June 2, 1998
By Mike Snider
ATLANTA - No secret to fans of The X-Files, this is a month of multimedia convergence.
Last month's season finale in which FBI special agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) find their office torched has fueled a mania that culminates with the June 19 theatrical release of The X-Files movie.
Also stoking the flames: The X-Files Game (Fox Interactive, due out next week for Windows 95 and Power Macintosh PCs, $54.95) and The X-Files: The Album, just out, on which creator Chris Carter has a special track explaining the 5-year-old series' mythology.
Anderson, who signed autographs here Saturday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, thinks The X-Files translates well to the big screen and the smaller PC screen.
Conspiratorially, the cast and crew have kept leaks about the film to a minimum. Compared with shooting the series, the film ''was a vacation,'' Anderson says.
Having seen finished footage, she says the action scenes look much more expansive than those filmed for the TV series. ''You're at the bottom of this big mountain, or in this cornfield, and something is flying above you or someone is shooting at you. You become a part of it, but it's so big,'' she says. Then, to see the finished scenes, ''you say, 'That's what we were a part of.' I think people are going to be very happy.''
While some X-philes take the show's conspiracy theme seriously, Anderson tries to keep a sense of humor. She picks up a box for the PC game and laughs. ''These pictures of us look so funny. See, there's a gun to my head,'' she says.
Anderson, 29, shows little sign of her 2 a.m. arrival in Atlanta and subsequent short night of sleep. Dressed Scully-esque in a black suit, she exudes the same subdued mix of style and sexiness as does her character. Even at a trade show, Anderson is more radiant than on TV, where her character plays a skeptical medical doctor who frequents dark streets and starkly lit morgues.
She expects The X-Files Game to be required clicking for fans. ''They will be interested in this game because players participate on a whole other level,'' Anderson says. ''It looks so real. You feel you're part of the series in a strange way. Like you're in the room with us. It's scary. It's confusing, and it's very complicated.''
Players adopt the persona of a Seattle-based junior FBI agent helping assistant director Walter Skinner find Scully and Mulder, who have disappeared. The game, on seven CD-ROMs, begins like an X-Files episode, then players interact with live-action characters.
Footage for the game was shot during the 1996-1997 TV season and didn't take much extra work, Anderson says. She, Duchovny and other cast members ''did a lot of work in a small amount of time. But by the same token, we're in it all the time.''
Such complex, in-depth PC games aren't really Anderson's forte, she confesses. Her ex-husband, X-Files art director Clyde Klotz, used to play the fantasy/mystery PC game Myst, she says. ''I was taken by it and amazed at how you would click on a door, and it would open. But I was also a little afraid of it. I knew I could easily get sucked into this.''
Instead, Anderson uses a laptop to play edutainment programs with their 3-year-old daughter Piper, who is her constant on-set companion. ''We play Green Eggs and Ham.''
Anderson beams as she talks about her daughter. ''There's a tremendous amount of joy and love there,'' she says. ''She teaches me new things and makes me laugh every day. I'm blessed to be able to have her there at work.''
Reflecting on The X-Files' success, Anderson says she never really ''understood the odds of (the series) being picked up. I figured it would be something I would be involved in for a year or two and then be thrown into movies and embraced lovingly.''
Six years later, that's starting to happen. The X-Files film is her major motion picture debut, but she has finished a supporting role in one Miramax film, The Mighty (with Sharon Stone) and is now working on another, Dancing About Architecture (due mid-December). She calls it a ''wonderful script about the interaction between different kinds of couples - lovers, husbands and wives, friends.'' Other cast members include Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Madeline Stowe and Dennis Quaid.
With the X-flurry and other film work, Anderson says, she's been remiss in making time for friends, let alone for a new relationship (she was previously linked with actor Rodney Rowland). ''Lately, it's just been me and Piper,'' she says.
Until a month ago, she had been working out daily; now, ''even that seems like a pipe dream.''
Perhaps that will change as the series moves next season from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Los Angeles. ''I think it offered David and I the chance to be in an environment that feels like home,'' she says. 'And Fox is confident it can mimic the current feel of the show, even though we know L.A. has palm trees.''
Transcript appears courtesy of USA TODAY.