Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. So, technically this was the 20th Century Fox panel, but it might has well have been called the Fox and Scully hour. That’s what people wanted to see.
Poor Thai horror remake SHUTTER, all about spirit photography, was stuck before the big X-FILES 2 panel and even the hot Aussie from TRANSFORMERS and Hiro’s sidekick couldn't make much of a difference. You could feel the audience just politely waiting for that panel to end so the X-FILES panel would start.
I’ll give them a little tribute.
The footage looked a little crappy, although the usage of real life spirit photography (where a ghost or otherwise creepy and unexplainable thing pops up in a photograph) added a decent creep-factor. The trailer had a woman with a creepy long tongue trying to kiss a dude and that was okay… Yeah, that’s about it.
This was the first time in the entire run of the convention where the hall seemed to fill up. There were hundreds of people standing on the sides of the hall and an electric buzz going up and down the room as the SHUTTER people left and the few minutes break in-between the two started up.
Then… the trailer.
In a throwback to Howard Hawks’ THE THING (my assumption) a group of FBI agents walk, in a line, on snowy ice. One calls out, “Hold the line, gentlemen! Look left, look right! Hold the line!”
Out in front is a white-haired Billy Connolly muttering to himself, looking very concerned. “It’s here…”
We see dark shoes pushing through the snow and a pan up shows us our first look at Fox Mulder in half a decade. He looks the same.
A woman (I think it might be Scully... maybe Amanda Peet... I didn’t get a clear look at her… she had on one of those fuzzy policewoman’s hats) yells out to the group, “Give him room!”
Connolly slows and then cries out, “It’s here!!!” and the trailer cuts to a woman being dragged across ice at night. Cut to Gillian Anderson turns into frame, red hair flying (getting a loud cheer from the audience). There are helicopters hovering above the ice patch, watching the people below as Connolly races forward to a certain spot.
All this is intercut with sequences from throughout the movie… autopsy scenes (wouldn’t be X-Files without it, right?), Mulder driving and getting hit on his side of the car, Mulder running, Billy Connolly seeming to convulse, blood coming from his eyes, more running, a pissed off looking bald guy with fresh scratch marks on his face and then the FBI on the ice clearing away a clear spot, all looking down. Then it fades out and JULY 25TH, 2008 fades in.
The people went batshit for it, thousands cheering at once.
I liked the trailer a lot, but I think what I liked about it might turn some other people off. It looked like a classic episode of the series, not entirely filmic, but definitely like I was seeing a preview for next week’s episode of X-FILES.
I also have the same problem with the trailer that I do with the INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL trailer. There’s an iconic nature to Mulder and Scully… the trenchcoats, Scully’s red hair and short figure opposite Mulder’s tall lanky figure… I don’t think either trailer took advantage of the iconic nature of these characters. But that’s a nitpick. The actual footage got me juiced up, so in the end that’s all that matters.
The panel. I got some decent pics of the panel. We had writer Frank Spotnitz, Chris Carter, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. Let’s hit some tidbits!
- It’s been 10 years… why will the movie be worth the wait? “Because it’ll scare the pants off you,” says Carter. “Because you’ll get to see Mulder and Scully again in a whole new way.” The whole place cheers again. “That’s why.”
- More X-FILES movies? Chris Carter: “Right away.”
- Gillian had a bad first couple of days at the beginning of the movie. She thought it was going to be easy to step back into the role, but she said she just sucked for the first 48 hours. She said it was only two scenes and she hopes that it’ll all kind of dissolve into the rest of the movie. Duchovny added, “Maybe you should tell them which scenes you sucked in.” Throughout the whole panel their back and forth was pure Mulder and Scully… he was light-hearted and there was a kind of flirt to it. It was pretty sweet.
- Getting back to it. Gillian had trouble (she had trained herself not to act like Scully in other performances for nearly 10 years and so her brain resisted going back) and so did Duchovny (he said the instinct for any actor is to improvise and roll with a character, but you can’t do that so much with one with such a huge back history already). What about Carter? Surprisingly easy. “Writing the names Mulder and Scully, which I hadn’t written for 6 years, was the most natural keyboard stroke you could imagine.”
- Mark Snow WILL score the film.
- What about the pre-9/11 Lone Gunmen episode about the plane flying into the WTC? Carter: “I’m not going to touch that one.” And hand it off to Frank. “We were just looking for the most awful crime we could imagine.” He also said that he was stricken when it happened, thinking some crackpot had taken inspiration from the show, but was let off the hook when it was revealed that the 9/11 plan had existed long before the show aired.
- Chris Carter: “I always saw THE X-FILES as a search for God.” No particular religion, but Mulder’s poster “I Want To Believe” says it all.
- They’re still shooting the film… in fact, they flew from shooting all night and stayed awake to come talk to the group.
- Duchovny puts a lot of emotional weight into the Mulder/Scully scenes because he views them as the heart of the movie.
- Amanda Peet plays an FBI special agent named Dakota Whitney and Billy Connolly “plays a man with very long hair.” – Chris Carter
- What subject would you like to have explored in the series. Gillian: “ I always thought that Mulder should… I don’t think we ever did this… but auto-erotic asphyxiation.” “That was the way I was going to die, that was the way Mulder was going to die… Chris?”
- Why not continue the story arc? “When we did the first movie we had an ongoing TV series, so we had to be true to the series and the mythology arc. So, that movie functioned as sort of a big version of the television series. We didn’t have that problem this time. So, we have a chance to do what I would consider to be a really big screen stand-alone movie.”
- Gillian’s favorite episode is BAD BLOOD, which was brought up many times by Duchovny. “She loves Bad Blood… every day it’s ‘Bad Blood-Bad Blood- Bad Blood!’”
- The sequel was made because Gillian and David wanted to make it. Fox came to Chris and said, “Let’s do a movie.” Then a lawsuit stopped that and then sometime later the studio called up Carter again and said, “It’s either now or never.” He asked the actors and they said, “Let’s do it now.”
- An audience member brings up the end of the show bringing up the date 2012 and if that will carry over into the movie. Gillian laughed and said, “That’s still 4 years away!” Carter was quiet, then said “We’ve talked about it and we want to be true to the series and the mythology, but we wanted to make sure we made the best movies we can and do what feels right, like we’ve always done. Having said that, that 2012 date is looming in our minds.” Cryptic…
- Then a dude dressed up as Link asked an awkward question. “What do you like to believe?” Chris Carter asks the guy, “Can I ask you a question? Are you from Sherwood Forrest?” Link laughs and Duchovny said, “I believe in that.” Tons of laughs… but it gets better. He asks, “Who are you dressed as?” “Link.” Cheers and laughs from the audience. Duchovny looks at the dude for a full 5 seconds or so then goes, “Who?” At this point Gillian breaks in and goes, “Is this a fetish?” Laughs and a mumbled something about the internet from Link. Then an awkward silent pause and Gillian asks David, “What do you believe in?” And David says, “I thought we had circumvented that…”
- Will Krycek return? Audience member, “I know he’s lost arms… but is he really dead or will he be back?” Duchovny interjects, “He’s got that tea bag dipping hand…” then imitates it for a long time. “I can go all day!” Carter: “We are keeping a secret and I think you’ll all appreciate we are… about who all is going to appear in the movie, besides David and Gillian, of course… So, I’ll just say to you… nobody’s really ever dead in The X-Files.”
I can’t tell you guys how big the audience was for this. I think you’re going to see all these closeted X-Philes come out and freak everybody out come July. The panel was great, everybody was laid back and funny. They left saying that they feel vindicated with the huge audience and reception. They believed the fans were still out there, now they know they are.
Can’t wait to see Mulder and Scully again!