CTP Episode of the Day - 01.01.07 - The Truth (Part II)

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-- "Directing scenes between David and Gillian, I had tears streaming down my face every time," said Manners. "Because it was the end. Each scene you'd think 'this is the last time we're gonna do this. Every day you'd be saying goodbye to another actor. We were truly such a family -- cast and crew. Doing this show required such an incredible physical and emotional sacrifice on everyone's part that you really bonded with these people. Even the guest actors who came in immediately felt like they were part of the family. Everyone was proud of their work and they were proud to be a part of this show. And even though the show has ended, it's a bond that we'll never lose."

-- When Doggett and Reyes appear at Mulder's cell, Mulder exclaimed, "Wooo, now it's a party." In the shooting script, his line was "Hail, hail the gang's all here."

-- One last "Mulder, it's me." ::: sigh:::

-- Scully called William "our son," which should have put the "who's yer daddy" debate to rest once and for all.

-- On the first viewing, by the time Mulder said, "I just missed you both so much" and buried his head in Scully's shoulder -- I was bawling like a baby and the scene can still make me tear up. The private scene between Mulder and Scully in his jail cell was a great example of the chemistry that made the relationship so special -- so much said with the eyes, facial expressions, body language. I loved Mulder's loopy grin as he gazed at her -- even in the most dire of circumstances, the man was in love.

-- "People always talked about the chemistry of the two characters being such a huge aspect of the show," recalled Gillian Anderson. "And I would say, 'yes, it's an aspect, but it's not the biggest aspect.' It was only later on that I realized just how big an aspect of the show it really was."

-- "Chemistry is something that if you're lucky enough to have it, then you let it be," Duchovny said. "And if you don't have it, then you've got to create it. That's your job. That's what actors are paid to do, to look like they're actually interested in the person that they are supposed to be interested in. If there's no chemistry, then it's your job to make it happen. With Gillian, I think it probably grew over time, and was a function of many different things, but yes, it seemed to be there from the beginning."

-- Oopsie! Due to an editing error, Scully kissed Mulder's ear twice -- not that I blamed her! < g >

-- "We had a fantastic scene that was written and not shot," said Spotnitz, "between Skinner, Reyes, and Doggett before the trial began, showing Skinner preparing for the trial. It was a really good scene and I was sorry to see it go. It was also very funny because it was Skinner trying to tie together nine years of the mythology and trying to make sense of it. The scene was a wink to the fans, because it was really about our job as writers trying to tie nine years of the show together."

-- Carter modeled the courtroom in "The Truth" in the style of the film Breaker Morant.

-- "The courtroom scene was incredibly challenging for me as a director," said Kim Manners. "The scene covered about 40 pages in the script, and the trial had no spectators, no jury, just Mulder, Skinner, the prosecutor, and the panel. The witnesses all had to sit in a chair. So there wasn't much for me to cut away to, nowhere for the actors to go. I was terrified. You had these actors basically telling the story of the past nine years of The X-Files. And I had to figure out how to make these scenes, these 40 pages of dialogue set in one room, into interesting television drama. But I said to myself, 'if it was easy, then anybody could do it.' It was challenging for all of us -- the actors too -- but I think they pulled it off very well."

-- "Whenever I watch the courtroom scenes, recounting the whole mythology, I remember back to the fourth season," Manners said. "Two CIA agents who were big fans of the show visited the set. And I remember them saying that what we were doing on The X-Files really wasn't so far from the truth. They couldn't tell us any more than that, of course, but when people say what we did was far-fetched, I always remember the comments of those two guys."

-- Actor Matthew Glave, who played the prosecutor Special Agent Kallenbrunner, was perhaps best known for his role in The Wedding Singer when he appeared on The X-Files. He also appeared in the feature films Corky Romano and Rock Star, as well as the next-to-last episode of Millennium. After X-Files, Glave had a recurring role in ER (as Dr. Dale Edson) and has recently appeared as Colonel Paul Emerson in Stargate SG-1.

-- Alan Dale, who played the Toothpick Man (a role he originated in "Provenance/Providence") has chalked up some pretty impressive credits since The X-Files ended. He played Vice President Jim Prescott on 24, Caleb Nichol on The O.C., NCIS Director Tom Morrow on NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Charles Widmore on Lost, and currently plays Bradford Meade, Daniel's father on Ugly Betty.

-- It's the little things that count: Scully's testimony that "I was assigned to the X-Files to spy on Agent Mulder" was a nice touch illustrating the change in her character over nine years and a link back to the "Pilot."

-- Several paragraphs of Scully's testimony from the shooting script were cut from the final episode. After Scully said there would be "wild panic" if knowledge of an alien takeover got out, Skinner said, "They did this to protect us, then." To which Scully replied: "These men who knew the truth, they came up with many scenarios. They threatened the aliens that they'd use the newly developed atomic bomb to destroy the Earth and make it uninhabitable for alien life." Skinner asked, "The threat of annihilation worked?" Scully replied: "It bought them time. Allowing them to negotiate with the aliens. Not to save the human race from the aliens, but to enslave it through a systematic program of infection with the alien virus. A program using transgenic corn crops to carry the virus and killer bees to spread the virus with their sting." Skinner: "An epidemic that would transform the entire population into aliens."

-- A short exchange between Kallenbrunner and Scully toward the end of her testimony included in the shooting script was also cut from the final version. After Kallenbrunner said Scully had no proof of what she just told the group, these lines were removed -- Scully: "I have a small computer chip embedded under the skin of my neck. Placed during my abduction." Kallenbrunner: "Very cool. Can we have it removed?" Scully: "I tried that and almost died." This was followed by the line about Mulder and Scully being lovers and her bearing Mulder's love child.

-- "We'd just finished shooting the scene where I enter the courtroom and David sees me for the first time," Chris Owens recalled. "Kim had already moved the cameras to set up for the next shot when David realized he hadn't looked at me like he was surprised to see me. He looked at me the way you'd look at a guy you'd just spent the last week working with. We'd finished shooting "William" about ten days before they started shooting the finale. So we set the cameras back up and re-did the scene and it did make a difference."

-- In the shooting script, when Kallenbrunner objected to Spender's implication about a "government conspiracy" saying that no conspiracy had been established, Mulder lifted a thick stack of files off the floor and pushed them to the edge of the desk near Skinner with the line, "It's longer than Lord of the Rings."

-- Oopsie! In one of the biggest continuity blunders of all time, Spender said that Samantha died in 1987. Anyone who watched the "Pilot" or "Conduit" or "Paper Clip" or any one of a number of other episodes knows that Samantha was abducted in 1973 at the age of 8; and "Closure" established that Samantha died at the age of 14 in 1979. (Don't shoot the messenger -- Chris Owens just followed the shooting script; apparently, after all this time, even Chris Carter couldn't remember all the details.) The flub was dubbed over in subsequent airings of the episode.

-- In the shooting script, as Spender left the courtroom, he mouthed the words "I'm sorry" to Mulder to which "Mulder nods gratefully, while Skinner dies inside."

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-- All the New Mexico scenes were shot on location in Borrego Springs, California, in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California and the second largest in the United States. Borrego is the Spanish word for Bighorn Sheep, an endangered species native to the area; and Kim Manners noted that shooting was done during lambing season, so cast and crew had to be extra respectful not to disturb or disrupt the wildlife or natural habitat. "The Park Service was a tremendous help while we were shooting," Manners said. The X-Files had used the area once before, for shooting locations scenes for "Within/Without."

-- "Working with Jeff Gulka (Gibson Praise) again was great," recalled Manners. "I remember when we found him in Vancouver he was this little kid who had never acted before. Then each time I saw him it was amazing how much he had grown up. If the show had gone on much longer, we would have been smoking cigars together."

-- For all the fanfic fans out there: When you saw the little homestead at Weed Hope, New Mexico, weren't you thinking of Bonetree's "City of Light"?

-- "It was great having Steven Williams back as X," said Manners. "One of the best characters of the show. And only on The X-Files could you see a dead man handing a note to the hero and believe it."

-- Before "The Truth," Laurie Holden (Marita Covarrubias) was last seen on The X-Files in the Season 7 finale "Requiem." In "The Truth," her testimony was used to tie the old conspiracy (Black Oil) to the new conspiracy (Super Soldiers). Interesting factoid: Holden studied acting with Robert Reed -- best known as Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

-- At least "The Truth" had shades of the Fox Mulder we knew and loved: Giving up a chance to save himself to save Miss Lispy Bee Husbandry.

-- I love Mulder's chin on his folded arms and the sweet smile when Gibson called him "friend." Duchovny's subtle reactions to each of the witnesses helped to better sell the courtroom scenes (IMBO).

-- And Kim Manners agreed with me. "My favorite moments in the courtroom are when no one speaks," Manners said. "I think it is always more important what isn't said than what is said and the courtroom was a great example of that."

-- "It was great to have David back," said Manners, "and I think everybody was glad that he was back. And I think he was glad to be back -- I could see it in his eyes. At the 200th episode celebration I remember him saying that while he was gone from the show he would sometimes think about his X-Files family and wonder what we were doing, and no matter what time of the day or night it was, he knew the answer: we were working. David had a great time working on the episode and I had a great time directing him again. Just before he left, I would give him a piece of direction and he would say, 'Go sit down.' But this time, he was happy to take my direction. I think he was very happy to be back with the family, very happy to work with Gillian Anderson again, and it was a great way to send off the series -- to have him back home again."

-- In the shooting script, part of Gibson's testimony dealt with Mulder's ability to read minds, but this dialogue was cut in the final version.

-- Monica told Mulder that Gibson was "in good hands" with Scully, but each time Gibson was with her before, Scully lost him.

-- Apparently, Carter couldn't resist once last shout-out to the Manly Man with lines like "a man whose record is distinguished by such duty to his country" and "a man of your integrity." But after Doggett's testimony has been manipulated, I personally enjoyed the script direction: "Everyone in the room can see Doggett withering. His bravado gone. Caught in a trap of his own words. Looking over to Mulder and Skinner, knowing he's let them down."

-- "We're trying a man for murder, not taking a trip down memory lane." Well, not exactly.

-- A brief but telling bit of dialogue in the shooting script was cut from Monica's testimony. After the Prosecutor asked why Scully's child would be important to aliens, Monica replied, "He fulfilled some kind of prophecy. You see, Agent Scully was not capable of bearing children. She was made barren by the experiments done during her abduction in 1994." Kallenbrunner: "Agent Scully as good as testified the child was Mulder's." Monica: " A relationship was consummated, but pregnancy was still impossible." The testimony then picks up from there.

-- "What is the point of all of this? To destroy a man who seeks the truth or to destroy the truth so no man can seek it? Either way, you lose." (That's how you "shove it up their ass," Agent Doggett.)

-- Even the most vehement detractors of the whale-song humming character of Monica Reyes couldn't deny (for the most part) that her impassioned testimony was one of the few highlights of the courtroom scenes. "The show was ending just as I was beginning to figure out who Monica was," said Annabeth Gish. "I looked at that scene as my last chance to give it my all and that's what I tried to do."

-- A brief scene included in the shooting script where Skinner tried to convince Mulder to take the stand (because he believed Monica's testimony had affected some of the panel) was cut from the aired version of the show, but can be seen on the Season 9 DVD extras. The scene was cut because of the strength of Annabeth Gish's performance. "Annabeth was stronger than anyone anticipated," recalled Frank Spotnitz, "stronger than the words on the page. That seemed like the right place to end the act rather than tacking on the brief scene between Mulder and Skinner which really only served to show Skinner resting his case. Annabeth worked very hard on that scene and it showed."

-- "There was a lot more in the courtroom that we cut before shooting even began because we realized it would just be too much information, too hard to follow," Frank Spotnitz said after the finale aired. "And then we cut more after the show had been filmed because it was too long. So there were a lot of answers and connections to things we hoped to make clear with the finale that just didn't get in there. There was a second scene between William Devane's character and Kersh that occurred after Mulder's trial that made it explicit that they were just going to go ahead and kill Milder. That helped motivate Kersh's turnaround. I think the turnaround worked perfectly fine without the scene, but it was a great scene and I was sorry to see that go. That was written and even scheduled, but not shot because we realized we just weren't going to make our schedule if we shot it."

-- Another scene that was cut entirely from the shooting script had three men break into Scully's apartment to abduct Gibson (after Scully and Reyes left to autopsy the supposed body of Knowle Rohrer). With Gibson's mind-reading help, Doggett was ready for them and apprehended all.

-- As Scully began the autopsy on Knowle Rohrer's body, Carter's script direction evoked a tear: "How many times has she been here in the nine years of the television series? However many, this will be the last."

-- When I watch "The Truth," my warped little mind always goes right in the gutter when Scully enters the courtroom with her evidence and tells Mulder it's "what's going to get you off." < veg >

-- In the shooting script, the guards manhandle Scully a bit when removing her from the courtroom and Mulder tried to stop them with a "Don't you touch her!" (Skinner intervened.) I seem to recall that the scene was filmed including this bit of dialogue and action and was shown on the official site for awhile, but that portion of the scene was not included in the aired version.

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-- Kim Manners felt that Mulder's reaction shot and his subsequent speech to the panel were "some of David's finest moments" on the show. "David was a remarkable actor in that he could learn dialogue like no one I have ever seen," recalled Manners. "That speech to the panel -- he probably learned that in two minutes. He could take five or six pages of dialogue, learn that verbatim in 10 minutes, and never miss a beat. It was incredible."

-- One small bit of Mulder's speech in the script that was not included in the aired episode was, "I've sacrificed everything to my work these nine years. I've suffered terrible losses, but my suffering confers no special privileges as your verdict here demonstrates."

-- A scene that was cut completely from the final version of the episode occurred after Scully received news of Mulder's verdict and sentencing. As the script direction indicated, "Scully is lying on top of her bed with her clothes on. The same clothes that we last saw her in. Camera panning from her sleeping face, where her hand holds the cross on the necklace -- panning down her arm to her hand, where she holds her handgun." A knock on the door awakened her, and it was Marita, there to tell Scully that Mulder would be killed in his cell, made to look like a suicide. When Scully asks why Marita was trying to save Mulder, Marita lispily replied, "Because Mulder did the same for me."

-- "We actually shot that scene," said Frank Spotnitz. "I thought it was a really nice moment for the Covarrubias character because Mulder basically saved her on the stand. He let her leave without having to name the current conspirators. Telling Scully what was going to happen was a nice way for her to repay the favor. But there just wasn't time to include it."

-- 1121 reference -- When Rohrer arrived at the base brig, the time was 11:21. 11/21 was the birth date of Chris Carter's wife.

-- In the shooting script, as Doggett and Skinner are springing Mulder from the joint, he protested, "You can't do this -- I'm not letting you risk your own lives," to which Doggett replied, "Yeah, well we're not the only ones."

-- The shooting script included a brief scene which showed Monica sitting behind the wheel of the SUV waiting for the jail breakers and an unseen someone with a flashlight yanking the car door open. The scene was cut entirely, as Kersh was revealed to be an accomplice in a different way.

-- "I couldn't shoot much of the perimeter at Fort MacArthur [where part of the jailbreak was filmed]," recalled Manners with amusement, "because there was only this short piece of fence, so I had to keep the shots very tight. When I first saw that location, I didn't think it was going to work, but it ended up working very well." The Season 9 DVDs include footage of Manners at the location blocking the escape scene.

-- Kersh was the last in a long line of X-Files villains who found a conscience when the end was near. The Ghostly Krycek seemed to find one after the end.

-- In the shooting script, when the escapees met Scully and Gibson along the highway, the script direction noted, "Mulder beelines it to Scully, throwing his arms around her." Darn, I wish they had left that in.

-- In another monumental moment, Mulder was reunited with his leather jacket. :::sigh::: (In fact, my compliments to whomever selected Mulder's post-escape outfit. Yum.)

-- After so many years together, I do wish they had found a way for Mulder and Scully to have a more personal goodbye scene with Skinner. It made Mulder's look and shoulder squeeze in the courtroom even more poignant. But Mulder's gesture of touching Gibson's cheek in silent gratitude and farewell (which wasn't in the script) was extremely sweet.

-- Marching Gibson into the Hoover building and right up to the Deputy Director's office didn't seem to make much sense, given that Doggett and Reyes knew that those in power at the FBI wanted Gibson dead. It did, however, give us a chance to see a tiny bit of continuity: Gibson's hair hadn't grown back over his brain surgery scar.

-- Who would have ever believed that Doggett would be the one to end up with the "I Want to Believe" poster? Too bad he didn't save Mulder's basketball as well. < g >

-- By having Skinner represent and defend Mulder’s beliefs, his journey from disbelieving pawn of the Syndicate to champion of the truth was completed. It is hard to imagine that he would have survived the meeting with Kersh and the Toothpick Man, especially since Kersh probably wasn't long for this world if his duplicity had been found out. But for Skinner fans -- "maybe there's hope" that Pileggi will find his way into any future X-Files projects if they ever happen. Sadly, we'll probably never know the fate of Skinner and Kersh.

-- In the shooting script, the time when Mulder pulled the SUV to the side of the road at the Texas/New Mexico border was 10:13 p.m. (a reference to Carter's birth date), but in the final version, the time was changed to 5:07 a.m.

-- I have always speculated that Scully was asleep in the passenger seat because she was exhausted from the wild sex she and Mulder had when they stopped so Mulder could change his clothes. < veg >

-- It seemed that Carter couldn't resist scripting just one more forehead kiss for old time's sake -- in the shooting script, Mulder leaned over and kissed the sleeping Scully on the forehead, but in the final version, he kissed Scully gently on the cheek.

-- The Mulder/Scully SUV scene was filmed on the last day of shooting on location in Borrego Springs, the 23rd day of shooting -- April 26, 2002. "David and Gillian had their final scene together," recalled Chris Carter. "It was funny. It was not in a sacred place, like a sacred X-Files place. It was on the side of a road somewhere in the desert."

-- The last scene filmed "with actors" was on the same day, the scene between Mulder and the Lone Gunmen. ("Dead actors," Tom Braidwood joked.) After the scene was finished, "everyone said goodbye," said Carter. "This was it; this was the last work they were going to do on the series."

-- Another line cut from the shooting script: Before Frohike said "It's craziness man, turn around," his first line was "You were on the road to freedom, your beautiful lady at your side."

-- Location shooting at Borrego Springs began on April 22, 2002, the 19th day of shooting. Kim Manners recalled that while driving to the location site, he and his wife stopped at one of the scenic overlooks (from which he would later shoot one of the panoramic shots of the canyon) to see how construction of the set was going. "There was a group of tourists there," said Manners, "and they were remarking how great it was that the Indian ruins were being restored. Little did they know it was our crew 'building' the ruins that were going to be blown up in a few days."

-- The ruins set took 18 days to build. Even though it looked like it was built into the cliff wall, it was actually a freestanding structure and did not touch the cliff behind it.

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-- The scenes between Mulder and Scully and Cigarette-Smoking Man, as well as the Cigarette-Smoking Man's demise, were filmed on the last day of filming on a soundstage set on the 20th Century Fox lot, April 19, 2002, the 18th day of shooting.

-- "Bill Davis had a tough time smoking that cigarette through the hole in his neck," Manners laughed. "He couldn't find the hole."

-- The Season 9 DVD extras feature an adorable shot of Kim Manners directing the Mulder/Scully/CSM scene -- with David Duchovny's dog Blue sitting in an adjacent director's chair intently watching the action.

-- It was somewhat comforting that while other X-Files villains eventually changed their spots, Cigarette-Smoking Man remained his usual charming self to the last. As it should be -- the devil, or as Mulder said, "one man with a plan."

-- "Being there on the last day on the lot was kind of nice because everybody came over," Bill Davis recalled. "Chris was there, people came and just sat around and chatted. David and Gillian were in very good form. It was just very pleasant. Of course, they all had another week to go working on location. Gillian had her video camera out shooting pictures all over the place. She wasn't moping about."

-- Davis felt his emotions about the last day on the set were different from anyone else's. "The hard one for me was two years ago," he said, "when I didn't know for sure whether I was dead or not, but thought I probably was. Well, we didn't really know what was going on with the series then either. I kind of did a lot of mental goodbyes then. I patted the set, patted the lot, and said goodbye to everyone in my head two years ago. Then the goddamned series went on without me! I wouldn't have minded if it had ended, but oh no, it went on! They didn't use me, so for a couple of years I felt a little out of joint and disappointed. So for me, it was just a real treat to be back on the show and be there for the end. It was just one great big treat, a pleasure. It wasn't sad in that sense. It was just a satisfying completion."

-- The destruction of the ruins was the last scene filmed for the episode (on April 26, 2002). "It was extremely cold that day and the wind was just howling," recalled Manners. "I didn't think we were going to be able to get the helicopters in the air. But we had the best pilots and they were able to make it work and get the shots done safely." The explosions were created using explosive charges and smoke bombs placed in the structure; the missiles fired by the helicopters were added by computer in post production. Because of the expertise of the X-Files crew, none of the cliff behind the structure was damaged or disturbed.

-- "After the explosion went up and the cameras had rolled and we looked at the replay of it, and we realized we had gotten what we wanted to get and more, we were done," recalled Chris Carter. "Kim yelled, 'That's a wrap!' and thanked the crew for their work. Someone handed me a bottle of champagne, and all I could yell was 'Woo-Hoo!' And then we all celebrated."

-- By design, the final scene harkened back to the Mulder/Scully scene that took place in a darkened motel room, rain falling outside, in the "Pilot."

-- IMBO, I liked this "full circle" very, very much. For a moment the years melted away and I was back to that fateful night in Oregon. I saw the boy whose credo was "Trust No One" but who wanted and needed to trust someone so much. And through fate, intervention, or divine providence he found the perfect opposite to bare his soul to that night. Could it really have been nine years? It seemed like only yesterday.

-- After it was announced that David Duchovny was returning to the show for the finale, he did many interviews. One interviewer tried to persuade him to tell how the show ended. "Well, it ends like all great things do in life," Duchovny said. "It ends in bed. Where life begins. Well, usually. Sometimes it begins in a parking lot." When the finale aired, shippers everywhere were delighted to learn that Duchovny had been telling the truth -- it really did end in bed.

-- "The final conversation between Mulder and Scully showed what I thought the entire series was about," said Manners. "Frustration. A man who believed and a woman who became a believer, and no one else would believe them, no one else had faith in them but each other. Sometimes I think that thread of the series mirrored the frustration that Chris had with the studio, the times that they weren't very supportive. I liked the ending for the characters, leaving them on the run, not knowing what would become of them. I thought leaving it open-ended was better than knowing right where they were and what happened to them. For example, I know where Jerry Seinfeld and his friends are, and I didn't like that. I think this way was much better."

-- "Directing that final scene between the two of them was tough," Manners said. "David and Gillian were in so much of every scene of every episode, and when you work together that many days for nine years ... well, relationships have swings. But they never became prima donas, they never made you wait, they were always prepared, always enthusiastic about the work. It was like a marriage and marriage is work. David and Gillian had to work at their relationship, but you could see on their faces how much they truly loved each other -- as characters and as people. In all my years in show business, I never saw anything like it -- it was truly one of the greatest male/female relationships in television history."

-- This direction followed Mulder's speech about the dead in the original script: Mulder says this with intensity, mirroring the Pilot episode when he spoke to Scully at her bedside. And it affects Scully again, but in a different way. She takes the cross at her neck. S: "We believe the same thing." And this affects Mulder now. Unlike the Pilot episode, he crawls up onto the bed next to Scully and takes her in his arms. And they hold each other tight, in fear and in love. M: "Then maybe there's hope." Camera pulling away slowly on the entwined couple.

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(Continued in The Truth - Part III)