Writer-director-actor takes us on a tour of his work for ''The X-Files''
Darin Morgan takes a typically self-loathing tour of his X-Files oeuvre:
THE HOST (1994, actor) The thing I remember is walking out onto the set in [the incredibly heavy Flukeman costume] which required, like, a 12-hour makeup job. I could barely see — I had two layers of contacts on — and Duchovny came up to me and said, ”Why did you agree to this?” And I’d never met him — he just said that to the suit. So, I go, ”Uh, I just needed a job.” And he said, ”You know, this is the kind of thing you’ll enjoy talking about afterwards.”
HUMBUG (1995, writer) I didn’t pitch the story with that much emphasis on humor. There are actually several acts of violence and grotesqueness in there, so I think I sort of emphasized the weirdness. Some people just thought it was a parody, you know, mocking the show outright, which wasn’t really my intention. I was making fun of certain aspects of the show. After it aired, Fox brought in a focus group, and they all pretty much hated it. There was this one guy there who looked just like Anton S. LaVey, the satanist, and he goes, ”This was the worst thing I’ve ever seen on TV!” I wasn’t so crazy about the episode myself, so I really couldn’t complain.
CLYDE BRUCKMAN’S FINAL REPOSE (1995, writer) I was so depressed after ”Humbug” that I decided, I’m just going to write the most depressing thing ever — no jokes, nothing. Of course, I blew it and had a bunch of jokes in it…. Bruckman is sort of based on my dad. Bob Newhart was [our first choice]. I was worried Peter Boyle was too overpowering. Then I watched him on NYPD Blue, and I hadn’t realized how much older and toned down he’d gotten. So that’s when I went, ”Okay, he’ll work.”
WAR OF THE COPROPHAGES (1996, writer) A look at artificial intelligence, alien visitation, and, of course, dung. It was really structured as a farce, which I don’t think actually worked. Maybe we went a little too far with the whimsy…. [On creating guest star Bobbie Phillips’ enticing entomologist, Bambi Berenbaum] Gillian [Anderson] needed some time off, so I had to separate [her and Mulder]. Secondly, I thought it would be interesting to give Scully a rival. So, it was just sort of playing on their whole relationship mishegoss.
JOSE CHUNG’S FROM OUTER SPACE (1996, writer) An actor came in to audition for the cockroach show, and he kind of talked like Truman Capote, and it was actually from that that I came up with the idea. So I thought, Okay, I need a Truman Capote type, which is Rip Taylor. Charles Nelson Reilly came in to read and gave a really good audition, but I still sort of wanted Taylor. I worried about Charles being a bit too old, to be honest. And we tried to cast Taylor, but he couldn’t do it. Obviously, it worked out for the best.
SMALL POTATOES (1997, actor) It was more of an attempt to address Mulder’s problems head-on, kind of take him down a little. [X-Files supervising producer Vince Gilligan] called me up and said, ”I wrote a part that I really want you to play. It’s kind of based on you. You play a fat, ugly loser.” I go, ”Yeah, okay, send me the script.” So he hangs up, and five minutes later he calls and goes, ”I don’t want you to get the impression I think you’re a fat, ugly loser.” And I go, ”Too late.”