LOS ANGELES — While other TV shows come and go, the science-fiction drama “The X-Files” created by Chris Carter has returned after a long hiatus that followed a long television run.
Starring David Duchovny (as FBI special agent Fox Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (as FBI special agent Dana Scully), the TV series, which originally premiered on September 10, 1993, returned for an 11th season of 10 episodes, with the season premiering at the beginning of this year.
We were able to talk to Duchovny, 57, and Anderson, 49, recently and they share with us their thoughts and feelings of coming back to the show.
Below are excerpts of our conversations with them.
On who pushed the return of the show
I was not the one pushing it. It was everybody. It was just like discussions that we had where somebody was like do you want to do this, should we do this? So at some point, maybe I would have been pushing harder, maybe at some point Gillian was pushing harder and at some point Chris.
On whether he appreciates the show more now the second time around
I don’t really stand outside of it to look at it that way. Being on the inside of it, I just try to create it as best I can and do the best work that I can. I try to make the best drama or the best show or the best comedy or whatever it is that I can. I certainly am aware. I am happier about doing these next 10 episodes and I am happier about these than I was about the last six. The shows are significantly better. We are all doing better work this time around. There are many reasons why we might not have done our best work last time, the long layoff being one reason. But I think that six episodes was such a short order to make an entire show in just six episodes. So I am happy about these ten episodes.
On the significance of the show nowadays
During the Obama Administration, people felt like there was more transparency in government, maybe they felt like they trusted their leaders more. Maybe the Trump administration has made the ground more fertile for a show like us. It’s hard to be so quick to react to changing events and it’s a mistake to jump on trends. I think like whenever anybody has asked me over the years what makes “The X-Files” a good show, why did it catch on, I always say you start it with quality and good work. That’s still where we have to end up. If we make shows that are good and entertaining, scary, fun, funny and a human drama, then it’s eternal. Part of what gets in the way of real creative and artistic expression is trying to be topical. The best way those things happen is unconscious. If you are a creative individual and you are digesting what is going on in the world, then it’s going to come out, not necessarily literally, but it’s going to resonate in a way that is consciously more lasting and deeper.
On the best part about his reunion with Gillian Anderson
To work with an actor whom you have been acting with for so long, that’s kind of a gift that you can’t really quantify in so many ways because so much of acting is making stuff up about a relationship and try and physically express that friendship or marriage or relationship or whatever it is. We just have so much time spent that in many ways we just let it play. We don’t have to act that part of it. That’s a gift for an actor, you can’t really make that up.
On how being a father has changed him
I love acting. I love show business. I love the movies. I love television. But it doesn’t mean anything compared to my kids. It’s just something that takes over when you have kids. It’s like when you work you have a call sheet and number one, two, three, four on the call sheet, and it’s like, everything moves down. When you have a kid, everything in life takes a back seat. My daughter, Madelaine West, is a woman now. She is 18. She has a small part in the last episode. My son, Kyd Miller, is 15.
On how it feels to be reunited again in the show and shooting in Vancouver, Canada
It was great to reunite. Not much of the crew was the same. There was some of the same crew that we had, not all that we had originally. It’s always wonderful to work with Chris and David. It’s fun to work with people who you know and have a history with.
It was nice to shoot in Vancouver. It's a city that I'm very familiar with. It feels very safe, gentle. It's a pleasant place to spend time and be focused on one thing in particular.
On the importance for her to encourage and nurture women
It's become more and more important as I've gotten older. I certainly inherited with Scully a certain responsibility in terms of because of who she was and how at that particular time in television, in the 1990s, she was a singular representation of the greater percentage of women who existed, just in terms of her focus and her strengths, her strengths of character, and her independence, and her free thinking. So I think that because the reaction to her was so strong, it became necessary for me to be really mindful and careful with how I spoke about her and how I myself went out into the world. Over time as I've gotten older and it's become more of the trajectory of women in their work, and what their choices are, and the kinds of freedoms that they may or may not have and how they are treated, and how they are respected, and how they are interacted with in the workplace has become obviously a much hotter topic. Because of the fact that I had the opportunity to play somebody like Scully early on, it's been important for me to stay vocal in that conversation.
On how timely the show is
It is timely again because it is more in the forefront than it ever has been. As it has been proven time and time again, whether it's with the Vietnam War or the Bay of Pigs, the government has not been forthright about all the information. So it's nothing new, in the ‘90s. It just so happens that it's daily. So I think that as the show has always been very upfront about current events, it’s continuing to do that, and to address issues that perhaps other shows wouldn't address in quite the same way.
On being methodical and practical
I am pretty serious about schedules. That has come from working at a young age in an industry that took me away from my child and having to figure out how to carve time for, proper time to be a mom and proper time to go back and forth between Vancouver and Los Angeles to see my child or for her to travel on a plane by herself as a six-year-old. All of that made me very, very focused on time, place, and schedule and carving out quality time. So I am still pretty schedule oriented, whether it makes sense or not, or whether it was just an historical thing. But I would say I am pretty methodical, and especially when somebody asks me to do a job, I will say, I can do this in this period of time and if you want me I can do it then, and if you can’t make that work, then I am not your person.