Introduction by Matt Allair
Very early on, once the announcement of the 2nd X-Files feature was going into production, word started circulating that Gillian Anderson was going to auction set passes, as well as an opportunity to be an extra for a day. This news planted a hope and desire to have a fan write about their experience on the set in Vancouver, during the December through March shoot. While attempting to reach the lucky auction winners which had been elusive, an interesting development occurred on one of the outside forums, and this is where I first cross paths with Angie.
She offered an interesting insight while roaming the location of the X-Files set, during a fateful set of days in Pemberton.
Gracious hosts and summer presents
Article by Angie C.
One sunny day in February, my friend Amy and I made our way to Pemberton, BC in the hopes of seeing the X-Files filming. As we drove into town, we were thrilled beyond belief to find one of those signs with the bright pink arrow. (While I'm mentioning the signs, I have a confession to make: Back in December, when the XF crew first set up shop in Vancouver, some fellow Philes and I found some of those pink signs. I left a calling card, so to speak. I know it was a poor substitute for the neon pink, but I really hope the crew got a laugh out of it and saw it as homage to one of those iconic symbols, rather than just being ticked off that they lost another sign.)
On day two of our hunt, we finally found them filming. Amy and I sat in our vehicle for a couple of hours watching an FBI search team scour a snowy field. While we both had cameras, we declined to use them, out of respect for Chris and Frank. One of the more exciting moments that day was watching the helicopter take off and land. It felt so 'X-Filey' to see a helicopter on set. There were snowmobiles, dogs, horses, and of course, FBI Agents. Oh, and Billy Connolly. A snowstorm was rolling into the region, so Amy and I left after a day figuring we'd seen as much as we were going to. While Amy headed south for home, I started unpacking the snow gear. I was almost halfway through when I got a phone call from my friends in Whistler to come straight back up. It seems they were filming on mutual friends' property.
They, as in the X Files.
I didn't need to be convinced.
I made it back to Whistler in less than two hours and was back in Pemberton an hour after that. Now, my friends in Whistler knew next to nothing about the show, but were willing to live vicariously through me. And I was happy to facilitate. I was also in awe. There were lights and wires and trucks, oh my! I was busy pointing out what little I knew of filming and locations while trying to identify anything or anybody who might be familiar. The set was a very busy place, and everyone was bundled up against the cold. Have I mentioned how cold it was? It was freezing. So when someone was suddenly beside me, it took a moment to see who it was under all the layers.
I did a double take for there, buried beneath a down jacket and sporting the North American version of a ushanka hat, was none other than the man himself, Chris Carter. It was such a surreal moment for me. This was Chris Carter. Creator of my all-time favourite show. Mr. Millennium himself. I was too surprised to be tongue tied, or to worry about what I might say, and I do believe what came out was something like, "Oh, my. It's you. Chris Carter." (As if he didn't know who he was.) I'm guessing he's used to fans being less than articulate.
I had a message and a hug to deliver for fellow Phile, Alex. Chris willingly offered the hug although I felt a little presumptuous asking. I shared with Chris how thrilled and excited the fans were to know they were really, finally making the movie. He shared how happy he was to be filming. We chatted, and my friend from Whistler and I were told it was okay for us to hang around. We had brought Kara along for the excitement; she's a Bernese and she loves the snow. For the next few hours we watched them film in the freezing cold of a late February evening. When we found out that they were going to be there the next day as well, if it were possible, my smile got even wider. Nirvana. Almost.
The next day found Kara and me back at the house where they were filming. At first, I felt a little awkward, I mean this is what these people do for a living and I didn't want to be in the way, or come across as some strange, obsessed woman. Standing and watching the crew work and Carter direct was a tiny spot of heaven for me. Chris was gracious and so very kind, and the crew I chatted with echoed this sentiment; their respect for him was evident. They spoke of his patience, how much fun he had doing his job, and how great he was to work with. They all felt themselves lucky to be part of the X-Files crew.
The day went too fast and included a lot of fun for Kara. She got a pat from David. And she got to play with Larry, who, as many of you will recall from the press conference pictures, is Chris' dog, a standard poodle. He's adorable. The dogs got along and had a lot of fun running around and playing in the snow. The crew broke for dinner and Chris invited me to come back that evening with Kara. I didn't have to be asked twice.
The crew was as gracious late into the night as they had been early on in the day. Watching everyone work behind the scenes, how often they reset for a shot or ran to grab a new piece of equipment for yet another angle of a shot was impressive. I have a new appreciation for the creative process and what goes into making it all happen. There was an easy camaraderie, and none of the big concerns regarding security that another friend and I would experience a few weeks down the road.
Frank and Chris have both alluded to the film being like a Christmas present they wish to give to the fans. To that end, they set out to deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate. Many of the fans have been as dedicated to uncovering information as Chris and Co. have been intent on keeping things hidden, and someone took things a little too far when they broke into a vehicle at Riverview. When Mya and I showed up at Riverview a few weeks later to deliver the t-shirts we had printed (Frankie loves Larry), not knowing about the break in, we wandered onto the set and waited.
Our waiting was eventually rewarded and Chris came over to speak with us before heading back inside to the set. He asked if we were at Wonder Con (unfortunately not), and how we found the t-shirts. (Thanks, Becky.) We explained as best we could, letting him know there were four t-shirts for him, Frank, David, and Gillian. Mya had also included Fireballs* (she swears by them for studying) since Chris had a reputation for liking them, but apparently he has kicked the Fireball habit. We appreciated him taking time to speak with us, knowing how grueling the filming schedule was.
One thing we BC Philes seem to do like to do is identify locations used in the show. To this end, I made my way back to Pemberton to catalogue some of the locations used. Only another Phile will see the joy in discovering props forgotten on the side of the cliff where a car crash was staged. I know I speak for many fans when I say how excited we are about the movie--how much we are looking forward to July 25. I also want to say thanks to Chris and the X-Files crew, who went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I would summarize my entire encounter as serendipitous, and I feel so very blessed to have had the opportunity to experience it.
Please visit Angie's Pemberton Photo blog.
Editor's note: * Fireball's is a spicy hard candy, first created in 1954, and still manufactured to this day.
Chris Carter talks about The After
Interview with Sarah Stegall
Interview with Jeff Charbonneau
Interview with William B. Davis
Interview with Alex Gansa
Interview with Glen Morgan
Interview with Mark Snow
Interview with Amy Donaldson
Report from LAX-Files book signing
Interview with Erica Fraga
Interview with Howard Gordon
Report from Vancouver TV Forum
Interview with Gabe Rotter
Interview with Robert Shearman
Report from Believe Again event
Report from X-Con 2009
Interview with Jana Fain
Interview with R.W. Goodwin
In Tribute to Kim Manners
Interview with Matt Hurwitz
Pemberton Set Report
Paley Festival Interviews
Interview with John S. Bartley
Report from Wondercon 2008
Interview with Howard Gordon
Q&A with Chris Carter
Interview with Doug Hutchison
Interview with Frank Spotnitz