The new X-Files film, I Want To Believe, is out in the cinemas this weekend and is the first new material from screenwriter Chris Carter, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson since the TV series ended in 2002. David Duchovny talks about the possibility of another X-Files film and getting back into the character of FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder.
Is it true you were the driving force behind bringing the series back as a movie?
I don’t know where that idea comes from, I honestly don’t. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, but I certainly don’t believe I was the driving force. It’s something that Chris (Carter) keeps saying and I’m not sure why. He must have a reason because he never says anything without a reason.
But I think, for me, it was somewhat redemptive just because having left the show after eight years I felt in some way, not that it wasn’t the right decision for me, but that I had left Chris and Gillian (Anderson) a way to carry on without an integral part of the show. I always said, ‘We should be doing this as movies. We’re all burnt out, we’ve done enough of the show.’ It’s natural to transform into a movie franchise, I always thought.
And so for me to be able to be good to my word in that sense and show them that I didn’t abandon them, that I was just getting off the show and I loved the characters and I love them. For me it was a nice personal kind of a journey, so I think maybe that is why Chris is saying I was always the one who said, ‘Let’s do that.’
Do you think it was a popular misconception that you’d had enough of X-Files?
I don’t care about the popular conception, what I did care about was Chris and Gillian and the rest of the people who work on the show, because those are the ones who I actually deal with and have personal feelings for.
Did the timing feel right because you’ve gone on to do lots of different movies and you’re known for Californication too?
I said yes to this movie for four years before we did it. I think we first started talking about it in 2004. Certainly, it feels better to go back out to a character that’s well known having at least been somewhat popular in another enterprise. I’ve done a lot of independent stuff and it’s as far away from Mulder as I’ve gotten. It doesn’t matter unless you make some sort of pop impact. The kind of movies I’ve been doing don’t make that kind of impact.
When you went back to filming, was there anything that you found difficult to get back into?
No. I think that for me the getting back into it was the Mulder and Scully aspect of whatever story we’re telling. When I got to work with Gillian again in a certain scene, which was about three weeks into the filming of the movie, that really felt like the X-Files to me because Mulder and Scully felt like the X-Files. Playing opposite Scully allowed me to find Mulder in a weird way.
Was there a point in the film where you really started to enjoy playing Mulder again?
No. You never really stand back like that when you’re doing something. I think I might have had that experience when I saw the film. Unfortunately, I only got to see half an hour of the film with an audience. I’ve seen the film on a television, with Chris (Carter), in a dark room, just he and I. I’m not a great audience and certainly he’d seen it a hundred times. So it was hard for me to judge. But having seen the half hour at the American premiere I could feel there was kind of a re-embrace or longing. That was cool, that’s a screen couple you’re kind of rooting for in a way. They make sense up there together.
Are you signed up for more X-Files films?
That was always the intention, that it is a natural serial, as evidenced by the fact that there’s 203 hours of television of it. It really just depends on economics. This movie was made for only $29m. It’s actually almost like an independent film. It’s the first independent blockbuster, independent summer movie.
It’s weird that it’s out in the height of summer, because even though the X-Files feels like a summer franchise, this is not necessarily a summer movie. This is a kind of an underdog, when all’s said and done, even though it’s hard to conceive of the X-Files as an underdog. I think it actually is. It depends on the style of movies that Fox wants to make after this, whether or not they really want us to compete on that level. It would be a different kind of movie.
David Duchovny was talking to Newsbeat entertainment reporter Natalie Jamieson.