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Feature: The X-Files Season 9

The New Generation X

Cary Elwes and Annabeth Gish as The X-Files' Brad Follmer and Moncia Reyes New kid on the X-Files block Cary Elwes (and in print, Annabeth Gish) on what it's like to become part of such a popular institution

The X-Files: Thursdays, 21.00 from 20th June, also weekdays at 10.30. Also showing on BBC2. Available on video and DVD from Fox

What's a nice guy Brit like Cary Elwes doing as the emotionally detached, very American, fairly disagreeable and possibly even dastardly Assistant Director Brad Follmer on The X-Files? Even the actor himself isn't quite sure. "Chris Carter told me after he hired me that he'd been watching my work and that he'd written the part for me," Elwes explains. "So I was really flattered by that. He didn't know if I really wanted to do it, so he didn't mention anything in the room with [co-executive producer] Frank Spotnitz when I first met them." But, of course, Elwes wanted to jump right into the X-Files fray and he promptly signed on for a six-episode stint as the recurring character.

"Who didn't know at least something about The X-Files?" the actor wonders aloud. "You'd have to have been living under a rock in Sardinia not to know about The X-Files. And they might even know the show in Sardinia. It's just one of those shows that captured the imagination the minute it aired and became a cult phenomenon."

Follmer first appears in the two-part ninth (and final) season opener This is Not Happening, [premiering on the UK on June 20, Sky One] and was later on hand for the mid-season mythology two-parter Providence and Provenance. The character essentially answers to Director Kersh (James Pickens), who was determined to keep an eye on Special Agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) as they veered dangerously close to becoming the new Mulder and Scully. Follmer added a bit of intrigue and menace to proceedings, as nobody could make heads or tails of the guy. He proclaimed that he sought only the truth, but the truth according to whom? The added wrinkle, of course, was that Follmer and Reyes once dated...

"I thought of Brad as anything but one-dimensional, but I didn't really want to have an opinion of him going into the show," says Elwes, a respected film actor whose many credits include The Princess Bride, and Shadow of the Vampire, as well as the upcoming The Cat's Meow. "If you go in with an opinion of a character, very often you will mimic that in your performance. So I try not to judge my characters as I play them. I let their actions and motivations become what people use to judge a character. In fact, I talked to Chris about that. I said, ‘I'm more interested in the grey areas of this guy,' and he said, ‘That's exactly how I feel.' Chris, Frank and I basically said, ‘Let's throw him in the mix and see what happens. Will he end up being a benefit to the main characters or a problem for them? Let's see how his emotional side will affect his judgement.' That's been fun to play, fun to explore..."

by Ian Spelling

Read the full interviews in:
Cult Times #81

Image © 20th Century Fox TV
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #81
June 2002
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