The director and producer sit down behind-the-scenes at Wondercon to spill the beans on Mulder and Scully latest mystery
X-Files creators and writers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz sat down to talk, or more appropriately, vaguely drop hints about the upcoming X-Files movie at this year's Wondercon during a small roundtable behind-the-scenes, and MovieWeb was there to get the goods. Check out what they had to say about aliens, Mulder, Scully, the infamous werewolf and much more...
So, how did you first come up with X-Files?
Frank Spotnitz: Oh gosh, I've told this story so many times. It was inspired by so many different things, including Kolchak: The Night Stalker
In a quick, pitch version of this movie, what's it about?
Frank Spotnitz: We're keeping it secret as everybody knows. It's like an X-mas present, you want to tear the wrapping and get a peek but it's more fun to go and be surprised.
Is it more stand alone or mythology based?
Chris Carter: It's stand alone.
Where do the characters find themselves? What state of mind are they in?
Chris Carter: That's actually a good question and that's actually part of the movie. To tell you that would be a big part.
Frank Spotnitz: We can tell you it's true to where they are in their lives 6 years after the show ended. We pick up in the present day. We thought a lot about that. Our hope was that the fans would feel rewarded because we're honoring...we're true to the characters, what they've been thru and where they'd be with their lives. What's also exciting to us is, you don't need to have seen The X-Files to understand or enjoy the movie. We're hoping it's an experience to introduce new movie goers to The X-Files experience.
Frank Spotnitz: They came to us in fall 2001 before the show ended. We came up with the beginnings of the story in 2002. But there was a lawsuit that just sort of stopped everything cold for years. I had given up hope, actually
Chris Carter: It wasn't really a lawsuit, actually. We had to file the suit to preserve our rights to continue negotiating
Frank Spotnitz: Once that got resolved things got going pretty quickly.
In the 1st film you guys had commentary on the Oklahoma City Bombing. Does this touch on contemporary themes?
Chris Carter: Ya, it does touch on contemporary themes and some of the people who keep up with the news will recognize them.
What are some of the broader themes of the film?
Chris Carter: There's a beef recall (laughs)
Can you deny the werewolf costumes (used as bait to misdirect paparazzi illegally snapping set photos)?
Chris Carter: As they always say, "Deny Everything"
Frank Spotnitz: It's actually been really entertaining to read all the stuff on the internet cause there's so much misinformation, so much is not correct, which works for us. We don't want people spoiling the movie. So for the fans who are checking out these websites: don't trust or believe these things.
Chris Carter: Trust no one
Frank Spotnitz: Trust no one. Wait for the movie.
What got you excited coming back to The X-Files in terms of creative juices?
Chris Carter: It was an opportunity, I felt there was always more of the story to tell. I felt we ended the show at the right time, as far as the mood of the country and where we ended up in season 9, that there were other stories to tell with those characters. I think that was part of the inspiration, that there was enthusiasm from David and Gillian and Frank, I wouldn't have done this without my friends. I wouldn't just "do a movie." It had to be an experience where I was enjoying myself.
What was it like going back to this world?
Chris Carter: It's weird. Because it's such a big part of your life and you take it and you shelve it for 6 years...5 years for us. That's a big thing. I watched very little of the show during those 5 years. I made it a point of getting away from it for perspective. We were a hit show, it never really dawned on me, we were always working so hard to keep it good. I knew people were watching, that there were good ratings. But beyond that, there was a moment for me when we did the first X-files movie, we went to The Mann's Chinese theater which seats a lot of people. We sat on a little balcony looking over the audience and watched them watching the movie. And to see a big audience react was really, really special. I'm not sure which question I just answered...
Frank Spotnitz: This movie is true to the characters and what they've been thru. Though it doesn't deal with the alien conspiracy or any of that, I think people are gonna feel we've honored everything.
Do you write together or trade drafts?
Chris Carter: We have a secret way to do it.
How do you react to being referenced in pop culture, getting name checked in the "Bare Naked Ladies" song, stuff like that?
Chris Carter: Ya, of course, it's always amusing. It's interesting, cause Xhibit is in the movie, and he had a song called "The year 2000" which had an X-files lyric in it. So I knew about Xhibit long before he knew about me. And he's been a tremendous addition to the ensemble, if you will. Those things are always amusing.
How careful did you have to be to make sure this film was successful to people who didn't see the show?
Chris Carter: My feeling is that there's an audience out there who didn't see the show cause they were too young, their parents wouldn't let them watch it and some of those people are now in college, so if they missed The X-files this is an opportunity to introduce them to it.
Do you spend the first 10 minutes of the film setting it up for them?
Chris Carter: We have that scrolling text (simulates star wars opening text) about a universe far far away.
Frank Spotnitz: It is a movie and if you haven't seen the series before it stands alone as a movie.
Will plot-lines be resolved from FIGHT THE FUTURE? Intergalactic civil war?
Chris Carter: Not in the strict sense, because this isn't an alien mythology or conspiracy episode, er, story. I have to say that we tried to encompass everything
Any talk about making a sequel much more quickly?
Chris Carter: Hard to say, I've had literally 15 minutes of sleep in the past 24 hours.
How about crossovers or cameos, say characters from "Millennium?"
Chris Carter: That's a great idea. I can't comment on that.
What is it about Mulder and Scully that works?
Chris Carter: It's one of those things that almost can't be defined. My wife thinks it's the way Mulder is protective of Scully. Even though they are at odds in terms of perspectives and relative points of views, I feel that he loves her and protects her.
You said we get to see Mulder and Scully in a whole new way, can you let us in on any of that?
Frank Spotnitz: Mulder's a cross dresser (laughter).
Chris Carter: I'm not gonna tell you because you really don't want to know.
How do you feel about the catchphrase "the truth is out there" being picked up by 9-11 truthers (who believe the government were behind the attacks)?
Chris Carter: Is it really? It's ironic.
You said one of your inspirations was "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." Did you ever want to do a definitive adaptation?
Chris Carter: Yes, but it could never be definitive because it was one of a kind. It was a completely different approach.
Amanda Peet is a new character, can you say anything about that?
Chris Carter: Her name is..what's her name? She's getting some sort of weird alien...what's the question again? (laughter). She's a person with some authority and she comes into contact with Mulder and Scully. [NOTE: At an earlier event, Chris Carter stated her name was FBI Agent Dakota Whitney]
Does she represent a challenge to them or their way of working?
Chris Carter: Maybe.
How about additional series characters like Robert Patrick, etc?
Chris Carter: We wish everyone could be in there, but they can't be.
Where are you in production?
Chris Carter: We're still filming.
How far into filming?
Chris Carter: Probably 2/3rds of the way.
Is Mark Snow still the composer?
Chris Carter: Yes, yes he is.
A lot of X-Files episodes were able to get goofy and self aware and comedic...
Chris Carter: I love the comedic episodes, I love them because they actually tested the range of the concept. And it was so resilient, you could push it, pull it, go any direction.
How about references to past episodes in the film?
Chris Carter: Yes.
Creatures we've met before in the film?
Chris Carter: You don't want to know.
No tape worm man?
Chris Carter: No, he's not gonna be in it.
How about the WonderCon trailer?
Chris Carter: That's new to us!
Frank Spotnitz: Some of that footage was just shot 4 or 5 days ago.
Chris Carter: So that's really exciting to see it molded together.
Suddenly, armed men in black suits entered the room and kidnapped Frank and Chris (and/or the PR lady told everyone time was up).
So there it is. The movie might or might not be about aliens. It's true to the TV show without relying on it, though it references it, yet can be totally digestible to someone who's never seen an episode.
For the real answers, stay tuned to MovieWeb.com and check out The X-Files 2 in theaters July 25th, 2008.