X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Archive for the ‘Interviews: Audio’ Category

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

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

[Original article here]

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



Fox All Access

[Audio clip only available at the original source]

A few months back FOX All Access ran a story where David Duchovny spoke about the possibility of a third X-Files movie. In fact, reports suggested it was already in the works. Since then those rumors have been shot down by the actor.

Well, fast forward to today at the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, CA. While promoting his hit Showtime series Californication, which airs Sunday Nights on Showtime, FOX All Access caught with Duchovny and asked what the status is on a third X-Files movie. To hear Duchovny tell it, both Gillian Anderson and he are more than willing to jump on board for another installment of the fan favorite sci-fi adventure pic, however that decision is firmly in the hands of 20th Century FOX – (Not FOX All Access because we’d have said yes ages ago).  (Click on the audio player to hear David Duchovny)

Scientific American: To Bee or Not to Bee

To Bee or Not to Bee
Scientific American, Science Talk podcast
Steve Mirsky

[Original article here; mp3 download here]

In part 2 of our bee podcast, we talk with May Berenbaum, entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and inspiration for the X Files fictional entomologist Bambi Berenbaum, about bees, other insects and how life history analysis can make us rest easy during scary sci-fi invasion movies. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news

Podcast Transcription

Steve: Welcome to Science Talk, the weekly podcast of Scientific American posted on August 21st, 2009. I’m Steve Mirsky. This week more about bees and all manner of other insect with entomologist, May Berenbaum from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Now, last week I promised you that you’d also get a fellow named John Williams, the beekeeper at Darwin’s home in England; however I’m traveling, and I apparently neglected to bring along that audio file, but this problem is easily fixed because what was supposed to be a two-part podcast is now a three-part podcast. I plan to post the William’s chat on Tuesday the 25th of August, so look or listen for that. Meanwhile here’s more with May Berenbaum. Early in our conversation, she mentions Reed Johnson—you’ll recall from part 1 that Reed is her student working on genomes.

Berenbaum: Honeybees, everybody thinks eats honey and pollen, but in reality they feed their grub something called bee bread, which is a mixture of honey and pollen packed into cells, and it cures or ages. And the suspicion is that maybe some of these symbiotic microbes are contributing to the sort of processing of bee bread. So one of the findings from this yet unpublished work that was discussed in Florida at the meeting that Reed attended, Apiary Inspectors of America, was a high-fructose corn syrup which is the preferred diet for overwintering bees because it’s much cheaper than feeding them honey or sugar; apparently it wipes out these potentially symbiotic microbes. One thing that Reed found that’s in his dissertation, when you feed honeybees honey, they upregulate their cytochrome p450 monooxygenases, these enzymes that process among other things plant chemicals, when you give them sugar, it’s nothing. So when you feed them on a sugar diet they are not turning on their chemical processing equipment, so this is something that nobody expected. I mean people aren’t used to thinking of honeybees as broad generalists because they’ll feed on hundreds of different flowers, but in a way they are dietary super specialists because they feed on this narrow range—they feed on pollen, honey and bee bread. And granted the components can come from all different places, but feeding on nectar or honey derived from nectars [is a] very different proposition from feeding on other types of plant tissue because plants load up their vulnerable tissues with chemicals, you know, natural pesticides, so that insects won’t eat them, but they want insects to eat nectar; that’s the whole point [of nectar].

Steve: So it’s possible that this high-fructose corn syrup that’s, you know, partially responsible for the obesity epidemic in humans is also having a devastating effect on the bee population.

Berenbaum: Well, that’s a big jump, but I would say that feeding bees other than honey may have physiological consequences that nobody anticipated. Back in the ’70s the dietary studies were conducted, at least one of the USDA bee labs, and certainly short term there is no longevity effect. And that actually led to the widespread adoption of these alternative diets. But nobody was looking at the microbial symbionts in the gut, nobody was looking at the detoxification enzymes, we didn’t even know to look. So there may be subtle effects. That’s another focus too. As people have for a long time; you know, the way the EPA registers insecticides being safe or unsafe for bees, they do bioassays with adult workers, well adult worker physiology is very different from every other life stage. It’s just really hard to figure out bees. I have worked with caterpillars since, like, 1976. Bees are hard to work with, they are very complicated, they are, I mean they have this amazing social behavior and awareness. Caterpillars are nothing but eating machines, you know. I have seen black swallowtail caterpillars chewing on parsley foliage while the spined soldier bug is sucking out the haemolymph from the other end. They are so intent, all they do is eat, that’s what their, you know, they can increase in size and weight, you know, four to 10,000 fold in a couple of weeks; they eat their weight, their own weight in plant food, that’s what they do. So they have no kind of sense of awareness or recognition of family relationships, so that was one of the really difficult things about doing microarray to determine causes of colony collapse disorder. It’s really a correlative approach, and what complicates things is that you’re looking at genes that are turned on or turned off or turned way up or turned up a little, and there will be genes that are turned on in response to whatever the causative phenomenon might be; but there are also genes whose expression [is being] changed because the social structure [is being] changed. It’s as if you woke up one morning and half of Chicago was gone. Your stress genes would be turned on; that would have nothing to do with whatever wiped out half of Chicago, and that’s what we’re working with microarray. We have the advantage of the human genome; [we] know [a lot] more about what the genes do. So you saw that in the microarray, that big hunk of genes [that] we don’t know what their function is.

Steve: The state of colony collapse disorder understanding is we have a lot of kind of interesting promising, tantalizing leads, but there’s still nothing that we have absolutely pinned down as the cause of this strange disappearance of the bees.

Berenbaum: There are constituencies who feel more or less strongly about the various and sundry causative or contributing factors, but there is no consensus at all and the general perception is that it’s a phenomenon that is perhaps [has arisen] from multiple causes. But one interesting consequence of colony collapse disorder, this was Kim Flottum, he runs Bee Culture magazine, and he has a blog—bee-log—and he remarked that more he has learned about bees in the last two years than in the last 20 and you know this is seriously, seriously overdo. This is a $15 billion industry, I mean, forget the bee is our friend and an inspiration and a model for social behavior, you know; this is a $15 billion industry that has been profoundly neglected, technologically.Steve: And so this could ultimately wind up being a blessing in disguise.

Berenbaum: I suppose. I guess it depends on what the last chapter is, but yeah in terms, in a sense that knowledge is power, yes, absolutely. We have a lot to learn and at least the pace of learning has been stepped up.

Steve: Let’s talk about some of your other work. You do some really fun stuff. Your husband, let everybody know, tell about your husband and the project that you two work on together.

Berenbaum: Well, since 1984, University of Illinois has put on an insect-fear film festival, where we show bad insect science fiction and then explain to people why, what they’re about see can possibly happen. So, we found this to be an incredibly effective mechanism for raising the general level of knowledge and sophistication about insects and …

Steve: Your husband is a film [studies guy]…

Berenbaum: He’s a film professor

Steve: What’s his name?

Berenbaum: Richard Leskosky. In fact, we met because of the Insect Fear Film Festival.

Steve: At Cornell?

Berenbaum: No, no. This was at Illinois. I had the idea for festival when I was a graduate student at Cornell; they thought it was not dignified, so I got my degree and went to University of Illinois, waited a few years to establish my reputation as a solid scientist and then went to the department head and pitched the idea, and he thought it was great.

Steve: You know, I went to Cornell, too. So, we’ll show them who’s dignified. So you do this film festival, I remember reading about; you had an article in the Ecological Society of America’s…

Berenbaum: “Life History Strategies in the Movies”, yeah.

Steve: Briefly explain that to people. That’s really a fun concept.

Berenbaum: Well, we’re now dealing with invasive species. It’s now a catch phrase, or term that a lot of Americans are familiar with. These are species that come from elsewhere and wreak havoc. Typically, invasive species is another name for aliens, you know, nonnative species. Well, movies have been dealing with aliens for a very long time, and I noticed as an ecologist that the life history strategy, the biological attributes of these invading space aliens really would be a recipe for disaster.

Steve: For them?

Berenbaum: For biological, if they were real biological organisms that were intent on invading Earth. Typically, invasive species that are successful are small and extremely numerous; invading aliens tend to be like the size of, you know, [Winnebagos] and relatively few in number. And you can tell from the titles, The Black Scorpion, you know, The Deadly Mantis, and not the hordes of them. They also in movies, tend not to reproduce; [I mean] that is hard to do if you’re, you know, you have biparental sexual reproduction [and] there is only one of you. Which is one reason, I think, that often aliens come to Earth to look for mates. You know, that’s another life history strategy that’s doomed because intraspecific hybridization generally is not a recipe for success, so…

Steve: What was it, Mars Needs Women?

Berenbaum: Right. That probably wasn’t gonna work out too well. This, you know, the hybrid inviability, hybrid sterility, somehow doesn’t apply [to] aliens; Mr. Spock being an exception, I guess—he was half Vulcan and half human.

Steve: Right, but we don’t know if he could reproduce.

Berenbaum: Good point. He could have been the mule of Star Trek.

Steve: You bring up something that I’ve been meaning to get into for a long time and that is that science fiction features a lot of interspecies relationships.

Berenbaum: I don’t know what that says about the movie-going psyche.

Steve: But they look humanoid, so we sort of overlook it, but yes.

Berenbaum: Oh, that’s the other thing, you know, they tend, these movie aliens often are real invasive aliens or small, so they can escape notice, particularly in sort of low budget science fiction films, aliens tend to be about human-size, because that way they can fit into the costume.

Steve: Robot Monster.

Berenbaum: Yeah, exactly. Gosh! It was Monster from Green Hell was about cosmic radiation induced giant wasps and basically they had one and a half giant wasps. They constructed models and just to keep the budget, you know, the cost down. So size, number, reproductive behavior. And then another ecological attribute that differs on screen and in reality is usually the density-dependent mortality sources tend to regulate populations. Generally, particularly in 1950s sci-fi films, it’s napalm, electricity, reversing the polarity, is all these physical factors that don’t really play quite an important a role.

Steve: An exception being, War of the Worlds, where…

Berenbaum: Right, where it was a germ, yeah, a microbe that’s a little bit more—that was not a low-rent movie.

Steve: Right, right. I’m talking about the Gene Barry version.

Berenbaum: Yeah. Well, even that was a step-up from Bert I. Gordon and Beginning of the End and Earth versus the Spider so… .

Steve: Earth versus the Spiders. It got to be a pretty big spider. So …

Berenbaum: It was a giant spider.

Steve: So, if I really want to do a sci-fi movie, that’s sort of accurate about a threat, I have the aliens send a few hundred billion microbes.

Berenbaum: Yeah. Well, yeah that would be certainly one way to do it. Microbes, I think insects would be better, because they’re mobile on their own, lot of microbes rely on vectors to carry them around, they are not quite so mobile. They maybe require water, that’s a vulnerability; you know, cholera for example, you boil the water, you’ll be all right. Or you take the handle off the pump as…

Steve: John Snow…

Berenbaum: John Snow in London. But as our continuing struggle to deal with malaria, which is the leading cause of deaths of kids under 5 worldwide and routinely sickens 200, 300 million people every year, that insect partnership makes it really challenging, control issue.

Steve: Now, let’s tell the story about you. Does anybody still jokingly refer to you as Bambi Berenbaum?

Berenbaum: Yeah. Thanks to TV and the Internet. Yeah, I have to say that I used to carry my Bambi Berenbaum collector card around, because people would come up afterwards ask me to sign there’s.

Steve: They explain who Bambi Berenbaum is and how you got involved and all that?

Berenbaum: There’s an X Files episode called where the “War of the Coprophages” where Mulder is called into investigate mysterious rash of cockroach-related deaths that lead him to suspect that perhaps these cockroaches may be of extraterrestrial origin. Investigating the cockroaches leads him to a USDA facility where he is confronted by Dr. Bambi Berenbaum, USDA entomologist. I first saw the write-up, you know, the blurb in the newspaper, you know, the episode summary; I thought this cannot be a coincidence and I watched the show and it sounds really familiar. And it turns out, it took me a while to track him down, but Darin Morgan, the scriptwriter, for that particular episode had used my books for background research, and he wanted a plausible name for female entomologist, thought Berenbaum worked, Bambi was just kind of icing on the cake, I think. And what’s really nice there’s, you know, stereotypes about entomologists and scientists in general, Coke-bottle glasses which I happen to wear and you know, no sense of fashion or style.

Steve: Let me cover this for you. The Bambi Berenbaum in that show was a very attractive young lady.

Berenbaum: She was a total babe. So, I think that’s fabulous, you know.

Steve: And if I remember correctly, Mulder has a real thing for her.

Berenbaum: There’s a moment where it looks like they might hook up but then she goes off with the genius roboticist, who is wheelchair–bound. I was [rooting] for Mulder.

Steve: You have at least one book out for general audience. Tell us about that book and anything else you might be working on.

Berenbaum: Well, I have two books that are just short essays that are based on a radio show that I used to do locally. One is called Ninety-Nine Gnats, Nits and Nibblers, the other is called Ninety-Nine More Maggots, Mites and Munchers‘ and they’re sort of like little insect profiles. The biggest book is Bugs in the System: Insects and their Impact on Human Affairs, which explains, kind of, how insects have really shaped our lives and our culture and our evolution, which means we shouldn’t ignore them. And then buzzwords and it’s a collection of columns from American Entomologists, humorous essays. In fact, we had a quote from Barry for the cover who said…

Steve: Dave Barry?

Berenbaum: Yeah, the humorous who words the effect of, “If there is a funnier book about insects, I do not know of it.” Because I had actually in one of the essays, I had written about prosthetic legs for cockroaches ended up in one of his columns, and there is a new book coming out in August, Harvard University Press, it’s called The Earwig’s Tail, that’s T-A-I-L. It’s a modern bestiary of multilegged legends. So, bestiaries are medieval collections of usually, well, descriptions of natural life that usually has some sort of moral lesson associated with it. And people believe[d] them completely, even though some of the creatures described were totally fantastic, manticores and unicorns, right next to the rhinoceros. Well, we would like to [think we’ve] progress beyond that point, but in reality the Internet has created a whole new forum of bestiary in these, sort of, urban legends or modern misconceptions about insects; illustrated by the brilliant Jay Hosler, who did Clan Apis, in the style of a bestiary of, oh, “The Brain-Boring Earwig” for example or “The Aerodynamically Unsound Bumble Bee” or, you know, all these convictions people have about insects that actually aren’t true.

Steve: The Brain-Boring Earwig made famous by Night Gallery.

Berenbaum: Well, it goes back further than that. Actually, there’s this longstanding conviction, I know only of two publications that actually document earwigs in the ear, hundreds that document cockroaches. If anything that’s gonna bore through your brain is more likely to be a cockroach. But earwigs, yeah, are not bent on boring through your cerebellum.

Steve: Where are they bent on boring through?

Berenbaum: Kind of depends on the species of earwigs, some of them are like parasitic on bats, you know. But bat ears may be in trouble; but a lot of them are sort of opportunistic feeders, they like sort of moist places. They are well feed on roots and plant, you know, debris [and the like], but nobody eats brains that I know of.

Steve: So, Laurence Harvey was safe all along in that Night Gallery episode.
Berenbaum: Yeah. Well, I mean, movies kind of tap into our inner most fears however ridiculous they are. Just gimme a letter, I can tell you, I’m just trying [to think of] some of the other ones. Oh! Zapper bugs which is about, sort of, the electrocution devices—in reality they’re not killing mosquitoes at all, they’re killing enormous quantities of completely innocuous things.

Steve: There is a fellow at the University of Delaware who did that work.

Berenbaum: Yeah, Dr. Doug Tallamy.

Steve: Right, I remember writing about that years ago.

Berenbaum: And what’s another letter. Oh! the idea that if you pinch your skin while a mosquito is feeding, it’ll explode—[eh,]that doesn’t [work either].

Steve: Now, they can remove that little needle out of your skin, no matter how hard you try to push your skin together.

Berenbaum: There are exploding mosquitoes, but that’s after they’ve been surgically altered, so that the feedback signals that indicate to them that they’re full are interrupted; but that goes beyond most people’s thirst for revenge—getting tiny little tools to severe their nerve cords.

Steve: And that book comes out this summer.

Berenbaum: It’s supposed to be out in August.

Steve: Great! We’ll definitely look for that. Thanks very much.

Berenbaum: Thank you.

Steve: By the way in June, the multitalented May Berenbaum, won first place in the National Pollinator Week Recipe Contest for her dessert called Apiscotti.

Kevin & Bean: Interview with Chris Carter

The Kevin and Bean Show, KROQ radio
Interview with Chris Carter

Kevin: How are you doing, Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files? Good morning.

Chris: Thanks for having me.

Kevin: Sure.

Bean: Good to see you. What have you been doing? How you been?

Chris: I’m good. Doing the same thing, ninth year of The X-Files.

Kevin: Nine years!

Bean: Ninth! Damn you!

Chris: Ninth inning. And, you know, just sort of doing the same thing. I went on a big surf trip this summer. That was my big summer vacation.

Kevin: Oh, really? Where’d you go?

Chris: I went to Indonesia.

Kevin: Indonesia to go surfing?

Chris: Yeah.

Kevin: Wow. It’s good to be Chris Carter.

Bean: Why — Chris, by the way, has a deep background in surfing, has done a lot of it — why Indonesia? Is there something special about the water or the waves down there?

Chris: Yeah, it’s this perfect surfing destination, and that’s where everyone wants to go.

Bean: Oh, is that right?

Chris: Yeah, so I went on a three-week trip.

Bean: That’s, like, the ultimate place?

Chris: It is right now.

Kevin: Now, did you run into any trouble? They’re having bad times down there in Indonesia. They’ve got a civil war going on. Was there trouble for you on land?

Chris: I was there just before all hell broke loose.

Bean: You weren’t dodging bullets as you were surfing?

Chris: I was dodging a lot of things but they weren’t bullets.

Kevin: Wow. Well, that’s good. A guy like you — and we’ve visited Chris on the set and we know how hard he works and the deadlines that he’s up against — you just need some time where you can just forget it, right? Just not think about the job.

Chris: Yeah, one of these days.

Bean: How do you keep — I know it’s an impossible question to answer, but you have to keep coming up with interesting storylines after nine years.

Chris: Yeah.

Bean: I mean, at the beginning at least you hadn’t exhausted everything.

Chris: Actually, I think what happens is that when you have exhausted the obvious stuff it actually gets better because it’s stuff no one else has thought about, so it forces you to work harder.

Kevin: So, the original stuff is just basically off the top and then you start really having to delve deep.

Chris: You have to figure out new ways to deal with the characters and new stories, just new ways to tell good X-Files stories.

Bean: Do you have what most writers consider writer’s block, where you just throw up your hands and say I can’t get past this place? And what do you do when you hit that spot?

Chris: They have a gun to your head so you’re just (laughs) not allowed to —

Kevin: You can’t do that?

Chris: You can’t have writer’s block.

Bean: In other words, you’ve got to write it even if it’s bad because it’s got to be done at a certain time.

Chris: It’s never bad, Bean.

Bean: I don’t mean — I don’t mean you — I mean — (Chris chuckles as Bean sputters) (all three laughing)

Kevin: What did you mean, Bean, exactly?

Bean: I’m just saying sometimes you just have to write. You don’t have any choice, and that forces you to pull from places you didn’t even know you had because of the deadline.

Chris: Well put.

Kevin: Do you have — A lot of writers have to figure out a way to get input. Do you? What do you do to try and replenish the well? Do you go to books? Do you read, watch movies?

Chris: I think we just really go to what scares us most. And then try to figure out interesting ways to tell good stories with the characters, take them through the journey so the audience kind of goes through it, too.

Bean: The truth is, there aren’t a lot of shows that have ever been on nine years on primetime television. That’s pretty remarkable.

Chris: Yeah.

Bean: And isn’t the show on X — I mean —

Chris: FX. Yes, and in syndication. You can’t miss The X-Files, it’s on at least three times a day. (laughs)

Kevin: It’s everywhere!

Bean: And you tune in and you go, “Man, Duchovny was, like, 17 when he started this show! Look at him!” And obviously Gillian didn’t have a stylist back then. It’s just so funny because you have literally seen these people grow up since they’ve been on TV.

Chris: Yeah, it’s true.

Bean: Now, I was telling Kevin earlier, I got the opportunity to get a sneak peak of the show that’s airing this Sunday night at 9 on Fox, and tell me if I’m overstating this — the best vomit scene in this history of primetime television. (Kevin laughs) Wouldn’t you say that’s accurate, Chris?

Chris: I think it is, actually. The guy who wrote and directed the episode, that’s his metier. That’s his deal.

Kevin: What’s that mean? He’s good at vomit?

Chris: Yes. He puts vomit in every script he writes for us.

Kevin: Really? Why?

Bean: In other words, he’s the vomit expert? If American Pie 2 is filming and they need some guy to throw up, they call your guy?

Chris: They should.

Bean: There is also one of — and you talk about having to mix it up, you think about how many people have been killed on The X-Files, I don’t know what the body count is over nine seasons, but one of the great murder weapons of all time, I think, is on the show this week, too. You know the one I’m talking about, Chris?

Chris: Which is?

Kevin: Are you guys just going to tease us all day, or what?

Bean: That’s the whole point of Chris coming in. The doctor in the chair. You know what I’m talking about.

Kevin: Doctor in the chair. Doctor in the chair. He must use a needle?

Bean: Come on, Chris. You’ve seen the episode.

Chris: (laughing) You’re gonna have to tell me. Oh, you mean the hypodermic needles?

Bean: Hypodermic needles all over her.

Kevin: Oh, ouch.

Chris: Human pin-cushion.

Bean: Yes! I mean, you just talk about something that just creeps you out when you see it, you’re like, “Oh man, I wasn’t prepared for that at all.”

Kevin: I see what you mean about stuff that scares you. That would freak me out. I am not a needle guy. We had your friend Robert Patrick in a couple of weeks ago, had not had him on the show before. What a terrific guy he is.

Chris: Yeah, he’s great.

Kevin: And you think about what he went through. He made it clear when he was on, “Look, I wasn’t brought in to replace Duchovny, no one replaces Agent Mulder on the show. I was brought in to play another character, to do something else.” And he’s just so good on that show.

Chris: Yeah, we actually lucked out. Not only is he a good actor and it’s great to write for him, but he’s just a great guy, a really hard-working, solid guy.

Bean: Is it hard to find people that are both good actors and good people?

Chris: Well, um … no, it’s just one of those things. When you get both you are blessed two ways.

Kevin: And tell us about — because I didn’t fully understand the need to bring in — I guess it’s Annabelle?

Chris: Annabeth.

Kevin: Annabeth, and also Cary Elwes. What was your thinking in terms of expanding the cast so much this year?

Chris: Well, it had been Mulder and Scully for eight years and so we just thought, let’s see if we can tell these stories in a different way, try not to repeat ourselves or duplicate ourselves, so we kind of went to an ensemble situation. But it’s really still a three-lead show now with Gillian still on the show.

Bean: How many times do you come up with an idea and then somebody else says, “Uh, no, that was year two?” “Sorry, we did that in year four.”

Chris: Every day.

Bean: It’s hard to keep track of, I imagine.

Chris: Yeah.

Kevin: What’ s your goal now for the movie franchise? Is it going to be difficult to bring back Duchovny for the movie, as we’ve always heard that he would do, now that he’s not on the TV show?

Chris: No, that was always the plan. I think it can become a movie series. We probably have 3-4 movies, X-Files movies to make. We’re very excited.

Bean: Really? Do you know in your mind where those three are gonna go?

Chris: Yes, and I tell no one so they can’t fire me.

Bean: So, you pretty much already have that figured out?

Chris: Yeah.

Bean: Damn, if it were me, I’d be going, “Oh, my God! I got to come up with three movies? How the hell am I gonna do that?” You’ve already got them in your mind?

Chris: Roughly.

Bean: Now, the first one was so great. It was better than anybody expected it was gonna be, because people looked at it as, oh, they’re cashing in, it’s a TV spinoff, or whatever. But it was terrific, and it held up on its own. You really took advantage of the things you could do on the movie screen that you couldn’t do on the small screen. It was just fantastic.

Chris: Thanks, and I think this next one will be even better.

Kevin: We need to take a break. We have Chris Carter in the studio. I would like to bring up — they always give us bio information on our guests that come in, and I had forgotten that you wrote and directed The Nanny. (laughing)

Chris: It’s not The Nanny that you know. It’s another Nanny.

Kevin: Good, because I was telling Bean, “Did he do The Nanny? Chris Carter — The Nanny?! No way!” All right, good, that’s good to hear. We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll come right back with Chris Carter and talk The X-Files next.

Bean: In the studio, one of the guys who has been on our program many times over the years. We are always happy to make some time for Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, Sunday nights on 9:00 on Fox. You know, porn legend Ron Jeremy is coming in next hour, Chris. He wasn’t in The XXX-Files, was he? He didn’t star in that movie, did he?

Chris: I think he wasn’t.

Bean: Because he was in Ally McFeel, so we weren’t sure if —

Kevin: He was also in I Love Juicy, so… (laughs)

Bean: We are talking about The X-Files. The 200th episode is on Sunday night. Is that right?

Chris: Uh, no, it’s coming up this year. We are in the 190s now, I think.

Bean: Wow. That is unbelievable.

Kevin: That is amazing. You got time for a couple of calls, Chris?

Chris: Yeah, sure.

Kevin: ‘Cause every time you come in, the fans have questions they’re burning to ask you.

Bean: Let’s say good morning to … Katrina?

Woman: Katrinka.

Kevin: That’s a made-up name.

Bean: That’s what it said, I just didn’t believe it. All right, Katrinka from Cyprus.

Katrinka: Hi. Chris, I just wanted to say thank you. I’m a big X-Files fan, such a big fan, my 4-year-old son knows that Sunday night is X-Files night. We love it. My question is, we just started watching Smallville this season and started noticing a big similarity in the show, especially Tuesday night, they did one where the girl was sucking the fat out of people —

Chris: Yes.

Katrinka: And that was a big X-File once. When stuff like that happens, do you feel flattered, does it upset you, or you don’t care, or what?

Kevin: You don’t have anything to do with that show, do you?

Chris: No, I have nothing to do with that show.

Kevin: Okay. They copy you?

Chris: You know, actually, I saw a little bit of the pilot. People have been saying they have been seeing some X-Files stories on the show. I don’t know, I guess it is flattering.

Kevin: Well, they do draw from the same well, too. So, there are people who come up with ideas independently who are working in the same genre.

Bean: You have developed that well for quite some time, too.

(K&B ask the caller about her name, etc.)

Kevin: How much time do you have to even watch TV or movies, Chris? Any?

Chris: (chuckles) None.

Kevin: Really?

Chris: Yeah.

Bean: Chris has a miserable life. I’m telling you right now, Chris is miserable. He sits in front of his little computer screen and just types. Twenty hours a day.

Kevin: That’s so sad.

Chris: (defensive) No, I watch enough TV.

Bean: No, you don’t.

Kevin: What are your favorite shows on TV?

Chris: I like The Sopranos.

Bean: So this is great for you, ’cause you got a year off. You don’t have to worry about watching that.

Chris: That’s true. I want that job.

Bean: What else? (silence) You can name one TV show.

Chris: I’m a surfer. I watch NYPD Blue. I think it’s great.

Bean: Yeah? What’s the last movie that you enjoyed?

Chris: I saw Spy Game the other night. That was kind of good.

Kevin: I liked that a lot.

Chris: And … um …

Bean: And that’s it. (all laugh) Let’s talk to Joe from West LA. This is a question that is asked of every person who creates entertainment in Hollywood these days. Joe, good morning, you’re on with Chris Carter.

Joe: Hi. When you did the movie, you blew up a building in Dallas which looked reminiscently like the Oklahoma City bombing —

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Joe: And also the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen, you had a plot for a passenger jet to be crashed into the World Trade Center. I’m just wondering, in light of the September 11 events have you gotten more self-conscious with your writing?

Chris: You think about it every day. So, it’s something that we won’t touch on the show. I don’t think we have any perspective on it, and we do entertainment.

Bean: So, you’ve tried to stay away

Chris: Yeah. It’s a very sensitive subject right now, and I don’t think that it’s subject matter for us.

Kevin: You also depict people high up in the Government and for a while after September 11, you weren’t allowed to cast aspersions on the President or any of his staff.

Bean: Boy, did we find that out the hard way.

Kevin: Yeah, we sure did. I mean, your presentation of the government, even, some people could look at and kind of feel weird about it because it’s not patriotic right now.

Chris: Well, we deal with factions inside the government, so it’s not the government, per se. It’s not the big bad evil government, it’s factions within it.

Bean: And that’s how you make yourself feel better at night? (laugh)

Kevin: One more, from Mike in Hollywood. Hello, Mike? (no answer) Oh, he’s gone. He wanted to know if you were going to release seasons 5-8 on DVD.

Chris: Yes, we are.

Kevin: I imagine that makes sense. Isn’t it great to be have DVD, to be able to have the entire collection?

Chris: Yeah, it’s incredible to me

Bean: Have you been able to do stuff? What kind of things have you been able to add to The X-Files DVDs?

Chris: We add some stuff in, scenes that were missing or deleted or had to be taken out for time, and then there’s commentary. So it’s got a lot of bonus stuff.

Lisa [a show staffer]: Will it help us understand?

Kevin: No.

Chris: Follow the bouncing ball?

Bean: Nothing will do that.

Kevin: Although we’re convinced — we didn’t even bring this up — Chris has no idea what’s going on in The X-Files.

Lisa: He lost control in season two.

Bean: He doesn’t have a clue.

Kevin: All along he said, “I know what’s going to happen, I know what’s going to happen.” And we just doubt him.

Bean: We are calling bogus on that. Absolutely calling bogus!

Kevin: We have to go, but what else you can tell us about Sunday night’s X-Files, except the throw-up scene? What else have you got for us, anything? Whet our appetite?

Chris: It’s a stand-alone episode, which means it’s not a mythology episode. It really does what The X-Files, I think, does best, which is scare the pants off of you.

Bean: It does that. I’ve seen it, I recommend it, folks. You should check it out, Sunday night on 9 on Fox.

Kevin: There you go. Chris Carter, thanks very much for coming in.

Chris: Thanks for having me.

Kevin: We appreciate it.

Kevin and Bean: Interview with Chris Carter

“The Kevin and Bean Show” KROQ radio
Interview with Chris Carter

[Transcribed by CarterPhile]

(Chris called in from NYC for the interview. Also, I’m not 100% sure on the deejay’s IDs, but I tried to be consistent, anyway — I figure at worst it’s a 50-50 shot as to whether I’m consistently right or consistently wrong! *g*)

Kevin: There is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is: no new “X-Files” for the next four weeks, folks. We were left — we were left hanging with Mulder out in the middle of a field looking dead, is what we were left hanging with last Sunday night. But the good news is: in its place a spin-off show from our friend Chris Carter called “The Lone Gunmen.” Chris, good morning, how are you?

Chris: Good morning. I’m great.

Bean: Chris is the one that left us hanging, by the way, just so you know.

Kevin: You bastard!

Bean: Tell us about “The Lone Gunmen,” Chris.

Chris: It’s the three computer geeks from “The X-Files.” If you’ve been an “X-Files” fan, you know them as the three guys that Mulder and Scully go to when they can’t even get the answers.

Bean: Right.

Kevin: Sure.

Bean: How did you come up with them originally? Because that’s a pretty funny idea, to have computer geeks that somehow have answers that even the FBI can’t get.

Chris: They were not my original idea. They were actually the creation of Glen Morgan and James Wong, who worked on “The X-Files” for the first year and a half or so and then came back for a little while. They were three guys that were even more paranoid than Mulder, and they were really comic relief for about the first five years. All of a sudden we needed an episode without Mulder and Scully in it ’cause we were doing the movie, and then we did an episode about the Lone Gunmen — it was good, funny — and we did a second one that was even better and funnier, and all of a sudden we realized these guys could maybe star in their own TV show.

Kevin: Yeah, you know — I was a little worried, to tell you the truth, when I started thinking about this because they are comic relief and a lot of times what makes them so effective is they are two or three funny minutes in the middle of a show, and they do break the tension a little bit, and I was worried that maybe it wouldn’t be possible to spin it off. But like you said, you’ve already done that where you’ve spun them off for an hour, and they were able to carry it, so they got a lot more depth maybe than just what you had time to use them for over the years on “The X-Files.”

Chris: Exactly. Now we’ve surrounded them with some other people, so now all of a sudden, like Mulder and Scully, they’ve got other people to bounce off of.

Bean: And how — uh, how do we start off Sunday night? What’s the episode? Does it tell us how they came about?

Chris: A little bit. You learn a little bit more about their background, particularly one of the characters — Byers — about his father, and, uh — His name is John Fitzgerald Byers, so you learn a little bit about that.

Kevin: Interesting.

Chris: Yeah. It’s a caper about people who are trying to actually fly a jet into the World Trade Center, so it has great special effects. It’s really a funny story. It’s got tight plotting. It’s all those things you’d expect from “The X-Files” but with three new guys.

Bean: Do you write it?

Chris: Yes. I actually — I am writing “X-Files” and not as much on “Lone Gunmen” this year because I’ve got three guys who I call my Lone Gunmen who are the co-creators on this show and that’s their gig this year.

Kevin: It’s their baby. Now, what do we know about these guys, what kind of personal information? I sense that none of them have ever had a date, and it seems like they live in that laboratory down there.

Chris: Yeah, they are all 30-and-over virgins.

Kevin: It seems like that. Is there any vaguely homoerotic content between the three of them, Chris?

Chris: That’s in season two.

Bean: Are the storylines gonna cross any with “The X-Files”?

Chris: Yeah, there are some crossovers, and hope to make good use — you know, “X-Files” as a source of storytelling device.

Kevin: Let me ask you this: I know you’re not quite as involved in this show as you are “The X-Files,” but is this paranoia that we sense in all of these shows — including “Millennium,” including “Harsh Realm” — is this paranoia real in you? Do you sometimes sit around and think, “Wow, I wonder what the government’s really, really up to,” or is it all fantasy for you?

Chris: I think paranoia is a healthy thing to have, and I think that you pick up the paper every day and there’s something: they let radiation out on you, they’re conducting some secret study, there’s all kinds of stuff being done. And I grew up in the era of Watergate, so I’m suspicious —

Kevin: Skeptical by nature.

Chris: Yes.

Bean: That giant distrust of the government.

Chris: And I work in Hollywood, too, so …

Kevin: No kidding! So, “Lone Gunmen” for four Sundays and then what, you’re going to go to the Chris Carter Fox timeslot: Friday nights at 9, right?

Chris: Fridays at 9.

Bean: Very cool. We’re excited about it. We just wanted to touch base with you and find out what to expect. And I guess it’s gonna be on this Sunday night, so we’re looking forward to it.

Chris: Please do.

Bean: Thanks, Chris. We’ll talk to you later.

Kevin: Have a fantastic weekend.

Chris Carter: Thank you.

Kevin & Bean: Chat with Chris Carter

Kevin & Bean
Chat with Chris Carter

DJ’s: There is good news and there is bad news. The bad news…there are no new XFiles for a month. We were left hanging. We were left hanging with Mulder out in the middle of a field looking dead. That’s what we were left hanging with last Sunday night. But the good news, in its place the spin-off show from our friend Chris Carter, called, The Lone Gunmen. Chris, good morning, how are you?

Chris Carter: I’m great

DJ: Chris is the one that left us hanging, by the way, just so you know.

Other DJ: You bastard!

DJ: Tell us about The Lone Gunmen, Chris.

Chris Carter: It’s the 3 computer geeks from the XFiles, uh.. if you watch the show, it’s the three guys that Mulder and Scully go to when they can’t even get the answers.

DJ’s: Right

DJ’s: How did you come up with them originally? Because that’s a pretty funny idea to have computer geeks who have answers that somehow even the FBI can’t get.

Chris Carter: They were not my original idea. They were the creation of Glen Morgan and James Wong, who worked on the XFiles for a while. They were 3 guys even more paranoid than Mulder, and they were really comic relief for the first 5 years.

DJ’s: Yeah, right!

Chris Carter: All of a sudden we needed an episode without Mulder and Scully in it because we were doing the movie, and then uh… we did an episode about the Lone Gunmen. It was good, funny. And we realized we had, maybe a tv show there.

DJ’s: Yeah, you know, I was a little worried, to tell you the truth when I started thinking about this because they are comic relief. And a lot of times what makes them so effective is that they are two or three funny minutes in the middle of a show, and they do break the tension a little bit. So, I was worried that they wouldn’t be possible to spin them off. But like you said, you’ve already done that where you’ve spun them off for an hour, and they were able to carry it. So, they have a lot more depth maybe than what you’ve had time to use them for over the years on the X-Files.

Chris Carter: Exactly. We’ve surrounded them with other people, so like with Mulder and Scully, they now have other people to bounce off of.

DJ’s: And how? uh.. how do we start off Sunday night? What’s the episode about. Does it tell us how they came about?

Chris Carter: A little bit. You learn more about their background, particularly one of the characters, Byers, about his father, and uh…. his name is John Fitzgerald Byers, so you learn a little bit about that.

DJ’s: Interesting (laughing)

Chris Carter: Yeah. It’s a caper about people who are trying to actually fly a jet into the World Trade Center. It has great special effects. It’s ..uh.. really a funny story, it’s got tight plotting. It’s got all the things you’d expect from the XFiles except with three new guys.

DJ’s: Do you write it?

Chris Carter: Yeah. I am writing XFiles, and well, not as much Lone Gunmen this year because I’ve got three guys who I call my lone gunmen…

DJ’s: Right. Sure.

Chris Carter: They are co-creators on the show. They’re.. uh… it’s their baby.

DJ’s: Now, what do we know about these guys, any personal information? I sense that none of them have ever had a date. And it seems like they live in that laboratory down there.

Chris Carter: Yeah, they are all the 30 and over version.. of … uh

DJ’s: It seems like that… and any homo-erotic content between the three of them?

Chris Carter: Uh.. season 2.

DJ’s: Will the stories cross over at all with the XFiles?

Chris Carter: Yeah, there are some crossovers, and uh.. we hope to put to good use… you know XFiles as a good source of storytelling.

DJ’s: Let me ask you, I know you aren’t as involved in this show as you are the XFiles, but this paranoia that we sense in all these shows including Millennium and Harsh Realm, is this paranoia real in you? Do you sometimes sit around and think what is the government really really up to, or is it just fantasy to you?

Chris Carter: I think paranoia is a healthy thing to have. And I uh… pick up the paper every day, and read that they used radiation, all sorts of things being done. And I grew up in the era of Watergate, so…

DJ’s: Skeptical by nature.

Chris Carter: Yep.

DJ’s: That giant mistrust of the government

Chris Carter: (muffled under the DJs laughing) can’t blame me now (?)

DJ’s: So, lone Gunmen for the next few Sundays and then on the Chris Carter Fox timeslot, Friday nights at 9, right?

Chris Carter: Friday nights at 9, right.

DJ’s: Very cool. We’re excited about it. We just wanted to touch base with you to see what we can expect. It’s on this Sunday night, so we are looking forward to it. Thanks, Chris.

Chris Carter: Thank you.

DJ’s: Fantastic meeting you.

Chris Carter: Thank you.

DJ’s: That was the low key Chris Carter, unlike our other friend (plays a clip of another guy screaming).