[03/27/08 - 12:52 AM]
Live at the Paley Festival: "The X-Files" Reunion
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

7:09 p.m.: A late start - but a packed house - tonight as our clip from the Paley vault comes from a 1967 episode of the short-lived ABC series "The Invaders."

7:16 p.m.: Paley mainstay Barb Dixon once again welcomes the crowd and brings out tonight's moderator: Variety's Cynthia Littleton.

7:18 p.m.: She in turn wastes no time in bringing out tonight's panel: Steven Maeda (executive story editor), Rob Bowman (producer/director), Paul Rabwin (supervising producer), Darin Morgan (story editor/actor), Glen Morgan (co-executive producer, who I should note winces when they mention his latest credit "Bionic Woman"), David Nutter (producer/director), Howard Gordon (executive producer), Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek), Dean Haglund (Richard "Ringo" Langly), Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner), Frank Spotnitz (executive producer) and of course, Chris Carter (creator/executive producer). Chris has brought an interesting guest with him: his dog Larry.

7:26 p.m.: Strangely, the show's brief clip package is now shown after everyone has been brought out.

7:30 p.m.: Chris explains that, all evidence to the contrary tonight, they did hire women on "The X-Files." In any case, Cynthia asks about Chris's life post-"X-Files." "Personally I can say I took a big break about a five year break off of Mulder and Scully. I didn't watch the show on television unless I had to. I just needed a distance away from the whole experience. It was all-consuming."

7:32 p.m.: Frank shares our first fun fact: Darin used to sleep at the office when he was writing an episode.

7:33 p.m.: Chris on why make an "X-Files" movie now: "Because Fox said now or never - so we did," he says. "I'm really glad we did. We just finished filming 10 days ago so that was a huge undertaking where we were running for our lives." "You guys did another movie?" Mitch jokes. "We only asked the popular characters," Chris replies.

7:35 p.m.: As for movie specifics: "You're six years down the road so we're true to the passage of time. So Mulder and Scully would have lived those six years since the show ended." Cynthia quips, "In a New Mexico motel?"

7:39 p.m.: Paul on when he knew they had a hit: "People came up to me after ["Squeeze," the third episode, aired] and they said, 'This show is really cool. Are these based on true stories?'"

7:40 p.m.: David on joining the show after coming off "Trancers 4" and "Trancers 5": "I get [my first script] and it's like, 'Wow, this is what good is.'"

7:43 p.m.: Howard reveals his 14-year-old son has recently discovered the show and he's excited to be watching it again through his eyes.

7:46 p.m.: Dean on being one of the Lone Gunmen: "That was my hair and my jeans. I just put on a T-shirt and said some lines and went home," he jokes. "It wasn't that difficult. I had no monster scenes."

7:49 p.m.: Rob on the show's unexpected fans: "I had really cool meeting with Ridley Scott years ago. I was invited to go meet him and I had no idea, I thought I was in trouble. And after a half an hour of melting in his waiting room... I walked into the room and there was Ridley and I was just about to go down to lick his shoes and he said, 'I'm a huge fan of yours. The way you guys light that show and how you shoot it, it really knocks me out. And I don't know if you knew this but...' And he knew exactly how I shot. He knew I don't like cranes, he knows I don't liked the Steadycam, it was amazing. But he started talking about monsters and he said, 'You know I had this problem on 'Alien'... because it looked terrible.' So he came up with everything he could think to blind the audience from seeing the thing. And I realized that's the same, we're supposed to protect you from, you know, lesser stuff. We don't always do it but we're supposed to do that. And a lot of that is just us listening to our own instincts."

7:56 p.m.: Darin on his Flukeman experience: "The thing I always remember is the first day I got the whole suit on, they bring [me] to the set and Duchovny comes up to me - I've never met him - they introduce us, I shake his hand and he just leans into me and says, 'Why are you doing this?'... He never met me outside of the costume. So later on in the season when I join the staff I had to go up there to prep my show and I was sitting next to him on the plane and he didn't know it was me. So I waited until about midway through the flight and I said, 'Hey, are you that guy from that show?' And I go, 'Will you sign my book?' And I happen to be doing, I was doing research for Clyde Bruckman. It was a book called 'Psychic Sleuths'... and I said, 'Would you sign this to your arch-nemesis?' And he looked at me like I was crazy, he just goes, 'Why?'"

7:58 p.m.: Chris and Howard admit they initially had a tough time selling the network on "Humbug," the show's first straight comedy episode. "I remember the network forced us to test that episode, because they still weren't certain even after filming it and putting it together whether or not it would work." Howard adds, "They ignored us at the beginning because they had a show that was on before us on Friday nights, they had a show called 'The Adventures of Something'... 'Brisco County, Jr.' and Sandy Grushow thought that that would be the hit show and that 'The X-Files' would be canceled after 13 episodes."

8:01 p.m.: Chris freely admits they were making up the show's mythology as they went: "The idea of a bible [for a show] I always think is a self limiting thing because it forces you to sort of hit certain marks. So if you have a bible they can give it to somebody else and fire you. I think a bible is a really stupid idea. We made it up as we went and it was, I don't know, it was one of those things as the story, as the show progressed and the mythology became bigger the stories kind of tell themselves in a way because there was so much that was laid down that all of the elements started to create their own interactivity. And it was kind of magical in a way."

8:03 p.m.: Frank on the show's later years: "One thing that a lot of people probably don't realize is that the season finales for season seven and eight were written and filmed without us knowing whether we were coming back. So when you try to plan the mythology ahead when you don't even know if that's the end of the series or not so we had to design them to work either way. So it's hard to sort of have that novelistic beauty, the circularity a great novel has when you just don't know where the end point's going to come."

8:04 p.m.: Chris on his regrets: "I'm not going to admit to any regrets. I think that, you know, I look back at a few things and [think], 'Why did I make that choice?' But I have to say that we worked so hard all the time to choose the right way, we just were never slackers. The choices were made that we thought were the best at the time. That's all I'm going to say, you know, I have no regrets."

8:05 p.m.: Trailer time! "I'm not gonna watch it," Mitch jokes.

8:07 p.m.: Glen on the show's infamous theme song: "I [recall] going into Chris's office and he goes, 'I got this Mark Snow guy who's got this thing as the theme song.' And it was [the now infamous] 'do-do-do-do' and I [was like], 'What the hell is that?' And Chris is like, 'Nah, I like it. It's like whistling in the graveyard.' I'm like, 'Whatever.'" He later admits he had a similar reaction to the "The Truth Is Out There" stamp at the end of the title credits.

8:11 p.m.: Chris gives a shout out to Bill Roe, the new film's cinematographer.

8:14 p.m.: Dean shares that a fan told him once he became an FBI agent because of the show. Nick adds that he had a seven-year-old boy give him a letter once which asked for the FBI's help with the civil unrest in Ireland. "I wrote the Power Rangers but they never wrote me back," the letter noted.

8:17 p.m.: Chris acknowledges Pat Gonzales as one the show's first cyberfans. "They would give you immediate feedback at 10 o'clock on a Friday night. You'd know what a real fan thought of the show. It's like you didn't have that kind of connection before, we waited for the letters, the snail mail to come in."

8:20 p.m.: Chris is asked about the morbid coincidence between the 2001 pilot to "The Lone Gunmen" and 9/11, which featured the gang trying to foil a remote controlled plane from crashing into the World Trade Center. "It was freaky and I think one of the weirdest things was no one really asked us about it. It was not one of those things where people came to us and said, 'How could have you imagined this?'" Frank adds that he was befuddled by the press at the time all saying that no one could have imagined something like this. "I was like, 'Hello, my pilot?'"

8:23 p.m.: Time for audience Q&A. A fan mentions the episode "Home" scarred her for life. Glen shares its origins: "Jim Wong is the sick one because I had read in, I believe it's in Charlie Chaplin's autobiography, that he was touring [in the] British musical theatre and he was staying at this tenement. And there was a family who took a shine to him and said, 'Oh hey, I want to show you something.' And they took him to this room and under the bed they rolled out their teenage son who had no arms and no legs and they started singing and dancing and the boy would dance and Chaplin was just horrified and had to get out of there. And I had read that in college and had always wanted to use it. And I said to Jim Wong, 'We gotta use that.' And Jim goes, 'It's the mother!'"

8:30 p.m.: Chris on some trouble getting the network to sign off on his script for "Irresistible": "I had written this full script and all of a sudden they said you can't deal with necrophilia, you can't put necrophilia on television. It's like [the script is] three days late, [production] is aching for it, they need to prep it and all of a sudden I hear 'No, you gotta throw this script away.' I thought, 'Well what do I do now?'... So I thought, 'I'll just call him a death fetishist.' And so I just took the word necrophiliac and I called him a death fetishist. They said, 'That's great!'" Frank adds, "The capper is that when it was in TV Guide - 'an episode about a necrophiliac.'"

8:31 p.m.: Chris on if we'll ever see a "Millennium" movie: "We've talked about that over the years. Lance would love to do it. I don't know if it would ever get done. It's a longshot. It would be fun to do. I have ideas for it." And if he'll revisit "World on Fire" with J. Michael Straczynski: "I'm not sure what you're referring to... Oh, that show. No we have not talked about that."

8:34 p.m.: Someone asks how the idea for the new movie matches up with the one he had in mind shortly after the series ended. "We went to the length of actually working out the story [with Frank] and then there was this lawsuit had got in the way. And years went by... and I swear to God, I got a call from my lawyers - the lawsuit's been solved - 'Great!' And then the phone was ringing, Fox is like, 'Let's make a movie.'" They couldn't find the cards they broke the story on though. Chris later adds, "It was the best thing that could have happened because I think that the story we came up with, of the movie we just did, is superior to the story that we had and it made us work harder so that was a good thing."

8:36 p.m.: A fan asks Chris about the title of the movie and if we can see the trailer again. "She wants to know what the title of the movie is and I can't tell you... because I don't know really. I know what I want it to be but Fox has ideas of their own. And... I know what it should be." And yes, they'll cue up the trailer shortly.

8:44 p.m.: Chris is asked about the show's budget: "We had $1,100,000 to shoot the first episode of the show. And in season nine, we had about $4 million [per episode] to shoot the show."

8:47 p.m.: Trailer redux time!

8:49 p.m.: The last question comes from Cynthia who asks how baby William will fit into the new movie and if he'll have special abilities. "It will not go unconsidered in the movie," Chris shyly admits. Frank adds, "That's one thing in the movie we want it to work for non-fans as well as fans... and I think you'll see that while this is not a mythology movie but it's still true to everything that's come before. It's true to Mulder and Scully, it's who they are, where they'd be at this point in their lives and all the experiences they've had."

8:51 p.m.: And that's all folks! Only one more session left! My tired hands can't wait!

  [march 2008]  


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