One of the longest-running sci-fi shows in TV history, The X Files has been gripping, shocking and grossing-out viewers since 1993! The initial series ran from 1993 to 2002. and there was even a continuation from 2016 to 2018.
The series follows two FBI agents – paranormal fanatic Mulder and hardened sceptic Scully -as they investigate supernatural cases up and down the country. Here are 6 things you might not know about the X Files…
1) Gillian Anderson had to stand on a box in a lot of scenes
Because the actress is almost a foot shorter than her co-star David Duchovny, scenes where the characters need to comfortably be in the same frame together would have looked a little off with the height difference, so Gillian Anderson had a wooden box she would stand on for a lot of takes, which would raise her up a few inches. Crew members started calling in the ‘Scully box’. In an interview, Anderson said she’s often forget she was on it and would fall off after filming intense scenes.
2) The roles were reversed in real life
In the series, Muller (played by David Duchovny) is the believer, and has been in pursuit of the truth around the supernatural and extraterrestrials ever since his sister disappeared when he was a kid. His partner, Scully (played by Gillian Anderson), is a medical doctor and a stern sceptic – assigning a rational or scientific explanation to everything they encounter throughout the majority of the series.
However, in real life, actor David Duchovny said in an interview that anyone who thinks they’ve been abducted by aliens needs mental help. Whilst Gillian Anderson has confessed that she does believe in the possibility of alien life.
3) ‘Home’ was inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s visit to Wales
Season 4 episode ‘Home’ is one of the most shocking and twisted installments in the series. Whilst investigating the death of a deformed baby, which was found in a field where children play baseball, Mulder and Scully hone in their focus on the Peacocks; three inbred brothers who live in an old farmhouse. After distracting the brothers, Scully and Mulder slip into the house and find something alarming under the bed; their quadruple-amputee mother, strapped to a board with wheels on it, who had recently given birth.
This shocking scene was actually inspired by an excerpt from Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography. In it, he describes how he stayed at a boarding house in Wales whilst on tour as a young actor. One night, his host showed him his son, Gilbert, who he kept under a dresser in the kitchen. He described him as a ‘halfman,’ with a large flat head, no legs, gappy yellow teeth, and muscular arms. When instructed to jump, Gilbert lowered himself to the ground, and then launched himself into the air with his strong arms.
The father asked Chaplin if he thought there would be any room in the circus for the boy, calling him, ‘The human frog.’
4) The episode ‘Drive’ helped land Bryan Cranston his part in Breaking Bad
When it came to casting the iconic role of Walter White in Breaking bad, the execs at AMC were set on Matthew Broderic. Once that hadn’t worked out, Vince Gilligan dug out an old episode of the X Files, which he worked on as Executive Producer. The episode ‘Drive’ starred Bryan Cranston as a man with an intense pain in his head, which only eases when he drives West. He ends up holding Mulder at gunpoint from the back of the car, and making him drive. AMC loved Cranston’s performance, and he was invited in to begin the process of becoming Walter White.
5) Clarice Starling was the inspiration for Scully
When developing the character of Scully, Chris Carter and co based her looks and some of her persona on Jodie Foster’s role in Silence of the Lambs – red-headed young FBI agent Clarice Starling. Jodie Foster also featured in Season 4 of the show. She voiced a sentient tattoo named Betty.
6) The cigarette smoking man had quit smoking
When he was first cast in the role of the cigarette smoking man, William B Davis was originally just an extra with no lines. Over time, he appeared more frequently, was given dialogue, and became the show’s main villain. Interestingly, although his character constantly has a cigarette on the go, the actor actually quit a 25-year smoking habit 20 years previously, and hadn’t smoked in two decades before starring on the show. The role required him to inhale, so it was very bad for his habit. The producers eventually allowed him to switch to herbals.
7) Chris Carter got the idea from a public survey
Chris Carter was looking at the results of a public survey when he spotted that just short of 4 million US citizens claim to have been abducted by aliens. With such a high number, Carter realised that it would be a subject worth delving into, and so his initial concept for the X Files was formed.
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