Monday, July 21, 2008

The X-Files: I Want to Believe at the Apple Store, 7.17.08

It's been six years since The X-Files series finale aired on television, but Mulder and Scully still prevail. This Friday, The X-Files: I Want to Believe — the second feature film affiliated with the TV series — will be hitting theaters. And last Thursday, creator Chris Carter and longtime producer Frank Spotnitz made an appearance at the Apple Store in SoHo, New York, to discuss the making of the film and the time they spent working on the series.

While the event was technically inspired by the fact that the new film was made using Apple's Final Cut Pro, the discussion didn't really adhere to the subject of technology. This wasn't much of a surprise — the audience, which consisted of longtime fans and newbies alike, had started lining up for the event approximately two and a half hours in advance. Judging by the intense discussions taking place on line, it was clear that most wanted to learn more about the characters and the actual motivation behind the film. And both Carter and Spotnitz seemed happy to oblige, though they remained tight-lipped about spoilers.

While the new film takes place in "real time," allowing fans to get a glimpse into what Mulder and Scully's lives have been like since they were last on the air, Carter said it actually follows the storytelling technique featured in the show's first three seasons. Filmed in 60 days and approximately 105 minutes long, the movie is also a standalone story designed to draw in new audiences. "We actually saw eye to eye [with the studio] about it being a standalone," Spotnitz said.

Even though it didn't take very long or much of a budget (by today's standards) to make the film, Spotnitz said they thought the movie was never going to happen. Even though they had started work on the film in 2003, a legal dispute stalled progress, resulting in the film's later-than-anticipated release. But it seems as though the delay might have made the project an even greater labor of love for the cast and crew. Both Carter and Spotnitz said that as the years went by, they began to miss Mulder and Scully.

Though the filmmakers discussed some of the more difficult aspects of filming and producing a show as ambitious as The X-Files, they were also willing to answer some of the quirkier fan queries. When asked who Mulder and Scully would vote for in the upcoming presidential election, Carter paused thoughtfully before saying that Mulder would probably write in Dennis Kucinich, while Scully was still disappointed about Hillary Clinton. Later, when Carter confirmed that Scully would finally have her own desk in this movie, fans — including yours truly — laughed and cheered, indicating that even though many years have passed, there are plenty of people who still care about Mulder and Scully.

It's also clear that Carter and Spotnitz still care about the fans as well. When the event began, Carter actually came out with a camera to take photos of the crowd. And when I — and a few other lucky fans — literally ran into him by the building's side entrance after the panel was over, he was perfectly willing to pause and sign autographs, smiling calmly and posing for photographs as people gushed over his work on the series.

There's no telling how the new X-Files movie, coming out so soon after a major box office event like The Dark Knight, will fare when the show can now only be viewed on DVD or in reruns. But one thing's for certain — the X-Phile community is still active and will probably have a lot to say when Mulder and Scully hit the big screen again.

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