X-Files Stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson ''Want to Believe''

After waiting for an eternity for Mulder and Scully to reunite for another "X File", fans of the popular supernatural sci-fi series can now head to the theater for the second feature film in the franchise, X-Files: I Want to Believe, which opens this Friday, July 25. At the film's recent press junket, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson got together to revisit the series, delve deep into the new movie, and look ahead to a possible third movie in 2012 to coincide with the end of the world on the Mayan calendar.

There’s a legion of fans who are anxious to return to Scully and Mulder’s world. How about you guys? Where you anxious to slip them back on again? How much arm twisting did it take?
GILLIAN ANDERSON: I wasn’t anxious.
DAVID DUCHOVNY: I wouldn’t say arm twisting.
ANDERSON: I think it was something - I’ll speak for myself - that I was interested in if it was something that was going to become an eventuality. I was on board for it. I was less active than I think David was in helping it come to fruition, but it was always something that I was enthusiastic about should it see the light of day.
DUCHOVNY: Yeah, you know, it seems like a long time. You know people are asking me, you know, 10 years, which is the last movie - but I think of it as 6 years since the show ended. And when you think about like a 9-year run for Gillian and Chris and then I think the burnout will take you at least 3 years to get over, honestly. And then you’re talking about trying to develop a movie - it’s really not that slow when you think about it. It’s actually kind of on the heels of what was possible given the amount of work we did on it over that decade.
ANDERSON: Good answer.

A lot of fans would say, "On the show, Mulder was always saving Scully..."
DUCHOVNY: Oh, that’s not true.
ANDERSON: No, I saved his life sometimes.

Well, certainly in the movie, though it’s a nice turn around.
ANDERSON: Did I save you? Okay, then didn’t I pass out and then you saved me?
DUCHOVNY: No, that’s the first movie.
ANDERSON: Oh, in this movie - oh, you’re talking about this movie. Oh, I forget you’re part of the new league of people.
DUCHOVNY: The only ones who can... we can speak to them. They know what we’re talking about.
ANDERSON: But you saved my life in the first movie, then you pass out. I’m sorry.
DUCHOVNY: I just saved your life in general. Spiritually, I saved it.

What surprised you most about the script when you got it?
DUCHOVNY: I thought I was kind of intrigued by the kernel of the idea that we wanted to keep secret for a long time, which Chris was protective of because he thought - not because he thinks - if you see the movie, if you know it before you see the movie that it’ll ruin the movie. But I think he was afraid that it was something that could be copied and get out there before our movie got out there, and that would take the wind out of our sails. So we effectively got around that. But it was that idea that I’m not talking about that was kind of fascinating and disgusting and horrifying and interesting. I’m speaking about me with my shirt off.
ANDERSON: And I was surprised by the relationship, I think. And how much a part of the mood of the whole film the relationship is. Somehow it’s, it’s just - it’s there. It’s almost another presence and it’s set up very early in the film. You get to witness very early on that the weight of the history, in a sense. And I feel like this script and also the film itself carries that with it. And it’s tangible, and I like that.
DUCHOVNY: And when you think about the kinds of movies that you might compare our movie to, you say it’s a thriller. You say it’s kind of a horror movie. You say it’s an intellectual - we’ll just say it’s an intellectual caper, whatever. But at the heart of it is this relationship between Mulder and Scully, which is like a real adult relationship; two people trying to figure out their relationship while they’re doing their job, which just happens to be a very heightened reality of a job, you know. And so if you think about any other movie, all other movies, like, in this genre, there’s never an actual relationship in them. There’s never actual - it’s usually a loner. If it’s a couple, it’s kind of rudimentary, you know, meet. So I think that what’s. . . no, not ‘m-e-a-t’.
ANDERSON: It’s either meet or meat.
DUCHOVNY: They meet and then meat. So then that’s what I find kind of interesting, and the balancing act that Chris was able to pull off is that while this horrifying stuff is going on, or interesting or thrilling stuff is going on, you’ve got these two people, not quite bickering but trying to figure out where they’re at, which is, I think, a potent combination.

What do you think it is about "The X Files" that six years after the series finale that people are anticipating more?
DUCHOVNY: I don’t know. I think we’re just lucky in a way. I think the characters were drawn as complimentary of one another so they kind of fit very well like puzzle pieces and became another entity. I know that people used to yell, "Scully" at me all the time. And I’m sure people yelled "Mulder" at Gillian. And we were kind of interchangeable in that way even though very distinct. So I think we’re kind of a romantic idea of a marriage of true minds, you know, of a real marriage even though we were never married. And I don’t know - did we ever have sex? I don’t know? Did we did? We did.
ANDERSON: Yes. I can’t believe you don’t remember. But also I think that because we weren’t married and we weren’t actually in a relationship. We also got to keep the respect for each other...
DUCHOVNY: Because you never respect the person you’re married to.
ANDERSON: You never do. You know what I mean? There was something different. It was like we were like a married couple and yet we saved each lives. We would do anything. We would stop a bullet for each other, which you don’t find in most marriages.

What’s the back story, were you pregnant in the show?
ANDERSON: Well, I actually forgot that I had a baby. When we started shooting somebody had to remind me.
DUCHOVNY: William.
ANDERSON: Yes, William. Yeah, apparently we gave him away.
DUCHOVNY: We had to give him away because as I recall there were forces that were going to take him and do horrible things to do him, so... Actually in the last episode when I came back, or right before the last episode, the one I directed, actually, yeah, Gillian gave him away; made a horrible choice, a "Sophie’s Choice" to give the baby away so that he could live. So he’s still out there and waiting for...
ANDERSON: ... the next movie.

Did you guys have a chance to give input for this movie? What was your participation as far as scripting?
DUCHOVNY: None, really. I mean, my only involvement would have been in a discussion with Chris for - to throw my two cents in, that it should be a stand alone. It shouldn’t have anything to do with the alien mythology and show, really be a movie that somebody who’s never seen an ‘X File’ can enjoy. And Chris had already made that decision, so... that was really my only-- my only point of view on it.

That said, how important are the tips of the hat to people who do know the mythology and can recite every line in every episode? DUCHOVNY: I think it’s just like sprinkles on the top in this movie. You know there’s a bunch of kind of winks at the audience. And Chris was very kind of into, you know, having these winks. Not so much me because I always feel like that’s not part of the realism or the drama, you know. You don’t know we’re winking at anybody, but it’s something that fans, I think, enjoy. And I can’t remember any that are actually in it.
ANDERSON: Well, I think the impression was, you were saying yesterday, that the previous movie was winking. But in fact, it was mooning. You know, there was an attempt to hint at little areas of stuff that had to do with the mythology to get people involved enough who were previous fans but still attract people who weren’t. And it was actually much further in that balance than this one is by any stretch.

If there is another one - and supposedly 2012 is the year the world ends according to the Mayan calendar. Would you like to see a further film go back to the black oil and the aliens?
DUCHOVNY: Sure, I mean I think that’s like the bread and butter of the series, and it’s kind of a natural for 2012. And I think that’s what Chris and Frank are thinking of. Yeah, bring on the aliens.

Going back, it’s one thing to read the script. It’s another thing to be in front of the cameras that first day. Was it a little surreal?
DUCHOVNY: It felt like, in a way, I was there two weeks before Gillian just running my ass off and pulling a muscle. And none of it is in the film, which is fantastic.
ANDERSON: Is that - really?
DUCHOVNY: A little bit, you know, it’s just ridiculous. But then after, then we broke for Christmas and then came back and I started working with Gillian almost immediately, and, you know, in a weird way it felt like absolutely no time had passed because we were in Vancouver. It was-- it just seemed like we’d come back from summer hiatus or something, which was kind of terrifying sometimes to think about. But for me, in terms of getting back into the character it really was - when I started working with Gillian was when I started to discover Mulder again, for real instead of kind of faking it. I was running so it doesn’t matter how Mulder runs, really.
ANDERSON: But even for me, the first couple of days that I worked were, were in a particular scene with Billy Connolly and, you know, 6 years on and never addressing, you know, having an experience with that character before and jumping into some big emotions on the first day that have nothing to do with the grounding of the show, which is the relationship between Mulder and Scully was kind of hard and really disconcerting. And I felt like I had nothing to grab onto, that I was, I kept trying to hang my coat on something that felt familiar, and there wasn’t. It felt really odd. And it wasn’t, again, until, I think it was day 3 that we got to work together that I was kind of like, "Oh, I forgot. This is what it is."
DUCHOVNY: It was a real relief.

You were talking about working with Billy Connolly whose sense of humor is so infectious. Were there moments between takes where that would come out?
DUCHOVNY: Oh, yeah. There were no moments when it didn’t.
ANDERSON: Well, just the few seconds when he was on camera.
DUCHOVNY: No he’s a really - he’s a really talented actor. And he goes back and forth very quickly, and, you know, he’s a restless mind and if he wants to talk... He doesn’t really want to entertain so much. He really wants to have a conversation, but wide ranging and odd and interesting, always.

In the interim you’ve obviously you’ve grown as people but presumably grown as actors, too. And I’m wondering were you able to bring experience to the roles now that you couldn’t back then?
DUCHOVNY: Oh, yeah. When I have the misfortune of catching one of the early shows, like from 1993 or something, and I see myself or that version of myself, I just think, "Thank God that I got the chance to continue to work and figure out what kind of an actor I am." Because the guy that I see up there in ‘93 is just barely hanging on. And that gives it a certain kind of tension and earnestness and eagerness to please, which kind of works, but it was not intentional. It was just panic. So yes, I mean, now, 15 years on, it’s a whole different ball game, completely. It’s night and day the way that I work and the kind of things that I want to do. But still you have to honor the character and you can’t just change him. So it was interesting to have the same box and to fill it up with different stuff.

It seems like there was a rowboat scene at the end of credits. How did that come about?
ANDERSON: Not ours.
DUCHOVNY: Well, you know we were sitting in a tank in a lot in Vancouver.
ANDERSON: With a crew around us.
DUCHOVNY: And towards the tail end of winter, and I was shirtless, and Gillian was--
ANDERSON: --in a bikini.
DUCHOVNY: In a bikini, and it was really silly. But it was very important for Chris that that be. Because to him the movie is about the relationship that the final image be, you know, two people together alone on the wide open sea. And that’s his image of this relationship, you know.

You’ve said, "Vancouver is one of my favorite places."
DUCHOVNY: Vancouver is one of my favorite places. Unfortunately, yeah, no one believes.

Can I ask you a couple of Hank Moody questions, cause "Californication" has become a real guilty pleasure. . .
DUCHOVNY: Don’t be guilty. Don’t be guilty.

How much of a reflection is it of the reality, or is it just pure satire?
DUCHOVNY: Well, it’s not satire so much as it’s really a character study. And it’s not, it’s our goal on the show is not realism. It’s, you know, we’re making a comedy, and that’s always what we’re trying to do. And we’re trying to make the comedy real, and we’re trying to make the real comic. So that’s always what we’re thinking about. It’s not really satire in that way. It’s really just an extreme character sketch of a guy who has no censor.

Gillian are you working on anything right now?
ANDERSON: Well, the first thing actually is How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which is with Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst. And that’s about a book, or it’s an adaptation of a book by Toby Young about his experience as a writer at Vanity Fair, as a Brit writer at Vanity Fair and his inappropriateness in the world and also not having any censors. And Boogie Woogie is a satire about the art world. It takes place in London, and I think it’s very funny.

FONTE: The Deadbolt (USA)


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