Okay so it’s happening like this. It’s mid-February and Fox has shipped RopeofSilicon and a gang of other press folks out to visit the X-Files 2 set. And we’re inside a dank warehouse by some fairgrounds where rollercoasters loop across the horizon like red scribble. Not doing much of anything. No directions given other than to wait and not break anything. And no photos please. You’ll be seeing the set soon enough and we’ll work in interviews when we can. Great. Awesome. Fantastic. I need a breather anyway after that rocket ride through Vancouver our Elton John look-alike driver gave us. Nice guy though.
Now there’s like 15 of us confined to one area. And the chatter — the real topic of concern — circles around whether the so-far unseen Gillian Anderson is still hot or not. After all, one of the journos says, she’s almost like 40 now.
And even though we’ve only been inside 20 minutes or so, the claustrophobia revs up. Now I know the ceilings are like 50 feet high — and how did that whiffle ball get caught up in the rafter wiring — but anyway, two giant ceiling-to-floor canvases break up the building’s space and we’re pinned underneath the shadow of one.
Then there’s the mist.
A knee-high smoke machine puffs away in the corner among dozens of black garbage bags stuffed with tree foliage. But I have no idea why the smoke machine is there. I mean it’s not like the contraption is any where near the set. Did someone drop it on their way to the can and never pick it up? It’s pluming damn good and right towards our lunch tables. Asphyxiation seems likely. And that’d make a fine story I’m sure.
We stand around some more pondering the Gillian enigma and comic books and “Battlestar Galatica” and huffing the vapors. Then a lean, well-groomed publicist in a fleece jacket and jeans like the rest of us comes our way. And he goes, alright we’re doing the set visit now, okay? And we have a special tour guide: Frank Spotnitz, co-writer and producer on the movie.
And some of us are like, whoo neat-o. Better than a stuffy nobody towing us around.
Spotnitz appears out of nowhere like some ninja genie popping out from the lamp. Clad in all black hides him well in the shadow and fog and stuff. Plus he’s a tad short, yet blessed with a great Johnny Depp-esque mane — so I’m sure that makes up for the whole height thing. He says hi and then we march toward the set all bunched up like a mob storming Frankenstein’s castle for an exclusive before burning it down.
Past the canvas dividers the set’s lights blind. And there, caged by ballooning mist from more smoke machines, stands the set.
Just the ground level is built. An ivory, paint-chipped porch wraps around it. The thing looks like some kind of country-fried crackhouse. The type you could see Farmer John relaxing on the porch in his rocking chair after a hard day’s work and then blazing up his corncob crack pipe. Secrecy is of the utmost importance, but the owner of the house is revealed…