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Virginian-Pilot: It's torture being Mulder this season

It’s torture being Mulder this season
Larry Bonko

LOS ANGELES — What do you see when you peek inside cavernous soundstage No. 6 at 20th Century Fox Studios here? You see the laboratory/operating room where poor Agent Mulder of “The X-Files” has been poked, probed and tortured by the aliens who abducted him.

They put hooks in his face and stretched his skin out to h-e-r-e. Yipes!

As filming took place, David Duchovny lay there “buck naked,” said “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter.

There’s bad news for Duchovny. Carter’s scripts call for Duchovny as Mulder to undergo more “horrible torture” on that set before we learn during the May sweeps exactly why the aliens snatched him in a blaze of blue light last May.

The operating room set which awaits another visit from Duchovny is painted silver and hangs above the floor of the soundstage like a flying saucer. It appears to have been made of odds and ends from a handyman’s shed including garden hoses.

Yeah, the set looks cheesy when you’re visiting. But when you see it on TV, it’s as spooky as Frankenstein’s castle.

Hollywood magic.

While showing TV writers where he films “The X-Files” on a studio lot not far from Beverly Hills — the show was originally shot in Vancouver — Carter talks about what could the series’ last season.

I said could be.

First off, “X-Filers” will be pleased to learn that Duchovny returns for episode No. 14 on Feb. 25. He’ll be back again on April 8 and be seen in every episode on Fox until the two-hour season finale.

“We’re looking forward to his return,” said Carter.

It’s not likely you’ll see Duchovny in season No. 9 if there is a season No. 9. “He’s got no contract,” said Carter.

As for the future of “The X-Files,” “If we can find a reason, creatively speaking, to keep doing the show, we’ll keep doing the show. Can we continue to tell interesting stories? That’s the question. The show has gone well since we added Robert Patrick,” said Carter. Next month, he adds another agent to the cast — Agent Reyes played by Annabeth Gish. “The X-Files” airs Sundays at 9 p.m.

Gillian Anderson (Agent Scully) is under contract for a ninth season. She’s on the verge of becoming a movie star after her performance in “The House of Mirth.”

Sony Pictures is pushing her for an Oscar nomination. A Rolling Stone critic said she was “delicate dynamite” in the film, and that not since Bette Davis “has an actress used a cigarette as erotic punctuation.”

Being compared to Bette Davis? Practice your Oscar speech, Gillian.

Spend a few moments with this actress with a face nearly as radiant as Garbo’s and you get the impression that she wouldn’t mind if it’s sayonara for “The X-Files” after this season.

“The schedule is so grueling,” she said.

Patrick came aboard in September to play Agent Doggett who joins Scully in the search for Mulder, last seen in a desert setting in the September 2000 season premiere. Patrick said he’d be happy to continue in “The X-Files” even with its long hours.

Last week, the “The X-Files” cast began filming a script on Monday that had been written over the weekend. Weekly TV is produced on an assembly line.

“It’s a little upsetting not to be able to rehearse. I love to rehearse. I love knowing my lines backwards, sideways and forwards,” said Patrick. “At first, it’s unsettling to work in a weekly series.” (He was last seen in three episodes of “The Sopranos.”)

On Patrick’s first day at work, Anderson as Scully tossed a glass of water in his face. Welcome to “The X-Files,” Robert.

Carter promised to sort out Scully’s pregnancy thing as this season concludes. The world is dying to know who impregnated her. Carter has yet to tell Anderson who’s the father.

Anderson said in filming “The House of Mirth” she tried “to do a character that wasn’t even remotely like Scully.”

It’s time to begin drifting away from the character that made her rich and famous, she said. “It’s time to do some different stuff.”

Anderson also said she knows less about “The X-Files” than its devotees who devour sci-fi magazines, browse the Internet and attend conventions.

“I’m the wrong person to ask about what happened on the show, three, four or five years ago. Once I shoot an episode, it’s gone from my brain.”

Anderson, who has a degree from DePaul University in Chicago, was hired by Carter early in 1993 almost the minute she walked into his office. “With Gillian’s looks, carriage and bearing, we instantly knew we had Scully,” said Carter.

And Duchovny?

Lightning did not strike as quickly. He scarcely spoke during the audition. Carter, waiting for the perfect Mulder to walk through the door, wondered … does this man have the smarts to play an FBI agent saving the world from aliens invading our body’s gene pool or wherever?

Then he glanced at Duchovny’s resume. Duchovny earned an undergraduate degree at Princeton, a master’s at Yale. He was plenty smart enough to play Mulder.

In going over the next few months of “The X-Files,” Carter also announced that a spinoff from the series, “The Lone Gunmen,” is in production. It will run on Fox for three episodes starting March 4 in “The X-Files” time slot.

Said Carter, “When we needed to give David and Gillian some time off, we gave much of an episode of “The X-Files’ to “The Lone Gunmen.’ It worked so well, and was so much fun to do, that we decided to spin the characters off into another series.” “The Lone Gunmen” in a nutshell: Conspiracy geeks, computer hackers and underground newspaper publishers (played by Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund) take on terrorists and other shadowy figures.

Fox adds sex appeal to “The Lone Gunmen” in Zuleikha Robinson and hunk appeal in Stephen Snedden. Robinson is part Emma Peel, part Lara Croft, say the show’s producers.

Only sleeker.

While it’s unlikely you’ll see Duchovny again playing Mulder on TV after 2001, he will be in the next movie based on the series. If there is a season No. 9 for “The X-Files,” the motion picture will be delayed at least 18 months, said Carter.

Learn to take your Duchovny in little doses.

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One Response to “Virginian-Pilot: It's torture being Mulder this season”

  1. […] had greenlit The Pilot of The Lone Gunmen towards the end of the seventh season in early 2000, but the series proper would not enter production until early 2001. Even then, Carter would take a less active role in the production of The Lone Gunmen than he had […]