The creator and executive-producer of The X-Files says it was a wrenching decision to move the popular television series to its new home in Los Angeles.
Chris Carter says he was nearly overcome with emotion when he broke the news late Friday night to his Vancouver crew, which was shooting one of the few remaining episodes of the season at a Kingsway Street motel.
Carter said that, in the end, he owed it to his two stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, to allow them to return to their homes after five years of working abroad.
In an interview by phone from Los Angeles Sunday, Carter admitted that he had promised Duchovny and Anderson that the show would not stay in Vancouver indefinitely.
Duchovny told several U.S. talk-show hosts late last year that he would sooner quit The X-Files than spend another year away from his wife, Naked Truth actress Tea Leoni, but Carter denied the actor had forced his hand.
“It’s important to remember that we originally intended to film the pilot [in March 1993] in Los Angeles,” Carter said. “When we couldn’t find a good forest, we made a quick decision to come to Vancouver. As it turned out, it was three weeks that turned into five years. The benefits of being in Vancouver were tremendous, and now, five years later, it is my home away from home.”
Duchovny said he has no hard feelings, but that the time has come to move on. “I have enjoyed living and working in the city for the past five years,” Duchovny said late Sunday night from his Kitsilano home. “It’s a lovely city, and the decision [to move] in no way reflects on the city or the people I work with.
“This is a harder-working crew than any I have ever worked with, and there’s no doubt that Vancouver is the best place to shoot the show. It’s just that the time has come for me to go home.”
Duchovny said that “regardless of any misunderstandings” in the local media in the past year, he harbours deep affection for the city.
“I’ve spent one-seventh of my life here already,” Duchovny said. “The place can’t help but become part of you, and there will always be a part of me that remains.”
Carter said he had come to rely heavily on his Vancouver-based crew, describing it as an integral part of the show and one of the main reasons the series has become successful.
In the past several years, X-Files’ Vancouver crew members have won Emmy Awards for their work. They include art directors Graeme Murray, Shirley Inget, Gary Allen and sound mixer Michael Williamson.
Carter said that he will continue to work in Vancouver and will do his best to hire X-Files crew for any future projects he produces in the city. “I had hoped that we might find a way to keep the show in Vancouver,” Carter said. “And while I wanted to respect what I was hearing from David and Gillian about doing the show in Los Angeles, I thought there might be a way to convince everyone to keep the show in Vancouver.
“I don’t know if it will be any better or worse in Los Angeles, but I know that I liked doing it in Vancouver, for any number of reasons. The most important was that we had a winning team, a great crew. To have to give up that winning team is, for me, the toughest thing to have to deal with.
“Secondly, Vancouver was critical to the look of the show. I don’t mean to take anything away from David or Gillian, but I’ve always felt that Vancouver was one of the stars of the show.”
Carter said that while no official decision has been made by 20th Century Fox Television about renewal of his other Vancouver-based show, Millennium, a third season looks “99-per-cent certain.” If Millennium is renewed, it will remain in Vancouver, Carter said.
The X-Files feature film, which will be released in theatres in June, was filmed last summer in California, and will ease the transition from one locale to another. The popular series, one of the 10 most-watched shows in both Canada and the U.S., is the highest-profile of some 18 series currently shooting in the Lower Mainland.