All roads led to rapture for fanboys (and girls, we suppose) over the weekend at the LA Film Festival, where Sunday closed with a glimpse at scenes from the forthcoming X-Files: I Want to Believe. It seemed a busy enough couple of days elsewhere in Westwood, but it wasn't like there were shrieking throngs delivering signed thank-you cards to Diane English after a preview/discussion of her troubled updating of The Women, or a geek-to-seat ratio of 1:1 at the Melvin Van Peebles event on Saturday. This was the sort of a climactic bedlam most fests save for their closing nights, not the last screening on a sleepy Sunday.
Alas, there they were: David Duchovny, X-Files creator/director Chris Carter, writer/producer Frank Spotnitz and cascades of withering shrieks inside the Majestic Crest. Oh, and two lightly spoilerrific clips — a couple minutes each, the longest sustained orgasm most of the attendees have had since the show went off the air.
And by lightly, we mean lightly: A guy gets it in the face and hand with a trowel, winds up in the snow. Crazy psychic Billy Connelly finds him buried. Enter special agents Mulder and Scully. Brooding follows — lots of it. And that's... all? See you in five weeks!
The rest of the night was pure subterfuge, unless you count Carter's faux-reluctant disclosure of a research trip to, ahem, Cleveland. He would barely talk about his means of secret-keeping, allowing only that his and Spotnitz's paranoia was such that ahead of shooting, department heads were allowed script reads only in a sealed room with a camera trained on them and no notes allowed. Duchovny said he had to beg for a screenplay of his own — a bit of a regression from the first film 10 years ago, when the red, Xerox-proof script pages simply made it hard to read his lines.
Once he got the script, Duchovny was still in the dark as to where Mulder had been since the TV show's run — which was fine by him. "When you look back at when Gillian [Anderson] and I first played the characters in 1993, the idea of trying to be that guy in reruns right now — as much as I'd love to — would be a little embarrassing," he said. "That's probably one of the most interesting things for an actor to try: to embody the same character as time goes by. Not wanting to be a cartoon character frozen in time, but a character who changes in time."
Like... how? "No," Duchovny said, shutting the door on yet another plot thread. "It's one of the reasons I wanted to continue playing this character; I wanted to take him on this journey he started in 1993. ... He's frustrated. He hasn't changed. He's a quester; he's always going to be looking."
To that end, Spotnitz plucked a few hundred gushing audience heartstrings by confessing how much he missed his characters. Duchovny one-upped him, recalling Carter's teariness the day of the first read-through ("Awwww!" again, right on cue) and citing a fan video screened on set north of Vancouver. "I just remember thinking, 'Oh fuck, I've gotta deliver,' " he said.
One fan asked when 20th Century Fox would be delivering on its own end — trailers? Teasers? Commercials? Anything? Indeed, awareness beyond fans isn't especially high, as Spotnitz inferred with Fox brass sitting right in the front row. "We had a big marketing meeting with the studio and they assured us that by July 25 everyone will know about this movie," he said. And in the event they take to it, it's set up for a third edition in the next two to three years.