X-Files in the City

Chris Carter reopens Files in Vancouver

Look for some big-screen déjà vu by mid-summer, as Scully and Mulder go poking their flashlights into B.C.'s dark corners for The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
It'll be old home week for the paranormal TV series that filmed here from 1993 to 1998. The last several seasons and a first feature film were shot in Los Angeles, but for this sequel, creator Chris Carter brought stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson back to Vancouver.
The biggest X-Files mystery was where Carter had disappeared to after the series wrapped in 2002. He went from being TV's busiest guy -- he ran three other series during the run of The X-Files -- to the invisible man.
"I still kept very busy," says Carter, adding he rode with Seattle police as research for a still-unfinished novel. Carter's home in Vancouver was his base for mountain climbing and heli-skiing trips. "I tell people it was 10 years of extreme output, and I wanted a few years of extreme input. I was playing as hard as I'd been working."
Talk of a second feature film began right after the series ended, but sped up last year ahead of the looming writers' strike. "Fox [studios] said it was now or never."
He and writing partner Frank Spotnitz finished their script between that April 2007 call and the following August -- speedy work by feature script standards, but "a luxury" for this legendary multi-tasker. On this day, he's on the phone from an editing suite in Los Angeles.
Carter recalls getting together last October at his L.A. house with Duchovny and Anderson to read the script. The three hadn't been together in more than five years. "It was wonderful, surprisingly powerful. I hadn't expected to be so struck by the momentousness of that reunion -- actually I got very emotional."
Production started in Vancouver in late December, with Duchovny first on set and Anderson arriving in January. A preview for the new movie shows Anderson, Duchovny and co-star Billy Connolly searching a snowy field for something scary.
"I used so many of the same crew that I'd used on X-Files, Millennium, Harsh Realm and Lone Gunmen -- I could go down a long list."
Vancouver's Callum Keith Rennie gets a choice role as one of the movie's villains. Carter first met the actor in 1986. "We did cast him in a number of episodes through the years, but not in a big part. I was thrilled -- it's a role that he brings a rare quality to. He approaches it with a humanity, actually, that makes the character more than it could have been."
Which is about all the plot detail that Carter lets slip out. The movie is a standalone creature feature separate from the TV series' ongoing alien conspiracy. This is the B.C. team that's taking on the summer box-office wars, and there's a bit of the mellow West Coast in Carter as he rushes to meet that July 25 release date.
"I think it will deliver what it promises -- smart and scary and thrilling and all those things that every movie in the summer needs to be."
Carter says Duchovny and Anderson's first day on set together was a scene in the FBI office. "It's funny, I think the first thing they did together on the TV series 16 years ago was in Mulder's office in the FBI -- that's a coincidence actually."
So they're back in Mulder's office? He still has an office?
"I'm sworn to secrecy. I've given you too much information already."

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