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Two ''X-Files'' vets make their big-screen debut

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David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, ...

When Glen Morgan and James Wong were approached with the task of turning a horror treatment called ”Flight 180” into a film, they laughed. Seems the writing-directing team — whose celebrated stint on ”The X-Files” included the scripts for ”Tooms,” about a taffy-limbed serial killer, and ”Home,” the infamous tale of homicidal inbred farmers — thought the premise of high schoolers hunted by a scythe-wielding grim reaper was a wee bit ridiculous. ”I only read half of it,” scoffs Morgan.

Yet New Line Cinema persisted, and their agents pushed. So the two pitched a more self-respecting version, one where Death isn’t some razor-fingered Freddy, but imperceptibly employs everyday occurrences and clutter — public transportation, shower curtains, even a glass of vodka — to do his shadowy work. ”To our shock, they said, ‘We love that!”’ says Morgan. ”It’s so rare to walk in, say ‘Here’s what I think it should be,’ and someone goes, ‘I agree.’ How can you walk away from that?”

With ”Final Destination” (the name was changed to avoid a disaster-flick vibe), Morgan and Wong become the latest ”X-Files” alumni to matriculate into filmmaking. The results for their colleagues have been mixed: Rob Bowman scored with 1998’s ”The X-Files” movie (he’s now reportedly attached to the Fox action flick ”Riptide”), while David Nutter flopped with the 1998 teen shocker ”Disturbing Behavior” (he’s now shooting the pilot for ”Dark Angel,” a sci-fi show James Cameron is exec-producing for Fox).

Wong and Morgan, who are currently producing NBC’s psychic-friends thriller ”The Others,” hope that ”Destination” won’t crash at the box office, as they’re itching to do more films (they have a script set up at Jodie Foster’s Egg Pictures). While they know ”The X-Files” has given them a hook, Morgan and Wong pray it’s not defining. Says Morgan, ”When I’m 60, I hope I’m not just answering questions about how Tooms squeezed into the chimney.”