanted to move the show to Los Angeles.

At the time, many people in Vancouver felt insulted and slammed the actor for being unappreciative, though Harwood thinks Duchovny may have gotten a bit of a bad rap. “Poor David,” he says. “After those remarks, there was a sense that everyone in Vancouver just turned on him for slagging a town that helped produce a successful show. I don’t think the move made people angry but I will tell you this: Nearly everyone I know [there] stopped watching after it left.”

Braidwood agrees somewhat, pointing out that many cities tend to claim hit series as their town. “In a really broad sense, the city sees it as theirs,” he explains. “And then all of sudden it leaves and they’re asking, ‘How could you do that?'”

For his part, Carter explains that moving The X-Files to L.A. gave the show a much-needed shot in the creative arm, but aside from the obvious financial benefits (Gunmen is produced for roughly half of what The X-Files costs), he’s happy to be back in Vancouver. “I like the people a lot,” he tells TV Guide. “It’s an easy trip back and forth and I’ve worked with the crew.”

That quick, coastal flight will also afford that opportunity for continued crossovers back into The X-Files while allowing actors like Mitch Pileggi (who plays assistant director Walter Skinner) to pop up on Gunmen from time to time.

Still, make no mistake, this isn’t The X-Files redux or, according to Harwood, any other show for that matter. When the spinoff was announced last year, it was touted as something akin to Mission: Impossible with geeks, a comparison Harwood finds unfair. “Gene Roddenberry had to first describe Star Wars as Wagon Train to the stars,” he says. “Now, I ask you, was it anything like that? No really. So take the Mission: Impossible comparison with a grain of salt.”

In other words: trust no one.

The Province: Smoking guns

Feb-21-2000
The Province
Smoking guns

The men behind the Lone Gunmen, that trippy trio from The X-Files, are getting their own Fox pilot. TV writer Dana Gee gets the straight goods from the Vancouver actors — along with a few new conspiracy theories

Tom Braidwood, Bruce Harwood and Dean Haglund make up the Lone Gunmen.

Look out Hollywood, the Lone Gunmen are taking aim at prime time TV.

Those wacky, paranoid geeks that help Mulder and Scully crack conspiracies are spinning off into their own show.

It was confirmed recently that The X-Files’ guy-in-charge-of-everything, Chris Carter, will produce a pilot based on the Gunmen.

That’s great news for the three Vancouver-area actors who portray Byers, Frohike and Langly: respectively, Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund.

As is the norm with anything to do with The X-Files the lid is on pretty tight. What we do know is if The X-Files does not return for an eighth season — don’t hold your breath — the show will air in September. If Fox can work out new contracts with Carter and star David Duchovny, an eight season will likely hit the air and the Lone Gunmen pilot will show up as a mid-season replacement sometime in January.

We tracked down the trippy trio and got them to dish on the show and life as the wildly popular conspiracy guys.

Dean Haglund A.K.A. Langly

Q. Where’s the pilot going to be shot?

A. In Vancouver, since we were all starting to look too sexy with our buff bodies and tans that we were getting in L.A.

Q. You’re not afraid of rain these days, are you?

A. Only acid rain and what happened to that? I thought David Suzuki said the Gulf Islands were supposed to be dead now unless we took drastic actions! Did we take them?

Q. What do you think the show should be called?

A. Hmmmmmm. How about, I Told You If You Make that Face it Will Stay That Way?

Q. What will your own show mean to your popularity?

A. The show will mean, when entering a large event, I will no longer be asked, “Are you with the band?”

Q. Will we see you walking next to Bruce Willis or John Travolta down a red carpet at a movie premiere anytime soon?

A. Yeah, that’s right. I am starring in a picture with John Travolta and Bruce Willis called That Long Haired Guy Killed the General’s Daughter and He Can See Dead People.

Q. What’s in your new contract?

A. Well, I fought hard, it was quite a battle with Business Affairs, but I worked it so I only have to mention my last name at the security gate to get in.

Q. How would you describe your personal style?

A. Biker from Mensa.

Q. What are some traits you and Langly share?

A. Unkempt hair. Unclean linen.

Q. Will you do nudity?

A. Only if nudity will respect me in the morning.

Q. What is the weirdest thing someone has written about you in say an Internet chat room?

A. You want weird? YOU WANT WEIRD? Oh, baby, you don’t know the meaning of weird until you have seen the things I have seen. Thus, I can’t really judge what the weirdest means anymore.

Q. If you could start one rumour about yourself what would it be?

A. That I am that deep voice you hear when you dial the wrong number.

Q. What rumour would you start about the other two Gunmen?

A. They are the women’s voices that say ‘Telus’ and ‘Next stop, Metrotown.’

Q. What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?

A. That Monica Lewinsky was a CIA operative on a mission to distract the public from the fact that the government was completely useless.

Q. If the moon walk was staged, how do you explain pictures and film footage of the astronauts experiencing weightlessness?

A. They turned the camera upside down. Try it at home.

Q. Is it true that, in the pilot, there will be a strong female role, a theorist who stimulates your intellects as well as your . . .?

A. As my what? Could you finish the question please. I am bad with double entendre. I can barely handle single entendre.

Q. Any idea on who will play that role?

A. I think I will. It’s a chance to expand my acting range to play a woman who I lust after.

Q. Who else would you like to play that role?

A. I think we should rotate the entire cast of 90210 through the part. They’ve got the time.

Q. Finish this sentence: If I were Chris Carter the first thing I would do is . . .

A. Go surfing!

Tom Braidwood A.K.A. Frohike

Q. Shooting The X-Files in L.A. hasn’t made you afraid of the rain, has it?

A. I’m born and bred in the rain. I’m a water baby.

Q. What’s the show going to be called?

A. Don’t know but I think The Lone Gunman would be good. Our name is originally singular whose mythology derives from the lone gunman referred to in the Kennedy assassination.

Q. What did you do to celebrate when you found out the show was a go?

A. I called my wife at home, sat on the balcony of the hotel in L.A., watched the sun set and went to bed at 10 p.m.

Q. What’s the difference between Hollywood you and Vancouver you?

A. About a two-and-a-half hour plane ride.

Q. Will we see you walking next to Bruce Willis or John Travolta down a red carpet at a movie premiere?

A. I don’t think so. Maybe we’ll be hired to clean the carpet if we’re lucky.

Q. What is one trait you share with Frohike?

A. Bad taste in clothes.

Q. What’s one trait you don’t share?

A. I’m better looking than my character.

Q. Will you do nudity?

A. Pity the poor viewing audience . . .

Q. What’s the weirdest thing someone has said about you or Frohike in, say, an Internet chat room?

A. Don’t follow the chat rooms much. But a young female fan at one of the conventions wondered if I wore boxers or briefs.

Q. If you could start one rumour about yourself what would it be?

A. That I can act . . .

Q. What rumour would you start about other Gunmen?

A. That they think I can act . . .

Q. What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?

A. Gas prices . . .

Bruce Harwood A.K.A. Byers

Q. When you heard about the pilot, did you do anything wild and crazy to celebrate?

A. No. A pilot is a pilot –which is good — but not a series. I take it one step at a time.

Q. Are you now considered A-list party material?

A. Nope.

Q. Will we see you walking next to Bruce Willis or John Travolta down a red carpet at a movie premiere anytime soon?

A. Nope.

Q. What will be in your new contract? A bigger trailer, champagne? What do you get now?

A. Sorry, private information.

Q. How would you describe your personal style?

A. Well, I don’t wear suits (like Byers) if I can help it. I prefer relaxed and pretty unstylish clothes.

Q. What’s one trait you share with your on screen persona?

A. Bookishness.

Q. What is one thing you and your character don’t share?

A. Extreme paranoia.

Q. Will you do nudity?

A. Why would anyone want me to?

Q. What would surprise an X-Files fan to find out about you?

A. X-Files fans are hard to surprise!

Q. If you could start one rumour about yourself what would it be?

A. That I was taller and better looking.

Q. What rumour would you start about your other two Gunmen cohorts?

A. That they said I was taller and better looking.

Q. Who is funnier, Jerry Lewis or Jim Carrey?

A. Robin Williams.

Q. What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?

A. That the JFK assassination was a suicide.

Q. If the moon walk was staged, how do you explain pictures and film footage of the astronauts experiencing weightlessness?

A. Invisible strings.

Q. How do you explain crop circles and Ricky Martin?

A. They both describe concentric circles.

Entertainment Weekly: Secrets and Lies

Feb-05-1999
Entertainment Weekly
Secrets and Lies
Mary Kaye Schilling

[Original article here]

Will ”X-Files” answer viewers’ questions? — The Fox sci-fi drama promises to reveal some secrets in the season finale

X-Files‘ actors live in mortal fear of it: the big kiss-off from series creator Chris Carter. The bell doesn’t toll often for regular characters (among the unlucky few: Deep Throat, X, and Bill Mulder), but the possibility hovers, like an alien spaceship, over the cast. For one actor, the phone rang days before shooting began on a momentous two-parter, a sweeps event that Fox is trumpeting as ”The X-Files conspiracy…exposed!”

Divulging the identity of this doomed player would, of course, ruin the second episode’s penultimate shocker (there are two humdingers). Let us instead relive the actor’s bittersweet moment of (you know) truth: ”Just before I got the script I got a message to call Carter’s office. He was very calm. He said, ‘I’ve got something to tell you about the episode.’ And I said, ‘Are you going to fire me?’ And he said, `No, but I am going to shoot you.’ He said to trust him, it was going to be a very noble death. I said, ‘I do trust you, implicitly.”’

The victim pauses here for comic effect. Not only because the nature of a character’s death is the least concern of a soon-to-be-unemployed actor (one who relocated from Vancouver to L.A. when the show did the same last summer). But because of the inevitable punchline: ”And Carter said, ‘Trust no one.”’

Trust is to The X-Files what Nothing was to Seinfeld. For just as Jerry’s sitcom was a whole lot of something, Carter’s drama is very much about finding the people you can trust, the few who do speak the truth. In the case of FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), that person is his partner, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

But in the case of X-Files fans, whom can they trust about this latest claim that the conspiracy — Carter’s ongoing plotline involving aliens, government deception, deadly black oil, and killer bees — will be explained? After all, similar promises went unfulfilled last summer with the release of the franchise’s first film, The X-Files — a visually stunning movie that nonetheless created more questions than it answered. ”I think people were frustrated because the studio’s ads [‘The Truth Is Revealed’] implied that everything was going to be tied up,” says Duchovny. ”And then it wasn’t.”

”I never claimed to be revealing more than I did,” insists Carter. And believes X-Files executive producer Frank Spotnitz, ”the truth meant something different to everyone who walked into the show.” Spotnitz, who developed the movie with Carter, is one of the few writers at Ten Thirteen (Carter’s production company) who can make heads or tails of the conspiracy, or what Carter calls the Mythology. And in his mind, ”the movie did reveal very explicitly a lot of things. But other people might have been expecting the truth to be about something else, like Samantha.”

For the uninitiated, Samantha is Mulder’s sister, abducted by aliens when she was 8 and he was 12. His search to find her has led to his and Scully’s series-long quest to learn the truth about extraterrestrial life on Earth. From that simple concept has developed the most brazenly complex arc ever attempted by a television drama. Indeed, it is a veritable Machiavellian maze, so tangled with intrigue and betrayal that even dedicated fans find themselves scratching their heads bloody. Duchovny acknowledges that this is ”hard on people who just tune in occasionally.” And it makes attracting new fans nearly impossible — a problem illuminated by the movie, which focused exclusively on the conspiracy rather than showcasing one of the series’ stand-alone stories featuring creepy genetic mutants and the like.

Though its very respectable $187 million worldwide take is a testament to the show’s powerful fan base (and virtually guarantees a sequel), Carter and Spotnitz admit that since the movie failed to lure X-Files virgins to the franchise, it was something of a disappointment. ”I hoped we would have reached more nonfans,” says Spotnitz, who found stringing two seasons together creatively confining. ”I’m looking forward to the next movie because I anticipate the show will be over, and we’ll be free to reinvent ourselves.” (Carter is contracted only through the show’s seventh season, ending in May 2000; an eighth is unlikely given his desire to concentrate on X movies.)

Perhaps more distressing was the show’s dip in ratings this season. Though still a major hit for Fox, The X-Files is down 16 percent in total viewers (now averaging 16.8 million versus 20 million last season). Carter blames the network’s schedule shuffling; Fox replaced X‘s old lead-in, King of the Hill, with the freshman sitcom That ’70s Show, causing the 8:30 slot to lose 34 percent in viewers. ”Our nice lineup has a hole in it,” says Carter. ”Not to take anything away from That ’70s Show — they’re trying their best — but it is struggling.” He also points to CBS’ Sunday movie, now drawing big audiences (it ranks ninth among viewers; X is 13th). ”It changes the quality of the pie,” he adds. ”The slices get smaller for everyone.”

But has the increasingly unwieldy conspiracy also alienated some original fans? Spotnitz doesn’t think so, though the upcoming doubleheader is a way to lighten the load: ”We didn’t know until shortly before [Chris and I wrote the two-parter] that we were going to do it. But after the movie, when we sat down to do the next Mythology show, it felt like the right time. We realized we had reached a critical mass, and that to complicate it further — to dangle another piece of the puzzle — was just too much. And so we got excited suddenly at the idea of everything coming to a head now. It didn’t seem expected to us.”

Carter insists the conspiracy is believable because of its complexity. Yet he’s also aware that the clock is ticking toward the series finale. ”I was thinking today, I have another 28 episodes left. We’ve got to prepare for a big unravel. We figured it would be better to explain the conspiracy now, and make that last arc more emotional and action driven, with less baggage to carry.”

In other words, Carter acknowledges the density of his creation. He will not, however, admit to what plagues many fans: profound confusion. The conspiracy, he maintains, ”is not as complicated as you think.”

Hanging out with the conspiracy’s supporting players is probably a mistake. They are relentlessly cheerful: The more dour they are on camera, the sunnier they are off; Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Skinner), William B. Davis (the cancerous Cigarette Smoking Man — or CSM), and Chris Owens (CSM’s son, Agent Spender) smile entirely too much. Way to kill a mood, guys.

But to a man — and this includes Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood, and Tom Braidwood (Mulder and Scully’s geeky helpers, the Lone Gunmen), and Nicholas Lea (dastardly renegade Krycek) — they are baffled by Carter’s Mythology. Of the upcoming two-parter, Lea admits that after he read the scripts, ”they needed to be explained about four times. Other than that, it was really clever.” He laughs. ”But that’s kind of like the norm. You read a script, then call someone to explain it.” Harwood finds hardcore fans helpful. That they can explain it, he says, ”is scary in itself.”

Skinner is the character most in the dark (a visit to the set reveals even his desk calendar is out of it: The date reads August 1995). And it’s a state of mind Pileggi can relate to. ”I don’t feel either of us has a handle on” the conspiracy, he says. For the two-parter he stuck to his usual methods of preparation: ”I just read my parts and play it as if I don’t know what’s going on. It’s always a surprise when I watch the shows.”

”I am happy that Mitch sees that as a positive,” cracks Duchovny a few days later. ”You know, whatever works for you…. I can’t believe he’s telling people that.”

Duchovny is in his trailer (which, unlike Mulder’s apartment, features a big, tousled bed), waiting to be slimed with black goop for an episode involving a hurricane; given that the wait has just exceeded five hours, he’s remarkably chipper. It’s no secret that Duchovny is occasionally frustrated by the limitations of his character (Mulder, by necessity, is fairly static in his obsessive skepticism and paranoia). So it’s surprising to hear him speak eagerly about the inevitable movie franchise: ”Not that I want to play Mulder for the rest of my life, but my fantasy is to take him into different eras of his life.” Instead of going the James Bond route, he says, where you fire the actor when he gets too old, ”let’s see how funny it is when a guy like this is behaving the same way at 53.”

To keep himself interested in the meantime, Duchovny has written and, for the first time, will direct an X-Files episode (airing in April). ”It’s about the Negro leagues, and an alien who falls in love with baseball. I really love the script, I have to say,” he says, somewhat sheepish in his pride. ”I remember finishing it and going, I wish I had a better director, because I think it could be one of the best episodes we ever did.”

Darren McGavin will star, returning as former FBI agent Arthur Dales of last season’s ”Travelers” — a flashback episode that featured a pre-X-Files Fox Mulder sporting a yet-to-be-explained wedding band. ”That was just me, you know, fooling around,” admits Duchovny, who clearly enjoyed the resulting Internet frenzy. ”I had recently gotten married, and I wanted to wear it. The director was really nervous. ‘You have to call [Chris] to see if the wedding ring is okay.’ I didn’t, until [after the scene was shot]. When I did call, Chris goes, ‘What!?’ I said, ‘No, it’s good. It’s so Mulder to never have mentioned that he was married.’ And he says, ‘Well, that creates a problem. If we ever do a show that takes place seven years ago, you’ll have to be married.’ I said, ‘Do you really have a lot of shows in your head that are going to take place seven years ago?”’

Arthur Miller once wrote: ”He who understands everything about his subject cannot write it. I write as much to discover as to explain.” One could say the same of Carter. Though he’s always known where the conspiracy will end up, he’s been as startled as viewers by the twists and turns occurring along the way. ”The story starts to tell itself,” he says. ”And that’s been very exciting.” But surprises extend beyond his Mythology. For instance, though humor has long been an X-Files hallmark, this season the writers are giving Ally McBeal a run for its funny money (most notably in a hilarious two-parter featuring Michael McKean as an Area 51 official who assumes Mulder’s identity). ”It was something we noticed we were doing after the fact. I think it was a reaction to the bigness and importance of the movie,” says Spotnitz, who adds that the show’s move to L.A. may have subtly encouraged a general lightening of tone.

This drama, in fact, does humor better than most sitcoms, and at no expense to the credibility of its darker, scarier episodes. More remarkable, given X‘s potential for Twin Peaks overload, is the show’s elasticity; it continues to evolve even in its sixth season. ”I’m very impressed that we’re still growing,” says Duchovny. ”It’s funny the way the show organically takes on a form of its own. Nobody decided we were going to turn it into a comedy this year. And we did for a while.”(For those unamused, Spotnitz says the show will follow a straighter path for the rest of the season.)

Even more unexpected, say Carter and Spotnitz, is Mulder and Scully’s escalating affection — something that was strictly taboo during the show’s first couple of years. Coexecutive producer Vince Gilligan, who came on staff in season 3, remembers getting some flak over a mere hint of intimacy in his episode ”Pusher” (about a psychokinetic ninja): ”I scripted that Scully touches Mulder’s hand at the end. And Chris and Frank went, ‘Oh, this is too much, too soap opera-y. But the fans went nuts.”’ And they still do: It was Mulder and Scully’s near kiss in the movie that provoked the greatest whoops of audience pleasure.

Carter has no problem with the ripening sexual tension, but he wants the relationship to remain platonic. ”From an actor’s standpoint, it’s too bad,” says Duchovny. ”I would like to complicate the situation rather than maintain it in this limbo we’re told people like. We’ve been able to go places with the relationship over the years, but we don’t build on it. But that’s the nature of the show — there’s never any accumulation of experience.”

The characters may not accumulate experience, but the facts of the conspiracy have certainly piled up. And at this point in this story, you are probably wondering: When are they gonna reveal something, anything about the two-parter? (Hey, watching The X-Files for six seasons has at least taught us how to tease.) Without spoiling too much: The two episodes will, with breathtaking efficiency and comprehensiveness (the scripts reach as far back as the first season’s finale, ”Erlenmeyer Flask”), establish Cigarette Smoking Man not just as the enforcer of the Syndicate (the government splinter group in cahoots with aliens bent on colonizing the earth), but the conspiracy’s very heart (or lack of one). At long last, his true motives will be revealed — and without, thank God, justifying his cold-blooded methods.

”One of the things that’s always bothered me about TV shows is that as they get older, everybody starts to become a good guy,” says Spotnitz. ”All the conflict is gone because everybody has been rationalized [Revealing CSM’s reasons] is not a desire to make him good — just a way of understanding his character.” So, yes, ”he is still just the worst guy.”

Part 1 begins back in a familiar railway-car operating room, where doctors have finally achieved what the Syndicate and the aliens have been collaborating on since Roswell: a successful alien/human hybrid — none other than repeat abductee Cassandra Spender, former wife of Cigarette Smoking Man, mother of Agent Spender, and last seen being abducted again in season 5’s ”Patient X.” ”One of the first ideas for the two-parter was that Cassandra was going to be returned,” says Spotnitz. ”And the end of the conspiracy, as it’s being promoted, is in the explaining of her importance.”

Though Nazi references have peppered episodes since the first season (as in Purity Control, the name for the hybridization project), they proliferated in the movie, which established the Syndicate as a sort of Vichy government, collaborating with the aliens to save their own sorry hides. The two-parter will continue that story line, with the faceless aliens (the ones with a penchant for torching folk) fulfilling the role of the Resistance. A tidy metaphor, yet (one feels it’s necessary to point out) Nazis as definition of evil — well, hasn’t that been done before? ”Chris’s vision for the show — which all of us acknowledge — is, that, you know, what we’re dealing with is so ridiculous,” says Spotnitz. ”So you need to do everything to make it seem believable, like analogies to things we know to be true.”

Left unanswered: the burning question of Fox Mulder’s paternity. (Duchovny is going the Star Wars route, assuming CSM is Mulder’s Darth Vader of a father: ”It makes mythological sense.” Carter will only add, ”We haven’t said definitely not. What we have said is that he is definitely Samantha’s father.”) Nor will we learn the true significance of Gibson Praise, the psychic brainiac kid, who, according to this season’s premiere, was some kind of missing link. ”The kid — and most certainly the idea of the kid — will come back, [probably] next year,” says Spotnitz. ”He’s key in explaining the idea, argued in the movie, that aliens were here before, and that this kid has got alien DNA, and perhaps all civilians have it.”

In the meantime, we’ll have plenty of drama to entertain us — including a potential alien invasion. For though most of the players’ motivations will be explained, Mulder’s Holy Grail — Samantha — must still be found. This season’s remaining conspiracy episodes, says Carter, will deal with the ”men and women left standing. How are these people going to survive [an alien invasion] and to what lengths will they go to do that?”

”The analogy I make in my own mind,” says Spotnitz, ”is that these episodes are like the fall of the Soviet Union. Players and pieces are still there, but what happens will change the dynamics of everything.”

Carter and Spotnitz are tentatively planning a three-parter to end this season, something they’ve never done before. As for next year, any bets on who’ll be left standing in the series’ finale? ”Out of a cloud of dust, Krycek will walk,” predicts Dean Haglund of the show’s ultimate rogue, the one-armed Rat Boy. Harwood agrees: ”He might have only one leg left, but he’ll be the last one standing.”