The X-Files
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Australian Media
January 2000

TV Week, January 17, 2000

Getting ready for the end

The end of the X-Files is imminent, but Mitch Pileggi is already in hot demand.

With the X-Files crew currently filming their way through the seventh and possibly last series, the cast have already begun looking for new work in preparation for the days which follow their final scenes.

Big movie plans are already on the drawing board for main stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson- but Mitch Pileggi, who plays assistant director Skinner, is also fielding offers.

Mitch was recently in Australia to talk about the video release of The X-Files: Biogenesis, featuring the first two episodes of the new series. While speaking to TV WEEK, he said once word got out that The X-Files was into its last series, he began getting some interesting offers- one in particular.

"One of the presidents of another studio has approached me with the offer to star in my own series- a similar genre to The X-Files- which would be great," the strapping American actor says.

"A lot of people have asked about the future, and I am just as anxious to discover what kind of life I have after the X-Files because the life I have had during it has been amazing."

One new project that is already keeping Mitch busy is hosting the documentary series Exploring The Unknown for an American cable TV channel.

Even though The X-Files series may be coming to an end, the story looks set to continue on the big screen. After the success of the 1998 movie, plans are currently under way for another one.

"There is a definite possibility of another movie, "Mitch confirms. "When you have worked with such a fun group of people so well and for so long, you become very attached to them."

Not only have the cast members of the Network Ten series worked closely together over the past seven years- their personal lives have also taken dramatic turns.

In the early years, Gillian gave birth to a daughter, Piper, and then divorced her technician husband Clyde Klotz, while David Duchovny married Tea Leoni and the pair now have a daughter, Madelaine. Mitch has also married- he met his wife on the set when she played Gillian Anderson's body double- and now has an 18-month-old daughter, Sawyer.

"Sometimes our set looks like a crèche, "Mitch laughs. "Sawyer is still too young to understand about keeping quiet on the set. Gillian, however taught Piper to be quiet very early. She now says 'Shush' when the cameras start rolling!"
Transcribed by Lucy.

NW, January 17, 2000

Principled Skinner

Getting the role of Assistant Director Skinner on the X-Files changed Mitch Pileggi's life. Not only did he marry Gillian Anderson's body double, but his acting career has taken off too, with roles in upcoming feature films including Gun Shy with Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock.

During a recent visit to Australia to promote Biogenesis, a new X-Files video of previously unseen episodes, available from January 12, Mitch talked to NW about the future of the show and how a rare bad mood secured him his big break.

What do you find is the most common reaction when people recognise you from The X-Files?
Unless I'm at a convention with extreme fans who know everything about The X-Files stuff, I really don't remember. Usually, people just comment on whether they like the show, and ask whether there's gong to be another season.

Is this the last season?
I think this is the last season. Gillian and David (Duchovny) are tired and want to do other things, and I think that's a pretty good indicator, because without them, there's no X-Files. Bringing in replacements has been done on other shows, but the nature of this show is that it's really built around two characters.

How has being on the show changed your life?
I'm living in a nicer house than I used to (laughs). But the main thing is that I met my wife Arlene on the series, and we've had a wonderful baby girl, Sawyer. Arlene's Gillian's photo double. She moves just like Gillian, and when she has Scully's clothes on, it's amazing. We get funny looks when we walk down the street together.

Why do you think X-Files creator Chris Carter gave you the role of Skinner?
I went into his office, and it was the third time that I'd auditioned for him. I was kind of bummed I hadn't gotten the role yet, so I went in with a surly attitude, and fortunately it was what he was looking for. It was good timing for me to be in a bad mood.

Describe the on and off-screen relationship between David and Gillian.
On-screen, they have an awesome chemistry- they cook together. Off-screen they're both actors doing their jobs- they get along fine, but you can imagine how many hours they've been together over the last seven years. If I had to look at another person that much, I'd probably hate them. They don't hang out together, but they get on amazingly well for the amount of time they have to spend together.

So, none of the rumours about the two of them feuding are true?
I think they're too tired to feud. It takes too much energy for that crap.

What do you want to do after The X-Files?
I want to work on quality stuff. I've been spoilt, so it's going to be tough to be satisfied with anything less.
Transcribed by Lucy.

The Sun-Herald, January 16, 2000

Anderson is X-ed out

X-Files star Gillian Anderson will not replace Jodie Foster in the sequel to The Silence of the Lambs - but she is still in the running for the second Star Wars prequel. Anderson, 31, refused to dismiss rumours that George Lucas had offered her a role in the film, to be shot in Australia later this year. A fan who met her by chance said Anderson "just smiled and didn't say a word" when asked about it. The fan said Anderson would not be replacing Foster in Hannibal because her X-Files contract prevented her playing FBI agents in other films.
Transcribed by: Clare.

The Sunday Telegraph TV Guide, January 16, 2000

Man behind the X-factor

He's the mystery man of The X-Files, Mulder and Scully's shadowy boss whose allegiances have been questioned time and time again. Is Walter Skinner a hero or a villain? Mitch Pileggi talks to Michael Idato.

In the strange world of show business, Mitch Pileggi might be an X-Files himself. A self-deprecating good-humourist, his two favourite episodes of The X-Files are ones in which he does not appear. "I might be," he laughs, when asked if he's the only actor in Los Angeles without an ego. "When we shot the show in Vancouver, there was this hotel and at a bar they called it Hollywood North. You'd see a whole room of people, all talking at the same time, all talking about themselves. I used to get such a kick out of it. I don't have very many friends who are actors. I don't really have an affinity for them."

Pileggi does, however, have an affinity for conspiracy theories - which is lucky for the hordes of X-Files fans who adore his character, Skinner. Unlike Mulder (David Duchovny and Scully (Gillian Anderson), whose desire to uncover conspiracies has become the backbone of the show, Skinner's character is shrouded in a little more mystery. "I think originally, he was brought in to be something of a new nemesis to David and Gillian's characters," says Pileggi. "He was more aligned with that the Cigarette Smoking Man was doing."

Pileggi says that as time went on, X-Files creator Chris Carter decided Skinner would be more valuable to Mulder and Scully as an ally. "In one episode, One Breath, Skinner reveals to Mulder his past out-of-body experience in Vietnam, and I think that was a major turning point for Skinner and the direction he's taken since."

But the question of Skinner's loyalty still lingers in the minds of many fans who look for theories within theories, and conspiracies within conspiracies. "It's a question I get asked a lot: Is Skinner good or bad? People don't know if he's someone who is manipulating Mulder and Scully, or who has his own agenda. It's clear in my mind where he stands, but then again, I may be wrong. I think Chris may have other ideas about where he is headed."

Unlike many characters who play roles as extensions of themselves, Pileggi couldn't be more different to Skinner. "I don't think I fell really close to him at all. After I go into my trailer, get my clothes off, get in my car and go home, he's pretty much gone. But he is very much a part of me when I put the suit and the glasses on and I walk into my office. I'm a very different person from Skinner. I think he's pretty humourless for the most part. I have described him as being perpetually constipated, which is probably unfair to him, but sometimes it's the way he comes off."

When he first read the role in 1994, Pileggi says the most striking thing about the character of Walter Skinner was his strengths - his moral and ethical make-up. "I just kind of assumed immediately when I went in a read Skinner for Chris for the first time," he says.

It has also been suggested that Pileggi modelled the character on his own father, an operations manager who did contract work for the United States Department of Defence. The truth, as usual, is not that simple. "It wasn't a conscious thing. It was something that was pointed out to me by my family after they first saw me on screen for the first time playing him. I looked like him and some of the gestures, the way I sit and the way I carry myself are reminiscent of him. He had a job where there was a certain degree of bureaucracy - he dealt with the government, with the military - and I think it just kind of seeped into what I was doing."

Pileggi cites his two favourite episodes of The X-Files as Home and Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose. The former was "probably one of the sickest shows we've ever done; the one with the Peacock brothers and the mother living under the bed. I love that episodes and it may say something about my taste, but I thought it was brilliant. I also liked the episode Peter Boyle did, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose. Those are two of my favourites and I'm not in either one of them. I guess I'm not a big fan of myself."

While Skinner has undergone a metamorphosis, Pileggi is content to be the same guy he was when he started on The X-Files. "I got married and got a baby (he laughs). My house is nicer. But I don't think as a person I have changed. I've tried to keep my head about myself."

One aspect of Skinner's transformation in the past 12 months has been the departure of his office and desk. Viewers are seeing Skinner on the road more, in something higher than a "boss" capacity. "As an actor, you want to be able to get out of the office and involved in the investigation, it allows that to develop. I would love to get out there and get my hands dirty. But in a lot of situations, that isn't realistic."

Of course, the big question concerns the future of The X-Files. Will there be another season? Anderson is signed on for it, but Duchovny is not. "If the show does continue, I have no driving desire to leave."

Story transcribed by maricris and posted on her website at

Big Hit, January 2000

The X Factor

When cool guy Mitch Pileggi-better known as Skinner in The X-Files dropped into Australia to promote the latest spooky vid, Biogenesis, Big Hit caught up with him to get the goss.

Is this the end for The X-Files?
I think this will probably be our last season. I hope there will be room for some more of the movies. I think it would be smart to do. They're smart people so I think they'll probably try to keep it going. If Skinner gets taken out, I'd like it to be heroically. Trying to kill Krycek.

Do you get a lot of fan mail from Australia?
(laughs) You know, actually I do. I've had some pretty interesting letters from people here- there was this one cheerleader from a soccer team who sent a pretty interesting fan picture. Well, my wife got a hold of it and she said that was the last time that I was going to read any of my fan mail.

Have you picked up any Aussie sayings while you've been here?
Well, if I ask somebody to do something, everything's "no problem", but I was talking to Aussie actor Louis Mandylor and he said, "You know, there's a better way of saying that: sweet!" Sweet, I love that!

What's your first memory of being on the show?
My first scene was with Gillian and she walked in and I just went, "My God, she's tiny!" That said, my wife is her photo double and they're the same size.

Do you get to keep any of the wardrobe?
I've got some pretty cool stuff! Schizogeny is an episode I really like and I actually got one of the Letterman jackets with the ghost on it from that. I've got the official X-Files pinball machine which they gave to David, Gillian, Chris Carter, the show's creator and myself. There weren't many made, so it's a rare thing to have I will take the back from my chair when the show's over- well, they have to keep buying them because they keep disappearing. I've got a key chain that's pretty cool.

What's your favourite TV show?
Have you seen Angel?! It's great. I was at the premiere of The X-Files movie and I was doing an interview. Out of the corner of my eye I saw David Boreanz and I went, "Oh, my God, there's Angel!!" I was like a total geek fan all of a sudden. My wife is going, "honey, you're doing an interview!" I was like, "I know…but it's Angel!" I think he's great. He's very funny and extremely talent. Xander's so funny. I don't like OZ, though. Sarah Michelle Gellar is wonderful, they couldn't have gotten anyone better for that role, and Alyson Hannigan is a gem.
Transcribed by Lucy.

TV Soap, January 2000

I was too frightened to breathe a word
Mitch Pileggi haunted by paranormal

Mitch Pileggi, best known as Mulder and Scully's boss, Skinner on The X-Files, is still haunted by his own X-File encounter while he was young. "I was about 19 or 20, in Germany, at school, and I had this poltergeist experience", he told TV Soap during a visit to Sydney.

"The creaky old building used to be as SS barracks during WW11. Anyway there'd been a lot of talk of spirits floating round the dorm, and we'd been treating the whole thing as a joke.

"So, I was kneeling down getting my shoes, and I was alone. And suddenly the shoes went flying through the air and slammed into the wardrobe. On their own! Scared the s#!* out of me! I thought… my life…was gonna end.

"I proceeded to apologise to the spirits for making fun of them, and I remember pleading 'Please leave! Please leave!' I can't actually recall mentioning it to the guys in the dorm- I think I was too frightened to breathe a word."

So he's not cynical of the subject matter of his hit show, despite occasional reservations about its production values, particularly the show's effects.

"You know, we sometimes have a hard job not laughing. After we've been working hard for 15 or 16 hours we're just so goofy. Everything's funny when you're so tired. Especially to Gillian Anderson. She just giggles, and it's so infectious we all fall on the floor.

"One time Gillian and I were being filmed in the back of a van as we were looking at monitors, supposedly watching Mulder under surveillance. We're supposed to be looking at this monstrous deadly virus, but there's nothing on the screen- they add that in later. After several takes we just lost it, and ended up totally falling over each over, right round the van."

The best thing he's got from the show is his wife-who's actually Gillian's photo double. Arlene Pileggi, who also plays a secretary on the show, married Mitch three years ago. "David Duchovny introduced us. We were sharing a scene in a café, after which Chris Carter asked her to play a waitress. We got dating and…"

They have a daughter, Sawyer, 18 months. Arlene, who has the same slight build as red-haired Anderson, is not a natural redhead. "No, they have to colour all the redheads on the set the same red. Hang on, I'm gonna be in deep S!*@ for saying that! Gillian's daughter, Piper sometimes calls Arlene 'Mommy'!"

Mitch and Arlene were in Australia to promote the latest video release, the X-Files: Biogenesis. This is a compile of last season's cliffhanger and two unscreened eps, featuring Mitch in a pivotal role.

"On 'The Sixth Extinction' we're discovering this alien artefact which has a deadly effect on what's-his-name, Mulder, and leads to Skinner and Scully pursuing the situation

"And that's all I'm gonna tell you. I don't care what you do to me…!"

by Ian Horner
Transcribed by Lucy.

The X-Files is © 20th Century Fox

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