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X-Files Undercover

When you’re investigating the bizarre success of Fox’s paranormal, paranoid drama, truth is stranger than science fiction




The truth about The X-Files is in here. At least I hope so. If I seem confused, suspicious or even full-out paranoid, trust me — I have my reasons. From the moment I fearlessly chose to accept this assignment, strange things started happening. Unexplained things. Totally paranormal shit.

First, how can I explain away the phenomenon of finding myself entranced by a show that I — and much of the Western world — initially dismissed as goofy, spooky kids’ stuff? After all, The X-Files was a series that even the Fox network considered less promising than The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. The cast’s star power was unproven. Gillian Anderson was a complete unknown; David Duchovny was most familiar for wearing a skirt on Twin Peaks as well as for breathing heavily on the Showtime sex series Red Shoe Diaries. Chris Carter, the show’s creator, was a former Surfing magazine editor whose most notable credit may have been Rags to Riches, a short-lived musical-comedy series starring Joe Bologna. The X-Files premiered on Sept. 10, 1993, with little hype and less hope. “This show’s a goner,” proclaimed one critic.

Gradually over the last three seasons, as if part of some uncannily orchestrated scheme involving alien DNA, this unlikely show has struck a big, paranoid chord with the American public. The X-Files marks the spot where our collective fears get the best of us. It has become a massive cult phenomenon, a sober but trippy conspiracy a go-go.

The X-Files chronicles the adventures of Fox “Spooky” Mulder and Dana Scully — two FBI agents investigating paranormal cases who share a profoundly sexy yet chaste partnership as they take on sinister foes. They attempt to shed light on the shadow government that would keep the truth about aliens covered up; meanwhile, they also do battle with the occasional liver-eating serial killer, Satan-worshiping New Hampshire PTA, sideshow murderer, flukeman, vampire and — is this one redundant? — woman-beast from New Jersey. Dramatically lit and eerily scored, The X-Files has proved that even at a time when many humanoids take Pat Buchanan seriously as a presidential candidate, we’ve not entirely lost our ability to be scared.

The X-Files touches a pulse and taps into a public perception that the government can’t be trusted and that rational science isn’t giving us the whole picture,” says Bud Hopkins, a leading UFO investigator. In terms of convincing others of the reality of aliens, Hopkins says, “On balance the show is probably doing more good than harm, but it’s not an unmitigated blessing.”

At first, staking out this show was strictly a professional obligation, but gradually my behavior became curiouser and curiouser. I found myself planning to be home Friday nights to watch The X-Files. As if in some ’90s twist of an old Kafka plot, I woke up one morning to find myself an X-Phile. Could this inexplicable adjustment of my aesthetic judgment perhaps be the result of some complex and sinister attempt at mind control? Or could I possibly have been watching too much TV?

Having been sucked into the show’s vortex, I decide to drive to the Burbank Airport Hilton, near Los Angeles, to check out the Official X-Files Convention. While the truth may be out there, some of the attendees seem way out there — imagine paranoid Trekkies who think the Vulcans might actually be out to get them.

I don’t make it to the Official X-Files Prop Gallery, and I miss a seminar on “Mulderisms/Scullyisms.” Some unseen foe conspires to make me purchase all sorts of merchandise. I buy X-Files novelizations, comic books, the official series guide, a diary, a phone card — even an Alien Autopsy (Fact or Fiction?) video. Later I will pick up Songs in the Key of X: Music From and Inspired by the X-Files and the new X-Files videos. As it says in TV ads for the videos, owning is believing.

Properly accessorized for convention duty, I laugh and cry during the screening of “The Gags Are Out There,” the official X-Files blooper reel. At one point I hear the hundreds of people in the audience — who have paid about $20 to attend — cheer wildly as they watch video of an oozing wound. At least they look like people.

Intrigued, I decide to press on in my investigation. When I finally arrive in Vancouver, British Columbia, where The X-Files is shot, things only get stranger. At the airport, I notice that the “dollars” here have pictures of some middle-aged woman on them. After I order the penne arrabiata from hotel room service that night, my food arrives immediately, as if They already knew exactly what I wanted. Later that same evening somebody eats every last one of the overpriced Famous Amos cookies in my minibar. On a music-video channel, somebody — or something — actually plays a Rush video.

At the show’s suspiciously placid-looking production office the next morning, I closely encounter Chris Carter and realize something is very wrong here. Supposedly the show’s creator, executive producer and leading writer, he’s not remotely pasty — as a writer’s supposed to be — but handsome and boyish at age 39. When I watch David Duchovny at work, again something is suspicious. Some scenes end with Duchovny saying “motherfucker,” yet strangely this word never appears on the air. The next morning I meet up with Gillian Anderson in a faux cemetery set that’s been erected in a frigid Vancouver park. As her colleagues adjust the fake gravestones, she looks around and says, “This is so weird.”

Actually, the set seems almost lighthearted. The two real stars are Duchovny’s beloved dog, Blue, and Piper, Anderson’s 1-1/2-year-old daughter with husband Clyde Klotz, whom she met when he was an art director on the show. “Piper’s cuter,” Duchovny says. “But Blue has nicer hair. Blue used to be smarter, but Piper has eclipsed her in that area. I don’t see Blue gaining.” Charmed but unconvinced that I understand exactly how high up this thing goes, I head back to Los Angeles, where I interrogate Carter.

What follows, then, is my best effort to make Carter and his two stars explain the unexplainable. But as Deep Throat — Mulder’s dear departed government source — said in his dying words, “Trust no one.” Not even me. That said, I’m ready for another assignment — maybe delving into the mysteries of Savannah.

Subject: David Duchovny

Even if he did lose to Stephen King on Celebrity Jeopardy! last year, David Duchovny remains one smart cookie. How many TV hunks do you know who went to Princeton, then grad school at Yale, and started a doctoral thesis titled Magic and Technology in Contemporary American Fiction and Poetry?

The 35-year-old Duchovny grew up middle-class and “half-Jewish, half-Scottish” on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His father — who wrote such books as David Ben-Gurion in His Own Words and The Wisdom of Spiro T. Agnew — and his mother, a schoolteacher, divorced when he was 11. David earned a scholarship to Collegiate, an elite day school where his fellow students included John F. Kennedy Jr.

Just shy of earning his doctorate, Duchovny, who’d taken to hanging around the Yale Drama School, decided to switch paths and act. Many of us first spotted him as the transvestite FBI agent Dennis/Denise Bryson on Twin Peaks. He’s also been seen in films including Beethoven, The Rapture, Chaplin and Kalifornia. His dating résumé, meanwhile, includes Maggie Wheeler (Chandler’s whiny ex-girlfriend Janice on Friends) and Perrey Reeves (Mulder’s vampire love thang in the “3” episode of The X-Files); more recently he’s been spotted with Kristin Davis (Brooke on Melrose Place).

During our interview, Duchovny appears to be more of a witty and quirky wise-ass than an intense brooder like Mulder. He’s also apparently more of a team player than the maverick Mulder — he’s even contributed story ideas to The X-Files.

Oh, yes, he’s smart. Maybe too smart. As I’m leaving his trailer dressing room after questioning him, Duchovny turns to me and in that famously charming monotone says, “It’s really nice to have someone intelligent to talk to.” A beat later he adds, “I wasn’t referring to you. I just meant that as a general rule it’s really nice to have someone intelligent to talk to.” Such displays of alienating humor make me hope someday he will use his erudition to pen a memoir. I Am Not Fox, perhaps?

Tell me about your first acting role.

In fifth grade I was one of the Three Magi at Grace Church. I stopped after that, like, “Don’t send me these The X-Files other parts. I brought frankincense to the Lord, and now you want me to be a spear carrier?”

So when did the acting bug bite?

It was being around Yale. And my friend Jason Beghe had become an actor. I was like, you can actually do that?

Deconstruct the success of “The X-Files.”

X-Files is like any popular show — you don’t deconstruct it. It works because people say it works. But I think people want answers. This show offers a kind of Oliver Stone world where there are bad guys and they’re the reason we’re all unhappy. If only we can find these bad, white, middle-aged men who killed Kennedy, stole and hid the UFOs, then killed my father and Gillian’s sister, everything would be cool. It’s a nice fiction.

An intelligent response. So how come Stephen King kicked your ass on “Jeopardy”?

It haunts me. Actually, I kicked my own ass. The good thing was that Stephen’s one of the only people who understand how annoying it is for people to say, “This is just like an X-file, David, huh?” because he always gets “This is just like one of your books, Stephen, huh?”

Did you enjoy cross-dressing on “Twin Peaks”?

It was nerve-racking. Twin Peaks was such a big show, and nobody knew who I was. I didn’t do research. I let instinct take over.

Did you get positive reaction from the crossdressing community?

No, but in my heart, when I think of Mrs. Doubtfire and To Wong Foo and the crossdressing craze, I feel I was an underappreciated pioneerette.

How was doing “Red Shoe Diaries”?

The pilot was a great experience that taught me a lot about acting.

And your ongoing stint as the narrator?

That’s a good paycheck.

Did you think “The X-Files” would make it?

I didn’t think so. A show about extraterrestrials — no matter how well-made — how many can you do? I didn’t see the show opening up to be about anything that’s unexplained, which is limitless.

When did you realize the show was connecting?

People would come up to me and preface their comments with, “I don’t watch TV, but …” We’re not the kind of show you watch just because you’re sitting in front of a TV. We’re must-see TV.

Were you aware of Fox’s reluctance to casting Gillian?

That’s overblown. You look at Gillian, and she’s a beautiful woman. And how often do you see Scully in a bathing suit? Gillian’s not 6 feet tall and doesn’t have what’s-her-face’s tits, but she’s got as nice a face as any of them. Maybe they thought she’s not all enough or not Pamela Sue Anderson [sic] enough.

What’s the secret for the heat between Mulder and Scully?

We have a kind of furtive understanding that it’s me and her against the world. That’s kind of sexy regardless of whether or not you want to fuck them all the time.

Do you play it like Fox has impure thoughts about Scully?

No, what I tend to play is that I always want to check with her. Whenever I hear something interesting, I’ll look at her. That’s sexy to people. I don’t play it like Fox wants to fuck her. But there’s some tension between us whenever there’s another woman around.

Apart from the rare vampire fling and his porno collection, Fox is pretty asexual.

He’s not asexual. Sex is just not high on his list of priorities. It’s weird because most of the time women don’t register with this guy, then there’ll be an episode where he’s led around by his dick.

How many times has Fox gotten laid?

Once. The one time with the vampire.

Were you uncomfortable with his having a porno habit?

A little queasy at first, but it made sense. Mulder never gets any, and it’s hard for him to make connections. I guess it’s also to tell people I am interested in women — at least in abusing them. Oh, he’s not gay — he loves to abuse women!

I’ve heard you’re sick of answering whether you believe in this paranormal stuff.

I’m not the character that I play. And even if I did believe, I wouldn’t want to discuss it with every stranger. We want to believe there’s something more intelligent than us, something kinder, something that will help us in the end. But I’ve never understood exactly why these shadowy figures would want to hide this information. It’s like JFK. I can’t even keep a secret with my best friend. We can’t even get a health-care plan, but they can hide extraterrestrials.

Do you feel responsible for adding to our cultural paranoia?

No. We didn’t create this — we tapped into it, and we’ve come to symbolize it. I did a course at Yale and there was a thing about advertising and the fact that the armpit didn’t even exist as a body part until deodorant companies decided it was a problem. Sometimes I feel that’s what we’ve done. We verbalized a problem people didn’t know existed. But there was always an armpit.

Do you see “The X-Files” as a spiritual show?

Yeah. We could do a lot of religious shows because at the heart of the Jesus story — with all the faith healing and miracle working — the dude was into some paranormal shit.

That’s your Lennonish “We’re bigger than Jesus” line.

When I said “bigger than Jesus,” I just meant more muscular.

Would you watch “The X-Files” if you weren’t on it?

Hard to say. It’s like saying, “Would you love me if I killed your rabbit?” I actually had this discussion with an old girlfriend. She had a rabbit with cancer, and it smelled terrible. I asked her if it’d be OK if I killed her rabbit, and she had the greatest line. She said, “No, because you wouldn’t be you.”

Despite being the right generation — X, oddly enough — Mulder and Scully are anything but slackers.

I guess our work running around chasing aliens in the woods is so much fun. Whenever I talk to an FBI agent, I ask if we’re doing it kinda realistically. They’ll say, “Not enough paperwork, man.”

So you run into G-men a lot?

No, but there was one in the audience at Jeopardy! I asked him what I can do better. He said, “Don’t ever reach for your ID with your gun hand.” That’s very smart.

What’s the FBI’s attitude toward the show now?

They like it because we’re courteous and we don’t use racial epithets and don’t bust people’s doors.

Plus, like J. Edgar Hoover, you’ve got a background in cross-dressing.

I had a line I wanted to use in the first season: “This dates back to the first X-file, back to our illustrious cross-dressing founder.” They took cross-dressing out.

Was there anything called an X-file?

Maybe a Malcolm X file.

Do you go online to get feedback?

No, I’m self-conscious enough with 10 million people looking at you every week. I don’t need to go on the Internet to get confirmation that I suck.

What are Fox’s politics?

I think Fox is an anarchist. His passion comes out of a sense of justice — more a symbolic sense of right and wrong, not so much right or left.

Will there be an “X-Files” endorsement of a presidential candidate?

I don’t know. However, there will be no X-Files endorsement of Diet Coke.

What do you think when you see all the “X-Files” merchandise?

I think, “Here’s another thing I don’t get money from.”

Unlike your colleagues, you haven’t appeared at any of the “X-Files” conventions.

I have my convention virginity intact. It’s nice to do a good show, but I want to be able to move on. Doing conventions is a way of not moving on. I meet people who like the show all the time, and I shake hands. I don’t need to get paid $15,000 to go to some convention. In 20 years I might.

What about the rumored film version of “The X-Files”?

I think they want to do it the next hiatus. At this point I’d rather play other roles, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to do this role.

I’ve heard you and Gillian don’t socialize much.

No, we never do. We spend enough time together.

What did you think of posing in bed together?

I thought the photos were great. And I thought that Chris Carter grooms his chest hair.

[As we wrap up, Duchovny realizes that we are mysteriously locked in his trailer. Heroically jumping to action, he calls the production office for help on his walkie-talkie.]

Boy, getting stuck in here is sure just like an X-file, huh?

If there was no resolution — if it ended up maybe we’re in here, maybe we’re not — that would have been like an X-file. The difference between Mulder and David would have to be that Mulder can escape from a burning boxcar buried in sand in the middle of a desert and David can’t even get out of his new Airstream trailer.

Subject: Chris Carter

As we talk in his mysteriously small office on the Fox lot in Los Angeles, Chris Carter is surrounded by a library that includes Dolphins, ETs and Angels, Conversations With Nostradamus, Cosmic Top Secret, UFO: The Continuing Enigma and perhaps the scariest book of all — The Bridges of Madison County.

Carter grew up in Bellflower, Calif. He started surfing at 12, and after he graduated from California State University at Long Beach, he worked as an editor at Surfing magazine for 13 years. With the encouragement of his future wife, screenwriter Dori Pierson, Carter started writing screenplays and soon found himself working for Disney TV. Softball pal Brandon Tartikoff brought Carter to NBC, where he developed some pilots and produced the aforementioned Joe Bologna vehicle. In 1992, Peter Roth, the president of Twentieth Century Fox Television, brought him on to develop programs for the studio.

A few short years later, Carter’s a power broker. “The X-Files phenomenon is first and foremost Chris Carter,” says Roth. “He’s extraordinary, unique, slightly twisted, a little paranoid with a huge commitment to quality.” John Matoian, the president of the Fox Entertainment Group, is similarly impressed: “Chris is a perfectionist and his own worst critic, which is great for me.” Carter has recently created a new fall drama for Fox called Millennium, which will follow the exploits of a 21st-century Seattle private investigator trying to solve seemingly unsolvable crimes.

Everywhere one looks in Carter’s office are reminders of the huge impact of The X-Files, including a Mad magazine parody (The Ecch-Files, with Fax Moldy, Agent Skulky and FBI Assistant Director Skinhead) and the box for The XXX-Files — a porno tape featuring one Tyffany Million. I plan on investigating this last title further.

When you’re onstage at one of these “X-Files” Conventions, do you ask yourself, “Who the hell are these people?”

The weird thing is, I know exactly who these people are. They’re kindred spirits.

So you don’t have the Shatneresque urge to say, “Get a life!”

No, no. How do you feel when you see people who aren’t just fanatical about the show, but fanatical in general?

You mean the paranoids? Again, we’re kindred spirits. The thing that has come through on this show that’s really alarming and wonderful for me is that almost everybody feels the government is not acting in their best interests. One survey by the Roper poll said there are 5 million people who believe they’ve been abducted by aliens. People say, “Well, then you knew you had an audience.” But that’s not my audience; that’s my fuel.

Don’t you worry about the lunatic fringe that thinks of “The X-Files” as a documentary series?

The lunatic fringe is there whether they’re watching us or not. There’s tons of UFO literature — these people have much more than The X-Files to hold on to. The X-Files is just high profile because it’s so successful.

And at least one hour a week, you keep us safe from them.

I don’t think they’re dangerous. I think these are peace-loving folk. People have asked me about the connection between The X-Files and the Oklahoma bombing. And as I’ve tried to make clear, I’m saying question the government, not overthrow it. This is not a revolutionary show. It’s fiction, first of all — we make this stuff up.

So you think most conspiracy freaks are actually nice and benevolent, like your lovable Lone Gunmen on the show.

When you go to conventions, you see these guys. They exist. They have booths with literature about mysterious organizations like the Illuminati. But is it anything more than wacky and subversive? I don’t think so. I don’t think these guys are making pipe bombs.

How do you feel about the very explainable phenomenon of “X-Files” merchandise?

I resist a lot of stuff. If this becomes a show you can find at your local Kmart or Wal-Mart too easily, it’s going to lose the thing that’s made it special. The X-Files is coming out on videotape, and it’s going to be in all those stores. It makes me a little sad. I’d like it better if you could only find them at a head shop in Van Nuys.

Talking about head shops, were any of your ideas for the show drug-inspired?

I was actually never a big druggie. But I was a surfer, so I was around it. There are certain sacraments and rituals that had to be conducted. I did do a Native American Church peyote ritual with the Navajos in New Mexico, so that spawned a couple of the early Indian episodes.

I always dismiss conspiracy theories on the basis that the government seems incapable of conspiring to do much of anything.

That’s my feeling, too, about, like, JFK. Everything comes out in the end. But the idea that there are bad people out there working in dark and shadowy ways outside the system, I think, is very believable and real.

Have you gotten any postcards from any cigarette-smoking members of the Trilateral Commission saying, “Love the show. Now shut the hell up”?

No, but I bet there are people who watch the show and say, “They’re onto something.”

In casting, it took some convincing to get the network to go along with Gillian, correct?

I sort of staked my pilot and my career at the time on Gillian. I feel vindicated every day now.

How do you explain the celibate sexual heat between them?

I’m adamant about not putting them in a romantic situation. Their passion would be directed toward each other, and all the aliens, mutants, and other ghosts and ghoulies would run amok. But when you have two smart people who are passionate about what they do and happen to be physically attractive, you get sexual heat. Fox is very respectful and protective of Scully. He’s gentle with her and playful, and people take it as flirtation.

So then what do you make of our cover shot?

That’s David and Gillian in bed, not Mulder and Scully.

What kind of reaction have you received from the FBI?

There’s been no official reaction. Mr. Freeh [FBI Director Louis Freeh] has not commented. He did unofficially allow us to come and visit the FBI. We got nice treatment from the agents who were big fans of the show. They think it has shed a good light on the FBI.

Applications up?

They tell me that’s the case, and that they have to tell people there are no X-files to investigate.

Any fear of running out of stories?

I won’t allow myself that fear. The stories are out there.

Do you think that the show plays into our victimization craze? Now we can not only blame our parents for our being fucked up, we can blame the government and aliens, too.

To a certain extent we play on fears that things are out of control, out of your power. I think that’s what is scary about life, so we capitalize on that.

Are X-Philes more likely to vote for Clinton or Dole?

I have to think they’re more conservative in a weird way. The idea of questioning authority is not just a liberal idea. People say the show is obviously Republican because it says government is a bad thing. I think Republicans say, “Trust us.” And I’m saying, “Trust no one.” I do often wonder if Chelsea Clinton is an X-Files fan.

Who are the most surprising fans?

Grandmas and grandpas. People in the intelligence community who say, “You don’t know how right you’ve got it.”

“The X-Files” is also an Internet phenomenon. How often do you go online?

I’m on like 12 times a week, but I’m a surfer. I lurk.

Do chat types want romance between Mulder and Scully? They do and they don’t. They want elements of it without them jumping into the sack. There are these “relationshipers” who kind of dominate the online chats. I’m a little dismayed because I don’t want to do a show about fuzzy warm Mulder and Scully. Never.

[At this point the subject begins looking nervous, as if an alien force had taken over his brain or, alternatively, as if he had a lot of work to do and couldn’t waste any more time with me. He says he and story editor Frank Spotnitz have to meet with visual-effects editor Mat Beck to check out some alien discharge.]

Subject: Gillian Anderson

Petite and unimposing in person, Gillian Anderson has a huge and unusually believable presence onscreen. Perhaps that explains why fans have sent mail for her to the FBI, which forwards it on to her.

Anderson, 27, grew up in so many places — including Puerto Rico, London and Grand Rapids, Mich. — that you wonder what her parents did for a living. “They were circus geeks,” she says, showing more of a sense of humor than Scully. (Actually, her father runs a film post-production company, and her mother is a computer analyst.) A former punk-rock lover, Anderson studied acting at DePaul University’s Goodman Theater School, in Chicago, before heading off to act in New York. After stage work including Absent Friends and The Philanthropist, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a film career, eventually landing the role of Scully in 1993.

In conversation, Anderson proves to be a tough nut to crack, much like The X-Files‘ elusive Cigarette-Smoking Man. At first she seems scared, as if some alien reporter demanding a universal exclusive had gotten to her first.

When David signed on, he didn’t see a long future for the show. How about you?

I had no idea what I was getting into. And I have a feeling 10 years from now, I’ll still have no idea what I got into.

You’re committed for five years, right?

Initially it was five. We added a couple more during the last negotiations.

Are you ready for that much Scully?

I don’t know if anybody is. You take it one year at a time.

In the beginning, the network didn’t seem convinced it would last one year, right?

Actually, I thought they were all anxious because they cast me.

How aware were you that some forces at Fox wanted to choose a different type of Dana Scully?

At the time I didn’t know. I recall that during auditions, the network kept asking me to wear something smaller and more formfitting, and higher heels.

Did you and David have instant chemistry?

He came over to me in the hallway at the network audition and asked if we could read through the scene together. We did, and it was amazing. Better than anything that we’ve done since.

Some British member of the press called you “the thinking man’s crumpet.” Two questions: Did you like that? And what’s a crumpet?

A crumpet is like a piece of ass, basically. A juicy morsel. It’s a wonderful compliment. That’s a raunchy statement in a way, but it’s toned down by the fact that it’s an intellectual comment.

How much of your mail is thanking you for presenting a strong female role model and how much is from people telling you that aliens are eating their brain?

About 95 percent is the first option, and the other 5 percent … the interesting thing is, the mail comes from every kind of person in every walk of life around the world.

So tell me about losing your convention virginity recently.

I went in thinking it was going to be weird and I was going to hate it. But everybody was so loving and so normal, I was overwhelmed, touched. I didn’t prepare a speech. I wanted to just react to the moment. It wasn’t exactly the right choice, because I had nothing to say. I went right to the questions and answers.

Have you and David made a lot of public appearances together?

We did at the beginning. Then the object was to individualize us a bit.

Oh, so you are two different people?

We are!

I’ve heard you’re a former punk. Have you embraced the new wave of punk bands getting rich these days?

No, something happened when I got pregnant, and I’m not able to listen to that kind of music as much. I feel like I’m going nuts when I listen to it. I used to listen to Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, PiL, Butthole Surfers. But today, I can’t. I love Alanis Morissette, Emmylou Harris’ latest album, and all sorts of jazz and blues. If I want to hear something heavy duty, I’ll put on the Foo Fighters or a good rocking Rolling Stones song. But that’s as intense as I’ve got.

How do you assess David’s appeal?

Obviously, the audience is only seeing his character, who’s incredibly intelligent, kind, charming and sensitive. He’s like the perfect romantic hero. And a lot of that is also David. He brings such a warmth and intelligence to the role and a smooth sexuality that I don’t think anybody in their right mind could not find him attractive.

There’s a certain powerful sexuality in your characters’ interaction even though you don’t do it.

We don’t do it?

You don’t have sex. Except on our cover. Was it good for you, by the way?

They just happened to show up in our hotel room. Was it good for me? Yes. I think what makes the relationship between Scully and Mulder sexy is the respect they have for one another. They don’t manipulate or take advantage of one another. I’m sure that’s very intriguing for the audience.

Sometimes it feels like a relationship out of a ’40s movie.

It’s that tension. We’ve done some incredibly intimate scenes that have nothing to do with sex. Beginnings of relationships are always the most exciting — that period when you’re courting and you get near each other and start breathing heavily. The hottest stuff is before you ever touch the other person. Or the first touch. So Mulder and Scully’s first touch in an episode or first touch in many episodes becomes more exciting.

Do you think Scully has thought about Mulder in a sexual way?

I think there have been times when she has been completely charmed and touched by him. I don’t know if she’s ever actually imagined him naked.

Does Dana yearn for more of a social life? I worry about her.

Not in the history of Dana has Dana scored. So it really is a science-fiction show. And I don’t think she would go about it the same way that Mulder did. I don’t think she would instantaneously jump in the sack with a vampire.

When you got pregnant early in the series, did you think you might lose the show?

When I first got pregnant, I was afraid they were going to find someone else who wasn’t pregnant to play the role.

How do you react to the charge that “The X-Files” plays into the paranoid victim mentality of our time?

I think we can only make ourselves the victim. The show deals with many aspects of the paranormal, and one of the aspect. And that’s very appealing to people. I’m less sure what intrigues people about the horror side of it, because that never appealed to me. But on a spiritual level, some of the episodes deal with the possibility of coming back to life or some sort of spiritual awakening. And that offers some hope, some way out of the fear and the pain of everyday life on this planet.

Do fans have any pressing paranormal questions for you? No, usually, it’s “Do you have a pen? Can I have an autograph?”

What impresses you about Chris Carter?

This show is his life. He lives it, breathes it, smokes it. I’m absolutely in awe of his ability to pull the amount of intelligent, intense scripts out of his brain that he does in very short amounts of time. I honestly don’t know how he does it.

How do you react to “X-Files” merchandise?

What I get queasy about is how often our faces are out there, and we see no piece of it whatsoever. But I think that Chris has been extremely particular about what’s merchandised. There aren’t, like, frozen X-Files fluke worms.

I believe “Friends” has fluke worms.

Friends has frozen breasts.

Perhaps frozen hairdos. By the way, are you hurt your hair hasn’t been copied as much?

Not at all. I’m making no statement with my hair whatsoever, and that’s part of my character.

Scully’s an excellent doctor. Are you ready for an honorary degree based on all your medical dialogue?

The stuff just goes in one ear and out the other. I wish I could remember. What great party conversations I could have about the intestinal tract!

Has doing the show made you want to believe more or less?

Doing the show hasn’t influenced me one way or another. I have an open mind to the possibilities of things and of life on other planets. But it’s no big deal to me.

In terms of life on this planet, has there ever been a huge blowup between you and David?

Oh, they’re ready for me!

[With that, the interview subject runs off to finish a scene, although, inexplicably, it appears they’re not quite ready for her yet. Later as I try to get Anderson to open up again, an Australian family appears, including a speechless teenage boy with a major Scully crush. The father claims to have moved from Australia — where “X-Files” mania reigns — to Vancouver just 12 hours earlier. He says they have gone for a walk in the park to check out their new hometown and just happened to come across the son’s favorite TV star. Kind of like an X-file, huh?


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