|The X-Files: Fight the Future||Credits||Gallery||Transcript|
CHAPTER 1: THE ICE CAVE
NORTH TEXAS 35000 B.C.
- (Two tiny figures appear, running in snow towards a cave)
- CHRIS CARTER: – When coming up for the idea for the X-Files movie, Frank Spotnitz and I were sitting in Hawaii thinking about what we needed to do to make the idea bigger than the series. A concept that could be worthy of a movie and explain some things that didn’t or hadn’t been explained. So we needed this big idea that needed to be started in an extreme place and needed to end in an extreme place and we had done some research and found out that the globe had been covered in ice not that long ago in historical terms, ah, as far down as Texas. So we thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to take someplace we wanted to shoot which is the desert and make it a completely different landscape prehistorically, and also it was an idea that encompassed the bigger idea here which is that alien life has been here.
- (Primitives striking rocks together to start their torches) Moves quietly through the cave)
- Prehistorically and that it may have gone underground this is really the reason for that big action sequence with the cavemen and the alien dinosaur, if you will, that really shapes the first sequence. You write these cavemen, these primitives, these men of an unknown time and while they’ve been recreated by scientists and I guess, anthropologists. The look of them, it just didn’t quite look right when we started making up the actual actors, the stuntmen who play the two primitives, which is what we call them, and so it went through several different stages. They looked kind of cartoon-ish at first and with the prosthetics they looked too ape-like and because this isn’t that long ago in historical terms, they needed to look more like modern times yet when you made them more modern, it didn’t seem right either. So we sort of walked a thin line trying to make it believable and yet not make him look too cartoon-y.
- (Something strikes one of the primitives and he begins thrashing about)
- ROB BOWMAN: – This particular fight sequence from my point of view, as a director, was challenging because I’ve got two people in *heavy* wardrobe and make up and I need a very physical, very violent fight in basically a black arena and the alien, the gentleman inside the alien suit, is completely blind. With sharp talons at the end of his fingers so I gotta protect the cavemen from his claws and the cavemen has got to pretend to be stabbing somebody that he can’t really stab, with his sword. And you know there’s no guns and none of the usual things we see in a fight in the movies. So how do I make it as real and scary as I possibly can? Well, once I saw the creature walk in, realized that he was blind, I had to adjust the entire approach to filming because I now needed to be very short, flashed cuts so that I could create the illusion that the alien is quite dangerous and lethal and all the while having this UCLA linebacker, Craig Davis and Carrick O’Quinn take all the blows. You know, slam up against real plaster and make it as fissural (?) and dynamic and as worthy of the opening of the movie as I possibly could. So, but none of that was really understood until I saw (laugh) Tommy Woodruff walk on stage. You know, sorta like a blind man walking down a sidewalk. And I thought "Okay, I’m gonna have to be very abstract in my approach" and I think we shot a little extra film just to have enough cuts to make it "pulse along" nicely. It seemed to be pitfalls at every turn of how it "couldn’t" go well yet, due to Tommy’s practices as an alien, back to the alien movies and "Punkinhead" and Carrick’s dexterity and Craig Davis’ dexterity just being athletic. I think we were able to pull off somewhat of a worthy fight sequence between these two disparage characters.
CHAPTER 2: THE IMPOSSIBLE SCENARIO
- BLACKWOOD, TEXAS
- PRESENT DAY
- (Without warning a boy falls through the roof of a cave)
- Now we leap forward to present day, 10,000 years forward. The shovel and the wardrobe helps us identify where we are. Now we have these three ordinary little boys that are out playing around in there backyard like every kid that grew up digging holes and looking for stuff and boy, don’t they find the ultimate buried treasure. It’s the accents and sort of, the ease of which these guys are going through the dialog that’s sorta the fun of the scene. Now we’ve gone from you know, prehistoric times into everyday life somewhere in the south. This would be the dream of every ten year old boy, is to jump into a huge cave and find a skull it’s sort of a weird, translucent ) course now it all goes wrong. New mystery for the boys.
- (Stevie sees the oil coming up. Starts lifting one foot then the other)Drops skull and looks down at his shoes as the black oil begins creeping up his legs)
- This is Lucas Black who we first saw in "Slingblade" and who just sort of has a very natural, easy going pace about his delivery. We thought would it bring the audience closer into the story telling because he sounds like the everyday boy from next door. The other boys, I think, were all found in Virginia and North Carolina and what not. We were looking for as natural a delivery as we could find .
NORTH TEXAS PRESENT DAY
- And now, the camera comes up out of the ground and we realize that we’re in suburban Texas, as the legend identifies, with Dallas there in the background. Yet there’s another time cut in the middle of the shot, still rolling, same shot we bring in the fire department. The trick is marrying the two shots together. There’s two halves of one shot, shot hours apart. Taking out the seams of houses blurring as you overlay the two shots together and now we’re urgently trying to figure out what’s happened to this little boy.
- So now, the fireman’s down in the cave. The cave has proven to be a scary, dangerous way for anyone who goes down in there. This will be the third part of our mystery where we’re going to infect these firemen, and now by not showing them and the dangling ropes and the ropes eventually goes still and there’s no response from the radio. We’re worried that the firemen are going to suffer the same fate as the boy and the Neanderthal.
- Leap forward again in time to the chopper arriving which is obviously help that’s been called by the fire department but they get more than they bargained for. They’ve asked for just some help from the city of Dallas and who shows up is these HAZMAT suits. HAZMAT suited men in white with this bubble litter and some gentleman who suggests, by scaring everyone away, by asking everyone to move back that there’s a larger problem then we’re being told, that he know something that we don’t know. The sheriff is still in over his head a little bit, he’s informing Mr. Bronschweig here what he saw and what he found. Bronschweig, who knows more than we do at this point, realizes that we’re in more trouble and more danger than we could ever imagine. They’re being preoccupied by the tie in of what he’s seen of the oil in the boy’s eyes, and knowing what he knows about the aliens, entire conspiracy he’s up against this small town fire man . We’re in for a world of trouble, and then playing on to that greater mystery is this circus of trucks pulling in. This was a very tricky sequence to film because we had not enough time to do it. When you have six or seven or eight semi-forty footers rolling in at 35 miles an hour crisscrossing each other's paths there was a lot of opportunity for trouble, for accidents or wrecks. I didn’t have enough time to shoot it carefully so we sort of documentary styled it. There was actually very little good film in there because the film guys were so busy whipping around getting different pieces of film there were very few shots that lasted more than two- two and a half seconds so that it was a challenge just to mined though all the footage and find what is very, very carefully selected few shots of moving those trucks in.
CHAPTER 3: EXPLOSION IN DALLAS
- FEDERAL BUILDING
- DALLAS, TEXAS
- CHRIS CARTER: Our Mantra on the TV series has always been; it’s only as scary as it is believable and it’s only believable if it feels real. Which is what I think science fiction should always attempt to do. So because we needed to recreate Dallas, we went and scouted in Dallas and Texas and found out that it would be prohibitively expensive and that we need to shoot this bomb sequence in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles skyline, which is very recognizable needed to be disguised. So camera angles needed to be chosen, appropriate camera angles. We needed to find the right rooftop, looking over at the right building there were so many different things we needed. Luckily, we found I think, the right combination. I think Rob did a great job of disguising some of the more prominent aspects of the LA skyline. Then Matt Beck came in, our visual effects producer, and helped to take away a little bit of the background of Los Angeles so that when you see that helicopter fly past. You're actually seeing for a moment there, a bit of a re-creation there of what we tried to make look like Dallas instead of Los Angeles.
- The character of Scully is introduced. In the following shot we see her tiny on the roof top and then we see her walking down onto this building where she’s talking on the telephone to Mulder. Fans of the TV series know that they communicate by cell phone a lot. I don’t think I could have done a TV show like this, pre-cell phones. This is the introduction of the characters. You get a chance to hear Scully talking very scientifically, she’s very rational, very logical. Then you get a chance to see her run into Mulder. This is the introduction of not just one character but two and also them as a pair. For the movie where we would have a larger audience, maybe even a new audience, we were hoping to build on our television audience. We needed to understand, and very quickly, who these characters were, what they believed in, what their relationship was to one another, the playfulness before all the action set in. This was a trick most film makers don’t have to do something like this, they don’t have to re-establish characters for both a old audience and a new audience. And so that was the trick throughout the beginning of the movie. Not to bore the regular audience and to keep the new audience entertained.
- I’ve created two characters who are kind of opposite of their gender stereotypes. Scully, being the reasonable character. The one who is scientific, who needs to have things explained to her, much like the male characters usually are and Mulder being the more intuitive character, who "feels" much more like a female character is usually cast. I think that we needed to re-establish this to have the audience understand this as quickly as possible so that we might take them through the rest of the story understanding exactly who they were watching.
- The characters of Mulder and Scully, as fans of the show know, have not just a respect for one another, and an affection, and a protectiveness but they have a deep love for one another. Where this goes in the movie, is a place it has never gone before in the television series and it ends up in a pivotal scene in Mulder’s hallway. That needed to be set up here in the beginning of the picture. We needed to make sure we didn’t go too far ultimately with these characters to too far a place cause we needed to come back to this place for the next year of the TV series, which was year six. So there again, filmmakers usually don’t have to think conservatively, but we needed to make sure the relationship was understood, intact, went somewhere new yet, didn’t go so far as to be irreparable.
- (Mulder walks towards the vending machine room, walks past a man in a vendor’s uniform)
- ROB BOWMAN: The vending room sequence is a very unusual way to be in a mystery because it begins quietly, and unsuspiciously and then David has this funny moment with the vending machine that eats his quarter, which we’ve all been through. But with Mulder’s impenetrable sense of wonder, he’s always looking around the corner for something not right and he finds something that he never thought he would or certainly hoped he wouldn’t find which is )boom, you know, THE BOMB.
- It’s these moments that I played with David a thousand times before in various episodes in Vancouver, where he’s sort of just poking around, with not much to do, results in a discovery of grand proportions. He does not even know how big this one's gonna be.
- This discovery is going to lead him on the greatest adventure of his career. Of course, meanwhile Scully’s just outside thinking he’s just goofing off because of the rooftop thing with the doorknob but, psychologically the audience is thinking)"what? Now there’s a bomb, in a vending machine, in a building that was not cleared of its personnel so, are we suggesting that whoever planted this bomb intended to not only detonate the building but everyone inside of it? Full of innocent people?" That’s the most heinous crime I can imagine. I was actually resistant to the idea early on in the script process because I have relatives in Oklahoma but, the fact that Mulder shows up and does clear the building. I think is the difference of course, between the unfortunate event in Oklahoma and what we’re saying here. But, it is a horrible, horrible crime. It’s what is the catalyst that set Mulder and Scully in action to solve this crime and figure out what’s going on. Now from a director’s point of view, on the X-Files everything is tried to be made as authentic as possible and research, research, research. Well, I wanted this bomb to be, without instructing people on how to make a bomb, a "real" bomb. So we had the LA bomb squad come and basically give us visuals of what it should look like. On the first appearance, it’s not very interesting, nowhere near what movie bombs look like but, we came to common ground of reality where this is a bomb that got excelerants and detonators and explosives. So that when you look at it it’s slightly underwhelming. It doesn’t have all the sizzle and eye candy that bombs in movies do because bombs in movies usually are exaggerated, and phoney-baloney. Therefore not really bombs and this one I wanted it to have more of an authentic touch so it’s a little simpler. It’s stacks of "C-4" and some computer cable here and there and something in those gallon jugs down below. I know when we first put the bomb in the vending machine, they taped up the tubs down below and the tape was so well down, that it actually just looked like, oddly enough, just the inside of the vending machine. Although we couldn’t see any cans, we couldn’t tell that it was in fact a bomb so I walked up sort of, yanked around the red tape to break it up a little bit and make it look that it was hand wrapped and quickly so. But, it was just to give the audience the feeling that this was not a sensationalized piece of equipment. That it had something more authentic about it. Just trying to make it as real as possible.
- Now begins the countdown to the explosion. This is the sequence that we’ve seen in movies before and I wanted it to find a way to do it differently though the prism of the X-Files, through the eyes of the characters. That is stories we try to stick to and that is telling stories through point of view. So I thought, okay, point of view is first person narrative. How do I tell the story through the minds of Mulder and Scully? That is by following them into the car, staying with them in the car, through the explosion and only using third-person or objective shots of the building to show the degree of damage or the size of the explosion. But nothing else, nothing gratuitous, not a lot of panic shots with the crowd. But Mulder’s and Scully’s perception and experience of this explosion. So I called Heather, Scully’s stunt double, if she would be willing to get in the car, un-seat belted and ride out basically a crash caused by the explosion of the building. She said she would and that sent into motion the story boards and this entire approach of telling the story through an X-Files story telling fashion.
- They barely get into the car, they don’t buckle their seat belts and now we’re into the fourteen camera building explosion.
- The building explosion was done in two halves. The first half was the building exploding, first floor, what not, angles of cars. Michaud’s car, who’s the FBI agent, was blown up, being concussed and kicked off the ground . The other half, after the building was blown up, was the Mulder/Scully car crashing into the parked car of which there was probably seven or eight cameras used for that sequence. Then all that being done then another small bit of filming of Mulder and Scully getting out of the car, walking up and looking at the exploded building with a green screen behind them and a motion controlled shot rotating around them with the face of the Unical building being blown off which was in fact, a forty five foot shot miniature shot down in Playa Del Rey. With miniature pieces of paper, and flames and smoke added in layers and then added in composite to the background of that shot over the back of David and Gillian.
CHAPTER 4 – ASSIGNING BLAME
FBI HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL REVIEW
- (Scully is sitting before the review board)
- CHRIS CARTER: The X-Files was built on the idea that the government is withholding information, keeping secret certain facts and knowledge about the existence of extra-terrestrials or not. This was the thing; I think stated very clearly, in the pilot episode and have become a kind of spine for the rest of the series. The FBI has come out of this looking actually pretty good. They look like a tool of a shadow government or of government operatives who are behaving in very selfish ways using the government to there own purposes. To protect this conspiracy, to keep this conspiracy of silence. In the series, this plays in what we call mythology episodes. About five or six episodes a year that investigate with agent Mulder and Scully the THE conspiracy and the main people in it. Including the Cigarette Smoking Man, and some other people, Krycek, that doesn’t appear in the movie, who are doing everything they can to keep these secrets.
- So the movie then is the big mythology episode. It is the one that deals with the government and the government's unraveling, if you will, the piercing of the veil of secrecy that they have been keeping for so long. It’s done through a giant investigation of agent Mulder and Scully for their behavior. Mulder and Scully then have to go out again as renegade agents to over turn the information that’s being, sort of, framed against them and in doing so they uncover the mythology that for five years running, have been the) sort of, engine for the X-Files. The X-Files is one of the most collaborative endeavors one could ever hope to be involved in, and I mean that in a good way. There’s a tremendous esprit de corps. There are so many people involved in the TV series as there were involved in the movie who want the work to be good above all else. So you get all these talented people working together for a common goal. It’s important to any enterprise, but it’s particularly important to a movie and for a television series it’s important because you do it for years at a time. Movies, you come and you make the movie and you all part ways hopefully as friends. You may work again sometime but it’s provisional. On a TV series it’s not so, you need to find a team, which becomes your family and you live with them day in and day out. On the movie luckily, I had Rob Bowman directing who was a part of that family, the television family. He and I had developed a rapport, a shorthand. I help him in ways, he helps me in ways, it’s immeasurable. But, when you go forward and you have a director, who values you, as not just as the writer, but as the producer. Who is able to turn and listen to what you’re saying take that information, he may disagree with it and he can say so. You’ve got a situation where you have two heads rather than one. You have a co-operative and a team process. This is to take nothing away from the director. A director is "king" on a movie and he needs to be so for the sake of the crew, for the sake of the actors. He cannot be second guessed, he cannot be undermined. He has to be supported. This is the role of the producer. It’s the role that I hope that I play, and the role I think I played with Rob in the movie. I was there to help him to make it as good as it could be every step of the way. Once again, Rob is a prince. He’s a person that wants it to be good above all else and is willing to listen to advice and to suggestion and to idea and to change. I think that it’s a situation that probably happens all too infrequently in the movie and television business because egos tend to get in the way. But when you find these situations and you can cultivate them, I think that you can make a better project, a better show, a better movie with many heads with one like-minded goal.
CHAPTER 5: CONSPIRACY THEORY
SOUTHEAST WASHINGTON, D.C.
- (Fox Mulder is sitting on a stool at "Casey’s Bar")
- We tell lots of different kinds of stories on the X-Files. We tell good, scary monster stories. We tell, what I call "weird science" stories. We tell technology stories. We also tell these conspiracy stories which have become the mythology of the show. They’ve actually become the heart of the show, or the backbone, if you will. The whole series began with the idea that Mulder’s sister was abducted by aliens when he was twelve years old. That idea was what pushed Mulder toward the X-Files, what made him start to look at these cases of the paranormal in a very personal way. It was about finding his sister.
- So the government conspiracy was a conspiracy to hide the existence of extraterrestrials from the American public. So Mulder has a convergence of two things, he’s got the belief that his sister was taken by extraterrestrials, something you could find in the X-Files and he has a belief now that the government is conspiring to keep these truths away from him. So the series works best on a personal level in this way because the stakes are very personal in the mythology shows and the shows about the conspiracy. Ultimately because Mulder lost his sister to a conspiracy and Mulder ultimately ended up losing his father to a conspiracy. Scully has now lost a sister to the conspiracy. These are very important things on a personal, emotional level to the characters. So I felt, to make the movie, to be honest to the five years of the show, and honest to the origins of the show, it needed to be a movie's, the most personal, passionate part of the show which is the quest for the truth as to why these thing happen to me. Why these things happen to Scully? Why these things happen to Mulder? It was also a way to tell a big science fiction story without having to explode the television series, or re-explain the television series perfectly. It was a way to use the series to launch into the movie and use the movie to launch back into the series. A stand alone story would have been a perfectly good movie I think, but it would not have been contiguous with, and a part of, emotionally, the series in a way that I really wanted it to be.
- (Mulder decides to "Water" the *Independence Day* movie poster outside of Casey’s Bar)
- ROB BOWMAN: I saw the Wizard Of Oz when I was, I don’t know, eight or nine years old. I thought "Wow, movies, what is that? Movies are magic. Look, flying monkeys and I’m scared and I’m happy and I’m sad and all these emotions". And I’m just watching a picture, and listening to dialog and the music and sound. "What are Movies?" Then my parents were big movie buffs and we’d be sitting around the house. My sister Karen and mom and dad and some movie would come on and Mom would say, "Oh look, there’s Lyle Barrymore and this is directed by Robert Sieodmack (?)" So, I knew all the names before I was a teenager. All the old movies you know, Dad was hip on everything. Mom knew everything about movies. So as a film "buff" or a film historian the bedrock was laid just in my household. Then as my interest grew, I started seeking movies and watching more and so watching Martin Landau on "Mission Impossible" and you know)I remember that. So when the day comes that I get to direct Martin Landau I’m two people. I’m a little boy looking at a dream come true. And I’m the director. But I can’t let Martin Landau know that I’m like, in awe. And he was awesome in "Tucker" and he’s an Academy Award winner. So the first thing I’m shooting with Martin Landau is Mulder's point of view of him at the end of the bar. He’s just this character in the shadows down there. I got two cameras, I gotta wide and a tight and we do the first take but just before we roll he says, "Hey Rob, what the B cam? What lens is that?" I said it’s a 150 and he goes "Okay so you're right here." And he has put his hand right on the frame line. We all turned and went)"Oh, this is a pro". "Okay right here" He was 70 feet from the camera , " Oh, okay you're right there)okay got it, okay I know what I’m doing, okay I got it)Ready, action)Cut." Now all these extras and everything, then I’m at the other end of the bar at the monitor. So I say "cut", I’m on my way to Martin. I’m getting through, trying to cut my way through the red sea of all the extras and I find him standing, looking over the tops of the extras, like looking for me, like mad or I don’t know what. I walk up and he goes)"How was that?" And Martin Landau, now I’m a little boy all of a sudden, is asking me if what he just did was okay! So I keep the director face on, I said, "I don’t wanna know that you're thinking. That time you reacted and I could figure out that you were suspicious, I don’t wanna know that, I wanna know *nothing*. Just the fact that I cut to you, sitting there, looking our direction and cut back to Mulder is all I need. The audience is gonna wonder what you're about. So don’t say anything. Got it! Let's roll". I’m walking back to my monitor and I’m having a complete out-of-body experience. I am directing a major motion picture, and I just gave Martin Landau, Academy Award winner, direction. And he looked me right in the eye and as soon as I gave him the direction he said "yes sir" and went back to his chair and said "Roll camera". We did it a few more times and I thought "You know what? Life is pretty good".
- (Scully’s apartment)
- CHRIS CARTER: In the television series agent Mulder is always coming to agent Scully and waking her up in the middle of the night. Bringing her into his office, showing her something that cannot be explained or she cannot explain it scientifically and it sends them on their way into an X-file. Something similar happens in the movie. Agent Mulder, having sort of been drinking away his sorrows goes to agent Scully’s apartment. Wakes her up and brings her down to this morgue to show her something. What’s important to the television series as well as the movie, is that it all works on real science. If it weren’t for her abilities as a medical doctor to question things there would be no believable science fiction. Mulder would be without someone to refute what he’s saying. Someone to do the foundational work on which he can build his theories of science fiction.
CHAPTER 6: THE MAN IS STILL ALIVE
- ROB BOWMAN: I tried to come up with some signature visuals that would catch your eye and says "pay attention, this is somebody you should sorta keep an eye on." The first shot was gonna be the choppers against the moon, coming over the horizon, approaching the tent city in Texas. The shot itself just needed to be striking. It’s the first X-File image in the movie. The rest of it is pretty much, you know, with the x-files look but in terms of the signature x-files image, that's the first one. And it needs to ring the bell quite loudly. I can tell you the moon is probably a Hubble shot or something. The helicopters are completely synthetic, completely CGI manufactured. I can tell you they almost looked ideal on the first try. That shot just happened easily and simply. It was unlike any of the other CGI shots. The fumes from the exhaust sort of rolling in front of the moon, that’s something you're familiar with seeing in movies, that’s all, the whole thing is synthetic. The leaves blowing on the hill, it’s all synthetic, the whole thing is fake.
- Well, Cigarette Smoking Man has been such a tremendous activator character. Anytime he’s in the episode, or in the story, we expect some terrible things to happen, either directly to our characters or he’s going to cause an event to happen and he’s motivated based on his own needs, you know, what serves him best. He is a villain that people love to hate, he’s on screen, very cinematic character because he wears a long dark coat. He smokes, we get the smoke very, Nuaresic (?) sort of look and doesn’t say much and leaves a great deal to your imagination to wonder what he’s thinking of and planning. A classic villain. He seems to be responsible for the most heinous crimes on the X-Files and you have to include him when you want to have the highest drama because he’s up to worst no good.
- We’ve turned him, in the movie and the following season into not such a black and white bad guy. That his motives might have been disguised by terrible consequences of his deeds but in fact, he’s actually been trying to, as he says, "protect" Mulder or to "protect" Scully. To do the right thing for mankind, when all along he’s actually trying to extinguish it. But none the less, just from a director's point of view, a storyteller's point of view you just want to have him on the screen because he tends to bring out the worst in people. I think people anticipate what terrible thing is he up to. So you’ve got the direct effect of his actions and the anticipation factor is very strong with him because if he’s not doing something now, what is he going to be doing soon.
CHAPTER 7: A PLAGUE TO END ALL PLAGUES
BETHESDA NAVEL HOSPITAL MONTGOMERY COUNTY MARYLAND
- (Mulder and Scully are attempting to enter the morgue)
- CHRIS CARTER: It’s kind of a conceit, this "truth is out there" mantra because to be honest, I don’t pretend to know the truth but the characters are searching for it along with me and the other writers on the show. With exploring themes, we’re exploring science as it kind of presents itself to us. We’re really trying to stay up with, on the show and in the movie, the science that we read about in journals and magazines and newspapers everyday and it’s fascinating to do. We’re at a time in life right now where the advances and knowledge is amazing in genetics. What we know about DNA and we have come to suggest and to theorize about what products we are of our genetic make up. The neo-Darwinest says we are just robots carrying out the instructions that are inside of us. There’s also something that’s called "junk DNA" which is part of our make up and scientists don’t know what its function and the idea that we have something inside of us, that no one knows why it’s there or what it does is a wonderful thing to explore. Because no one else knows the truth, we’re sort of searching, I think, for it like good science fiction along with scientists who are working currently in the field.
- ROB BOWMAN: Once we’re inside the morgue, we’re starting to show some great, classic, creepy X-Files with the sticky skin and what has happened biologically and psychologically with this fireman. His skin has been made translucent, that ties into the skull found in the cave with the little boy. Now we’re beginning to find that the skin is starting to become like jello. Almost as though paint thinner has been poured on a person and the skin is starting to eat away. But what we learn is that he’s being eaten from the inside out, slowly. Scully, who is our resident scientist, can’t figure out what’s going on so Mulder is going to ask her to stay and do some research on her own. She’s reluctant, of course, her career is in jeopardy right now. She’s in the process of, relocate now, of trying to relocate and say good by to the x-files. Meanwhile Mulder is saying, "Well ok, while you're thinking about that do some illegal research for me". She’s saying "why risk my future so that you can go on another bug hunt and you can prove once again that the government’s corrupt. We’ve already proved that." He says "yes, but I want to find out who committed these crimes, and that’s the right thing to do and don’t you want to do the right thing?"
- We’re now going back and forth between the Kurtzweil-Mulder story and Scully back in the naval base and this is a scene where Mulder enters Kurtzweil’s apartment and obviously something’s gone wrong here. His apartment’s being searched by the police and we learn that Kurtzweil is a gynecologist and that’s a very deep reference to the women that were tested in the series (for the die hard fan) knowing that all the women tested were tested and utilized for cancerous experiments, many of those who died, he is somebody who’s been a part of that and who’s now on the outs with the conspiracy. Some jokes about Mulder needing a proctological exam.
- Here we are outside of Washington, AKA downtown Los Angeles on Normandy with the blue sunrise sky which means we’re shooting into the last moments of dark, and finding a private space here for Mulder and Kurzweil to have a meeting.
- (Mulder talks to Kurtzweil in the alley outside of Kurtzweil’s apartment)
- CHRIS CARTER: It was my chance, of course, to cast people that I’ve always admired in movies. Character actors, wonderful character actors like Armin Mueller-Stall and Martin Landau. Luckily I had the good fortune of not just writing for them but being able to cast the people I actually wrote for in the roles that we’ve created for them.
- Martin Landau was perfect as the Kurtzweil character. He is the combination of the credible character because he has a certain number of facts that check out about his life, about what he is suggesting, and has a certain incredibility because of the outlandishness of his story. Because he delivers them in a way that begs credulity. He’s not a person that inspires confidence in telling the story but it’s enough confidence for Mulder so it’s a character that has a vagueness about him, who has a quality that suggests that he may or may not be telling the truth, perfect for X-Files. So a character that can deliver something and make you ill at ease, make you uncomfortable, make you doubt him but at the same time giving you just enough information to make you curious, to make you go want to go forward.. This is a great X-files character.
- The idea that I’m standing on the set the first day Martin Landau worked, talking to him after having watched him on Mission Impossible since I was a kid. It has the combined quality of making you feel very old and making you feel like a kid again. Because here you are talking to a guy who helped shape your imagination as a child but, it was a treat to work with him because first of all, he’s a trooper. There was a night where we shot the scene in the little alleyway between the two buildings where he ends up delivering to Mulder what really is the essence of the conspiracy. That scene was shot over a night and into the next morning. Here you're looking at an actor who is of a certain age, who went all night long, whose voice started to give out on him, but who kept going take after take. Didn’t want a break, didn’t want to stop, didn’t give up. It is about the work for them. It was a great scene in the end. It was because Martin Landau gave it every bit that he had. All night long.
- ROB BOWMAN: So on the parallel, back and forth between Mulder learning about the depth of the conspiracy, reaches of it, the far reaches of it all the way to the president’s office, and back and forth between Scully learning about what is the biology, the science behind the effect of the black oil. Here we see a translucent piece of bone, a rib. That ties back into the translucent fireman, that ties back to the skull in the cave, and now, we’re starting to see that this is the result of a body being infected by the black oil. It doesn’t mean anything to Scully yet because she’s too busy trying to avoid capture, then sit around and summate what happened with the body. But for the audience, that’s the correlation. The oil that infected Neanderthal, and the fireman, and if we were to see the boy, he would be in the same shape in the ribcage, as here in the fireman showing the translucent bone. Mulder now having heard all this about the death of the conspiracy, calls Scully and she’s afraid, she’s heard, and seen some things that bother her but she’s still reluctant. And now (Mulder) with her finding this in the body, what he’s heard from Kurtzweil, he needs her more than ever to keep going because there’s more to find there. They're actually on to something here, pieces are adding up.
- (Scully is beneath one of the gurneys, hiding from the MP’s that have just entered the morgue)
- This sequence of Scully being caught, I think, would have been made better had we understood the geography between the autopsy room where she was working and this room. Because to me the distance between opposing forces increases and decreases tension as they get further and closer away, further and closer to each other. For me not knowing that the morgue refrigerator was 50 feet away from the other room. So in my mind, as she goes in the other room I can sort of click off the amount of time it would take him to walk, my tension increases in my own mind. But we didn’t do that, we just didn’t have the resources at the time to create the hallway set. That is one way I think that tension can be increased and decreased, by always showing the distance between the two parties.
CHAPTER 8: SO MUCH FOR LITTLE GREEN MEN
FORENSICS LABORTORY FBI FIELD OFFICE DALLAS, TEXAS
- Now here we have Mulder in the FBI office with this agent and they're trying to look into the rubble from the building explosion and find more translucent bones. And what Scully’s gonna find here, unspoken, is same molecular structure from the bone found in the rubble as what she’s seen back at the coroner’s office. She’s gonna understand, in fact, a tie in between the fireman and what Mulder’s talking about.
- This was actually a set we made in a giant computer room in the Unical building, downtown Los Angeles. We put the dividing walls, but to get that look, sort of reminiscent of "All the President’s Men". In the office there with Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford with all those florescent lights that go on forever. We built this little lab, with the little hot zone right in the center, with our own little light box above to stage around but it was all a big set (nursing?) job.
- Now, Scully here, without saying anything, looks up in shock when she realizes she’s seen a tie-in between the structure of the bones and what she saw back in the office.
- This shot with the kids is really just an off the cuff thing I made up on the day. I saw the opportunity while we were scouting and as the sun was setting here, nearly out of the sky I had these little kids playing on the swing sets and running up the ladder. Just creating a contrast between, you know, here’s the worst conspiracy known to man right outside in the backyard, there’s where these little kids play.
- We’re introducing for the first time in the tent sequence here, the "Scully transport cryo-container" which is what we will see later in the movie, what carries Scully off to the Antarctic. The thinking behind the design was to be as "industrial", and as durable as possible because it gets used over and over. I wanted to stay away from shiny chrome, polished surfaces, and anything that didn’t look like it was getting used. Sort of like, what would a D9 look like? D9 Bulldozer which is the largest bulldozer they make, (as far as I remember), you know after lots of uses. Well it doesn’t look shiny and polished, it’s pretty beat up. And actually John Deere was sort of a metaphor we used for looking for ways to design things for a lot of this stuff. Tough and durable was the idea.
- The tents were all, you know, what can you set up and take down in a moment's notice. It’s all ‘rock and roll’ truss and tents and stuff that’s prefab and goes up and down in a moment’s notice.
- Here’s a tent pole scene in the movie for tension where we’ve been doing a lot of exposition, sort of listening to people describe a lot of (saying?). Movies are about showing, so here was a very important sequence in the movie that would ratchet the tension up and give us a good boo in the middle of the movie and then carry forward "what’s the monster up to?" It’s gotta be a nail biting, edge of your seat, white knuckle tension scene. Otherwise I’ve failed as a story teller.
- And again, one of the more important ways to create tension is once you’ve established your opposing forces, you’ve established your threat to your protagonist or to whoever is the eventual victim. It’s the distance between the two forces that for me, are one of the more important elements in tension. Because the closer the threat is to the person, the greater the tension and the further away is the opposite. So by moving this creature from the beginning of the scene where he seems about forty feet away, and he’s not too agitated to, in a very quick motion, he’s on the other side of the cave, now he’s within ten feet. Bronschweig goes from curious and in awe of actually witnessing through his own eyes, what the creature looked like to a look of resignation where he’s now just having the last look at this thing cause he’s ‘dead’. That’s all done through geography. So tie-ins between the two opposing forces is to me, essential.
CHAPTER 9: THE SYNDICATE MEETS
- CHRIS CARTER: The people who make up the conspiracy are mostly men in their fifties, sixties and seventies. The idea being that these were people that were in positions of power, or of fledgling, burgeoning power during the cold war. As the cold war escalated and then collapsed these men were in positions to learn certain things as a result of secret, scientific experiments, cold war politics. They splintered and/or split off from the body of government they were working for and banded together with this new knowledge of the existence of extra-terrestrial life and used that knowledge to their own purpose. They are)’Elders’ we call them, men from different nations, all of whom have kept the secret to themselves and will do anything to protect it. So what we are seeing is really the result of the predictions, I think, about the military industrial complex, about global politics being shaped by, the not necessarily the good of the people, but by moneyed interest and I think that it is allegorical in that way with what we’re seeing in the world today.
- We do have a rather farfetched idea about alien life, but I think the world it takes place in and the players are all too believable and as people who have made, in fact, find reasons to be involved in something like a global conspiracy for purposes that are completely selfish. John Neville has been on the show. He plays a character named the "Well-Manicured Man". All the bad guys don’t have names they have descriptions. He is an important part of the group of elders who run the conspiracy because he’s the voice of reason. He’s a person that believes that violence is the wrong way in which to protect the secret, that you need to let a certain amount of information out so as, sort of, keep your pursuers close so you can control them. They all are in service to the leader, a man named Strughold, who has been in name only in the X-Files, who becomes embodied by Armin Mueller-Stahl in the X-Files movie. That I actually got to write this character and then cast exactly who I wanted was a huge thrill because, I think, Armin Mueller-Stahl is one of the most interesting, intense actors of a certain age and quality. So when I got to meet him and to see him work and to see the way he took the words and added to them and gave them a certain rhythm and pace. He made the somewhat, farfetched ideas of this science fiction notion, that aliens are plotting to colonize the world. He took it and as he gave the character the creditability that needed to bring home the central idea.
CHAPTER 10: UNMARKED TANKER TRUCKS BLACKWOOD, TEXAS
- ROB BOWMAN: I think a funny moment, when the park is left, after the clean up. You cut from after the cabal meeting and Armin Mueller-Stahl says, you know, "We must take away that which he cares about the most" Cut to Scully! (gasp) Audience)Oh, they're gonna kill Scully. Then cut wide, and see that they're in this park. "What have they done? It’s a cover-up right? Okay so, we need a park, we need a lawn, we need sod, we need a jungle gym, we need a little park that they’ve donated, they’ve given us some sign that says you know, "donated to the people of Blackwood county", whatever. Well we show up in the morning and the park is about as big as my kitchen at home. It’s a little tiny chunk of sod, it’s a disaster. Now, this is one of those days when you look at the call sheet and you think)"Now if I start really fast, and I sprint like mad, and we don’t eat lunch, maybe we’ll make this day". Well, the park is wrong. And then Chris shows up and his hair just stands straight up. "What is this?" There was so much stress that there was no stress for me. We’re shooting, we’re shooting, we’re shooting, we get to the little boys and by the time I shoot the master of the low panning shot where the boys pan, they ride into the marks left to right and they stop and David and Gillian walk up. The sun, it’s like right over the mountains. If you look in the background, it’s actually getting a little lens flair, cause the camera’s on the ground and the sun's actually going right through the little boys' back. Right over the (??) lens it’s on the horizon. I had one camera position and what I would do is, I got behind the camera, I just panned to the third boy and I’d say "Do your dialog" and then I’d pan over and I’d go back and say, "Do it again" and then I’d go back, go back, go back. The sun is gone! And the sky is dark gray and it’s actually an 18k light cross lighting cause there’s no sun. So I’m hoping the lab can, like, save my life here. And I’m panning to each one of the three boys saying, "Do your dialog. Stop. And they don’t know what I’m doing, I’m like a mad man at this point. The little boys are trying to run a scene and I’d say, "Stop! Do your dialog again." "Okay, look further to your right. Okay now, pan over, now you do your dialog. Okay! Funnier, funnier!" You know, it’s like the most insane directing you can imagine! "CUT! PRINT! We got it." I turn over to Danny and he just falls out of his chair. "I CAN’T BELIEVE WE DID IT! I can’t believe it! Oh my God, oh my God. Chris is laughing because Danny’s just a big raw nerve. And we pull it off, and you know, it’s actually kind of funny, kinda cute. Every time I look at that scene I realize that we made that by the "skin of our teeth" and in all of that there’s a few of the shots, even the one where David and Gillian walk over to the lawn that I think are really) shots people complement me on. I thought, if you knew how that stuff came out. "By the skin of my teeth". You know, it was not sitting in a drawing room with a story board artist conjuring up master images. It was, "Oh my God, I’m in big trouble. We’re never gonna make the date. And I’m gonna look like I don’t know what I’m doing"
- CHRIS CARTER: We made this movie in between television seasons. At Christmas, Frank Spotnitz and I came up with the story, worked it out, laid it out very carefully. In February of the next year, I snuck away for ten days. This is during the making of both a season of X-Files and the first season of Millenium. I snuck away for ten days. I still don’t know how I did it, and wrote about two-thirds of the movie. It was enough to give the studio, to show them what we wanted to do. They "green lighted" the project as a result of that two-thirds, I think something like ninety pages. We started to prep the movie over the course of the next several months. That being March, April, May. Beginning shooting the movie in June, I believe. It was a short prep, it was costly. I wouldn’t ever do it that way again. It was all done as the thing we were doing in addition to the television series. Which had a certain amount of benefits because we all knew the TV series, we all knew the things that work.
- We didn’t have to create something completely from scratch so that was helpful. But no one was used to working on that pace and when you work weekends, you spend more money, and the budget goes up for things that don’t ever show up on screen just because you're pushing the limits of time. Because we needed to get this movie made in the course and span of the time between seasons four and five of the television series. Before the movie was even finished filming we were back into our process again of coming up of stories and writing scripts and going right back in to the television series. So, it really was done on our vacation time. We ended up working for two years straight, all of us, that is probably not the best way to work, but it’s the only way we could do this movie which we were all determined to do.
- ROB BOWMAN: When they’ve actually stopped at the crossing, the train is real there. The only thing we had to do when they were having the argument at the railroad crossing was remove "Saugus, California" which was a freeway, hillside, dwellings, lights, what not from the (???) process. Now oddly enough, I’d originally envisioned that scene that when Mulder came around the front of the car, he would have, sort of, kneel down to use the headlight to illuminate the map, and while Scully was taking a (??), while David was down looking at the map. Well, when we got there and staged it, we just decided that that wasn’t the right idea. It just didn’t seem like David should squat down. While what we didn’t think of that moment, and should have was, that by him standing up, every time you cut to him, you had to remove "Saugus" from the background. So it was like, thirty thousand, thirty thousand, thirty thousand every time you cut to him. So we probably would have been better off having him squat down in front of the car, that would have been fine.
CHAPTER 11: THE BEE DOME
- But that sequence was really just a subtractive problem. Crossing over the track, (and the car following) you know, the next shot, the train's coming towards the camera. Camera moves out of the way, car comes over, that’s all practical. But the train from the bluff is CGI, it’s computer generated. It originally wasn’t moving. So the last time you see it it goes tearing by, goes into the tunnel. They drive to the bluff, they get out of the car. Walk to the edge of the bluff, they look out and see this vast expanse. Corn fields, domes in the middle of the arid desert.
- CHRIS CARTER: I used to go to a dairy farm in the summers. We would milk cows. We would have the kind of farm experience, these were friends of my parents. We used to go into these cornfields and if you’ve ever gone into a cornfield at night, it’s one of the most frightening things in the world. You don’t know what’s gonna pop out, what’s going to grab you, what spiders are gonna come out. There’s just something eerie about a corn field. It’s organized, it’s in rows, yet you can get trapped inside, you don’t know how to get out. So this is a certain fear I have and so why not put Mulder and Scully into a similar situation. As it worked out, the science, the genetically altered corn worked for the story. It also dovetailed with another fear of mine which is the fear of being stung by something. We’re all children when it comes to stinging things and for me it’s bees and yellow jackets and things that pack a wallop. Scorpions, centipedes, all those stinging things that were so frightening to you as a kid somehow on a gut level, they are frightening as well. So you have this opportunity to do something original, scary and suspenseful and you have the ability to do it with architecture you’ve never seen before and make it beautiful. Make it a big screen idea, giant vistas, it all just came about as a need to do something wholly original that we would never be able to do in the television series.
- ROB BOWMAN: I’ve got the audience as my attorney. They’re thinking because it’s the X-Files, space ship. Those may be spaceship hangers. Who knows, I want to leave the possibilities open as long as I can so that their minds are ready to accept anything. Then we build the tension by stepping into this dome and you’ve got architecture, you can’t quite figure out what you're looking at. The audience is trying very hard to try to decipher what it is these squares might be. They know, because it’s the x-files, that there’s gonna be a pay off here. What in the world is it gonna be? Are aliens gonna pop up? Are they gonna be shot? Maybe nothing’s gonna happen, who knows. That’s exactly what we wanna do. Then we have rising tension again through the slates opening, and making a lot of noise from very, very quiet to making a lot of noise. With the slates, the louvers, and the bees come up you can’t figure out what you're looking at. I think it takes you a couple of cuts of the bee dome to figure out they're bees. You're confused, but they're freaking out and it’s a panic all of a sudden. We had three hundred thousand bees flying around. Never seen it before. By the way, David and Gillian were never stung in all the filming. They didn’t wear gear. The crew had the nets and the gloves. The crew got stung. David and Gillian with nothing on, never got stung.
- Then you go outside and (whew) we made it. Now the ebb goes down, the rhythm's sort of stalled for a moment. But again, it’s that uncomfortable quiet. Something else is happening. And then I wanted, because the audience is always expecting to see a spaceship in this movie. I wanted to introduce the helicopters in such a way that you thought; "Spaceship! I knew it! Here it comes!" Then lights dancing against the top of the corn stalks. That was the one take where the chopper that was three hundred yards from camera and flying by his altimeter and the camera man, the steady cam operator is standing at some random height, somehow the physics, the geometry of these two was just perfect for that one take.
- Where the light was just three inches above the stalk, the cornstalks, and danced across, and you thought, "There it is, there’s the first spaceship of the movie." And then it turns into a helicopter. "Aw!" you know, so now I’m still teasing you, still making you wait for the extraterrestrial in the movie. (*mumbled, hard to understand*) That’s just the expectations when you come in to see the movie. From this point on, I have nowhere to go but up, which is high speed, full velocity sprint. Now, I’ve also got the audience thinking that there’s gonna be gunfire. "They're gonna shoot at us! Black helicopters at night shoot at us." That’s just what I’m thinking. They don’t. But the scene goes on. And we’re running, and now Mulder and Scully get lost in the fray. And the choppers are doing what? I’m starting to get concerned because I can no longer anticipate the gunshot. Because when the gunshots go off, I just have to avoid the bullets. So I can figure that one out. And again, it’s just trying to stay ahead of the audience, to say "You’ve not seen this before, you can’t anticipate the conclusion, you can’t anticipate the consequences because I’m not giving you anything to deal with. So, the sort of herding of Mulder and Scully, out of the cornfields is unnerving because I don’t know where the other shoe’s gonna drop. I thought if they shot at us, and we escaped we’re safe. They dealt the punishment for being there, they caught us, they shot at us and we made it out. That’s the end of it. NO, they don’t shoot at you, Mulder, Scully get out. I feel incomplete. I feel like the punishment's not been dealt. I was sorta shooed out of the cornfield. But it feels like it’s incomplete. The arc is not complete. What’s gonna happen now? How is this gonna pay off later in the movie? What’s gonna happen to Mulder and Scully?
CHAPTER 12: RESIGNATION
- CHRIS CARTER: This is an actually little grace note, that Danny came up with was, you know, Scully after being up for three days, never having a chance to go home and primp. Stops for a moment and looks at her reflection of a photograph of a former FBI boss and primps herself for a second. It was a nice little touch of class.
- This is one of the ideas in the script that was actually most challenging because it’s tying in principal cast, and a bee that has something very specific to do, just to crawl out from underneath Scully’s collar, and then return to the collar. So to set up a later scene, it was something that none of us thought would really happen including the bee trainer who never told us that until after it was done. But, he basically had a pheromone box or small trap underneath the center of her collar and the bee came out after being placed in just a plain tube. Crawled out from her collar, and searched for this pheromone trap and it went back into it. We tied it in with the dialog and with the actress, both Gillian and Blythe Danner, but ended up moving it into another place in the scene. But none the less, this bee performed this little staging miracle that we all thought would take half a day to film and would never really work anyway. And here comes the little girl now, and you see here the camera moving, it’s all timed with focus and telephoto lens which makes it even more difficult, and performed an on-camera miracle.
- When agent Mulder and agent Scully get back from the cornfield something changes here. Agent Scully comes forward after having been away from the FBI against orders. She comes back with some hard evidence of what Mulder has been suggesting. That there is a conspiracy afoot. She presents this to the OPR Board and puts herself at some risk for doing it. In fact, it puts herself at great risk .
- Agent Mulder who has taken her out to this place, shown her what he has with the bees and the mysterious corn field, he now goes to Kurtzweil, the person who sent him there in the first place, to tell him what he’s seen. And Kurtzweil says to him that what he’s seen, he can’t explain, that he doesn’t have explainations for it. He actually leaves Mulder hanging out on a limb. So, as agent Scully has been brought by Mulder to some conclusion, agent Mulder is having the rug pulled out from underneath him. And the story shifts here.
- It is now agent Mulder who has great doubt and agent Scully who has some great belief. But the consequence of her belief is in fact going to derail not just the investigation, but their partnership.
- ROB BOWMAN: There’s a sequence after Mulder arrives back in his apartment to confirm Kurtzweil’s existence and friendship with his father where Scully comes in and says, "I’ve quit, I’m leaving. I’m going off to)so and so, I don’t want to stay because I know you’ll talk me out of it. So I gotta leave now, bye." So she runs out. Mulder persues her down the hallway, has already confessed to her in the room that now is the worst time of all. "We’re really on to something here. I need you. I need you, I need you." That’s the theme of the movie, Mulder needs Scully. Never before has he come to that understanding quite so strongly as he does in this story. So, she’s running because she’s afraid that he’s gonna talk her out of it. So the best thing she can do is just hit the elevator button and go, go, go. She never makes it. This was her first mistake. And Mulder also knows that that’s where she’s headed, is out the door. So, he’s gotta tell her why it is that she’s so important to him. And tell her once and for all that in fact, the whole time that they’ve been together, that the two of them have been together, that she has made him better. She has made him feel not like an outcast, not like discarded FBI trash, but actually sombody that’s worthy of her friendship. That, as he says, she’s made him a whole person. So in a scene filled with such virtue, such, you know, people sharing their most highest thoughts and feelings towards each other, you come to a sort of pinnacle, respect and mutual admiration that it leads into an intimate moment that neither one of them expect. Or were sort of working towards. It just sort of happens. You know, you just keep going and going and arguing and arguing and all of a sudden it’s not an argument, it’s sort of, you know, "we’re for each other, we’re for each other and we come to the opportunity of a kiss for the first time." But it’s not out of lust, it’s not out of any obvious reasons or typical reasons. It’s out of just absolute overwhelming respect for one another. Out of that respect comes an emotional response, where you transcend, sort of, logic and thinking and it becomes more visceral and human. The only place for him to go in my mind, to express the next thought is to kiss her. And how do we do that in the x-files fashion which is, you know, you never give them anything they want, and just sort of lead them down the road and say, "auuup, that's all you get". Then because of the bee, Mulder is abrupt and abbreviated. Stops short of, sort of, the zenith that the audience is wanting. But we don’t want to end the movie by completely cheating the audience. We’d like to, at least, add up, in parts, a kiss. So there’s the spaceship where Mulder's trying to rescue Scully and just when they get to the vent exit she collapses again, and she passes out, and she’s not breathing. So what do you do when someone's not breathing? You give them mouth to mouth resuscitation.
- So you’ve got the intention of the kiss, and the physical act of them touching mouths and I believe in Chris’s mind, the idea was, you take those two, add them together and that’s a kiss! That counts! Sort of in the frustrating x-files fashion, that’s a kiss. I obviously think that there’s more gained for the audience out of the hallway kiss. And I don’t think anyone really walked out thinking, well they sorta did, you add the two together. But doesn’t matter, because the idea is they were going to. As a story point, that counts as a kiss. It wasn’t because they didn’t stop themselves, something else entered the scene and interrupted them so)
- So now we have Mulder, what might be mortally wounded lying on the ground outside of his apartment. The next sequence is gonna be Scully being loaded on the container onto a cargo jet and flown off somewhere masterminded by Cigarette Smoking Man. It was a sequence that we shot in one night, it was actually done the last major day of filming for First Unit. It was really sort of a first and second unit but we still had, you know, Ward (?) and still the first unit crew out there and it was a great night at Los Angeles International Airport. It was just supposed to be a cool x-file sequence where something clandestined is occurring in a corner of an airport. We’ve got security guards sorta looking out and you know. It was a scene that we barely completed in the course of the night. As a matter of fact, in some of the last shots of Cigarette Smoking Man standing and watching from inside the airplane you can kind of see the sky starting to blue up from sunrise in the background. The fun part about it was, again, finding inventive ways to introduce CSM into the sequence, which I’ve done since the character was created. It’s always, sort of, stealthy and sometimes clique but always fun none the less. The best part about the entire night was that I was going to finish the sequence, wrap the show. Then I drove over to the Bradley terminal and jumped on a plane and flew to Maui for five days and sat there sort of, in shock in my bed at the Four Seasons in Maui and couldn’t believe what I’d just finished which was eighty straight days of filming.
CHAPTER 13: THE LONE GUNMEN
- (Mulder’s hospital room with The Lone Gunmen)
- CHRIS CARTER: There were certain characters we needed to put in the movie who the fans had become very fond of and the Lone Gunmen were three of those characters. So it was difficult to find a way to put them in the movie and not have to explain too much who they were. Because the audience that’s been watching the television series for five years running knows who these guys are. But the non-fan would have no idea so there’s a very quick introduction to the Lone Gunman. They are explainers, they are nerd scientists, guys that are sort of "fringe dwellers". To put them in a scene with agent Mulder and ultimately with Assistant Director Skinner you run the risk of bringing the movie to a dead halt. The audience not understanding who they are, what’s going on and creating or ruining the suspension of disbelief because these characters are kind of cartoon-ish. But I think we found a way to do it and to use it as a transitional piece in the story. The man who plays the government "overlooker" in the hallway, a sort of ever-present shadowy government figure is actually the assistant director on the picture who we suited up. Put a little earphone on him and he actually served quite well as our watch dog, keeping tabs on Mulder who escapes through the help of these characters, the Lone Gunmen.
CHAPTER 14: TRUST NO ONE
- The characters who make up the conspiracy have kept their secret, a secret by sort of maintaining a united front. It’s sort of the old mafia idea of Omerta(?) That you don’t, you never divulge a secret. But inside the conspiracy there is politics. And the politics in the movie really focus on the Well Manicured Man, the voice of reason in the conspiracy. The man who does not like to resort to violence. He is, though, put in a position and taken to a place that is very awkward for him, which is to commit an act of violence, to get rid of this character Kurtzweil who’ve they have allowed to live because his ideas were so preposterous. His books were so outlandish and ludicrous that they felt that what truth he was putting out to the public actually worked to their advantage, while it’s quite real to them the public wouldn’t believe it. So, the Well-Manicured Man, who objects to what the conspiracy and conspirators have elected to do, which is to conspire with the alien colonists, they send the Well Manicured Man to destroy Kurtzweil. In doing this they actually set something in motion they don’t quite understand and this plays to the character of the Well-Manicured Man. He has a bout of conscience. He thinks about his family, he thinks about the future. When he finally does do in Kurtzweil, as he is asked to do, he takes the opportunity to give Agent Mulder all he’ll need to uncover the thing that will make certain for him that what he has believed all along has been true. The government has been conspiring to keep the secrets a secret and in doing so, the Well-Manicured Man does something that is quite heroic. He gives up his own life. It is on that turn that Mulder will proceed to his ultimate goal.
- ROB BOWMAN: In terms of the look of the x-files, it is heavily influenced by the noir period of film making. It is very noir-sque It’s a signature of the show, but the problem is it’s very hard to do. Because it takes time to use less light because you're working at the bottom end of exposure on the negative. We’ve been experimenting over the years to get a good rich low level look without it looking under exposed or grainy. Sometimes great success and sometimes, you know, not so good where you have a face floating in a black screen. But it’s the look of the show. It is the touching on the things that scare us. Which are taking out the trash late at night to the dark garage. When you’re a kid that’s a spooky thing, what’s gonna come out and get you? It taps a nerve deep, deep inside of us that the spooky, creepy things that exist come out of the shadows. That’s where they come from, the x-files. Anticipation, that if we’ve got a monster or a villain who comes out of the dark, but we only have him in the story two or three times, anytime there’s a shadow in that episode or that story then you’ll expect the possibility of the monster coming out of that dark area. So I explode my opportunity, my tension tenfold because now you're wondering, of which dark corners they’re gonna jump out of. It creates suspense, anticipation and tension, but none the less, it’s much more difficult to shoot dark and shadowy then bright and shadow-less.
- So here’s one of the more pivotal scenes in the movie where we’re one-on-one with Well-Manicured Man and he’s doing something very uncharacteristic, which is, revealing a great deal of information to us about the nature and the origins of both the aliens and the conspiracy and originally photograph was what had occurred with Mulder’s sister and her abduction, but proved to be just a bit longer than was necessary and we decided to remove the references to Mulder’s sister. All the while we’re cutting to the driver who is subtursly (?) watching us in the mirror and creating just a degree of tension because we’re wondering, first of all is Well-Manicured Man telling us the truth? It all seems so far-fetched and preposterous yet enough of it rings true to Mulder that it’s stuff that we can believe. But does this mean upon hearing all this information that we’re going to just be killed, and it’s all for naught anyway?
- The drive-by is actually shot outside the agriculture building because I thought if anybody would get that that was the Department of Agriculture and the tie-in between the bees and the corn crops and the "Talitha Cumi", which I think was the first bee episode, that there was some tie-in between the Department of Agriculture, ah, a little layer to throw in there even if it’s too far removed to be understood.
- Then the car comes to a stop. We’ve set up tension in the alley, tension inside the car makes us think now that Mulder might not be in such good shape. The door's locked. Now Well-Manicured Man has a gun and based on what we believe about Kurtzweil this may be Mulder’s demise. Shockingly it’s the driver that receives the bullet, probably because Well-Manicured Man was saying things he shouldn’t have been saying to Mulder which probably means he’s gonna be shot himself, the two of them were.
- ROB BOWMAN: I suppose on a story telling level this would be considered a dramatic low point for Mulder’s character. Because we’re still wondering if he’s gonna receive a fatal bullet, although we have been given the co-ordinance and vaccine for Scully. He’s got the gun in his hand. He’s already killed one person, where are we going here? The switch is, of course, we don’t receive the fatal bullet. We receive in fact, directions and convincing urgings to get off and save Scully.
- We have our lucky rat that runs through the background. It was not us, it was just the good luck that day.
- And then the big surprise twist was the suicide of Well-Manicured Man and the car explosion. We had different ideas on how to explode the car. At one point we were gonna do an implosion so as to be quieter about it. Another time we were gonna have hundreds of little metal BB’s come flying out as if he used some kind of a concussive grenade full of BB shrapnel to kill himself. But we ended up with a good oldfashioned car explosion.
CHAPTER 15: ANTARCTICA
- So we’re dissolving from the black of night, the dark interiors, the claustrophobic interior of the limousine to this vast white canvas of the Antarctic. This is really the influence that watching "Lawrence of Arabia" over and over during the course of filming had on me. Wanting to really utilize the width and scale of the movie screen for the X-Files and make it larger and on a grander scale than ever before. It’s a tie-in, a bookended tie-in from the beginning of the movie, from the image of the two Neanderthals running at us. So we’re sort of framing our story here. Now I have Mulder in a snow cat and was attempting to do here, another little layer that might be fun is that I put him in a "Tucker" snow cat. And Tucker if you remember, at least the movie, if not the story of the man himself, was a man up against the "big" three. He was a small man defeated by the larger conglomerate. I thought that was an interesting parallel with Mulder and what he was trying to do. So, it was a layer thrown in there for somebody that was searching for meaning in anything and everything, it was sorta fun. The extreme challenge here is, of course, when you're shooting on a snow bank that everywhere you tread you leave a mark. So if you're having shots like David up on the horizon after he’s crawled out of the snow bank, where you're seeing literally miles around, then you’ve gotta keep that snow clear and so basically one take, and you move to a different glacier. I wanted the rivet of track coming off that snow cap to be going all the way to the horizon and then a single set of footprints coming all from the snow cat. So that means that the driver takes that snow cat on the far side of the ring of the glacier field, all the way around the ice field, drives it straight towards camera with me on the radio saying, "Keep going. Keep going. A little to the left, a little to the right", and the driver of this snow cat getting out and walking up towards camera. So then David I just have to put on the other side of the rocks and have him popping up on the foreground and you get what looks like a single set of snow cat tracks and then David’s foot prints walking up. Meanwhile the camera crew is helicoptered up to the top of a summit. We set up camera and wait for David, it takes about an hour and a half to do one shot.
- There are several shots in this sequence that do not include real David or nor was I there. E.J. Forrester was up there directing it. We’re using Mulder’s double and some of the running shots on the surface are Mulder’s double, you know, had one day with David up on the glacier trying to get all those shots, which was very difficult of course, trying not to create tracks everywhere.
- Soon as he goes through the ice, you're into a sound stage. On the Twentieth Century Fox lot. Into a refrigerated sound stage with liquid nitrogen streaming down, which is actually, basically, cold smoke which falls instead of rises or hovers like regular smoke. Trying to create the illusion that Mulder has dropped through layers and layers of, down into, you know, thirty some, forty some feet below to the surface to what appears to be some sort of vacuum sucking the smoke down and then he drops down into the hole and now you're in more of a symmetrical tube. So wherever we are, we’re getting to something that seems to be something more "made" as opposed to, you know, by the hand of man as opposed to by the hand of nature. As Mulder is crawling down the tube we have a mystery as to "okay, where are we now? What could possibly be underneath this ice field?" and of course we reveal it one layer at a time, like peeling the onion, you just see it one layer at a time. Now I’ve cut inside the hallway and you're seeing even more structure. Now we realize we are in a place that has been manufactured. David jumps down into the hallway and the hallway needed to look like it went on forever but of course, it went five feet behind him. But we created a blue screen plate and then added in an "echo" of the hallway behind him so it looks like it wraps around for quite a long ways.
- Once you're inside the ship, the idea was to show how old the ship was and to see how long they had been encasing human beings. All the way back to the Neanderthal period. This gag never really paid off for us because we couldn’t get the thickness of the ice to look like it was several inches of ice and to identify what would be the decayed bodies of one of the Neanderthals. Although that’s what it’s supposed to be. We sort of tried and tried and tried and realized we should just go for what would look like a human being underneath the ice. And then you tilt down to the belly and you see the alien and you start to get the idea of the heightening discovery, the levels of science that are going on and just what a truly fantastic conspiracy this is.
- He walks over to the edge of a pipe, what looks like a large venting pipe. He looks down and sees what looks like these pods hanging and begin to realize that this is not just this one layer, but it’s actually quite recessed into the ground. Establishing the idea from the pods that are hanging in that tube, that there are many, many of these pods and as we go along in the movie and he steps out on the balcony we reveal the absolutely massive scale of this interior and reveal even more, down on the floor, pods hanging from what look like a Laundromat conveyor belt system moving these things along. That is basically what this thing is. The extreme high shot of Mulder from far away, way up on the balcony is basically a shot of David walking on a small set, the size of a dime. And then entire area, the entire world around him. Ninety nine percent of that frame is all CGI created. David’s face is real, of course, against a real background but it’s about forty feet long, fifteen feet high, that’s it. And we’re saying the ship is, I think, twelve hundred feet across or something. So you have a mix in here of both practical and CGI images. One of the challenges, well, how do we get Mulder from upstairs to downstairs in a dramatic, cinematic sort of way. It’s not going to be boring show leather. So we came up with the idea of him slipping and sliding and falling down the top of one of these tubes and of course we don’t know where we’re going. We’re gonna assume that it’s not gonna end well for him. There is a bottom to it but at the velocity he’s traveling and with him sort of, careening off this "knuckle" at the end, this collar. You have to have the shot where once he’s hanging by his knuckles, you’ve gotta drop something, 'cause that’s the way you show depth. So we, I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s his binoculars that actually fall out of his pocket and fall down to their demise.
- Then it’s a combination in the overhead shots of both a practical piece of tubing and then CGI work showing what would suggest hundreds of feet of depth below him.
- It is the challenge of the story teller to keep increasing the size of the conspiracy and the size of the adventure. You gotta have some pretty impressive set pieces and moments that keep elevating the story. So you need this kind of stuff, this kind of a set to make big action summer movie.
- So he finds this left behind wardrobe and of course, Scully’s cross. He now knows he’s found her and as he comes around the corner we reveal, what appear to be a very fresh set of these cryopods. Compared to the ones upstairs that appeared to be encrusted and brown, sorta old and we start seeing what look like modern day human beings encased in what still looks like to be some sort of a fluid, not completely iced over pod until he finds what he has been hoping for and hoping not to find Scully now trapped inside one of these giant icicles basically. It’s a mix of Gillian in a water tank and also a "Gillian" polyurethane cast inside of a pod that gives us the illusion that she’s actually incased in this stuff.
CHAPTER 16: A CONTAMINANT IN THE SYSTEM
- Then we have the ice station footage, which was not planned originally but we need a little more information as to who was sort of running this whole thing and where does CSM fit in. So we built the inside of the ice station, had a little running about and CSM looking like he’s in charge. Panic that the ship is coming apart, that there’s an intruder, actually that’s what it is. That there’s an intruder not that the ship's coming apart that’s gonna occur when Mulder injects this vaccine that we witnessed Bronsweig inject in to the side of the alien inside the cave and that’s what made the aliens stop attacking him for a moment. The point there sort of setting up the idea that the aliens don’t like this vaccine, it not necessarily kills them but that they are, um, it’s a hostile vaccine to the alien. After injecting Scully, you see something running out of her feed tube evacuating Scully and that tube then shrivels up and dies and that’s telling the audience the vaccine does in fact work as an anti-virus against the alien and against the black oil. Then the ship itself almost organically has a violent reaction to it and starts to sort of, come undone. The idea is that, basically the aliens are going to try to escape from the pods before the vaccine, as little as it is, infects the entire ship and brings them all to their demise. These steam blasts start firing off, and all of them, of course, CGI implanted, the hallway, the different steam vents. None of them is real. All of them are sort of, plates of hallways and then placed steam vents.
- Then we are inner cutting back and forth with chaos occurring in the ice station where CSM is calling for an evacuation. The ship in some form is waking up. So CSM is realizing that the whole thing is coming apart. There’s a moment here where Mulder is helping Scully out of the pod and the day we were filming in the space ship, Tea Leoni, David’s wife, was on set and saw us doing the shot where he’s carrying her away and suggested a moment where we actually saw him take her out of the pod, a very gentle moment between the two of them. Sort of in the tone of the kiss. A tender moment between the two of them and I thought it was a very good idea and we shot it, quickly and simply but it was a nice moment to add into the movie.
- Now we’re seeing everyone evacuate, we go back to footage that was shot up on a glacier above Vancouver. All of which was the ice station, and the snow cats and all of the camera equipment and all of the personnel. Everybody that was in this sequence, including me and David for one day, we were flown up there by helicopter. So everything you see made of that glacier, at least to the edge of the glacier, by chopper.
- This is the final chapter of Mulder rescuing Scully out of the space ship. Down below the ship woke up, somehow, we don’t know what, but it started vibrating, we know the situation is getting worse and worse for Mulder and Scully. So he’s trying to evacuate her out of the ship, trying to rescue her, and we’re inner-cutting between two of the sequences in which is the evacuation or the escape of the conspirators up on the ice field and also to the corridor where Mulder first entered, which we see is all melting. The ship is actually waking up its inhabitants. We assume, to the detriment of Scully and Mulder. This is a part of the movie where it really is about movie magic because not much of this is real. You’ve got what’s, in reality, the sets made up of wood and nails and paint and creatures which are men in rubber suits. The secret is to hire the best people and hopefully though the lens, to the audience, it looks real.
- Now we're coming into the second part of two parts that make a whole, is the idea of Mulder and Scully kissing in this movie. Which is something that Chris wanted to give the audience. But he didn’t want to give it to them in the standard fashion of them just, you know, exposing their feelings and then kissing. He broke it in two parts. The first part is in the hallway where they have the surprising intention to kiss out of respect. Then Scully passes out here in the corridor and Mulder's gonna have to revive her. It’s gonna have to be from mouth to mouth resuscitation which gives us the act, or the physical act of touching lips and Chris thought maybe those two halves might make a whole, giving them the kiss without actually having them kiss. Which I thought was a brilliant idea.
- Rising tensions. We’ve got a lot going on in this sequence now. We’ve got Scully unconscious, and creatures are trying to break out. Just like the days of filming, we also had a lot of things going on. These creatures in the pods, breaking out, require a great deal of detail work and different departments coming together. Physical effects creating the pods, that they’ll break out. These are replaceable face plates that break, you know, then you’ve gotta put them back on. You’ve got puppeteers holding a head on a stick with a trigger to make the eyes blink and the mouth open. Another puppeteer wrapped around him with the hands pounding on the glass.
- Then being doused with water, literally working within the confines of the pod which is nearly impossible being dumped on with water, you’ve got puppeteers busting their head through the faceplate of this glass. Steam effects interacted between Mulder and Scully. There’s a lot of things that come together to make this sequence look real and it’s anything but that on the set and it’s basically through the hard work and talent of the puppeteers and physical effects team and never giving up, that made it come true for us.
- The final sequence of escape is back in the tube that Mulder first entered in, is also now melting. Originally we had filmed the alien in the suit, Tommy Woodruff, pursuing Mulder and Scully down the tube. Every time David would look back we’d cut to the alien, the alien's point of view. That’s our attention, that’s our final sequence. We realized, in fact, that it showed too much of the alien. Like before in the movie, less of the alien was scarier, more to your imagination. We thought that was actually the sequence through the X-Files prism that made it more realistic.
CHAPTER 17: SCULLY, YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS
- So now we return to the ice surface. This was one of the most challenging sequences in the entire movie because so much of it is synthetic. It’s a lot of Mulder and Scully on a green screen stage with 120 by 70 foot wide ice field surrounded by green screen and the rest of it is the artistry and work of Matt Beck and his model team and CGI team and endless hours in the screening room with Dan and Frank and Chris and I trying to find sky colorations. Snow textures, densities, avalanche footage or collapsing snow field footage that looks realistic, the scale of the shots, all these things have to come into play and add up to a very, very exciting climactic finish to a summer action film and this sequence went through so many permentations for budget reasons and what not. But we had to come up with something that was bigger and better than anything we had ever seen. So, the idea of them, in fact, running along the top of the space ship realizing at one point to the audience that the entire time they were in a space ship. Now they’ve run across and were almost eaten up by the collapse, which is the space ship's mechanism flying away. It is a great moment for the movie because it was so incredibly difficult assembling the sequence and getting the elements to blend into what appears to be a seamless escape from the space ship. Including the snow in every shot is matched shot to shot because the densities change based on the lenses, based on the angles where the light's hitting the snow. The closeups of David and Gillian looking at each other on the snow were shot months after we finished the principal photography on a very small six by six chunk of chipped ice with a blue background. Fake snow blowing through. I’m operating the camera because I’m trying to compose and stay on the snow and also pull off the idea that once again Gillian is not seeing, Scully is not seeing the space ship but it was too convenient to have her pass out and then wake up after the ship left. So we just put her into sort of a semi-conscious state throughout. Then, of course, once Mulder realizes that they're both safe and that the ship has passed, the danger is passed. He collapses and it's Scully then that realizes what has just occurred and that Mulder has somehow gotten her out of the ice pod. And then this giant pull back revealing the crater and again it’s completely synthetic. That Mulder and Scully are just on a piece of ice and I pulled back with the camera and then Matt Beck added seventy five feet, a hundred feet to the pull back and the entire pit. So it was quite an achievement for everybody, it was painstaking and you know, over and over. But, in the end, it seems to be the popular sequence in the movie.
CHAPTER 18: THE TRUTH IS STILL OUT THERE
- CHRIS CARTER: The X-Files proceeds on the idea that the government is not just withholding from the American public, deceiving it, but that it has the ability to get inside your life, to invade it, ruin your life, make your life miserable. In the X-Files we sort of play it out in an extreme way. The government is sort of the all purpose villain. They have the ability to shape not just the truth but to shape the future and your lives along with it.
- ROB BOWMAN: The irony at the end of the movie, which is after all that hard work and all the discovery and uncovering of facts and truths that the conspiracy carries on. Just like every other embarrassment or mistake it is basically lost in the paper shuffle. It's about the movement of paper and facts and burying it so that nobody will ever know that anything happened. And the conspiracy, in fact, is going to be both covered up and destroyed. The burning of the corn fields and the transportation of the bee corn oil we know is now going to be sent out, spread out, and does that mean we’re going to be infecting citizens of the United States?
- Well, probably, possibly, and that in fact against the wishes of the FBI director here or the head of the investigation, Blythe Danner, that the only way any of these truths were ever found out was because of Mulder and Scully’s pursuit of the truth and then, in fact, the best thing to do is to reopen the X-Files which is the beginning of the Sixth season. After we show the cover up, the burning of the cornfields and the scene back in the OPR with Blythe Danner, we have Mulder and Scully in a Washington D.C. park discussing the cover up. This is the second version of the scene. The first version actually had Mulder showing up and talking to Cigarette Smoking Man. Mulder revealing to CSM what he knew based on the conversation in the limousine with Well-Manicured Man about, on a holiday there would be an actual emergency and such and such was going to happen. At the end of that scene, sequence, then Scully shows up and there’s a brief moment between the two of them. Well, when we screened it the first time, we were only tested the movie once for a closed audience. The response was with that scene with CSM was completely out of context of the movie because Mulder and CSM were actually protagonist and antagonist and never in the movie did they ever meet. Now they show up in a park and all of a sudden they're conversing as if they’re old friends. Well they are old friends in the series, I mean, acquaintances. But not to the first time viewer, and so we decided that the best thing to do would be to re-shoot and have CSM enter into that scene in a different way. So we re-shot it and we actually improved it because we made it more a scene about Mulder and Scully and their relationship and their quest and their bond. Then at the end of that scene we had CSM up on a hill having watched them and realizing that he’s going to have to stay on them because they are going to be a continued nemesis. Well, we cut that out because it seemed impervious so that was the alternate ending. Then we’ve got this footage of a helicopter over the sand dunes of, I think, Southern California somewhere down near the boarder of Mexico. Really wonderful footage shot by E.J. Forrester where apparently they shot a lot of the Star Wars, the first Start Wars desert footage.
- Then we’re actually here in Bakersfield, where we brought eighty feet of sand and try to suggest that we were in a (???) corn field in the middle of a sand dune filled desert. Well, the sand dune they’re walking on, the sand that they’re actually walking on is about eighty feet long. I wanted to have a little bit more of an expanse of sand so I could show really how incongruous the corn field was but when CSM’s feet come into frame the sand is just out the left edge of frame and when I pan around and I have Armin Mueller-Stahl and Bill Davis standing there talking the sand is just out of the right corner of the frame. The rest is just Bakersfield and dirt so)but we did the best we could with the sand we had and it really was about the discovery of the note that the X-Files had been re-opened anyway.
- Then we finished the movie on a quiet note; which is there are many, many of these corn fields and, of course, the conspiracy is going to continue on and on.
- This shot here, the only thing that is real about it is the corn. The domes, the sand dunes, the sky is all fake and as matter of fact even some of the corn was replicated through the shot to make it look like it’s a bigger field then it really is.
- CHRIS CARTER: We have this idea, or we’ve always said, it’s a pretense actually, that what we do each week with the X-Files is we tell a little movie, we make a little movie. While I do believe we do this, I learned in making a movie that nothing is like making a movie. That a year of your life goes by very quickly, that the big screen has demands that the small screen doesn’t. It is both a bigger screen and a kind of minimalist process, everything needs to be reduced. There cannot be any digression, no dead ends, no pontification. That the audience gets very tired very quickly if they are not moving in a forward direction in a movie. So I learned why movies cost so much . I couldn’t believe some of the price tags that were put on things. But when you're talking effects and you're putting them on film it’s a much more costly process and prospect. So I learned the hard way and I was sort of slapped in the face a little bit by the demands of that big picture up on the screen, both of the film maker and the story teller. While I think that we told a big screen story and I think we told it well. I think that when we go to do the next X-Files movie that we will all be much wiser, more experienced and savvy men and women. Who, I know, that are looking very forward to carrying this on from a TV series into a series of movies.
- [THE END]
- The X-Files: Fight the Future/Transcript
- The X-Files: Fight the Future/The Simpsons: The Springfield Files