Rotten Tomatoes: Interview with Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny at WonderCon 2008
By Christina Troup
February 25, 2008
Snow and FBI agents with sticks -- that's pretty much all that can be said of the 20th Century Fox footage that was revealed at WonderCon this weekend for The X-Files 2. The first look at the onscreen reunion of agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) began with a shot of Scottish actor Billy Connolly uttering, "It's here..." as a team of FBI agents prodded a snow-covered field with long sticks in search of, uh, the truth?
Before the audience was even able to wrap its collective brain around what could possibly be buried in the snow, the teaser cut to a number of fast-paced scenes that did little to answer the question of what the next big-screen installment of The X-Files will deliver. OK, so the succession of quick cuts at the very least revealed: Amanda Peet as an FBI agent named Dakota Whitney, a bloody body being dragged across icy ground, a soap opera-worthy head turn by Scully, an autopsy experimentation of sorts, and Mulder's ability to get his run on. Despite the limited amount of telling information, the WonderCon masses still went bananas over the fact that another X-Files movie is in fact a reality -- a reality with a release date of July 25.
Rotten Tomatoes sat down with Anderson and Duchovny for a roundtable chat, discussing getting back into character, comedy amongst the supernatural, and on-screen chemistry.
Talk about getting back into the heads of these characters after so long.
DD: It's not quite like being in a play where you're recreating a character every night from the beginning. But it is something like that. It's something closer to that than making a film. There's a certain kind of honoring of the past and the work that you've done, and you don't want to explode the character just because you don't remember or because you're bored. And then you also want to honor the fact that the person has had five years of a life happen, so it's tricky -- it's interesting.
GA: It's an interesting conundrum to deal with on a daily basis and sometimes it's just too confusing. Also, doing it for a film is different than doing it for a television series. We've only done one other film, but there's a difference in lifting something to the big screen, I think.
You said you sucked for the first 48 hours, what did you mean by that?
DD: I think you just feel that way. I think normally you just suck at the first 48 hours of anything, at least.
What's your chemistry like after so long apart?
DD: It was bad. (Laughs.)
GA: I think what people respond to in Mulder and Scully is something that just exists when David and I are working together, so that wasn't a concern.
DD: It was something that we've never really worked at.
How does it feel to be part of a show that's become so iconic?
DD: It's been a long enough time now. We don't expect it, but [it's] certainly not surprising.
GA: I think there's a new level of appreciation, at least for me, in just realizing how big it was. I get that. I think at the time I couldn't fathom it, it was too much to fathom.
DD: We were insulated, we were working on it and it was kind of all consuming. We didn't get out amongst the people that enjoyed the show.
What can you tell us about the movie?
DD: Should we just tell them the whole plot? [Laughs and looks at Gillian.]
GA: I'm tired of fighting it.
DD: I want to tell the truth.
GA: Well, we-
DD: There are different genres I think of X-Files shows. There's horror, there's thriller, there's comedic, there's alien-oriented. And there are kind of mixed genres among those. I think this is more the classic, as Chris was pointing to, like the beginnings of the show. This is more a return to the horror-thriller genre of what the X-Files started out at as.
Was there an opportunity to infuse comedy into the film?
DD: It's an ongoing...wouldn't call it battle with [series creator and film director] Chris [Carter]. It's more of a... Chris and I have a different opinion, consciousness about how comedy exists in the X-Files. We've always had that, it's always been a kind of back and forth.
Does it ever become frustrating to be so identified by the public with the characters?
DD: I'm not frustrated by it.
GA: GA: There's certain times when my focus over the years has been on different things whether it's a charity event on another continent and that's all they want to talk about. They don't want to talk about the charity event. Yeah, that gets frustrating. Or when I'm trying to promote something else and 75 percent of the interview wants to go back to the series; that can get frustrating. But it also is what it is. I wouldn't have the choices to do the things that I want to do today if it wasn't for the series.
What's the WonderCon experience been like for you? Are you ready to handle the attention that's sure to come after the release of the film?
GA: It's a wonderful feeling to know that there are still people out there who are going to go out and actually see this film when it comes out. There's enthusiasm and a desire to see it, that's rewarding and a bit of relief.
DD: It was always my hope that we would get to do one of these every five or six years. That's exactly how long ago it's been since the show. When I was getting off the television show I was never like, "Screw the television show, screw this character, screw you." I love the show, I love working with Gillian, I love Chris, I love the characters. If we can pull that off that would be great. And if not I'm perfectly happy with the amount of work we've done as Mulder and Scully. We've done a lot. In a way, I felt like this was win-win. If it continues on, fantastic. If it goes away, we did a lot.