Posts Tagged ‘video needed’

Shock Till You Drop: Exclusive: Jodie Foster on The Beaver and The X-Files

Shock Till You Drop
Exclusive: Jodie Foster on The Beaver and The X-Files
Silas Lesnick

[Original article here]

On talking puppets and killer tattoos

In her latest acting and directing project, The Beaver, Jodie Foster tells the story of a man (Mel Gibson) and his collapse into depression to the point that he develops another personality in the form of a talking beaver puppet that quickly winds up taking control of his life.

You can check out the full video interview with Foster and co-star Anton Yelchin over at Shock Till You Drop’s sister site,, but, as you can see in the video below, we couldn’t resist asking Ms. Foster about her previous on-screen relationship with an inanimate object’s imaginary personality: voicing a killer tattoo on a 1997 episode of “The X-Files” titled “Never Again”.

Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose

Charlie: In 1993, Chris Carter created a television show that quickly turned into a pop culture phenomenon. The X-Files has drawn millions of devoted fans, an intense internet following, and inspired a hit film. The show launched its two stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, to stardom. It also made Chris Carter one of the most powerful television producers in Hollywood.

[clip from XF pilot of Mulder and Scully meeting]

Charlie: Now in its eighth season, The X-Files remains Fox’ highest-rated drama and a linchpin for the network. It has inspired a new Fox spinoff series called The Lone Gunmen. Chris Carter is the creator and executive producer of both shows and I’m pleased to have him here for the very first time. Welcome.

Chris: Thank you.

Charlie: Good to have you here.

Chris: Thank you very much.

Charlie: Why X-Files? Do you know? I mean, why do you think it just connected?

Chris: It, well —

Charlie: I mean, the obvious stuff, like good writing and good acting, and all that.

Chris: Right. That’s the simple and complicated formula.

Charlie: Yeah.

Chris: I think it was maybe a show that was of its time. It, uh — I think it represented a certain amount of, sort of, growing paranoia. Technology was sort of taking off, the internet was taking off, we were feeling a little alienated, as technology tends to do. And, uh, without those cell phones I don’t think I could have told these shows, actually. So I think it was — I think it was sort of a mood, sort of a pervasive mood in the country that sort of wanted something like this, and there is nothing scary on TV, which is really the reason I even came up with The X-Files.

Charlie: ‘Cause there was nothing scary on TV?

Chris: Nothing scary on television. When I was a kid there was a show on called The Night Stalker — and I’ve told this story now how many times. It starred Darren McGavin and it was great. It was actually written by this man Matheson, who’s so famous for writing great Twilight Zones and so much other great science fiction, and originally written by Jeff Rice, and it was the scariest thing I’d ever seen in my life and I could have watched it every night of the week. And I was 13 or 14 at the time, and I carried that with me and finally I had a chance after having worked in the industry for a few years to do what I wanted to do, and this was the first thing I — this was the first idea I really got to bring to the screen.

Charlie: So the idea for X-Files comes from The Night Stalker. In a sense, there’s a link.

Chris: Yes. Richard Matheson’s original screenplay about these vampires. There was this character, Carl Kolchak. He would go out — he was a newspaper reporter — no one would believe him. He’d go out and find all these wonderful things. And he was the believer, kind of like Mulder, and I’m sure it was the inspiration for that character.

Charlie: Did you have some sense, I mean, this is what turns you — this is what you like and so therefore this is what you want to make?

Chris: Right. Yes, exactly. These are the kinds of stories I like to watch.

Charlie: Okay. Now, what’s the shared characteristic of the people who like these kinds of things?

Chris: Um, I don’t know… First of all, it’s just good storytelling. It’s good mysteries unraveling in sort of unpredictable ways, but it’s two characters. It’s a point/counterpoint. It’s a believer and a skeptic taking these stories through. And the stories actually are based on a tremendous amount of good, hard science. We’re very careful to make the science good on the show.

Charlie: Where do you get that?

Chris: We have science advisors. We go to various and sundry people. Well, actually, the interesting thing I found out about science is that we’ve been taken to task a few times about the science on the show and what’s interesting is that you’ll find that scientists also have different — science is very subjective about what is accurate, what is not accurate. So science itself has a certain science fiction quality.

Charlie: Now, your role is executive producer and creator.

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: But does that mean — I mean, are you an executive producer in the same way that David Kelley is an executive producer, in that everything — every page, every line, every everything — comes through you?

Chris: Uh, no, but a tremendous amount of it comes from me, for eight years now.

Charlie: Is it as challenging and interesting as it was Day 1?

Chris: It’s actually harder in some ways. When you deal with this subject matter, which is — it sort of skirts or tends to cross several different lines into horror and science fiction and mystery and thriller, you tend to mine the easy ore, if you will, very quickly and the subject matter gets harder to come by. Actually, I think the show gets better but the show does get harder, and you are dealing with essentially two characters until this year and you need to take those characters through personal experiences, so when you get to 180 hours of the show, which is where we are now, that tends to — you’ve mined a lot of the experiences and you’ve developed those characters in pretty complete ways.

Charlie: Someone said to me the other day that they thought the relationship had changed, I mean, that it’s different.

Chris: Oh, it definitely is. Well, what’s happened this year is, for seven years we told these stories with a believer and a skeptic, Mulder and Scully —

Charlie: Right.

Chris: And what’s happened this year is that David Duchovny has opted to stay out of half of the episodes, so we had to create a reason for his absence and make him a kind of absent center.

Charlie: So, she’s the center now.

Chris: She’s the center and she is sort of moved from the skeptic to the believer, a reluctant believer — and these are over-simplifications of the characters — but we’ve brought in a new character who plays the sort of knee-jerk skeptic, played by Robert Patrick.

Charlie: Is that who we just saw?

Chris: That is not. That is actually — those characters were the — that was the Pilot episode, that was the original Mulder and Scully. They look so young there I almost don’t recognize them.

Charlie: Exactly.

Chris: We were all young then.

Charlie: Now, why is David not here?

Chris: You know, I think he decided —

Charlie: Busy with other things?

Chris: Yeah. To pursue other things. He’s a smart person, he’s a talented person. I don’t blame him for wanting to get on with his life. A TV series is very, very hard work and when you have a two-character show like this it tends to — it becomes your life, and I think that he wants a change of pace.

Charlie: Was it disappointing for you?

Chris: It was different. When he first —

Charlie: Were you hurt?

Chris: Uh … it’s funny, when a television show goes on for this many years and you’re close to the actors, you become a kind of family. And every family has its problems and its — and it becomes — the dysfunctional aspects come out and that’s not to say that they did, but what happens with a television show, the dysfunction is really — the business and the personal cross over and I think that’s what happened, certainly last year, is that those things got very confused.

Charlie: Okay. Roll tape. This is a scene from the new show — well, before I roll tape, let me just talk about it. So, why’d we get The Lone Gunmen? Where did that come from?

Chris: The Lone Gunmen are three computer geeks who have been on the series from the beginning — or the first season. They were comic relief and now we’re trying to give them a comedy show of their own.

Charlie: (laughs) All right, now, let me just get this, Chris. So you had these three geeks and you just … Did they — Was it just a natural or did you look at your hit show and say, “I got to figure out a way to have a spinoff here and this is the best thing I have going, right over here”?

Chris: The last thing I ever want to do is, like, just do something because it seems like a way to make money or an obvious idea. We’re really trying to expand our base of operations here and do something completely different, as we always do. And The Lone Gunmen is a comedy, and we’ve never done comedy in the ten years I’ve been at Fox doing, you know, these kinds of shows. This is a real change for us and it’s really a lot of fun.

Charlie: Do you want to do comedy?

Chris: Yeah, that’s where I began, so, uh …

Charlie: All right. Roll tape. This is a scene from The Lone Gunmen. We’ll talk more about it. Here it is.

[clip from the Pilot of the approach to the World Trade Center, ending prior to the climax]

Charlie: Okay, so what makes this compelling for you as the creator?

Chris: Well, this is a great action sequence, it’s a great special effects sequence, which is what we do so well on television and a lot of shows don’t do. It’s what makes The X-Files different.

Charlie: Right, right, right.

Chris: But it’s these three geeks, these three computer geeks basically foiling terrorists trying to destroy the World Trade Center, and they do it in a funny way and it’s what makes The X-Files good and it’s what is going to make The Lone Gunmen good, which is that the stories are very believable but they’re outrageous.

Charlie: Are you as confident of The Lone Gunmen as you were of The X-Files?

Chris: Well, you know, you’re never that confident because it’s a business of failure. Most things fail, and you have to get people to come watch it, and you’ve got to make sure that it’s working and shows need to develop, they need time to develop. Right now I can tell you that we’re doing all the things right that we do right on The X-Files. It’s really just a matter of the audience investing in these characters and liking what we do and liking the brand of comedy.

Charlie: I think everybody wants to know the answer to this, including me. “Trust No One” came from where?

Chris: From me.

Charlie: From your head?

Chris: Yes. Actually, when you … I came up with it and all of a sudden when you start reading literature, Shakespeare said it in different ways. It is a very common sort of mantra out there, but it seemed to sort of perfectly symbolize the show.

Charlie: And “The Truth Is Out There” came from…?

Chris: That came from me, too.

Charlie: From your head?

Chris: Exactly. Those opening titles really needed a button, and because I’m a writer first, language is always very important to me, and so all the shows that I’ve done really have had that kind of language, that sort of textual approach to the material. Charlie: You’re a writer first?

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: Isn’t that a cry to make a film, a feature film for you?

Chris: It is, but I mean —

Charlie: You have no time.

Chris: At the same time I have no time because I have a television job. Two television jobs now. Uh, it is, and the truth is there are movies out there — The Insider, I loved that movie. I thought it was a great movie and I’d love to make a movie like that. It wasn’t a popular movie. It was a critically-acclaimed movie but not a popular movie. So —

Charlie: Yeah. I’ve actually talked to Mike about that, Michael Mann. I mean, he thinks it may have had — when it was released, the whole series of factors that affected it.

Chris: Yeah. Well, I mean, he did a beautiful job. I can watch that movie over and over and I think that’s —

Charlie: What is it about that movie that appeals to you?

Chris: I love the character. I love the approach to the material. I love the storytelling.

Charlie: You love the producer character rather than the Wallace character or anybody else?

Chris: No, no. I mean, I love both of those characters. I love the Russell Crowe character, too. It’s a very sympathetic character who sacrifices so much for something he believes in. You know, it’s an American tragedy of sorts, but it’s a cautionary tale at the same time.

Charlie: But why aren’t you making — if you feel that there’s such a void, why aren’t you making — not that television isn’t great. I happen to think that there are more interesting things on television than feature films being made, personally —

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Charlie: When you look at the full spectrum of television.

Chris: I think you’re probably right.

Charlie: And more — and real opportunities now because HBO and Showtime, they’re all getting into, in a sense, making films, and I think you and I just saw a young man who just made a film called George Washington, who was on this show. I mean, there’s a young — I mean, he’ll be able to make feature films, I’m sure, but, boy, I’d be thrilled if he were making that kind of film also for television. And there have got to be other kids like him.

Chris: And it’s a matter of commercial success. You only get another chance if you do it well. But that’s true to an extent: I think smart people recognize talent and will take somebody —

Charlie: And not only recognize it, they just relish it, I think. Don’t you?

Chris: Oh, sure. I mean, everybody — it’s so hard to come by. The real good filmmakers are few and far between, I think.

Charlie: Are you doing everything you want to do? You.

Chris: Uhh … no. [chuckles]

Charlie: Tell me what you hunger to do, in terms of a kind of complete life.

Chris: Um … well, it’s funny. I tend to — I look back at my life and I tend to want to master things and I tend to want to — In a way, I’ve mastered the television format, although you never master it really because it’s so hard to keep hold of. But I began as a writer, so I would love to write a novel, and I have one in mind that I’ve wanted to write for so long, so if this writers’ strike happens that’s probably what I will do.

Charlie: So the reason you haven’t written this novel is because you haven’t had time to write it.

Chris: It’s really a matter of time.

Charlie: Now, what does it say to you if I would say, “Chris, you haven’t written the novel because you didn’t want to write the novel bad enough”?

Chris: Uh … You’re probably right. It’s probably some fear.

Charlie: I mean, if it was dying to get out, it would get out, right?

Chris: Um, I think that’s true to an extent, but television schedules are such that you are consumed by them. It is a … I liken it to stoking the fire in a runaway train every day.

Charlie: You gotta keep it up.

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: The casting of X-Files … was that easy for you? Did you have some instinct that these two were just perfect and they would have a kind of Moonlighting chemistry?

Chris: Yeah, I mean, I did, but, you know, the chem– the scene that showed, that was the first time I’d ever seen these two people act together and it was the first day of shooting on this show that I’ve been working on for over nine years now. You don’t know that chemistry is — that’s the magic, that’s what you cannot manufacture. And so when these people walk into this room and began acting together, you see something that you can only hope for, which is that thing that will elevate —

Charlie: You had never seen them together?

Chris: I had never seen them act together. They had auditioned separately.

Charlie: Not in rehearsal, not anywhere?

Chris: Not in anything — that’s not true, I’d actually seen them in a room once, but it was really in a very nervous room about, you know, “are we going to go forward with these two people?” And he was a very easy choice and she was a less-easy choice. No one knew of her, she looked much different than she looks now. She was disheveled. She had actually just moved from New York to California. She looked like an urchin. But she had a quality, she had a gravity and a bearing and a seriousness about her as a young woman that could make her believable as this scientist.

Charlie: She could hold her own.

Chris: Yes.

Charlie: Roll tape. Another scene from X-Files.

[clip of the diner scene from “Per Manum”]

Charlie: Dialogue.

Chris: Yeah.

Charlie: I’m addicted to dialogue. Are you? I mean, is that sort of what — do you care a lot about it or do you look for the sort of narrative to move your story forward and dialogue just sort of finds its place?

Chris: Well, dialogue is all-important. I think we’re unlike a lot of television shows, popular television shows, some of the best television shows on TV, because action and suspense — and because this is kind of a thriller each week — camera is so important. So you’re storytelling not with just dialogue but the camera helps to tell the story as well. But dialogue, of course. It’s got to sing or it just lays there.

Charlie: At the end of last season, what did you — what were you expectation about what you would do this season?

Chris: I didn’t know we’d be back this season. It looked very iffy. David Duchovny, one of the stars, did not want to come back, and he was in a lawsuit. It looked like the series may end. Seven years, that’s a nice long run. And I was asked if we could do the series without him. I said, no, I don’t want to do the series without him. He relented, he agreed to do eleven episodes and I had to figure out a way to do eleven episodes —

Charlie: Was that because of you? I mean …

Chris: Uh, it was because of — I mean, I could have said no and the series may have ended, but once again, I call myself a majority stockholder in this show. Fox could have done anything they wanted to do. Luckily we all, you know, were on — of one mind, ultimately, and we’re in our eighth year and looking forward to possibly a ninth.

Charlie: How long can it go?

Chris: It can probably go forever with the right elements, if it had the resources. Meaning if it had the good actors, if it had the good storytellers. I’m not sure how much longer I want to do it.

Charlie: You don’t know.

Chris: [chuckles] No.

Charlie: Could somebody reproduce today Twilight Zone, the kind of Rod Serling role?

Chris: I think so. I think this show owes so much to The Twilight Zone, although the stories are completely different. We both deal with the unexplained, but they were parables and allegories. I actually go back and watch The Twilight Zone alot and I think — we did an episode this year that was much like The Twilight Zone. It would be hard. It’s a tremendous amount of work. You have to have a tremendous amount of writing talent. And it’s all about that. It’s about vision. It’s about people who have stories to tell.

Charlie: Did he write all of them or none of them?

Chris: No, he wrote some of them and in fact he left the show after it turned from a half-hour to an hour show. So he had something he wanted to do and they took place in that little half-hour format.

Charlie: The Lone Gunmen is airing for three weeks in The X-Files’ timeslot on Sundays at 9 p.m. on Fox. It moves to its regular Friday night, 9 p.m. timeslot on March 16th. The X-Files, as you know, airs Sundays at 9 on Fox. Chris Carter, Executive Producer of The X-Files and Executive Producer of The Lone Gunmen. Thank you.

Chris: Thank you.

Charlie: Pleasure to have you here.

Chris: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Fox & Friends: Interview with Chris Carter

Fox & Friends
Interview with Chris Carter

(Interviewed by Steve Doocy and E.D. Donahey about The Lone Gunmen)

ED.: We each got a copy of the first two episodes of the show to take home with us and we both watched it with our kids and it was just great. It’s funny and campy and you get that X-Files feel in there. What made you branch out and decide to do The Lone Gunmen?

CC: They had been on the show as comic relief for 8 years. All of a sudden we did 2 episodes that revolved around them and they worked great . So this became, sort of, our next order of business. We started doing kind of X-Files-like episodes with some drama and some conspiracy and then all of a sudden we realized how funny they were and it just kept pushing further into comedy.

SD: The Lone Gunmen, as is the case with The X-Files, you always get the feeling that you really think there is some huge government conspiracy, some back room government operation. Where does that come from, Mr. Cynical?

CC: There is, you know, probably coming from my growing up during Watergate, the distrust of authority. You pick up the newspaper every day and there’s somebody trying to put something over on us. You know, it’s in that tradition.

SD: Well, you should know. You used to be a reporter, right?

CC: (chokes back a laugh) Yes.

SD: For that hard-hitting investigative report known as…?

CC: Surfing magazine.

SD: Surfing magazine…you’ve got the look.

ED: You also tap into a culture now, the computer hacker culture, without taking it so far into the techie angle that people lose interest. Those of us who can barely turn on our computer and log into AOL can still go, ‘that’s cool technology stuff,’ without you losing us.

CC: That’s the trick. Most people can’t program their VCRs. How do you keep it viewer friendly and still make it cutting edge? It’s a trick.

SD: The X-Files has been humongously, and that’s the technical term, successful. A lot of people are wondering if this is going to be the last season. C’mon, you’re the boss.

CC: I’m wondering myself, to be honest. We really want to go a ninth season. Right now, it’s being negotiated. It looks good. If it doesn’t go a ninth season, I think that it will go right into the movies.

SD: Well, if you want to do it and presumably, the cast wants to do it, what’s holding it up?

CC: You know, just business.

SD: Okay, it’s a money thing.

CC: It’s less a money thing than just making sure all of the pieces are there to do a ninth season.

SD: What about David Duchovny? Every time I turn on FOX, I see a promo and he’s like this (Steve assumes the alien torture chair Mulder position) and he’s naked. He’s not on for very long. Are we going to see more of him? And *NOT* the naked part?

CC: You will see more of him literally and figuratively. He’s back for the rest of the episodes and even though everyone, who is a fan, who watched the show last week, knows he came back dead, he does appear in the rest of the episodes and I’ll leave that to everyone’s imaginations.

SD: Okay. Just like Star Trek there are so many people who are cult followers of this. Are you surprised this show had this reaction?

CC: Every day. It’s like a dream. I still don’t believe it. You know, you can’t predict this kind of popularity, this kind of success.

SD: Because you’re always dealing with unusual phenomena, anyone ever come up to you on the street and say, ‘You know, you’re not going to believe it but I was abducted by space aliens.’?

CC: I’ve had that plenty of times.

ED: So Steve, you’re not going to surprise him later on.

SD: People come up to you and say, ‘I was on another planet.’?

CC: Oh sure.

SD: Good. You’ll get along with our crew.

ED: Well, I love The Lone Gunmen. I really look forward to seeing it.

SD: Premieres Sunday, at 9, on FOX.

ED: You’ll definitely want to watch that with your kids.

CC: Thank you.

Conan O’Brien Show: Interview with Chris Carter

Conan O’Brien Show
Interview with Chris Carter

(Prior to Chris’ appearance Heidi Klum had done a re-comb on Conan — using about a half a can of hairspray — which looked something like a Lyle Lovett…)

Conan: Nice to have you with us.

Chris: Thank you for having me.

Conan: Yeah, no problem. It’s a nice night to be here. Lovely ladies. My hair is looking crazy. It’s my tribute to Eraserhead tonight. I hope you enjoy it.

Chris: I appreciate that.

Conan: Let’s start off by saying — let’s talk about “X-Files” for just a second, because it’s such a landmark show, such a different show than, I think, any other show that had come before it and I would imagine that whenever you bring something new to a network they try and — well, especially Standards, they get scared. They’re afraid.

Chris: Right.

Conan: They have probably tried to stop you at certain times from putting certain things on the air. Do you have problems like that because you’re Chris Carter now? Can you win those battles?

Chris: There’s lots of nervousness about blood and gore and stuff, but Stephen King wrote an episode called Ching* and the Standards people were really upset about the title. They said, “That’s a bad word in Spanish, a bad slang word.” We argued and we argued and finally they wouldn’t let us use the word Ching*, they wouldn’t let us use the name Ching*, so, uh —

Conan: Stop saying that word. Our Standards lawyer is Spanish right now.

Chris: So we called the episode Bunghoney instead. [That’s how he pronounced it, folks!]

Conan: Seriously?

Chris: That means nothing in Spanish.

Conan: And that got through?!

Chris: That’s what the episode is called now.

Conan: That’s great, ’cause that’s very true. I don’t know if people know that, but the Standards lawyers often will object to one thing, you’ll put in something much worse and they’ll go, “Well, that’s better.” I don’t know why. You have a new show now, “The Lone Gunmen.” It’s a comedy. Tell us about it.

Chris: It’s a spinoff of “The X-Files.” It stars the three computer geeks that you may all know if you’re “X-Files” fans. It’s on Sundays at 9:00. It’s going to take “The X-Files’ ” timeslot for three weeks and then it’s going to go to Fridays at 9, which is the old “X-Files” timeslot. Anyway, it’s kind of “The X-Files” turned on its head. It’s a comedy with some drama in it. So don’t be afraid to laugh.

Conan: (gesturing to audience) Please, I’m telling them that all the time. “Please don’t be afraid to laugh” is how I start my monologue, often. Who do you identify with comedically or who influenced you comedically? Was there a TV show, a comedy, that spoke to you as a kid?

Chris: So many things as a kid. “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” I have to say “Gilligan’s Island” was my big–my big influence.

Conan: Seriously? I think you should leave now. No, it’s funny, because “Gilligan’s Island” was hated at the time by TV critics but it’s the show that everyone in my generation grew up with. We all thought it was great.

Chris: I loved the show.

Conan: Who did you like the most on “Gilligan’s Island”? Who did you think was the coolest guy?

Chris: Well, not the Skipper, he wrecked the boat. And not Gilligan ’cause he was the Skipper’s “Little Buddy.”

Conan: Right. Which had creepy overtones.

Chris: Exactly.

Conan: Which Standards just let right through.

Chris: Homoerotica. Bunghoney.

Conan: (embarrassed) Yeah, okay. Why, Chris, why?

Chris: I’d have to say the Professor.

Conan: You liked the Professor? Why?

Chris: Because–

(A few whoops from the audience)

Conan: Well, two people just agreed with you out of a random 210 sampling. Why the Professor?

Chris: Smart is sexy and I think the Professor was actually getting it much more than anybody else on the island.

Conan: Well let me — I would agree with you except he shares that island with a multimillionaire. I think he would probably do a little better than anybody else on the island. That’s just sad but true. What about — you said that this show that you’re doing now combines drama and comedy, you have another show that’s a very successful drama. Have you ever thought — There’s this reality craze now. Everyone’s saying what’s the new reality show? Have you ever thought, “I’m gonna invent a reality show. I’m gonna do one of those and try and ride this wave”?

Chris: Yeah, I actually came up with one where — a family would go to the producers and ask that someone in the family be kidnapped and then you get a million dollars and you can decide whether or not you actually want that person back.

Conan: No one would ever ask for that person back. They would just keep the million dollars.

Chris: Exactly.

Conan: That’s the meanest show I’ve ever heard of. I’ll do it with you if I can share in the profits. And keep this hair. There’s a paranoia that emanates from “The X-Files” and it has made me think that maybe you are a paranoid person yourself. Do you think you are?

Chris: Basically.

Conan: Really. You tend to believe that there are forces out there trying to destroy you.

Chris: I know that there are forces out there–

Conan: It’s called the network. Yeah, yeah. They don’t really count. They’re not as bright as the aliens. The aliens can actually travel through time and space. These people can’t put their suits on. (Audience laughs) None of this will air. I’ll be replaced by a robot tomorrow. “Buy NBC goods! General Electric good!” Do you have any idea where that sense of paranoia would come from? Was there anything in your childhood? Do you think you had any experiences as a kid that would make you be paranoid?

Chris: I’ve told this story before and no one really believes it. When I was growing up I came home to dinner late one night and my dad actually made me sit in the street and eat my dinner on a manhole cover.

Conan: [forces a laugh] That’s a hard thing to laugh at! First of all, was this a pretty quiet street or were you on a highway? It’s pretty hard to eat your pudding when Mack trucks are passing you on either side.

Chris: You develop certain senses or sensibilities when you —

Conan: You really ate your dinner off a manhole cover?

Chris: It was in a cul-de-sac, so it wasn’t so dangerous.

Conan: Right.

Chris: But going for seconds was always a little risky.

Conan: Dodging traffic the whole way.

Chris: I was scrawny.

Conan: Well, then, you’re excused for creating “The X-Files” and having that paranoid vision, I would think. “The Lone Gunmen,” this new show, premieres this Sunday night at 9:00 on Fox, and it was really great having you on the show.

Chris: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Conan: Yeah, thanks for making time for us.

San Diego ComicCon 2000


San Diego ComicCon transcript

[typed by marita1121]

First, the whole experience. So cool! I was so excited! My friend and I wandered around the ComicCon ’til it was time for CC, and I met some artists from The Simpsons, and got some Princess Mononoke posters, and it was pretty neat.

Then CC! We managed to get seats about three rows back on the left side, which were actually really really good, because CC was standing at a podium on the left side of the stage, and I had a very clear view of him, and we were quite close. They started off showing a montage of clips from TXF, including some outtakes (basically GA laughing and being unable to deliver her lines; I recognized some from the gagreels), and then some very brief clips of the Lone Gunmen show. I taped this, but didn’t transcribe it because it’s mostly creepy music and GA laughing. You didn’t get much from TLG clips, but as I recall we saw Frohike rolling around in mud, which was kinda erotic, in a sense. ;-D

Then CC came on stage. Like Spooky’s Toy said, he was wearing a white t-shirt and grey pants (jeans maybe). My general impressions of him were that he was very sincere. True he was somewhat distant and guarded when it came to plot specifics, but he seemed very nice and very appreciative of us, his fans.

Afterwards he signed these cards that were passed around (not everyone got a card, and that’s the only thing he’d sign), but I had to leave right after the session, so I gave my card away to some kids who were begging for them. I had brought along my Pilot script to be signed, but I guess that wouldn’t have worked out. Still, my life is that much closer to being complete. ;-D

Guy: Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please welcome Chris Carter!

[cheers from crowd]

CC: Thank you very much. I don’t even know what to say. I hope you liked that little Lone Gunmen preview. We had a lot of fun making the show. We’re starting to work on it now, we’ll be filming it in October, and I think you guys’ll see it in March. I’ve never been to Comic-con, I’ve heard a lot about it, and I’m hardly a replacement for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Lady in crowd: You’re better!

CC: I was setting you up. Um, but I’m going to open the floor to questions. I know people have a lot of questions, and I’d rather hear what you want to hear than what I want to tell you. Anyone?

Shout from crowd1: What’s going to happen to Mulder?

CC: What’s going to happen to Mulder?

Shout from crowd2: I heard he has a replacement.

CC: He’s looking for a place to invest his money right now. [laughter] He’s coming back. Actually he’s in the season opener, believe it or not. And he’s going to be in a lesser number of episodes this year, but we’re going to make it really interesting. It was actually was a happy accident. I had to write the season finale — which is called “Requiem” — I had to write it without knowing whether or not we’d be back. So it actually set up an interesting problem for me in cutting that [something I can’t understand] in doing an eight year, that has actually worked with David’s availability this year. But, as some of you may know we announced an addition to the cast, yesterday actually, I think was yesterday, the day before yesterday, that’s Robert Patrick, who you guys know [cheers] as, among other things, I’m sure you all know him as the terminator guy. So he’s going to come into the show, and he’s not going to be Scully’s partner, but he’s going to be playing an important part. Of course Agent Scully over the seven years has seen a tremendous number of things that have eroded her skepticism and even though she’s still a scientist she’s a reluctant believer because to find Mulder now she has to accept the fact that he may have been abducted, so it leads us into, I think, a new era of The X-Files and I’m really excited about that. Next question?

Shout from the crowd3: Are there plans for another movie?

CC: Yes, there are plans. [cheers]

SfC3: Is there a script?

CC: No, the plans are all in my head. [laughter] Actually, I had a lot of time to think about it. It took me three hours to drive here, so I was working on the movie during the traffic jam in Oceanside today. [laughter]

SftC4: O-side!

CC: Anyway, next question?

SftC Are we going to see Mrs. Scully next season?

CC: Are you going to see Mrs. Scully, that’s an interesting question. Yes, you will see Mrs. Scully next season. She didn’t appear at all in the seventh season, which was not by choice, it just kind of the way it worked out. So I think now that Scully’s alone that she will go to her mother, certainly for comfort, if not dinner. [laughter, cheers]

[Brian Thompson walks up onto the other side of the stage with a microphone. He looks a lot hotter than as ABH. yee-ha]

Brian Thompson: Uh, Mr. Carter, my name’s Brian Thompson, I live in Los Angeles. I play the Bounty Hunter on the X-Files. It’s the television show you wrote about seven years ago, and, uh, I was in the last episode. Did you see that? I got in this space ship, and I was just wondering: what have Mulder and I been doing these last three months?


CC: That’ll be the cable version of the show.

BT: One more question. You know, what’s her name, the girl on the show, she’s pregnant…

CC: Scully.

BT: Oh, right. Everybody at the show says that’s going to be the Bounty Hunter’s baby. [laughter] And, could you confirm that?

CC: It’s actually going to be my baby.

BT: At the very least could you write a scene where I get to make out with her?

CC: I’m corruptible. [cheers] I’m not taking off my shirt. Next question.

[someone asking very softly a question about fansites]

CC: Right. I have an answer. The question was, how do I feel about fan sites that promote the show but aren’t necessarily official, and my feelings are, I’m all for them. I think what happens is Fox gets a little upset when people start to sell things on them or there’s copyright material on them that’s downloadable, I think that’s where the Corporation gets sticky. Me, personally, Chris Carter, I don’t care. [cheers] ‘Nother question.

Guy in crowd: I’ve been looking around for books on your directing techniques, the way you brought about X-Files and your past experience. I haven’t found very many, you know, they’re mostly about, you know, the fandom, you know, “The truth is out there.”

CC: Right.

GiC: Are there sources that can say influences you’ve had, techniques you’ve used to bring the mood about in X-Files, etc., etc.?

CC: I talk a lot about what my influences were and, so, those things, I’ve never spoken about…I’ve resisted speaking about it because I have to pretend I have some, something to say. Now, one of these days I’ll actually get it straight in my head then maybe I might talk about it. Ok, all right, stand up.

[Someone in the crowd saying something too quietly to be picked up on my recorder. She’s talking about newsgroups — not ATXF — and about a HR fanfic list. She asks what CC meant by the line at the end of some HR ep (didn’t catch the title) when someone says to Tom, “The healer thinks you’re the one: she’s right.”]

CC: Um, it’s a good question, I don’t remember. I’ve sort of repressed that experience. [someone shouts something indecipherable from the crowd] Thank you. She’s talking about Harsh Realm, she had some questions about Harsh Realm, a line that was in the end of one of the episodes, latter eight episodes. Um, I don’t remember exactly, I’d have to go back and read the script and think about why that was in there. But I’m certain it had to do with the mythology. And she’s also…and there’s obviously some fan fiction out there related to Harsh Realm, which is actually my, probably my only real connection to the comic book world, which is a very, very, very, very, very thin one. Anyway, next question?

VfC [a very very very faint one that took me a long time to decipher]: Why make Scully pregnant?

CC: Why not?

SfC5: It’s his baby!

CC: I thought it was interesting. I thought as we get into our relationship with Mulder, we’re going to go back and explore that. In the episode “all things” if you guys saw it [cheers]. And I thought it was interesting it complied with former character, too, because she’s a very lonely character, and now she’s even lonelier without Mulder.

Guy sitting next to me: Mr. Carter?

CC: Yes?

GSNtM: Will there be future X-Files conventions with the cast being able to tour with those conventions?

CC: There aren’t any immediate plans to have any more X-Files conventions, with or without the cast. I think it’s just because it was logistically really tough. I never wanted to merchandise the show, but all of a sudden it felt like when we did the movie there was a lot of stuff out there. I thought it was all pretty good because I had a lot of people who worked for me, one person particularly, who make sure the stuff that got out there was good, but, it took just too much time, it was a whole job in its self, so if we did it again I’d want to make sure that our quality control was what it should be.

Voice on the Microphone: Folks, if you have any questions, I’m going to have you come down here, I have a wireless, so if you have any questions come on over.

CC: That’s a good idea.

SfC6: Who killed JonBenet Ramsey? [laughter]

SfC7: What about the boys?

CC: What?

SfC7: The Lone Gunmen!

CC: The Lone Gunmen.

SfC8: Bruce Harwood! Woo!

CC: I bet you Bruce Harwood never thought in his life he’d have women catcalling him. [laughter]

SfC9: He’s a teddy bear!

CC: All right.

Questioner1: Are we going to see anymore Krycek, [cheers] and in particular are we going to see any more Mulder/Krycek interactions? [cheers]

CC: You’ll see more Krycek, he’s coming back. And Mulder/Krycek, I mean, we’ve got to get Mulder back before we get any interactions. Yeah, the mythology lives on, and even though there are certain things that have been resolved, there are things to explore, and as you saw in the season finale, Krycek’s very much alive. So’s Covarrubias, and since Laurie Holden, who plays Marita Covarrubias, sent me a nice letter at the end of the year, I’ll probably give her as much screen time as I possibly can.

Q2: Do you have any plans to bring Frank Black into any more episodes?


CC: I was thinking about that, too. I think I was thinking about that right around Del Mar. Yeah, you know, I love that character and I love working with Lance, so the big treat last year was being able to bring him back and doing it in an episode where Mulder and Scully actually get to consummate their relationship with a kiss, you know, a smooch. That’s pretty good, after seven years, you have to admit for two characters who have had such sexual tension that they finally smack on the lips. It’s the world’s longest foreplay. Anyway, I hope to bring Frank Black back, I came up with an idea on the way here on how to do that. It’s really Lance’s availability. There’s some Millennium fans out there. [cheers] All right.

Q3: Are there plans to increase Skinner’s presence on the series?

CC: I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of letters, that I think this is an orchestrated movement to get Mitch Pileggi on the show more, and the truth is I’d love to do that. I spoke to him yesterday, we’re trying to figure out ways to do that. It’s really just being true to the characters, true to the stories, how we do that, because obviously the character of Skinner is extremely important to the show because he has seen something now, he’s seen something even Scully hasn’t seen, so I think that it’s a pivotal role that he now plays in the development of the show.

Q4 (a small Asian girl with a blue wig): Um, hi.

CC: Hi.

Q4 (asAgwabw): I’m nervous.

CC: How can you be nervous? You have blue hair.

Q4 (asAgwabw): I know you already had the episode about it, but I was wondering if you could kind of clarify what happened to Samantha. It was kind of confusing.

CC: Right. It was supposed to be just a little big vague, but Mulder believes that through the course of those two episodes this year, that when bad things are about to happen to children that there is some force, some presence that comes down and, perhaps, saves children from those terrible fates. And he thinks that because of the testing that was being done on Samantha that, in fact, that’s what happened and that she has been removed and will perhaps be returned. She has become starlight, if you will. So that’s what he believes.

Q4 (asAgwabw): Do you need, uh, any Asian 15-year-old girls for the show?

CC: Uh, leave me your number.

[sAgwabw starts to walk away; stops in front of CC and looks hopefully]

[CC looks at her]

[sAgwabw doesn’t know quite what to do, but is still quite hopeful]

CC: Ok.

[she’s still kinda hopeful]

CC: Next.

[sAgwabw walks back to her seat dejectedly] [meanie]

Q5: I have a few questions about the Lone Gunmen. I’ve been keeping my eye out for the pilot all summer long and I haven’t seen it anywhere. Is there any way that we can see that?

CC: No, I’m sorry, you have to wait for the spring. Although, as with Millennium, I actually saw it bootlegged long before I saw it on the air, so there’s no telling today where it might pop up. That’s all I can tell you. Not that I would be involved in that.

Q5: And then, I’m not sure about your relationship with them now, but I’d really love to see an episode by Wong & Morgan, especially Darin Morgan.


CC: Yeah, those guys did great X-Files episodes, some of the best, I think. Actually, they’re all from the San Diego area. [cheers] But they’re off doing their own stuff now.

Q6: The only show that I’ve seen that’s done what your show has done, in terms of longevity of being good, is the Simpsons. I’ve watched your shows and seen story arcs complete and I stop right there and think, ‘you can’t get any better,’ but you would! How do you do that? What do you contribute to the longevity of being good. Even at the first show, it was good.

CC: Are you on my payroll? [laughter]

Q6: It’s just that I remember your show when it had just started, and people told me about it.

CC: Yeah.

Q6: Then I started watching it and it was good and it was before everybody got in to the, you know, Mulder’s all sexy and everything like that. It was a good show.

CC: You know, the reason for that is, one thing is that the people who have come to work on the show, you know, besides David and Gillian, who are the secret to the success of the show is David and Gillian, and hopefully now Robert Patrick will even add to that in a greater way, but the secret to the success is the people who come to work on the show. The writers, the directors, Rob Bowman and Kim Manners, David Nutter, people like Bob Goodwin and Michael Watkins, and the writing staff, which right now includes Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and some other people, some staff writers. This is the reason we’re successful, ’cause everybody works really really hard to make it good.

Q6: Are you taking cards? [he holds up his business card]

CC: Uh, when I’m signing autographs I’ll take some, you can hand me stuff.

Q7: Mr. Carter, I enjoy your work.

CC: Thank you.

Q7: More of a wishlist, or a plea. Is there any chance you could use Darren McGavin as Kolchak the Night Stalker? Have a cameo of him in The Lone Gunmen.

CC: He is Kolchak the Night Stalker.

Q7: Yeah. Could you have him maybe show up…

CC: As Kolchak the Night Stalker…That’s a good idea. He’s already playing Mulder’s predecessor on The X-Files. I’ll have to think about it.

[some quiet mumblings I can’t quite catch…that could have been people sitting around me]

CC: There’s a person trying to tell me how to do my job.

Q8: Can you tell us how far the interactions between Robert Patrick’s character and minor characters like Skinner, the CSM, [mumble], how will they interact?

CC: The character that Robert Patrick plays will be Special Agent John Doggett, is a member of the FBI fraternity, so he’s like one of the guys, he’s like one of the hardcore there, he’s on his way up the ladder, he’s a do-gooder in a sense, but he’s his own man. So what he represents to them is a threat to this thing, the X-Files because it is a basement operation. So in coming to look for Mulder, to find Mulder, he is a threat because he’s part of the system, and now he’s attacking the X-Files. So he isn’t working as Agent Scully’s partner, but at some point they will come to a place where they can agree to disagree.

Q8: Also, could you not make him another Spender, please?

CC: You didn’t like Spender?

Q8: [choosing his words carefully] Not in continuing the show, if that’s going to happen. Also, can you tell us anything about the Season 2 DVDs? And the rumored Millennium and Harsh Realm DVDs?

CC: I don’t think, I don’t know about Harsh Realm. They don’t do anything nice to that show, that they could possibly do. But the X-Files DVD, I don’t know, right now I think they’re doing the second printing of the first batch, so I think they might get that out of the way first because they’ve been very popular. And the rumor is about the Millennium, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t do it if there was a big enough demand.

Q9: Hi, this is another Millennium question.

CC: Yeah.

Q9: Do you think that the one episode that you did was sufficient to tie up the three years that the Millennium series had. Were you satisfied with how it was done.

CC: I would like to make a Millennium movie. [cheers] I think it would be a great movie, and I would go back to the pilot, what the pilot was, what the whole show could have been, and I would kind of like to go back and start all over again and do that as a movie. If I knew that there were people who would go out and watch it, because I would make it good. I think that would be something I’d spend some time on.

Q10: Hi Mr. Carter. I was curious whether you feel that as a body of work, and assuming that the X-Files is on its last season, do you feel completed, or satisfied with what you’ve done with the show, or is there anything you would have liked to have done that you’re not going to get an opportunity to do?

CC: Well, you know, I’m going on, so I have the opportunity right now to explore the things that I wasn’t going to be able to do. There was a point last season, it was actually distressing, where it was right around Christmas time and I came into Frank Spotnitz’s office and I was kind of excited and I said, ‘I’ve got this idea, and it’s be really great if we could do this and this and this.’ And he said, ‘You know, we only have ten more episodes left to go.’ And that was when we thought the show wasn’t coming back, and it was like, wait a second. I never actually imagined that the show actually ending, so there’s still a lot of things I want to explore, but I’ve got a new character now so I’ve got to integrate them in an interesting way so that I can explore those things.

Q11: I’ve noticed in the last few years that humor, specifically a kind of, almost slapstick at times, a kind of sarcastic humor, has been really prevalent. Is that going to continue, or…

CC: That’s a good question. I think that this year we’ll really go back to our roots, which is good scary stories. [cheers] And, but you know, with the X-Files, as with Mulder, and oftentimes with Scully, we always inject humor into the show, we just won’t be doing those big, slapstick-y, slaphappy episodes.

Q11: I was just going to say I’ve always really enjoyed — I’ve always enjoyed the X-Files, obviously — the non-Mythology episodes, the ones that are real plain scary stories. Can you do more of those?

CC: What are your favorites?

Q11: Oh, gosh. Well I love, Small Potatoes is one of my favorites…

CC: That’s a funny one, though.

Q11: It’s funny but it’s…

CC: Yeah, it’s touching.

Q11: I also love the one, that’s back in the fifties with the kid who was kind of deformed…

CC: The black and white one?

Q11: Yeah.

CC: Yeah, that’s one of my favorites, too.

Q11: I also really like the old ones.

CC: She likes the old ones.

Q11: I like them all!

CC: Ok, thanks.

Q12: First of all, I’d like to say thank you for creating the show.

CC: Thanks.

Q12: I would like to know, will the actors be writing any more episodes?

CC: I don’t know. I think it’s really about time and availability. Both of them…I know Gillian, who did a great job this year, you know, it took a lot of time and she has a daughter and the more time she gets to spend with that daughter the better. So I think that it’s all about time and timing.

Q13: First of all I have to say, I love your stuff.

CC: Nice t-shirt.

Q13: Thank you. I have two questions. First of is, is there any chance they’ll have a Harsh Realm movie now to wrap everything up? Or, Fox won’t do that, or what? ‘Cause I love the show.

CC: Thanks.

Q13: I think it’s excellent.

CC: Thank you. I doubt it, I really doubt it. It’s really too bad, too, ’cause Scott Bairstow and D.B. Sweeney were two really great guys to work with. And the character who played the non-speaking part, the woman, Florence. I thought that was a really interesting role to get to develop, I’m sorry we didn’t get to develop it.

Q13: My other question is, I got to appear in “Fight Club,” I got to be in the crowd, fighting.

CC: Yeah.

Q13: And I was just wondering if there are going to be any other episodes where they’re going to have open casting calls like that, so I can be on it again? ‘Cause it was, like, one of the highlights of my life.

CC: Ooo-kay. [laughter] I don’t know yet.

Q14: Regarding your influences on the mythology of the show, I know you mentioned in the past that All the President’s Men, Star Wars…

CC: Yes, yes.

Q14: Recently there have been some online print publications that have pointed out some striking similarities between the X-Files mytharc and Nigel Neil’s Quatermass series that ran during the ’60s and ’70s. Were you aware of these similarities, and was it an influence directly on you?

CC: No. That’s somebody that’s really working hard. But if you start the show with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon… [laughter]

Q15: Hello, Mr. Carter. I was just wondering if real life conspiracy theories and UFOs interest you, or if it’s just a way to let your creativity flow?

CC: What was the question?

Q15: If, uh, real life conspiracy theories and UFOs interest you?

CC: Yes, it does. Especially now with corporate America consolidating, I think these are real things we’re talking about here. I believe that these aren’t just stories we’re telling, that these conspiracies are going to start becoming more and more real at a more personal level. So it’s fun to tell, what’re now almost like allegories or metaphors for what’s actually happening in the real world.

Q16: I’d just like to say that I think all your shows have hands down some of the best writing ever seen on television.

CC: Thanks.

Q16: And I’d like to ask, do you have any advice you’d like to give to future television writers.

CC: Work really really hard, and everybody, I have a lot of people come up to me, not everybody, I have a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘I want to write.’ And I always say, ‘what’s stopping you?’ It’s a matter of sitting yourself down in front of a computer, a notepad, a typewriter, and doing it. You’re about 90% of the way there if you can do that.

Q17: Hello. I was in a group of students that you spoke to at USC about five years ago, when X-Files was in season 3, and you said back then you sort of had a plan in your head that you were going to go about five years and then wrap it up and everything. We’re entering season 8, and I’m wondering how much the plan has changed. What was that original plan? Will we ever know what that was?

CC: Well, it changed because of the movie. And it changed because of the popularity of the show. And it changed because Fox didn’t want the show to end. So, I think the television series will ultimately become a movie series. So right now we’re telling the stories that ultimately will lead to that, so we’re just…I think the X-Files could probably go on forever if it was in the right hands. So, you’re right, I didn’t anticipate going into the eighth year, nor did my wife. And, she’s looking forward to seeing me home one of these days, rather than on the phone.

Q18: Hello, I’m a huge fan of Darin Morgan’s writing. Is there any chance of persuading him of coming back and writing another episode or two?

CC: We call him every year, several times a year, and, I think the last conversation someone had with him, he said that he saw the movie, “The Sixth Sense,” he had actually he had threatened that he had a ghost story that he wanted to tell, and he saw the movie “The Sixth Sense” and he said, ‘oh, they took my idea.’ And he went into a state of depression. Or so he said. Anyway, we’ve not been able to get Darin to come back to the show, sadly, because he added something to it that I think was special. And even though he only did four episodes, out of 161, I think all of those four episodes are among the top shows that we’ve ever done, and he added something to the show that I think it needed, and has benefitted from, which was a sense of humor, a particular sense of humor.

Q19: Are you planning on introducing a mytharc to the Lone Gunmen show?

CC: I seem to introduce a mythology to all of the shows that I do. So, I would say yes. But you’ve got to be careful, because as I saw with Harsh Realm, if you introduce it too early, you lose your opportunity to get people to come to the show. So you’ve actually got to build just good hard straight story telling before you actually start to build the mythology, so that’s probably the way the Lone Gunmen will work.

Q20: You were working on a couple novels. Do you have to go through a couple more traffic jams before we see them?

CC: Yes.

Q21: Hi. This has been bothering me for quite a while now, and I was just wondering. What happened to Gibson Praise? Are we going to be expecting him?

CC: I’m glad you asked that question. If you remember the character Gibson Praise, he was a little boy, the chess-playing boy. [applause] He’s coming back. [cheers]

Q22: I was just wondering what Mulder’s reaction will be to Scully’s pregnancy. I mean, did they have sex, or what? It wasn’t clarified in “all things,” and it’s just been bugging me forever.

CC: How old are you?

Q22: I’m 13. [laughter]

CC: Uh, that’s a PG-13 question, so I can answer it. We’re going to explore what happened this season, so while it may seem as if you missed something, and you did, you will not miss it in the end.

Q23: In the first two episodes, is Mulder coming back only in flashbacks?

CC: Uh…one of these tape recorders I was asked to bring up here just went off, the other one’s still working. I’m not going to tell you, ’cause I want to keep that a mystery. All right? Thanks.

Q24: How many scripts have you developed for the Lone Gunmen at this point?

CC: Right now there are three or four stories in the pipeline. I’m sorry. There are three or four stories in the pipeline, but there are no scripts actually written past that, but one is being worked on. So we’re really right at the beginning of that. But we want to be careful with that, especially after Harsh Realm, we want to be careful to do it just right.

Q25: We got an official glimpse at some gags that you’ve done on the show, I’ve seen some online for the first three seasons. Are you going to release at all some gags from those three seasons, as well as the last five?

CC: Yeah, we’ll do like those Jerry Springer tapes. [laughter]

Q25: I mean, you can see here that everyone liked them, but I think it’d be great to officially release them.

CC: I think that that would be tied up in big legal issues, about what could be released and how people would be paid for it and compensated. I think it’s sticky as far as the finances. That’s probably the reason you don’t see them, because…sometimes I think X-Files is the proverbial chicken, that Fox would sell every single part of it that it possibly could.

Q26: I’ll understand if you can’t answer the question, but, when do we get to see the FBI raid Area 51?

CC: Well, you saw a little bit of it, you saw at least Mulder escape into it in “Dreamland” which was, admittedly, a humorous two-parter. We really hinted at an Area 51-like base in the “Deep Throat” episode, which is the first one past the Pilot. I don’t know if we’ll go back to that base particularly, but we may actually explore that area because we’re actually back in UFO territory and alien territory with the abduction of Mulder.

Q27: I just want to thank you for writing the greatest show ever.

CC: Thank you.

Q27: Could you possibly clarify the two alien races, or do we have to wait?

CC: There are actually several alien races, and of course there’s the greys and there are the faceless aliens, who are another race, and then there’s the alien bounty hunter who is a renegade, he left the faceless crew. So these things are actually all going to be explored this year, because I know people have big questions about that.

Man on Microphone: We’re running short on time so we’re going to take two more questions.

[aww’s. The third girl in line looks incredibly distressed.]

CC: That’s a long line out the door there.

Q28: In contrast with her question, in the movie “The X-Files,” well, if Mulder’s sister was also abducted would she also have been on that ship? Or was she abducted by a different race?

CC: Well, the idea was that she wasn’t abducted, this was actually more of a spiritual thing, so we’re going to explore that this year and answer some questions that I think are still outstanding.

MoM: Last question.

CC: I’m sorry. You know what? Let’s answer them real quick.

Q29: Do you see in the future any more X-Files PC games?

CC: Uh, yes, actually, I think there’ll be different platforms for sure, but I think something else is being developed right as we speak.

Q30: Do you know when the next season’s gonna start?

CC: In November. [laughter]

Q31: How’s that Serios project going?

CC: Uh, we’re right in the beginning of that.

Q32: Two questions. First one: with regard to the writing, if 90% is sitting down in front of the typewriter and typing something, what’s the other 10%, in a nutshell?

CC: 5% of it is talent, and the other percent of it is luck.

Q32: Just go for it, right?

CC: Yeah.

Q32: Also, with regards to the metaphor of the government…I know that your view on aliens is that you don’t believe in them…or that’s what I heard you say on a documentary earlier.

CC: It’s not that I don’t believe in them. I have no reason to believe in them. So I’m waiting for a reason.

Q32: Ok, thank you. It’s just I’m really big [?? I can’t quite understand her.]

CC: That’s something we’re going to explore, too.

Q33: I was just wondering, did you change your mind about Mulder and Scully’s relationship? Because in the beginning you said they’d never get together, and now she’s having his child. [laughter]

CC: You obviously see they’re not together.

Q34: I love the show. Uh, the Lone Gunmen show, is that gonna be much more humourous [he had an accent, too] than the X-Files?

CC: Yes, it’s going to be a very lighthearted show.

Q35: Hi, I’m [insert name I can’t understand], we met at the [something] workshop.

CC: Yeah, I remember you. I sent you something, didn’t I?

Q35: You did, too, yeah. [oh no, this guy is not only mumbling, but talking really fast] And you said you’d let me pitch [??] when you were gonna do a new season.

CC: Not right here, I’m not. [laughter]

Q35: I’m here to call you on it.

CC: Haha. Ok. All right. Thank you guys very much. [cheers] [end of tape]

Television Critics Association conference

Television Critics Association, Pasadena, CA, conference

[typed by Mr Mike]

GAIL BERMAN (President, Fox Entertainment): Hi, we’re back. This introduction is an easy one since I’m sure everybody in this room knows Chris Carter and a little show called “The X-Files.” As you know, last season, the show kept a very low profile. It stayed out of the press and steered clear of any controversy. NOT!

When we last left them, Mulder boarded a spaceship and Scully revealed the news that she’s pregnant. Chris and the show’s writing staff left all of their fans on the edge of their seats this summer, setting the Internet ablaze with buzz. And I know that I cannot wait to see where this next season goes when there is a new man in Scully’s life.

First, let’s take a look at a clip from the season finale.


BERMAN: Wow. [gives housekeeping announcement about hotel heating] Now, please help me welcome the man who has all the answers: executive producer and creator Chris Carter. [applause]

If I may join the ranks of the press for one brief question, may I start?


BERMAN: Oh, come on, give me one. Hey, Chris?


BERMAN: Who is the baby’s father?

CARTER: I am. [laughter]

BERMAN: Thank you.

CARTER: I’m his father and its mother. Thanks.

QUESTION: Hi, Chris.


QUESTION: So now that Skinner has seen the spaceship and he’s really got to believe, where are you going to take his character this year?

CARTER: It’s interesting. Everything is kind of changing. Agent Scully, who has always been the skeptic over seven years, of course, has seen enough that it has eroded her skepticism. And now that Agent Mulder has been abducted, as reported by Skinner, the only way to find him is to accept what Skinner is saying. So the two of them become believers, although reluctant believers. And that’s really the way we make room for this new character to come in, who is – his name is Special Agent John Doggett – two “Gs,” two “Ts.” And he comes in on the manhunt, the search for Agent Mulder.



QUESTION: No, but any relation to him?

CARTER: You said that, not me.

QUESTION: And one more question: how – what – the process that Robert Patrick won out over everybody? I know Bruce Campbell and a bunch of the other actors were up for it.

CARTER: Right. No, it’s hard. I mean, we saw terrific actors for the parts. We had written the part and conceived of a part that was very much an insider at the FBI. He’s part of the fraternity. Mulder had always been an outsider, the consummate outsider. We wanted somebody who was blue-collar, former cop, a man’s man. And Robert Patrick came in and blew us away.

I had known him – he had done so much good work, and then he had actually come in a couple years ago to read for something else, and he wasn’t quite right for that part, but I knew I wanted to work with him. So I told him last night when I called him, I said that this is fate because what I wanted to do then I’m getting to do now.



QUESTION: I’m wondering. Did I miss something? Scully has been having sex? [laughter] With whom? I mean – I mean, just the potential that she was having sex.

CARTER: Yes. [laughter] Yes, there is a potential she was having sex. [laughter] We’re going to play with that storyline this year actually and find out what exactly happened. We hinted at some sort of a relationship in the episode, “All Things,” which was actually Gillian’s written and directed episode. So there was a nod to a possibility. And we’re going to play with that some more.

QUESTION: Chris, there’s a perception that the decision to go on with the show is based more on business reasons than artistic reasons. Would you respond to that?

CARTER: FOX had asked me very late in the season last year to do the show, and I said to them, I really just do not want to do this just as a matter of commerce. I wanted it to be a good show. I wanted it to be special. I want this to be a great season of “The X-Files.” I want the event of Mulder’s disappearance to be an important event. I want the possibility that the show could go on. I wanted it to go on for all the right reasons.

And there were business considerations because there was a lawsuit. There were business considerations because there always are business considerations when people don’t have contracts. So the reason the show is still on the air is that there were people that wanted to do it and still felt they could make it good. And that’s really the reason.

QUESTION: Chris, has it been defined yet exactly how many Duchovny will be in? And secondarily, how is the relationship between the two of you as a result over the financial situation?

CARTER: We had lunch twice in the last week and a half, so I think that while we weren’t able to speak a lot last year because of the lawsuit, there has been, I think, a lot of repair of something that was damaged.

I think that – I’m not sure what else…

QUESTION: Well, how many will Duchovny be in this year? And when?

CARTER: I am told that he will be in 11 of 20 episodes. And as I understand it, he is going to be in – six of those will be complete episodes.

QUESTION: Chris, David’s denial last year that he definitely would not be back was even stronger than your denial that you wouldn’t be back.

CARTER: Right.

QUESTION: What do you think it was that convinced him to change his mind? Did you know he’d be back when you wrote that odd season finale? And how does this affect the movies?

CARTER: It was interesting. I had to write the season finale, truly, honestly, not knowing whether or not we’d be back next year. So I had to write a sort of all-purpose season finale. And it was difficult, but it was a wonderful exercise, too. And it actually has set us up for a very interesting way to approach season eight. Then entry of a new character, new blood, a new dramatic balance, is actually going to be a really fim thing to play.

But I think the show probably could have ended there. And I still would like to do movies past the TV series.



QUESTION: Chris, how do you maintain, say, the willing suspension of disbelief in a situation like this, when everybody in the audience knows that the reason that these are being written as they are, is because David Duchovny wanted out? He’s only in a certain number of episodes, and that kind of thing. You know, they can see the wheels turning behind the stage, as it were.

CARTER: That’s not really the case. I have to deal with what I have to deal with. The truth is, I have to deal with Gillian – this year, she needs to be with her daughter a certain amount of time. So, as a producer, you’re always dealing with certain restrictions and disadvantages, and that’s really what this is.

It’s not that we’re constructing the show for David, and for David’s disappearance. I could have used him more and I could have used him less, to be honest. So, really, I’ve got to make it interesting for the audience and for myself, and then ultimately, make it interesting for the actors.

It’s really a creative exercise, in any event.

QUESTION: Chris, I was wondering – what’s the likelihood of continuing the series past this year – this season?

CARTER: Well, I don’t have a contract, so I’m right back where I started. I think that there’s a terrific opportunity to do it, particularly now that Robert Patrick is aboard. It’s really just figuring out how to tell the stories, and who to tell the stories with. Neither David nor Gillian have contracts past this year. It really becomes a contractual thing, and I wish it weren’t that way, but that’s the way the business works.

It really depends on us doing good shows this year, making that character interesting, introducing new characters, and whether it goes on with David and Gillian, Robert, or whomever, I really only want the show to go on if it’s going to be good.

QUESTION: And as a follow up, I was wondering how badly did your relationship with David deteriorate during the period when you weren’t speaking, and saying things about each other in the press, perhaps.

CARTER: Well, I only know what I read in the press, and that’s that he said it was – “our friendship was damaged.” I still am yet to understand, truly, what it is I was accused of doing, and have it articulated to me in any kind of understandable way.

So, it’s still – there’s still a little bit of a mystery to me, but lawsuits are mysterious, and I’m happy just to move on and try to do the good work that we’ve done together.

QUESTION: Chris, two questions. One – for a lot of people, the core of “The X-Files” has always been the relationship between Scully and Mulder. How do you keep it rolling along when one of those two people simply isn’t there for large chunks of time?

CARTER: It’s – well, I mean, you’re going to have to watch and see what we do, but I actually – I think that we’ve come up with a very good way – a good solution for that. And, you know, everyone’s afraid of change. Everyone says, “That’s what made the show work, and that’s what’s great about the show.”

That’s true. I think, really, Mulder and Scully are the reason – David and Gillian are the reason – for the show’s great success. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t threaten the paradigm, you can’t threaten the model, you can’t threaten the relationship.

In fact, I think, dramatically, you better do that every once in a while, or else you’re going to have a very stale show, particularly when you have two characters who, for seven years, have – you know, they kissed last New Year’s Eve – they kissed on the you know, a smooch at the strike of twelve. I think that’s pretty good for two characters who have had tremendous sexual chemistry and tension.

QUESTION: Chris, can you give me –

QUESTION: [overlapping] Chris, can I – I’m sorry. Can I get in one last question?


QUESTION: Have you started writing the script for the next movie?

CARTER: Yes. For the next movie?




QUESTION: Chris, could you tell me how different is the Lone Gunmen series going to be from “The X-Files.” And are the Lone Gunmen going to appear this season?

CARTER: Yeah. Hey, do you mind if we ask the Lone Gunmen questions after “The X-Files” questions?


QUESTION: Okay, I have a “X-Files” question.

CARTER: All right.

QUESTION: Is David going to appear in the season finale, and if not, can you give us some idea of when he will be making an appearance – how far into the season?

CARTER: He’ll be in the season opener – I can tell you that. And the season opener is a two-part episode, and beyond that, I’m not going to tell you, and I really can’t tell you because we’re still kind of figuring it out.

QUESTION: Can you tell us more about Agent Doggett? I mean, does Agent Doggett now, by default become the skeptic? Tell me more about him.

CARTER: Yeah, he is – he come at it [sic]. He’s really like – unlike Scully, who was a really had science and an argument – he comes at it as a kind of knee-jerk skeptic. He’s a person who is doubting by nature, and he really is one of these people who needs to see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, feel it, in order to believe it, and that’s going to be the character.

As simple as that sounds, hopefully we can make him a nice, complex character.

QUESTION: What’s some of his backstory?

CARTER: He was a former New York City police detective, and he was in the U.S. Marine Corps, and that’s where we’re working from.

QUESTION: Sense of humor?

CARTER: Everyone on “The X-Files” has to have a sense of humor.

QUESTION: Chris, will Gillian be in all 20 episodes this year, first of all, because you said there were some time constraints on her?

CARTER: Right.

QUESTION: And second of all, is one of the real challenges you’ve set for yourself, even though you’ve said that Doggett’s a different kind of skeptic from Scully, that Scully’s going to end up sounding like Mulder, and Doggett’s going to end up sounding like Scully?

CARTER: No. I’ve already written two episodes, and it feels right. And of course, this was a giant consideration. You don’t want to, all of the sudden, make – have characters who are untrue to themselves, and who start sounding like, you know – if Scully starts sounding like Mulder, I think the show is going to be bad.

She’s a reluctant believer. She is a person who is a scientist first, and a believer second. This new character is a cop, and he believes, coming in, that everything can be solved if you just employ very good cop/police technique.

QUESTION: [unmiked/inaudible] Will Gillian be in all 20?

CARTER: Gillian will probably be in all 20, in varying degrees.

QUESTION: Chris, after the finale, we found out that Scully was pregnant. I got an avalanche of mail from “X-Files” fans, about half of whom think that there is some possibility that Mulder and Scully got together in that “All Things” episodes. And the other half who say, “No way. Chris wouldn’t cheat us that way. He wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t have them consummate the relationship off screen.” Would you cheat them that way? [laughter]

CARTER: It’s a primetime television show. [laughter] You can’t consummate –

QUESTION: But at least show that they’ve gotten together. Would you do that off screen?

CARTER: What happens is that it makes it a lot more […] to now go back and find out what really happened. And so, I think if anyone feels cheated, they will get their prurient interest satisfied. [laughter]

QUESTION: Chris, three quick questions. Just to clarify, you said you do not have a contract, or you do not have a contract beyond this year?

CARTER: My “X-Files” contract is through the eighth season. So – and I don’t want it to sound like I’m negotiating in the press, or I’m going to lay down any limits or restrictions or rules, but that’s the case. So, if I speak about a ninth year, it’s really about “The X-Files” and not about me.

QUESTION: Okay. And what’s the split – what split do you envision in this coming season, between mythology episodes and non-mythology episodes?

CARTER: It’s a good question, and I don’t have it really worked out yet, but I think that it will be a pretty typical “X-Files” ratio, which would be, I’d say, six or seven to twenty.

QUESTION: Okay. And finally, I’m a little surprised to hear what you’ve said about the next feature film because I thought, from previous things you had said, that it was actually pretty far developed, at least in your mind. If there wasn’t a script, that is what not going to be mythology, it was just going to be a real hardcore, spooky “X-Files” movie. And so I’m surprised to hear that it seems to be off the drawing board.

CARTER: Oh, it’s not at all. I mean, it’s really just a matter of time and timing. I really have to find the time to do it, and then find the right timing because we don’t know where the series is.

I would really – I’m not looking forward to doing another movie during the series, certainly with Mulder and Scully in the show. That was very hard to do, and sometimes I still can’t believe that we did it. It was – just the physical production and also continuing back with the TV series.

QUESTION: Chris, are you a big believer in, eventually, final resolutions, or are you more like David Lynch, where the whole idea of a final resolution is sort of anathema to the way he thinks? In your mind, will there, at long last, ever be a real end to “The X-Files,” where everything is wrapped up, whether it’s in a movie, or on the FOX series?

CARTER: I don’t know. That’s a good question. I’ve never thought about it in those terms because when the movie was a success, all of the sudden, it seemed like the television series could become a movie series.

And, you know, it really comes down to how long it’s good, and if it ever feels like it’s running out of steam, or people don’t want to see it, or no one wants to do it, I think that’s the time to pack it in. But it would be nice to come to some sort of conclusion, but my fear is, as with the show, is that when you have a show about the unexplained unexplainable, and the unknown – to actually try to explain any of that is kind of ridiculous.

QUESTION: Do you feel in any way you sort of owe it people – there are some people who still live and die by this series and every nuance.

CARTER: I’m knocking wood right now.


QUESTION: I mean, is there any debt to them, in your mind, that you almost, in good conscience, have to have to wrap it up?

CARTER: There’s certain things, like with Mulder’s sister, that I think needed to be wrapped, and we did wrap up, although we can still investigate that, to an extent, and we do, actually, next season, to some degree.

So, I think that you need to reward audience expectation in that way. You can’t leave people hanging. I would never want to leave people irritated that, if they’ve taken the journey, that there wasn’t some satisfaction at the end.

But “The X-Files” always leaves as many questions as answers, so I think that’s probably what I would say we would end up with.

QUESTION: Chris, speaking of feeling cheated, if Scully has this baby, and the father is not Mulder, how is Mulder going to feel about that?

CARTER: Cheated. [laughter]

QUESTION: Yeah – how he’s going to react?

CARTER: Well, I mean, he’s got no claim to her, truly. I mean, you know, I don’t know. It’d be an interesting thing to explore.

QUESTION: We waited seven years for a kiss. [laughter]

QUESTION: Chris, in the past, you’ve given us these – inside story on how the two characters were named “Mulder” and “Scully.” How did you come up with the name “Doggett”?

CARTER: The name “Scully” is actually an homage to Vin Scully. And I thought long and hard about what I wanted to name this new character, and I had lots of interesting names, and I really go back to my childhood for a lot of my names. I’ve had a lot of high school friends call me and thank me for making them dead people on “The X-Files.” So, I actually went back and I thought about people I’d grown up with and ones that I’d liked, and people that I admired and people I wondered about where they are today.

And then all of the sudden it dawned on me that I was looking for a good, solid, working-class name, and one that fit, and the name “Doggett” came to me because every evening, for a great part of the year, I would listen to the Dodgers with my mom, and Jerry Doggett was always Vin Scully’s co-host on the Dodgers, and the name came to me, and at first, I thought it might be too cute and clever, but I liked the name. I think it fits, and now we have it.

QUESTION: Chris, since it was part of David Duchovny – or actually, it was largely fueled by David Duchovny, as I heard it, to bring the show back to Los Angeles, now that he’s kind of a – I hesitate to say part-time player – but, not figuring in as mightily as he did, where is your production going to be headquartered this coming season?

CARTER: We’re in Los Angeles this year as we have been the last two years. So this is our third year back in Los Angeles. David is a regular. He is just – even when he’s there, he’s going to be – not there, he’s going to be an absent presence and an absent center. And so, his involvement in the show, even though it is in an abbreviated fashion, is going to be very important.

QUESTION: Was there any consideration at all about going back to Vancouver?

CARTER: Never for me.

QUESTION: Chris, are there any characters that you regretted killing off this year? And is the cigarette-smoking man really dead?

CARTER: Well, of course, I’m not going to tell – like with Scully’s baby and the cigarette-smoking man – these are the things I want to play with next year, so I’m going to keep them a secret. You know, I always regret having to kill characters off because it makes for a very uncomfortable phone call for me to the actors. But, no. It’s part of a series. You have to have characters. If everybody lives, there is no threat to any character at any time.

QUESTION: Chris, would you talk a little bit more about Robert Patrick? What made him right for the role? What did you see in him that you thought he could pull in this? And, also, are we going to see more of Skinner this year? Even in the press thing, it notes “Also starting” which makes it sound like an expanded role.

CARTER: Yeah. I hope to have more Skinner on the show. I plan to. I intend to. Robert Patrick just embodied this character. He has got a great – everything from the timbre of his voice to his presence to his intensity. I just saw him as – because he’s going to be on screen with Scully a lot, I saw them as worthy adversaries and worthy partners.

He was not going to be a person that would shrink because she’s a very powerful person and actor – shrink from her. He would be able to stand up to her both as an actor and as a character. And I just thought he really filled the bill for me in that way.

QUESTION: And did Gillian have any say? Did she audition with him and that was part of it?

CARTER: No, but I kept her in the loop every step of the way. We talked a number of times about people that she wanted to work with, people that she would work with, the character, how it was going to work. I was very considerate, I think, of giving her the best possible co-player.

QUESTION: Chris, is it your intention to have Scully deliver this season, probably in a sweeps period? [laughter] I mean, can we expect she’ll have the baby this season or do you know yet?

CARTER: Let me see. I haven’t thought about it yet.


CARTER: [overlapping] So, maybe not.

QUESTION: Chris, actually, can I ask a more fundamental question? This being “The X-Files,” can we really assume that Scully is pregnant? [laughter]

CARTER: Wait. I would never assume anything on “The X-Files” and anything can happen. But I’ll tell you. I think that would be a big cheat if it was a false-positive or a phony pregnancy, certainly after all this time. It would be like bringing back a dead character.

QUESTION: Chris, a couple of basic things. What’s Doggett’s first name and how do you spell Doggett?

CARTER: Doggett is D-O-G-G-E-T-T. First name John with an “h.”

QUESTION: Okay. And those of us who aren’t familiar with Robert Patrick’s work at all – give us an example of a movie he did or that was really good – something that impressed you.

CARTER: He’s been in so many things. He actually just did a little arc in “The Sopranos” which was completely unlike the character he’s playing for us, which showed me a tremendous amount of range on his part. He was best known, I think – or first known – his face – in “T2.” He was the Terminator. He had a great part on “Copland.” This is where I really saw another side of him that was very exciting to me when I saw that movie.

He played one of the bad cops. There have just been a number of things that he’s done that I thought showed his ability. There’s a coincidence here too. His brother, being the lead singer of the band, Filter, has actually done two songs for “The X-Files” for two different soundtracks. So there’s a familial connection as well, which is interesting.

QUESTION: Hey Chris, just a quick question. So are we to understand that Doggett like got fired or is like sick of New York or something? And then he comes to work on the X-files?

CARTER: He is an FBI agent and he was a cop and that’s actually not atypical for FBI agents. He is not assigned to the X-files to begin with. He is not Scully’s partner to begin with. There is a gradual, hopefully, realistic integration of the character into this series.

QUESTION: So Scully is still going to be working within the whole boundaries and…

CARTER: [overlapping] Within the structure of the FBI, yes.

QUESTION: And he’s not going to take Mulder’s office is he?

CARTER: No, he’s not taking Mulder’s office.


QUESTION: Chris, I wondered, were you satisfied with this past season? How do you think it stacked up to previous seasons?

CARTER: I thought it had some real highlights and bright spots. There are some episodes that I think weren’t as good as some of the others. I think the standard was kept pretty high. I think we tried some new things. The “COPS” – “X-COPS” was a really inventive, I think, episode. FOX loved it because it cost them a million dollars less than every other episode that we did. [laughter] I think, as a season, it stacked up to the other seasons, to be honest.

QUESTION: Chris, a lot of sci-fi shows are coming up, particularly on FOX. Do you get the sense that people are kind of lining up to be the next “X-Files” and how do you react to that?

CARTER: What shows in particular?

QUESTION: Well, just about every new drama on FOX. [laughter]

CARTER: You mean in popularity?

QUESTION: Well, in terms of giving the shot. I think there might be a sense that there’s room for more sci-fi and, if “The X-Files” – this is the last season. Hey, we want to be the next “X-Files.”

CARTER: You know, with reality programming, there’s hardly room for anything on TV. I don’t know. I mean, “The X-Files” is such a miracle that everything worked. There’s just a million ways to fail in television. And when you have something like this that hits, I know how lucky I am that I had the Gods in my favor.

Everybody can be lined up. But you’d better make really good choices and hire really good people every step of the way or else there’s a good chance that you’ll fail. So it’s really hard to comment on that. A lot of people would like to be popular and successful. But it’s mostly hard work, but it’s a lot of luck too.

QUESTION: Chris, you did say that you anticipate six or seven anthology episodes this season…

CARTER: Mythology.


CARTER: Mythology.

QUESTION: Mythology. I’m sorry. Of course. So if Duchovny’s in 11, there are going to be some that he’s in unrelated to mythology.

CARTER: Yes, but you’ll see how that works. Hopefully, you’ll think it’s very clever of us.

QUESTION: Okay. And can we expect to see Krycek and Covarrubias?

CARTER: I would expect to see them.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Chris, do your story needs or your time considerations allow you to take the show on any distant locations away from Los Angeles this year?

CARTER: Actually, our first location is away from Los Angeles. It isn’t too far away. We’re going into the desert. There are a lot of resources here, right in this area, that I think we can use and do another season. But, you know, as you run into season eight, you do start looking for other things to shoot – other places to base an episode. I know we have scouted this year something we’ve never scouted before but talked about. We scouted an offshore oil iig and talked about building an episode around that. It’s really just a matter of cost and logistical reality.

QUESTION: Is that the one by Santa Barbara?

CARTER: Yeah, right off the Coast of Summerland there.

QUESTION: Chris, do think that Frank Black will resurface?

QUESTION: [overlapping] What desert are you going to?

CARTER: I’m sorry. One second.

QUESTION: What desert are you going to?

CARTER: Right now, I believe we’re going to the Anza Borrego Desert.

QUESTION: Chris, do you think Frank Black will resurface in another episode? And were you pleased with the way he worked into the one that he did?

CARTER: Yeah, well of course, I love Lance and I love the character Frank Black, and I would love to figure out a way to work with him again as that character. I don’t know if he’ll come back this year but it’s something that I would like to explore. I mean, actually, “Millennium,” which was not as beloved as “X-Files,” would make a great movie.

QUESTION: Chris, to play devil’s advocate, I was just wondering – given all that Scully’s been through, wouldn’t it make a certain kind of sense for her to really believe in a lot of this? And does it seem kind of weird that she’s still resisting believing, given all that she’s been through and all that she’s seen?

CARTER: Yeah, that was always the trick. But, as I say, she’s a scientist. In her heart, she’s a scientist and she has to come at things scientifically as any smart person would do in this case. Even Mulder was, at least, considerate – or considered science when making his giant leaps. So I see what you’re saying, but I think that it makes the character interesting. She’s torn. And she’s always been torn.

The great thing about Scully was that she wears a cross around her neck. She has a religious bent. She has beliefs and those beliefs were always in conflict with her science anyway. So she has been a character who has been tom both in her belief and in her personal approach in life.

QUESTION: Chris, speaking of that “Millennium” episode, when you had to wrap up the show in just an hour of “X-Files,” did that force you to change your original plans? Or was the Millennium group’s big scheme always involving a guy in a basement with a bunch of zombies? [laughter]

CARTER: That story came about as a result of wanting to put Lance and Frank Black on the show. But I still think there are places to go with that idea. You know, whether or not I’ll ever get to do it is another story.

QUESTION: Will David be writing or directing any episodes this season?

CARTER: He’s actually – he ran a couple of story ideas past me, but he hasn’t figured out how to do one without Mulder in it yet. So I think when he comes to me with a story like that, I wouldn’t rule out anything.

QUESTION: Are there any new marketing plans for – it seems like, at one time, the market was just flooded, especially when the movie came out, with “X-Files” merchandise. And I know you’re very protective of what’s done there. Has there been any discussion of any new markets or any new products that anybody’s approached you about lately?

CARTER: No. I mean, it’s always a matter of just what’s – just putting the stuff out there and making sure that it’s very good quality. And I think, with the movie, the gates were opened and a lot of stuff got out there that I had never anticipated putting out there. I still think that less is more and that smaller is better.

And, luckily, that way you don’t see stuff in the bargain basement bins and stuff. That would be my biggest disappointment is if I ever saw stuff out there that no one really wanted. So I think that if we do anything, that will be certainly a consideration of ours.

QUESTION: Chris, could you talk a little bit about the actors who have become kind of accidental stars? Was Mitch Pileggi originally thought to be just going to be in for a second and the guys, who were the Lone Gunmen – they were like guys you just cast in Vancouver for small roles? Just talk about them for a minute.

CARTER: It’s all a happy accident. You know, you find these actors and you like to write for them and you find them interesting to watch and, all of a sudden, everyone else does too. I mean, it’s wonderful. And with Mitch and with the Lone Gunmen, I think there could be a spin-off series with Mitch Pileggi if you wanted to do that. These have just become very important characters to the series and who have grown into their own. They’ve developed their own fan clubs. That’s always a good thing on a show.

QUESTION: Chris, is it okay for us to ask “Lone Gunmen” questions now?

CARTER: Yeah. [laughter]

QUESTION: What can you tell us about the spin-off?

CARTER: It’s going to be a mid-season replacement as I understand it. I’m told that it’s going to take “The X-Files” time slot in the spring. I’m very excited about that. We’ll take a little “X-Files” hiatus and it’s going to be a show that’s more comedic than it is dramatic. These guys are wonderful together. These three sort of nerds – techies. It’s kind of like “Mission Impossible” on laughing gas. It is a light touch and approach and I think that we’re doing some things we would never have done on “The X-Files” and that’s an exciting thing.

QUESTION: Now Chris, are the Lone Gunmen going to be on “The X-Files”? And are any of “The X-Files” actors going to appear on “The Lone Gunmen”?

CARTER: I hope that there’s going to be a crossover? And the Lone Gunmen are definitely going to be back on “The X-Files” because they’re going to be in the first episode, which I have just written. And they’re in the second episode as well. So they will be still a part of “The X-Files.” I don’t know yet what the crossover possibilities are into “The Lone Gunmen.” It’ll all be contractual and our abilities are going to be hampered or helped by people’s willingness to go to Vancouver which is where that show will be shot. Actually, the three actors are Canadian.

QUESTION: How many episodes have been filmed – are they planning to film in the beginning? Thirteen?

CARTER: There’s one episode filmed – the pilot. And then, we’re going to do 12 past that.

QUESTION: To go back to “The X-Files” quickly, Doggett and Scully will become partners. And where does that leave Mulder when he’s back on the show?

CARTER: They are not partners. He is being integrated into the show in a way that he is, in fact, not partnered with her. So when Mulder comes back to the show, it will be – that will be the interesting dynamic. How does it work? How does it work between them? I don’t know necessarily that it’ll be competitive. In fact, it might be a symbiotic relationship. These are things we have to explore and, certainly, we look forward to exploring Scully and Doggett through the first half of the season.

QUESTION: What do you think the ramifications from last season – the controversy with David and the lack of Emmy nods means for this season? I mean, are you approaching it with a little bit of, you know, fear or-

CARTER: No, I have no fear. All it makes me want to do is work harder. You know, I’m very competitive. I think one of the reasons this show has been as good as its been for seven years is that there’s a competitive environment on the show. We want to win, we want to impress people, we want to keep the show good, we want to prove to ourselves that we are not resting – we don’t want to rest on our laurels — we want to prove to ourselves that we can still, after 161 episodes, we can continue to be imaginative. It’s a real challenge. But I think that’s the challenge past the challenge and we’re continuing to take it.

QUESTION: Yeah, I think a lot of fans are worried that the show is going to kind of go out with a whimper, you know?

CARTER: I don’t want that to happen. I would not have come back this year if I felt that was going to happen. And I thought long and hard about how the character dynamic would be, what would be a nice addition to the show, how we could in fact reenergize the show in a way that made it interesting for everyone, including the audience. And I think Robert Patrick is going to be a hit. I think he is going to strike a chord. And I certainly think the relationship that these two characters are going to have is going to be – make the Mulder and Scully relationship even more interesting.

QUESTION: Chris, can we clarify something here, because everything we have received from the network in terms of a schedule has “The Lone Gunman” as a mid-season series on Thursday nights. You seem to be saying something different.

CARTER: I don’t know exactly what night it’ll be on, but I hope that there is a change that it will be in that “X-Files” timeslot, certainly for its premiere.

QUESTION: And what would the timing of that be? Because at one time there was every indication it was going to be January or –

CARTER: My impression, and this is far in the future, is that it will be late February, early March.

QUESTION: Chris, can you tell me is smoking man finally dead? [laughter]

CARTER: You know, I’m going to not tell you because I want to give the audience something later on this year.

QUESTION: So we will see William B. Davis again?

CARTER: Dead or alive.

QUESTION: Just one question right here. Am I getting this right, there is only one alien presence, right? That is the same ship that was in the movie?

CARTER: The ship that you just saw in the-

QUESTION: Yeah, I mean there’s only one – there’s not like tons of aliens that’s coming up sucking up people.

CARTER: Well, it’s not a one-horse town, I mean, they do have other ships. [laughter]

QUESTION: One alien town.

QUESTION: But I mean, it just seems weird that like – oh there’s one tribe. Is that what it is?

CARTER: Well you know, in the literature, if you will, there are different races of aliens, and so this is something we’re going to play with this year.

QUESTION: So then – because when the movie happened, it was like, okay, why would he get – okay, he rescued Scully, right? And it’s like, ooh, they’re bad, they’re trying to ruin us, whatever. And then – then you go – and then he gets sucked up and you’re in the season finale, like okay, now what the hell? I mean-

CARTER: This is the sports car and the other one was the Lincoln Continental.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

QUESTION: Chris, I’m a little curious about the timing of “The Lone Gunmen.” With the – a series where you have the characters, you have the concept, you have the people playing them, why is it coming on so late, especially given the holes that FOX has in its schedule?

CARTER: Because I felt that it would be too difficult for us to do “The X-Files” the way we’re doing it and launch another show for the fall. It was just too much work. I’ve done that. And it’s a tremendous amount of work and everything and everybody suffers. And I just wanted to do “The X-Files” right and I wanted to do “The Lone Gunmen” night.

QUESTION: Chris, I think the idea of “The Lone Gunmen” is a great one, but I’m wondering, just in terms of the mass audience, because who is the audience going to be for that show beyond “X-Files” fans? And how much of that do you have to take into account in creating this kind of a series?

CARTER: I mean, you’ve got to be very mindful of that because the idea is to get enough people to watch it to keep it on the air. So I think that there’s going to be something for everyone, not by design, but I think it’s going to be funny, I think it’s going to be smart, it’ll be touching, it’ll be winning in every way.

And it’s not just the Lone Gunmen, there are other characters as well. There’s a character named Yves Adele Harlow [sp], the woman you see in the pilot, who is going to play a big role in the show. There’s going to be a character you’ll see in the second episode who is a very masculine presence in their midst, and a sort of – a kind of Sam Malone sort of character.

There’s going to be – it is going to end up being a kind of ensemble cast but with these three characters at the very core and center of it.

QUESTION: In your mind is it a companion piece to “The X-Files”? Or is it like a “Harsh Realm” or a “Millennium,” its own animal?

CARTER: I think it’s a companion piece but it, tonally, is going to be more like the lighter-hearted “X-Files”?

QUESTION: Chris, since we’ve only seen the Lone Gunmen in their little lab with all their computers, are you going to maybe expand more into the personal lives of them outside of the bolted-door place?

CARTER: Yeah, in fact, in the pilot you actually learn a lot more about the Lone Gunmen than you’ve ever, ever known before. So – that’s the answer. I see people creeping on stage.

QUESTION: Chris, going back to your comments on limiting the merchandising. How has your theory on that limited the number of home video episodes of “The X-Files” being available to the public?

CARTER: I don’t think it’s limited it at all. I mean, the video – the choice to put the videos out is FOX’S, and FOX’s alone. And they put them out when they feel that it is right – the right time to put them out.

QUESTION: What consultation do they have with you as far as which of the episodes from each season that you would like to see on home video?

CARTER: I think we all sort of agree on – and I have – there’s actually a person who works with me here — Mary Astadourian, she’s here today – who is very much involved in that process, and they choose the best episodes to put out in any event, what are considered to be the best episodes.

QUESTION: So how many will come out this coming year?

CARTER: I actually don’t know the answer to that.

QUESTION: Chris, do you know how – do you know sort of what your arc is for this whole season and how you want that final – what could be the very final episode to go? Or are you really going to have to wait and see what happens with contracts and everything else before you decide how to end this?

CARTER: Unfortunately, I have to say, it’s the latter. I really have to be mindful of what I have – what resources I have available to me. And as the TV series leads to hopefully another movie, I want to be mindful of that too. I want those things to work together. So as the season progresses, I’ll have a better idea of where we stand. But it really won’t affect the storytelling all that much, it just may affect the tone or degree of something.

KOUNELIAS: One more question please.

QUESTION: [unmiked] Chris, the female lead in “Lone Gunmen” is she cast yet?


QUESTION: Who is that?

CARTER: Her name is Zuleika Robinson [sp]. And she’s a newcomer, you’ve never seen her before. She’s wonderful.

QUESTION: And you said the first name of the character is Yves Adele?

CARTER: Yves — [spells] Y-V-E-S — Adele Harlow. It’s an anagram.

QUESTION: I get it.

KOUNELIAS: We’d like to thank you all for coming today.

Universe 2000 Expo: Visioning the Future

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific: Universe 2000 Expo
“Visioning the Future” panel

Panel with Brannon Braga (Star Trek Voyager executive producer), Frank Spotnitz (X-Files executive producer), David Brin (physicist), Syd Mead (‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ designer)

[Transcribed by April]

Frank Spotnitz Speaks on a panel discussing “Visions of the Future” for The Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Universe 2000 Expo

Transcript from the wonderful April-thanks for sharing with us. And thanks to Frank for being such an interesting person-this is a great read-IMHO.

The panel he spoke on ( David Brin couldn’t make it though) had 2 writers for Star Trek: Voyager, one writer of various movies like Blade Runner, and this professor dude who rocked and I shall speak more of later.

I brought along a tape recorder and recording almost everything he said except for his last answer to a question… and here you are, transcripts of.. stuff he said 🙂

Question: about if science has anything to do with science fiction writing and if it does what do you feel are your responsibilities in your role..

Frank Spotnitz: “Okay. Hi sorry to be late, accident on the one seven I swear that’s the truth… I guess the question of how well educated the public is about science and where the lines in science fiction and science fact is one of those half empty half full questions because I think you could argue that while a great number of people still have a confusion about what’s accepted good science and what’s not and probably have as well educated a population as we’ve ever had since the founding of the republic, and so while things could be better they’re probably as good as they’ve ever been. I think that my job on the X-Files or as a television writer or movie writer is to entertain, and I look at that first and foremost as my calling. And in the X-Files specifically, we use science as a tool to create a believable scenario. So I will use as much science as I can to try and make what is happening seem credible, with the idea being that if something seems possible or plausible it’s going to be scarier to you than if it seems ridiculous. Beyond that I don’t really see my purpose as a writer as being synonymous with that of an educator, although I do think that one of the most fortunate things about science fiction is it tends to spark interest in real science, and I know the original Star Trek series, for Andre and probably for Brannon, I don’t know but certainly for me sparked a lot of interest in science, science fiction and probably why I’m writing for television today. So hopefully the fictitious license we take will lead people to explore the real thing.”

[note: Right here was a cute story the professor guy told, his name Richard Berendzen. He was called up to have permission granted to use footage of him that was used in Gethsemane 🙂 and he was telling about the end when Mulder cries (at this point I held up my season four episode guide with a page with a photo of that happening and he was like “yeah right there” and Frank grinned at the book, so yeah score hehe, aaanyway) and said how because of Scully saying Mulder committed suicide Richard got these calls from students asking if he killed Mulder :)]

This next part started off with talk about the darkness of sci fi and led to atmosphere and well yeah let’s pick it up here you only miss Frank agreeing with the prev. speaker .

Frank Spotnitz: “…I was thinking about this the last couple of days, knowing that I was going to be coming here late, and talking about the future and you know it goes without saying that no one knows what the future’s going to be, so why is there so much interest in it? And the answers that I’ve come up with certainly in terms of the storytelling we do is because it deals with our fears of what we’ve become, which of course are based on the present, and so I think science fiction frequently, chiefly deals with fears of how tech may change human beings and the way we live in the future. And this is a way of dealing with those fears, telling stories about those fears, in the hope of ex them or changing the path of the future. Human beings certainly have changed. And if you read the Greeks or the Romans, their [something] with human behavior are identical to what it is you know all of us behave today, as far as I can tell. But technology has a way of presenting opportunities that we fear we cannot control, whether it’s you know industrial revolution or the atomic age or the Internet. And so I think storytelling provides a great surface in imagining where these technological paths may lead and how to prevent a fear from being realized.”

Question: [Paraphrased] Where does the writing come from?

Frank Spotnitz: “I’ve had the most frequently asked question. I think when you write television or movies and the hardest answer because it’s a very mysterious process I think for people who write where those ideas come from and I know I watch a lot of programming, news, biographies, documentaries, hoping something will spark, newspapers, magazines. When all else fails, when I’m trying to tell scary stories I think back about being a child and what scared me as a child and look for something there. It’s a hard question to answer. I will say before I lose this thought that occurred to me while Andre was talking about 2001, I don’t think, I hope none of us are actually going to be called upon later to show how accurate we were in predicting what was going to happen, you know that, I never think about that in terms of the X-Files and any predictions about the future. But I think what 2001 did presently and Blade Runner as well was predicted the rise of commerce and commercial influence on what at the time was ? governmental enterprise and the fact that there was Hilton and Howard Johnson and ?? was right on, and I think, you know I think one of the fears that um, I think is probably growing in our consciousness that you see in movies being made now is that government is actually less and less important and commerce is all important in the post-cold war environment and I think that’s gonna make for a lot more stories. [warning! confusing possibly mistranscripted sentence ahead!] You know X-Files has been bread and butter for 8 years now is government conspiracy but I think people have a sense now that you know dollars and eurodollars are where it’s at.” “Have you tried watching the old Jetsons episodes?”

Question: Favorite sci fi story you’ve done, fave episode etc. and why?

Frank Spotnitz: “That’s a really hard question to answer.. I think that the favorite episode that I was involved with was called Memento Mori and that was where Agent Scully found out she had contracted cancer as a result of her abduction. And it was a story we were afraid to do, honestly, because cancer is very much real and not something science fiction, and it touched on people’s lives, everybody knows others been touched by it. But it ended up being one of my favorites because it was so revealing of the characters, and when you do a TV series particularly you get so close to these characters you spend so many hours imagining their lives, their interior lives, that when you get a chance to do an episode that explores a part of them that you’ve never seen before it’s very exciting. So that was my favorite, it had heavy duty science fiction quotient in it, it had aliens and you know, green goo, and abductions, and memories, and things like that, but all of those things I think are just metaphors for fears we all have and I think that’s the appeal of UFO lore, whether you believe in it or not. It speaks to our fears, and interests and how or not you’ll understand these amenities beyond ourselves, and actually the episode that you referred to earlier, where Mulder commits suicide, is that that panel discussion was talking about how if he discovered aliens existed, if you had proof of extraterrestrial life, it would be greatest scientific discovery ever, there is no greater scientific discovery, because it would change our understanding of our own role in the universe. And in many ways, I think the search for extraterrestrial life is a lot like the search for God, truly trying to scientifically tackle the same question.”

Question: [from our fellow X-Phile Heather in the audience :)] what difficulties might you run into when writing a story, and how do you solve this problem?

Frank Spotnitz: “Very painfully. The interesting thing about storytelling is that you are trying to devise a plot at the same time you’re trying to understand your character. And the two things tug each other constantly. You’re constantly finding that if you make a wrong move with the plot, you get a wrong move with the character and vice versa. And so you’re trying to move both of them along in an interesting way and be true to those and that’s the challenge and [word missing] instance for telling stories on the X-Files, there’s always a science fiction or horror element that is woven into the particular human story. But it’s the human values that, you know, are the forefront that people care about that’s why you watch the story and the science fiction angle gives you something new and different and cool that you may not have seen before you hopefully haven’t seen before. But yeah I think, to touch on the question that was asked last you know about the human behavior, I don’t think human beings have changed and I think even Star Trek, you know, Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the future notwithstanding, you know you recognize those people, you know they’re supposed to be 3, 400 years in the future, you recognize [that they’re?] characters they could be people you meet today. There’s just a lot of social issues that we, especially in 1964. You know, there were people on the streets and there were violent protests, they had been resolved in a way that made people hopeful. So I think that’s what hopeful science fiction’s about, it’s not [that] human beings are going to become primarily different, it’s saying that certain struggles will be resolved in a positive way.”

Another comment here by Heather about how she thinks science changes not the people.

Frank Spotnitz: “I think that’s absolutely what it is, I mean (another you know? 🙂 conditions change radically.. healthcare, science, technology change the way we live and the way we interact with each other you know the world community, but who people are let’s face it their basic instincts are things that you know..” *trails off*

Question: If there’s art in the writers’ science fiction, which led to a comment that art or creativity is so internal, about actions instead

Frank Spotnitz: “We actually did one episode about art if you will, it was about a writer, and it’s exactly what you said I mean, science is about understanding the natural world the world around us and art is about. To generalize [about] understanding what makes us and what makes us human. And this writer wrote. Finally wrote something so good that it actually came to pass. But unfortunately he found out that what was inside of him was hate and destruction. And [the fear?] of art has no guarantee of happiness, because it shines a light of understanding, but what you see now [is beautiful and uncertain?]”

“Well I think it remains to be seen, was Freud a great scientist or a great artist? I think the big difference, cause I think you’re right, I think it made a lot of people thinking [it was] truly greater than science, if not more so than it is than the art, but science strives to have an empirical standard by which we judge its conclusions, which you know art. It’s time to get rid of that.”

Frank Spotnitz: “How did it get so ugly… oh the question was, do we have any thoughts about a uh, English scientist’s theory that UFOs are actually visitors from our own future, checking in on us today. I find that unlikely.. no I mean I.. as I touched on before, having thought about UFOs now for 7 years, and never having really thought about before I came on the X-Files, to me a lot of the interest in extraterrestrials is analogous to our interest in God, and wanting to understand our place in the universe, and whether we’re alone. A lot of the same questions come up when you consider religion and UFO phenomena. I can’t explain UFO phenomena, I have no idea why it is so widespread, you know it’s incredible if you read surveys of the American public, the number of people who believe in UFOs is astonishing, and the number of people who claim to have had first hand experience with UFOs is equally amazing, whereas I think when I began writing for the show 7 years ago I was a hundred percent Agent Scully, skeptic, and a disbeliever, I say I’m still of Dana Scully’s [mind] that I’m not equipped to explain the phenomenon.”

Question: How much of the writing is from a white male vision? How much diversity is on the writing staff?

Frank Spotnitz: “In the past, we’ve had a number of woman writers, minority writers, at the moment the X-Files staff is all male, but not all white. But, it’s like Brannon said, it just so happens the Writers’ Guild, who you have to draw on, is predominantly white male, so that’s an obstacle right there. And the first thing you are thinking about when you’re a producer desperate to make a good TV show is, get me good writers. Now, if I can have a racially diverse, and sexually diverse staff, well great, but first get me good writers. So..”

Question: Is it a white male perspective?

Frank Spotnitz: ‘It has been mixed on our show. There’ve been times when we’ve had all white male staff, there’ve been times we’ve had, you know, much more mixed. I hope not. I mean I really hope, I don’t know what a ‘white male vision’ means, exactly. I mean I’m a white male but I hope that my vision, my humble vision, is not in some way villainous or derogatory, I hope I’m open minded enough to try to encompass other visions too in my white male vision, you know what I’m saying? That’s what we’re constantly trying to *tape interference* reason for the question, it worries me, questions like that, because it suggests that somehow whether you are black or white influences the future, and we just hired for the Lone Gunmen, which is comedy series about you know Mission Impossible[-style?] capers features a black woman. And what she knows about you know three white computer nerds.. I don’t know it shouldn’t matter in a perfect world. In the world where Star Trek is headed it wouldn’t be questioned. ”

Question: about metaphysics

Frank Spotnitz: “…It’s not on a conscious level but I think the meaning of death–spirit, soul. That which exists beyond our own corporeum in existence. Those are things play into the X-Files.. you know again and again, but I don’t think I ever approach it, you know… you know “this week I’m doin’ the metaphysical”


My tape ran out during the next question, which was about an occult author with the first name Alistaire that a person asked about, who for the record Frank did not know of :).. and there was also one part where nanotechnology was brought up and Frank was asked by another panelist if the X-Files touched on that and Frank said “yeah we did” hehe

Afterwards, Vanessa and I hung around, I had two magazines one for me one for a friend I wanted to get signed and we both got them signed as well as pictures, nice nice guy 😀 I asked him when production starts, the 24th or 25th? It’s the 25th.. and Vanessa asked when the season premiere is (first week of November) and Heather asked if cancerman was really dead and he said he couldn’t say and laughed 🙂

University of California Santa Barbara: A Conversation with the Creator of the X-Files

University of California Santa Barbara: A Conversation with the Creator of the X-Files

[Unknown transcriber]

Last night I had the opportunity to attend Chris Carter’s lecture at UCSB. It was a great evening! He talked to us for a couple of minutes, then showed a clip reel from all 7 seasons of The X-Files. (Even a clip from David’s new episode, Hollywood AD) Then there was a discussion between he and some of the professors from the college. Afterwards the time was turned over to the audience for questions. I was about 4th or 5th in line and was able to speak to him. Let me just say that his answers are not much better than watching the show. He is cryptic and somehow managed to escape answering all questions that would give any sort of definitive answer. Very frustrating.

My question to Chris Carter was about Samantha. I had read that Chris had envisioned the outcome of her abduction somewhat differently than what actually happened on the show. His answer to me wasn’t really an answer. He told me that all the character’s evolve on the show. He doesn’t know exactly what will come of them and Samantha’s fate wasn’t too far off from what he had envisioned. I asked him what he had originally wanted to happen and somehow he got around having to answer it. Oh well, I was able to be one of the few to speak to him in front of an entire audience, it was a really awesome experience.

One of the people I was with got up and asked a question about “all things”. Okay, the question that was asked was concerning the events during the time between Scully falling asleep on the couch and getting dressed in the bathroom later that night (or early morning I should say).

Chris was hesitant to answer that question, but the crowd was anxiously awaiting an answer. Chris told us that the end of the episode might not make much sense now, but in future episodes the event will have much more meaning. We will understand what truly happened. In fact, he said that the scene will have great importance in the future. However, later on he commented about why he never let Mulder and Scully have a physical relationship. He said that people don’t really want it, and it was a sure way to ruin the show. People think they want it, but they really don’t. He also mentioned that when a relationship becomes physical, it ruins everything. I am sure that his wife, who was present in the audience, loved hearing that last comment.

After the lecture, Chris stayed to sign autographs. My friends and I split up into the two lines that were forming. I got into the wrong line along with my best friend. Luckily my other friends were in the correct line. We joined them and when it came time for us to speak with Chris we told him of the time we were on set. My friend told him that we knew someone who worked on set and he asked us who. He knew who we were talking about and it sounded as if they got along pretty well. He noticed David Duchovny’s and Dean Haglund’s signatures on our items we brought to have signed. He told my friend that it was good thing to hold onto. I finally got Chris to sign my movie script. I was very happy. Now all I have to do is get Gillian to sign it:) We took a picture with Chris and had to hurry because there was such a big line, but he was a very nice guy, and I had a wonderful time.

Humanitas Master Writers Workshop transcript

Humanitas Master Writers Workshop transcript
Carter and Spotnitz

Provided by “darknesslight”

I attended the Humanitas Master Writers Workshop in Los Angeles Tuesday night, at which Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz were the speakers. The Humanitas Workshops are presented monthly from September through May and feature noted television and film writers as speakers. The Workshops are open to Writers Guild members and other professional-level writers. (Humanitas is an organization founded by Father Ellwood “Bud” Kieser which recognizes the writers of television and film scripts that explore the nature of human values — they present the Humanitas Prize every year to those writers.)

Following are some random notes I took. I can’t promise that any of these are direct quotes, but rather my impressions/recollections of what was said. I tried to pay special attention to what they said about the internet and the Mulder/Scully relationship. NOTE: If you’re a regular viewer of the show, there are no spoilers here.

FS on writing – it’s only once you’re in the professional world that you can know if you’ve got it – even after you’ve been doing it awhile, writing is HARD.

FS on rejection – you can either get bitter or you can figure out why you’re being rejected.

CC on XF’s origin – inspired by Kolchak: The Night Stalker and the fact that there wasn’t anything scary on in prime time – that’s how he pitched the show – how about something scary?

FS – they’re reinventing the wheel every week with the different kinds of stories they tell – his first script was End Game, part 2 of a 2-parter.

FS on story problems – Simple is Good – Hard, But Good – when it’s simple, you’re telling the truth. [He was talking about trying to figure out how to get X to tell Scully where Mulder was in that ep with the submarine tower – CC’s solution: have Skinner beat it out of him – simple!]

CC on taking notes/advice/suggestions – there are lots of voices out there, particularly with the internet – everybody knows how to do your job better than you.

FS – unless there’s a reason for people to care, there’s no reason to tell the story.

CC and FS in response to the question, “how does Mulder get through the day with all he believes and all he’s seen?” – CC talked about Mulder’s quest and his role as a romantic hero – CC and FS both talked about the importance of Scully as his partner in the quest, that their shared passion fueled them both – FS mentioned Mulder’s sense of humor, and commented that some of Mulder’s funniest lines come during the scariest moments.

CC in response to a question about the mythology/conspiracy and did he have a “grand scheme” in mind to begin with – he nodded as the question was asked – said he had a big idea in the beginning but that it has played out “in ways I could never have imagined” – CC and FS said that the Season 5 opener was the real turning point for them as writers re: the mythology – this is where the choices they’d made earlier really took over and the story just started telling itself.

FS in response to a question about David Duchovny’s writing for the show – David’s notes on the scripts benefit the *story*, not just his character – CC added that both Duchovny and Anderson are very smart actors who put the story and the show ahead of their own characters [most actors don’t, really – LM].

What outside writers get wrong in XF spec scripts: CC – the entry into the story; they don’t get the Mulder/Scully relationship (they’re not combative, they’re both determined); FS – Scully’s voice, Scully’s character.

CC – the show’s about FAITH, but it’s built on a foundation of SCIENCE – Mulder wrestles with his faith in the unknown, Scully wrestles with her faith in both science and God.

CC – good ideas for TV series are few and far between – the success of XF is a little miracle in that it was a series idea with a great deal of story potential.

FS re stand-alone monster stories – they try to portray the monsters in a human light – if they behave arbitrarily, they won’t be believed.

FS – write your characters as smart as possible.

CC – character development comes through role reversal [i.e., Mulder’s journey in Season 5 to regain his belief in the unexplained].

CC re the internet – it “affects my happiness” – he reads a lot, takes some stuff to heart, dismisses a lot – has never taken an idea off the internet – several times, thoughtful criticism has led him to make changes in future stories.

FS re the movie – the Mulder/Scully relationship really blossomed in the movie – the scene before the near-kiss is the key scene, the relationship is the key to the movie – the relationship had to move slowly in the series because in series TV you have to go back to the status quo – it was Season 3 before Mulder and Scully could even be seen touching hands – after the movie came out, FS and CC drove around to different movie theaters in L.A. to listen to audience reaction to the hallway scene.

A woman to FS at an XF convention sometime after Season 3 – “You’ve been on three years, you must be running out of true stories.”

FS in response to a question about whether Darin Morgan would come back as a writer – Darin watches every episode and thinks about what he would’ve done – CC said that he won’t be back as a writer, he’s too meticulous, the pace of TV took a lot out of him.

FS – the mythology episodes are the ones that advance the Mulder/Scully relationship – in the stand-alones they’re too busy with the monster, and they both have so much invested in the outcome of the mythology.

Both CC and FS were extremely noncommittal on the subject of whether or not this is the show’s last season.

The Vicki Gabereau Show: Interview with Chris Carter

The Vicki Gabereau Show
Interview with Chris Carter

[Transcribed by gde1013]

VG: Chris Carter is with me as The X-Files launches its 7th season, November the 7th – that’s a bit late if you ask me. But, unfortunately the new series “Harsh Realm,” just got whacked after three episodes, and we can’t figure out just why that is – but I will say, Mr. Carter, sir, that you’re as big a star as the people that are on your show. Isn’t it weird how that happens?

CC: Ha – [laughs] hardly. Not today, at least.

VG: What happened, with Harsh Realm?

CC: It just didn’t get the ratings they had hoped, it didn’t get much of a launch to be honest — it premiered against baseball, which is always a tough competition, and they didn’t do a whole lot of promotion for it. I think they had some statistics and forecasts, and they thought it was going to get bigger ratings then it did, going in, and they thought they didn’t have to spend the money to get people to come see it, and to be aware of it. So, I think it suffered from a couple different things.

VG: Yeah, well how — hmm, I can’t think of another expression — pissed off are you?

CC: [laughing] You know, it came as a big shock, because I think we were doing good work, and the ratings tell the story I think, but you also have to give a show a chance to really sort of find its feet, and I think that didn’t happen. There are bigger troubles at FOX and, we were sort of part of that.

VG: When you say the ratings weren’t good – I mean, if you get 7 people in Canada it’s good – but we’re talking about the great thing down south, but I mean what do they need to carry on? What is required?

CC: They just need, well, you need to be winning your time slot.

VG: So you have to have a share, a big share.

CC: Right, right.

VG: And who wasn’t watching, do you think?

CC: Everyone [everybody laughing]. You know, we had hoped the X-Files audience would come, but they premiered it before The X-Files so it really didn’t use The X-Files as a launching pad. I think that’s pretty much the story, that it really got lost in the, sort of, all the things there are to watch on television these days, and no one really knew it was on.

VG: Yeah – Well, I would think that if the guys were watching baseball, the women might not have been watching. I’ve seen one episode, and one episode only, and of course the production values are first rate, and the writing was very good and everything, but, you know, I just didn’t want to see more guys in fatigues. I think it might have scared women away.

CC: You may be right, but if you stuck with it, you would see that it actually had a lot for everyone. Once you got past those guys in fatigues, there were good stories being told.

VG: Are you severely disappointed, or do you think it will live again?

CC: Harsh Realm?

VG: Yeah.

CC: I think we’re probably moving past Harsh Realm, we’re done with Harsh Realm — out of Harsh Realm, as it were. But, I think there are lessons learned, and we’ll move on. We have other good stories to tell.

VG: Now, why couldn’t you take it to another network?

CC: You probably could, it’s an expensive show to do — all my shows have been expensive to produce because I demand quality. So, it’s not something that someone wants to just pick up, with the low ratings. Because I think there are costs associated that would —

VG: Make somebody panic, and back up.

CC: I think so.

VG: Did you tell the crew, the cast?

CC: Yes, I told the cast and crew, and I’m up here now in Vancouver to say thank you to everyone, because there was a lot of really good work done by a lot of good people. I hope to come back to Vancouver.

VG: Because Millennium’s gone, too. You’ve got to bring those X-Files back here! It ain’t the same. Canadians, are we the only people who tell you that?

CC: No, I mean, it’s the same good show, it just lacks the atmosphere that Vancouver gave.

VG: Fog, rain, muck.

CC: It doesn’t rain in Vancouver, let me just get that straight. [laughs]

VG: You know, it hasn’t been raining, until yesterday. It’s been exquisite, clear, sunny — you haven’t been here.

CC: No, I haven’t. September was an amazing month, you know, Vancouver at its best. Every day you would relish it because it just might go away.

VG: Do you think we’re sick in the head – that we only talk about weather?

CC: No, I mean weather is a big part about living up here, but I love it. I own a place up here now, and I’ll come back even when I’m not working.

VG: Did you buy a place in town, or out in the sticks somewhere?

CC: No, in town.

VG: So, how often will you come back? What are you going to do now, do you have anything to do, do you have a job? [everyone laughing]

CC: Umm… Yeah, I’ve got this other show called The X-Files.

VG: But isn’t it like a train on the tracks, it just goes now.

CC: Hardly at all. It is such hard work, and double duty on both shows — it was probably too much work with the quality we tried to keep up. So, I’m looking forward to now focusing on The X-Files specifically.

VG: Hard to find writers?

CC: Very hard — it’s a Harsh Realm.

VG: [laughs] Quit that. But, your country has millions and millions of people. I can see how it might be hard to find maybe a dozen writers specifically here, but there? They must be hanging from the trees.

CC: If they are, I’ve been picking from the wrong trees. It’s very difficult to write the show. We’re always looking for talents, always looking for people who can execute good stories — and you know, screenwriting is hard. Everyone thinks they can do it because the format is so readily available and understandable.

VG: Because we’ve all seen a million movies.

CC: Yes, everyone’s writing a screen play, but to write well in the screen play format is very, very difficult.

VG: Well one of the things – I don’t know how many people have read screen plays, but you can read a screen play and you cannot know that it’s any good. So, how do you know if it’s any good?

CC: Obviously a lot of people don’t know that it’s no good, and bad things get made [everyone laughing]. But, I think when you read something that is very good, and if you sort of develop your tastes, you can start to know the difference.

VG: Right, but don’t you remember a few years ago when they submitted ‘Casablanca’ to a bunch of hot shots and they all said, “this stinks, put it away.” I mean, so there you are – you gotta lose some. So, will you stick around now for a minute? We’ve got to take a break.

CC: Oh, yeah.

VG: We’ll be right back with Chris Carter.

clip from “The Sixth Extinction”


Scully is sitting beside Mulder’s hospital bed. He is still in a coma, not responding, but she is leaning over, talking to him, and crying.

SCULLY: “If you can hear me, just give me some sign — I want you know where I’ve been, and what I’ve found. I think that if you know, that you could find a way to hold on —- I need you to hold on.”


VG: Oh dear – a scene from The X-Files’ new season. I’m talking with its creator and writer, often, Chris Carter. So that was melodramatic. He spends a lot… one or the other of them spends quite a bit of time in comas. [laughs]

CC: [laughing] Well, that’s not exactly true. But, it’s true at the end of last season, which was the sixth season. Seventh season, if I can plug, starts November the 7th…

VG: I think I said that – I did say that..

CC: and that’s the, pilot – or, not the pilot – I mean the premiere episode of the seventh season.

VG: What happens?

CC: Obviously nothing — Mulder doesn’t have to act because he’s in a coma. [everyone laughing]

VG: One time… That’s the kind of part I want. Just lie there – or knit, that I think would be good. One time a couple of – I don’t know – about a year ago, I saw you in a restaurant. We waved at each other, and you were with a person – and you said you’d like to introduce me – your niece. Then she said her name. Her first name I’ve forgotten.. Just tell me her first name.

CC: Tracy

VG: Tracy – and what’s her last name?

CC: [laughing] Mulder.

VG: How could you do that? I looked right at this kid – how old is she – 18, 20?

CC: Older than that – twenties.

VG: She looks young. So I said, “how many..” – of course she knew exactly what I was going to say, which was “how many times today?” And she said “Dozens..” Now why would you.. who.. or is that..

CC: That’s my mother’s maiden name.

VG: Ah ha.. So you’ve really, really done it to her, and that happens all the time.

CC: I have a lot of relatives that were very flattered in the beginning, who are now very annoyed. [laughing]

VG: But naming characters is a big deal.

CC: Yeah, it is. Name’s your destiny – particularly on television.

VG: So do you go through.. I mean – I’m not familiar with the Harsh Realm names, but even Millennium, do you go through great lists of names to see how they match? Let’s say Lance’s character.

CC: Well, Frank Black was the name of the lead singer of The Pixies, which I was a big fan of.

VG: That’s deep. [laughs]

CC: The truth is that my name should have been Black. There was some sort of family history that’s been buried deep, or swept under the carpet, and my name wouldn’t have been Carter, it would have been Black. So that’s why…

VG: Well, what is the history that’s been swept under the carpet? Do you know?

CC: I don’t know. I’m actually having my genealogy read right now.

VG: Is your father your father?

CC: Yes, I think. [laughs]

VG: Well, I guess the truth is in the files somewhere. Are you doing that through the Mormons, or how are you doing that?

CC: No, there’s actually many professional genealogists out there now, and you can sort of pick and choose people who have specific skills.

VG: Right, we’re obsessed with this – our generation. You know that – knowing who we are.

CC: We have a lot of money and now we want to know who we are. How we got it.

VG: Who do you think you are? [jokingly] Just who do you think you are!

CC: Who do I think I am? I don’t know – I think that there are rascals and criminals on my father’s side that were never spoken about, so I’m very curious to see from which I came.

VG: Yes, and from what country you came.

CC: Well, my mother’s side.. I’m half Dutch, my mother was all Dutch. My father was a quarter Italian and the rest, I’m sure is some sort of Mongrel – Heinz 57.

VG: They were the ones who were all in jail. What possessed you to try and find this out? I mean, how did you find out your name would have been Black?

CC: There’s is no clear family history on my father’s side. He never knew his father, I never knew my grandfather – my real grandfather. So, I’m just kind of curious what is was that was kept a big secret.

VG: Well, it will be interesting. It might be quite tame. Something that might have been deep and dark then.

CC: My grandmother always referred to herself as widowed, until I realized sometime in my teens that she was actually divorced. Which no one wanted to be known as then in that generation. It’s going to be curious to find out.

VG: Are you writing a book??

CC: Yes.

VG: What is it?

CC: You know, it’s a book.. a character I created, probably about 12 years ago, and it’s just been something that’s been sitting around. I always knew I wanted to do something with it. I thought, you know, why not do a TV Series or movie, but then I thought, it’s the perfect character for a series of books. So I’m currently at work on that.

VG: Is it a… What kind of a character is it? Not a cop or a detective?

CC: Nope. He’s kind of a rapscallion himself. He’s a guy who sits around..

VG: You’re doing your research, that’s why you’re doing your genealogy. [laughs]

CC: Yes, exactly. There are two characters – there’s a… Two characters who work together and it’s set post-World War II, and.. which is really fun to write in that era. It has kind of detective qualities, but it owes something to The X-Files, too.

VG: It must be hard to separate those stories. So, you have a story that you’re working on for the book — and, you might want to cheat and put it in The X-Files.

CC: Well, everybody asks, “how do you keep things straight?” Ultimately you do — you don’t write into the wrong characters, or wrong scripts.

VG: How much are you writing now?

[sirens blaring in the background]

CC: Vancouver is supposed to be such a safe city, and all I hear are sirens. [laughs]

VG: No, you see that’s an ambulance, those aren’t cops, honey. It’s coming to take some poor soul who’s tripped and hurt their ankle. [laughing] And we’re Johnny on the Spot, see, coming to fix them up — what was the question?

CC: [laughs] I don’t remember.

VG: Oh yeah – are you writing a lot of episodes?

CC: Yes, I write — I probably write more episodes than anyone, and we write more episodes than anyone, and I have since the beginning of the show. It’s just been the way it is.

VG: Right, but sometimes you don’t re-write them. They have to be perfect…

CC: No, there are some times.. There are some scripts that I don’t re-write and won’t re-write. But, I’d say about 2/3 of them have some of my involvement as far as going through my typewriter.

VG: Is that… Typewriter??

CC: [quickly] computer.

VG: Just checking. Just want to know if you’re a Luddite or not.

CC: Ha – no Luddite here.

VG: But when you re-write, is it because you just have to change it. Are you a control freak, sort of?

CC: No, I mean I wish every script came in perfect and I had to do nothing — it would make my life a lot easier. But there are some things — I have the voices in my head, and I have a sense of how the story should be told. And it’s… You know is has been difficult sometimes — some people get a little irritated when you mess with their work. But, you know we’re in our seventh year, so you know we’re doing something right.

VG: Do you ever take a Holiday?

CC: I’ve had one Christmas off in the last seven years, where I haven’t been writing or rewriting. So, it’s really about two weeks a year. But, I get to come to Vancouver now and again, so…

VG: Yeah, but you’re working when you’re here, and that’s kind of a heartbreaking one.

So, stay with me and I’ll talk to you a bit more. Chris Carter.


VG: I’m back with the writer, producer, surfer – Chris Carter. You still doing that?

CC: Yes, as much as possible. Yeah, not in Vancouver, of course.

VG: No, but if you ever go to Halifax — you ever been there?

CC: No, I haven’t.

VG: It’s a great place, and has great settings for your weirdo stories. [laughs] But you know, I have a friend there who’s a publisher, his name is Leslie Choice, and he surfs there, in of course, a wet suit. But he surfs all the time up there, on those big North Atlantic waves. Yipes.

CC: Cold, cold water.

VG: I know, but if you’ve got the wet suit on. You went all around the world, surfing.

CC: I used to work for Surfing magazine when I graduated from college, and I didn’t want to join the adult world. I took a job at surfing magazine and had an amazing time.

VG: Have you joined the adult world now, do you think?

CC: I still.. I’m not sure.

VG: Yeah, but when you’re involved, let’s say, in this particular situation — everything that’s gone on with the cancellation of this show, the one before, I mean, all of a sudden you’ve got the lawyers, you’ve got the lawsuits, you’ve got people freaking out over here. You have to be an adult, and your stomach must hurt all the time.

CC: You know, business is tough, and entertainment is a particularly tough business, and you become very high-profile as I have, kind of inadvertently, and you become somewhat of a target, and you have to be prepared in business to deal with these kinds of things.

VG: When Gene Roddenbury was still alive, did people stop him in the street? Were there 20 people waiting for him when he got off the plane to sign autographs?

CC: You know, I doubt it. It’s a different time, there’s more media, there’s more attention to these kinds of things. I think that people know who producers are nowadays unlike they ever did, for some reason. David E. Kelley is a very… perfect example of that. He’s a big popular guy. So, who knows why that is. But I think a show like The X-Files develops a kind of fan and fan base that tend to be a little obsessive about the show, thank God. Let me knock on wood here.

VG: There’s plywood under there somewhere. One of things among many, that you’ve done that I think is so impressive, when you shot 3 series up here, is that you use a lot of Canadian actors. And you didn’t put them in the background, you put them in the foreground. You used them the way any actor should be used.

CC: Well, I love coming up here because I think the quality of talent, of every technical acting pool, is tops, and I was determined to use the Canadian actors who I knew were very good, in the series, which is another reason I’m kind of sad to say good-bye.

VG: Well, you’ll come up with something else.

CC: Yeah.

VG: But, did you know that they were good, until they read for you?

CC: Well, I know almost all of the Canadian actors.

VG: I’ll bet you do.

CC: There are some that I don’t know still, and I’m still learning faces and names, but I know a lot of them. So, I was able to go back to some people I’ve used before successfully and then to some new people I’ve never used before. Rachel Hayward, would be one.

VG: Right.. What do you read, when you’re not writing?

CC: Not Science Fiction, believe it or not. It’s funny because when you’re working as hard as I am, as hard as we do, you scavenge. You pick up things, you pick up magazines in airports, you read bits of books… You’re always just reading parts of things. What you’re doing all the time is you’re trying to come up with material. Everything’s a resource.

VG: Which is kind of irritating, in a way because.. I mean, books that I read for this show – I mean, I’m practically reading a book a day – and you don’t read it the same way as when you’re sitting around at the old cabin, leisurely reading. You’re reading for – “there’s a thing I can ask..” Or there’s a thing you could develop, I guess. When do you figure, was the last time you read a book just because you were… What, 12 years old?

CC: I read a Graham Green novel last May, which I enjoyed the hell out of, so I have the chance to read every now and again. Something that I’ve either read before, or want to read new.

VG: I’ve saved a book for you. It’s called “Baltimore’s Mansion” by a guy named Wayne Johnson, from New Foundland. Then you can send me a note and tell me what you thought of it. Or now, send it to him. But that’s only if you thought it was good. [laughs] Chris Carter, thanks very much and good luck on the seventh season.

CC: Thank You.