“Home” and “Home Again” had a mirror image – the conversation on the bench. It was perfect in the way it was shot. Even her hands are the same! Did you look at that scene beforehand?
Yeah, you’re filming in a hospital intensive care ward, it was over a weekend, and I was like, what am I going to do with this thing? We had a set, and I thought – we could go down there, down the hall, they would want to talk away from everybody. There’s a bench! And I knew what the bench talk meant to fans. And I wanted to pay my respects to Kim Manners, so I pulled it up on Netflix or something, and I just screengrabbed and put it on my phone and went to Joel Ransom (the cinematographer) and to David and Gillian and said we’re doing this!
Let’s talk about “Never Again – Scully is having a feminist moment, saying, this is my life, these are my decisions. I really appreciated you writing that for her. Even though it freaked me out as a kid, the whole dragging her down to the incinerator room wrapped in a sheet! (He laughs.) I wanted to know what your motivation was for writing that for Scully. It was so different from any other episode, really.
Well, thanks. Motivation is Gillian. Mulder is like – and you’re a literature scholar – Mulder is the more ‘fun’ character. He’s going against the norm, he’s being a smartass against the norm, he’s fighting the establishment. She is, kind of in the first couple years, part of that establishment. Gillian was, you were right earlier when you mentioned it, kind of in a boys club. There weren’t a lot of women around, she was it. Producers, crew, etc. So I thought, what can I do for Gillian? And on the other side, I had just gone through a divorce and was kind of going through what the character that Rodney played was going through. The similarity of it. I talked to Gillian about it, she got wind of what I was doing and she sat down and said, I’d like to do this, this, and this, and I said ok. Again, they changed the order [“Never Again” was supposed to air before “Leonard Betts” and Scully discovering she had cancer, but it was moved due to the Superbowl]. She was doing it because of herself, not the cancer situation. I think that is more bold.
Gillian would tweet that “the conversation on the log is coming,” the scene at the end of “Home Again” sitting on the log with the ashes at their feet, so I was excited to see this conversation. And I noticed when I went back and watched it a second time that David actually doesn’t have a single line! I was shocked because his presence was so supportive. It’s just Gillian talking, and she even said, “I want to believe” and she called him “Fox” too, she delivers it so perfectly and it’s not cheesy at all, it’s perfect.
You know, they’re incredible. It was that log and a grey morning. I did a show called “Intruders” for BBC that nobody watched, and I shot on the exact same log a year before. They had to come and get hairdryers and blow that log dry so they could sit there. It had rained so we were like, go, just go. We did two takes and it started raining again. We had to sit there under tents for 45 minutes. We went back and she (Gillian) could sit down and pick up right where she left off – boom, in one take, it was done.
[Glen] Morgan and [James] Wong began work on a new story featuring a killer whose tattoos talk to him, a plot inspired by Gillian Anderson’s own tattoo. “Gillian has a tattoo,” Wong explains. “And she said, ‘Why wouldn’t Scully get a tattoo?’ And we said, ‘Let’s make it so she can – if you get the situation right, let’s see if we can get this character to the point where she can get a tattoo.’” They succeeded. “It’s just a tiny little scene, [and] it ties into the plot and everything.”