The National Post ran a story today about the press conference the X-Files cast and crew held on Wednesday. (Minus Gillian Anderson, who seems to be practically absent from this whole circus in general.) The cast and crew thanked Vancouver and revealed that those photos of Mulder and Scully kissing were fake.
"We staged that," David Duchovny told reporters. The article mentions the photo causing "breathless speculation about the characters' are-they-or-aren't-they romance" which makes me wonder what sites they visited. Only the most diehard sites could be breathless about it -- and only fans who completely forgot the whole offspring element.
Director Chris Carter complained about the attention focused on the production. "It's been a two-way street. To tell you the truth, I would like to make the movie secretly and put it out there on July 25, have everybody get a gift they could open." Is that why your movie still doesn't have a title?
This is going to run the risk of sounding like a fan rant -- but Carter's attitude really rubs me the wrong way. I understand the disdain for paparazzi, and the disappointment of your film being spoiled and judged from a few leaked photos or snippets. But the fledgling Internet made The X-Files the sensation it was, and to turn your back on the media machine it has become is patently absurd. Why not take a page from Peter Jackson, Joss Whedon, and Christopher Nolan, and give fans a little something? There will still be those pesky spy photos, but there won't be as much of a demand for the cheap shots if you're giving your audience something official to talk about. We dig that sort of gesture. Instead, Carter wants it both ways -- he wants to be the conquering hero at WonderCon, but he doesn't want fans bugging him the rest of the time.
And maybe it is because in Carter's mind, this isn't exactly a movie for the fans. "We're not doing an exercise in nostalgia to appeal to the fans of the show," said co-writer and producer Frank Spotnitz. "We saw this as an opportunity to introduce the characters to people who may have been too young . . . It has a reason for being, even if there'd never been a television show before." (Translation: We're going to ignore everything on the show because it was such a garbled mess, so those of you remembering that Mulder and Scully had a child should shut up now.)
All I've got to say about that is if you're taking the "This is for a new audience" tack, then you really cannot continue with the Ashton Kutcher media pranks. You have to start building positive buzz for this new audience you imagine is out there. Those who were too young to watch X-Files the first time around have only heard fans argue with lines like "LOST won't become the flaming train wreck The X-Files did, we learned from their mistakes." So what are you doing to establish excitement? You're faking out (and annoying) writers like myself who can give you that. This movie opens July 25th, 2008. You don't have much time left.
I realize now that I probably sound like a blogger upset over the fact that she was punked. Maybe I am, it was a stupid prank. But as I wrote before, I adored this show back in the day, and I felt horribly cheated with the way it ended. I'm a fan that Carter needs to win back with this movie -- and I recognize that I'm probably in the minority. But I genuinely feel he's snubbing the excited fans too, and moreover, that he is being stubbornly stupid about what the online world has become since X-Files went off the air.