Frank Spotnitz is as surprised as we are that another ”X-Files” movie is hitting the big screen. CLINT MORRIS talks to the former executive producer of ‘“The X-Files” and the writer/producer of “The X-Files: I Want to Believe‘” about why it took so long for Mulder and Scully to be recommissioned.
Did you ever think you’d be talking about another ‘‘X-Files” movie?
I have to be honest there was a period of time there where I didn’t think this would ever happen. It was a long time coming.
And how did it come together? Was there just a magical day where everything suddenly worked out?
There was actually. Chris [Carter] was having a legal dispute with Twentieth Century Fox over the TV series – that got resolved in January of last year; literally the next day, the movie was back on.
Was it easy to entice Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny back?
Yep, you know what? we all wanted to do it. What’s interesting is how all of us ended up looking at the characters differently due to the passage of time. It made it new again – like we could never have anticipated.
Was it hard to keep the plot under wraps – what with the internet and so on?
It was enormously difficult – as you can appreciate, because I know you guys have been following the filming of the movie. From day one we took enormous precautions to protect the security of the script – that included having ninety percent of the crew not even being able to read the script.
Once the production started we knew the script supervision was not going to be enough – there was Paparazzi taking photographs, and filming video, and people taking call sheets – so we had to resort to our own forms of misinformation in order to discredit any leaks that might get out there. We were essentially making it up as we went along. I have a feeling others may follow our lead because, ya know, we made it!
My wife is a huge X-Files fan and she can’t believe she doesn’t know anything about the movie (as opposed to the first film, where she knew the story back-to-front before she even saw the flick)
That’s great. It’s not that your wife wouldn’t have still enjoyed the movie, but there are some interesting things [in this] with Mulder and Scully with their relationship, and we just didn’t want to spoil the fun for anybody.
Robert Patrick/Doggett is out of this one. No cameo?
He is [out], I’m sad to say.
Is that because it’s more of a Mulder/Scully story?
Yes, it really focused on them. It’s a very simple story, I have to say. A pure story. There was a point there where it didn’t look like there was going to be anybody other than Mulder and Scully [in it] – that’s not the case, but I’m not going to say who returns. I would hope [to bring Robert back sometime]. It depends on how many more movies there are but I am a huge Robert Patrick fan.
Speaking of, do you have plans for more movies?
You know, I wrote this movie and made it as if it could be the last time we see Mulder and Scully. We were determined to tell the story we wanted to tell and make it as good as we can. But having said that, we definitely left it open – there definitely could be more movies, depending on how this one performs at the box office.
Did the script change much over the years?
Well, yeah. I started work on it in 2003 and then it got shelved for four years – during that time I lost all of my notes. We had to then work on it from memory. Though the X-File remained the same in all versions of the script, it’s a different movie than what it would’ve been. Chris and I were a little older, and we realized Mulder and Scully would be a little older – we all started to look at their relationship in a totally different way, I have to say. Kinda surprising that people you wrote about for 202 hours on television you’d find you have a lot of new things to say about.
Is it true that Chris is the one that always wanted to keep Mulder and Scully apart, but you’re the one that wanted them together?
No, not really true, I think for the first five years we were extremely against any kind of physical display – we didn’t want to domesticate Mulder and Scully, and I think that’s still true. I remember we’d have huge debates about whether or not it’s too much to have them touch fingers. After that first movie, with that scene in the hallway where they almost kissed, you knew that, although they didn’t kiss, that that was the intention and the desire, so it was just a matter of time [before they’d get together].
Amanda Peet is one of my favourites. How was she?
She was fantastic – and I have to tell you, she was our first choice for that part, and Billy Connolly was our first choice [for his part]. We really did get the cast we dreamed of. We wanted someone in Amanda that could have the same kind of authority and intelligence that Gillian has – that’s very hard to come by, believe me.
Are you taking the film to Comic Con?
Ah, you know, interestingly FOX has not scheduled us at Comic Con – even though it’s the opening day of the film in the United States – but Chris and I will be there, because there’s a comic book being launched by DC Wildstorm.
On another note, any chance of a Millennium film in the future?
It’s funny, Chris and I have done a lot of appearances over the last seven months, and we’re always – always!– asked about a Millennium movie. Funnily enough, there doesn’t seem to be any interest on the part of the studio [Laughs]. It’s something we would definitely be interested in, but it’s going to take a massive appeal by fans to get it up.
Any limitations to doing this movie – compared to the first X-Files movie?
Well, it’s a much more intimate film than the first one – the first one was a big-budget special-effects type movie. This is much more intimate – a more personal story – but it’s the movie we wanted to make. We wanted it to be of the classic X-Files vein where we scare you with things you don’t see – and I think it’s pretty disturbing in that regard. I’ve been doing this junket here [in L.A] and many of the reporters have told me that they had to look away in certain parts of the movie. We really don’t show that much, but it’s the power of the idea of what you don’t see.
And do you have a favourite ”X-Files” episode?
Gosh, I have so many favourites – because The X-Files was so many different types of stories. All of those episodes that are on the [X-Files Revelations] DVD that FOX are releasing would be among my favourites, but there are others too – Humbug, Duane Barry – but it would be hard for me to pick just one.
Is there anyone you would’ve liked to have got in the movie, if you could’ve – even if they are dead?
So many… but I’d have to say my warmest affection is for The Lone Gunmen. I love those guys. Nobody’s ever really dead in the X-Files so I hope somehow, some way, we haven’t seen the last of The Lone Gunmen.
THE X-FILES : I WANT TO BELIEVE commences Thursday