Chris Owens - Spender RETURN TO SPENDER

Has The X-Files’ Agent Spender cashed in his chips? Don’t count on it says actor Chris Owens
By Ian Calcutt
Excerpt selected from Xposé #34

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For Jeffrey Spender it's a case of like father, like son. One of the worst-kept secrets about Season Six's major mythology two-parter, Two Fathers/One Son, was that the inscrutable FBI man takes a bullet - just like his dad, the even shadier Cancer Man, two years before. And the shooter?

The disgruntled Morleys-smoker himself. Speaking with Chris Owens just after the episodes premiered, the actor is in good spirits. "Yes, the gunshot wound is healing," he jokes.

Seriously though, committed X-Philes will want to know: what's the fate of Agent Spender? Owens stresses, "I don't even know the fate of Agent Spender! I know he's got to resurface at some point." Owens is referring to his contractual arrangement to appear in half of Season Six's episodes. So far the tally is about a quarter. Of course, who knows what The X-Files' secretive creator Chris Carter has in mind? "He might set the character up in flashbacks of some kind," Owens speculates. Maybe there are lots of 'Young Cigarette Smoking Man' scenes in store? "That's right," he laughs. "I should get some Morleys out and start practicing!"

Much has happened for both the show and Chris Owens since Season Five's The End. Firstly, the X-Files movie release. "I really enjoyed it. It was fun to see Scully and Mulder out of the TV restrictions and into the feature film possibilities," says Owens, whose participation, like the rest of us, was merely as a viewer. He hopes that will change next time. "I'll have to make sure that I'm well protected until the second feature comes around!" For the 37-year-old Canadian, this season has seen him and the series relocate to Los Angeles. "I think I'll stay here, though there might be the odd job or two that I go back up to Canada to do. I left many people behind but things are settling in a little."

Season Six sees Spender taking over the X-Files caseload but, instead of continuing Mulder's crusade, he's coerced into doing some of Cancer Man's dirty work. "I think ambition certainly plays a part in it," explains Owens. "My feeling is that as he's gone farther and farther into the labyrinth that is the FBI, he's found out that he may have to make certain compromises. It's quite a fascinating relationship but to me it still comes back to the son wanting to impress the father - to do the right thing - and deciding just how far I want to go with that."

Now that he's got a good number of X-Files episodes to his name, Owens is appreciating his increased profile. "The exposure's certainly great," he says, "but what's a lot of fun is hearing the speculation as to my fate. Everyone has a theory. I've heard some great ones. There was a fan at one of the autograph sessions who kept saying, 'You're an alien, aren't you. I know you're an alien!' There are theories that I shot him [the Cigarette Smoking Man]. He is wincing a little as he leaves…" The deliberation of fans has also, inevitably, appeared on the Internet. "It's quite interesting, as a hobby for some people, what they'll do," says the actor. "My agent pointed out there was a 'Spender Memorial' site! People writing in with their poetry… very funny."

Ian Calcutt

Read the full interview in Xposé #34
plus:
a review of Arcadia from The X-Files' Season Six


Image © James Creighton