The X-Files changed television. It was the first show to combine two different forms of TV storytelling: serial dramas and episodic procedurals. What was once a risk is now the most effective way to tell a story through the medium of long form drama. X-Files mythology carried the show through nine seasons of television and two feature films, as we followed FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) in their investigations of the paranormal and supernatural. The relationship between Mulder and Scully is what made the show as compelling as it was (until Duchovny’s early departure): Mulder’s passionate faith in the supernatural inspired his tireless and dangerous work, while Doctor Scully was there to root him in reality. The almost Taoist relationship between them was on display when Jason Madara photographed the duo in celebration of the X-Files’ return to television this month.
When Variety needed someone to step into the shoot the first person they thought about was Jason Madara to whom they offered full creative freedom. “I knew what they wanted was the color. I knew they wanted the green,” says Jason. “When you punch in ‘XFiles’ on Google, that color comes up. So I knew that was the one thing I had to give them. That’s what I loved about this, that I was able to do what I wanted.” With that freedom, and a little bit of understood expectation, Jason was set loose to make the images about what he wanted to make them about: the relationship between these two characters.
In order to get the shoot Jason had to travel up to Vancouver and squeeze it in the middle of a very busy day for the actors. Bringing a full photographic production to Canada has its own challenges, compounded by trying to find just a few moments with the actors. Jason was able to get Anderson and Duchovny for about fifteen minutes which he used as effectively as he could. Duchovny sat with Jason alone for literally less than a minute, but the first frame that he took was perfect and the one that they ended up publishing. As soon as Gillian walked in the room, the entire tenor of the shoot melted into her arms. They still only had a few moments, but Gillian became a great partner for Jason. “Gillian was great because she was kind of flirty with him and that’s what I wanted,” says Jason. She really knew how to handle him. She helped me a lot just by her being there and knowing how to take care of it. She was great. Beautiful. Friendly. And she gave me the look I wanted.” The time they had together was short, but Jason got what he needed effectively and efficiently. Chris Carter, who created The X-Files more than twenty years ago, was also on set and available, resulting in a shot of this exceptional man behind the curtain.
When he got to Vancouver, Jason thought he would have a little bit more time than he did, but things change on the day and that’s a part of the job. To be successful at it, a photographer has to know what to do with the time that they have. Jason’s advice is honest and immediately applicable: “Just adapt.”
GALLERIA FOTOGRAFICA Variety - Gennaio 2016
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