Welcome to LAX-Files.com, your one stop place to learn everything about LAX-Files the book, LAX-Files events, LAX-Files charity auctions, and most importantly, Kim Manners.
This book is dedicated to the memory of the late and great television director, Kim Manners.
Kim is known for his prolific and emotionally captivating work on Booker, 21 Jump St., Brisco County Jr, Simon and Simon, The X-Files, and Supernatural.
All of the books profits will go to the American Cancer Society, the charity of the Manner's Family choosing.
The LAX-Files Book Signing took place on Saturday May 7, 2011 at the Mark Goodsen Screening Room at the American Film Institute (AFI). The event started at 12:00 but some fans had been in line since 9:30.
Jana Fain of Mardy’s Munchies arrived with an assortment of wraps, tarts, and cupcakes at 11:30. Mitch Pileggi was the first guest to arrive, followed by Jeff Gulka, Glen Morgan, Jim Wong, and Darin Morgan. TMZ.com also arrived on the property – uninvited – as they heard “there were people here” and asked to take photos of the celebrity guests. While the talent was updated on their unexpected arrival, TMZ.com elected to leave the school.
Promptly at 13:00 the event began with three video presentations. You Are Phile by AdaPiper, a Welcome Message from Frank Spotnitz, and an LAX-Files Kim Manners Promo video. Honored audience members included Bob Mandel, AFI Dean and director of The X-Files Pilot episode, Julia Vera, the actress who played the old Indian woman who was in the cave with Cigarette Smoking Man in The Truth and Mrs. Lana Chee in Dreamland II, and Matt Hurwitz, author of The Complete X-Files.
Courtney Smith, the event moderator introduced Author Erica Fraga, who spoke about how the book came to fruition, why it was dedicated to late director Kim Manners, and the American Cancer Society, who would be the recipient of the day’s profits at the request of the Manner’s family. Fraga also mentioned that, due to illness, Chris Carter would not be attending today’s event, at which time Mitch Pileggi, standing stage left, bellowed, “that’s because he heard I was coming. I wanna see a Doctor’s note!” Fraga then proceeded to introduce Mitch Pileggi, Jeff Gulka, Darin Morgan, Jim Wong, and Glen Morgan.
After the applause and flash bulbs ceased, Smith asked her first question to the panelists: “How did Kim Manners influence them?” Mitch answered that Kim turned him on to double espressos and was a prolific director. Jeff added that Kim helped him as he entered the acting world, since he was so young, by being patient with him, but Kim’s intensity also scared him. Darin said that he and Kim wanted to kill each other the first time they met on Humbug. Darin believed he wrote a script that was easy to direct, but Kim had a hard time with it at the first read. By the second read, they respected each other. Glen said he and Jim first met Kim on 21 Jump Street and recounted the story of first meeting Kim, which is found in LAX-Files. Glen also remembered a scene where Kim was directing Gillian, and the scene moved him to tears. Naturally, the LAX-Files crew affectionately teased him and Kim responded to Glen by flipping him off. Jim added that he felt very secure with Kim.
Smith’s second question dealt with Kim’s unique style of directing, the so called Manners Moments, as described in LAX-Files. Mitch jumped in and said how much he hated to have the camera up his nose and how those shots drive him crazy. Jim added that Kim was a sensitive soul. Darin took the opportunity to mimic what Kim did in video village, as he watched the actors on screen, which lead to laughter throughout the theater, and said Kim was always prepared as a director, which is something you needed to be on The X-Files. Darin also remembered watching Kim direct the scene in Humbug, where Jim Rose has to hammer a nail into his nose, and watching him rotate the camera around his head. It was a way to show the audience what was happening, while not actually showing the insertion of the nail. Darin added that he heard Kim give his brother a compliment, and the whole panel discussed how important it is in the industry to receive compliments for their work.
Smith’s third question asked about the relationship of Mulder, the believer, and Scully, the skeptic. Both Jim and Glen recalled reading fan criticism on the internet about the opposing personalities, which is why they wrote Beyond the Sea, where they were able to reverse the role of the characters. Initially, FOX was not a fan of the episode, but the more time Jim and Glen spent with David and Gillian, the easier it became to write. Jim added that he asked in an early meeting, back in Season 1, when Mulder and Scully would get together. Glen quickly jumped in and said, “If they kiss the show's over. If she sees an alien, the show's over!” Mitch was asked if he would like to write or direct an episode, and he said, “I’m too lazy.” Jeff talked about how it was to grow up on the series. He said before he came on in Season 5, his parents would watch The X-Files, and while he never watched a lot of the episodes, he knew that when the theme song came on, he was scared. Once he joined the show, however, his fear went away. Fraga then reminded Jeff that Mitch turned him into a man on the show, since they had to enter a makeup trailer on set. The full story can be found on page 56 in LAX-Files. Mitch then added that there may have been tassels on the women's breasts, and proceed to demonstrate.
Smith’s fourth question to the panelists was how they felt The X-Files influenced current shows on television, like Bones or Fringe. Mitch muttered, “Well, just look at them” to which the audience readily agreed by nodding their heads. Darin stated that when he worked as a producer on Fringe he was frequently asked by the writers, “what would you do on The X-Files?” Darin added that while he used to watch Fringe, he hopes it has gotten better. Glen recalled attending a pitch meeting and his colleague asked him not to mention The X-Files, since executives always want to hear about the show. Glen added that shows like Bones and Fringe do not have the same chemistry that David and Gillian had, in addition to wonderful writers like himself, Darin, and Jim.
Smith’s fifth question asked the panel members if there anything they wanted their characters to do or not to do on the show. Mitch said he wanted to shoot the decapitated head of the Russian scientist in I Want to Believe when he burst into the make shift lab, but Chris told him no, stating it was not something Skinner would do. Mitch reminded Chris that he shot Krycek in the head, but was still not allowed to do it. Mitch remembers how happy he was when Frank called him to tell him he would be the one to shoot Krycek. Mitch always assumed Mulder would be the one to pull the trigger.
Jim added that he wrote two versions of Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, one where Frohike is killed and the one that aired. Jim and Glen detailed how the scene would show blood spattering from Frohike's chest, but they were told that CSM would never do that. An audience member asked if the alternate ending to the episode would be released, both men said that he B footage has either been lost or destroyed, and it would never surface. Glen ended the story by saying, “our ending was better.”
Smith’s sixth question asked the writers if they wrote a script with a particular actor in mind. Darin said no, but The X-Files was always blessed with great actors. He added that his inspiration to Peter Boyle’s character in Clyde Bruckman’s Final Response was his father. He added that when he wrote Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’, he envision Jose Chung’s character, ultimately played by Charles Nelson Riley, to be like Truman Capote. He spoke about auditioning an actor who came across as Truman Capote, but when he was asked to imitate Capote, it didn’t work. Darin said that Rip Torn was considered for the part of Jose Chung.
Glen added that Chris Carter had a set of rules for each character on both The X-Files and Millennium. A staff writer on The X-Files wrote a scene where Mulder takes notes and Chris told her that that Mulder doesn’t take notes, he keeps it all in his head. The Morgan brothers shared an inside joke, about how Frank Black didn’t eat certain foods on Millennium either.
Smith’s seventh question asked Mitch and Jeff where they felt their characters were after the show ended. Mitch said he has no idea what Skinner is doing, but he has seen and read some outlandish stuff on the internet, where Skinner is photo shopped into situations. Jeff added that he thinks Gibson Praise is a bad guy, perhaps Cancer Man 2.0, reading people’s minds. Jeff added that he hopes there is a place for his character in a 3rd X-Files Film. Darin said he liked to see Eddie Van Blundht meeting the Flukeman in XF3.
Smith’s eighth question was to Mitch, on his take on the Skinner, Scully, and Mulder relationship. Mitch said it was, at times, a Big Brother relationship to Mulder and Scully and how he always wanted to play the role where Skinner has a crush on Scully. He added that there was a definite turning point in their relationship after Mulder was abducted. Mitch then spoke about his audition for the role of Skinner, how he was called back twice and by the third time, if he wasn’t told yes or no to the part, he would walk away. He came into the third audition really angry and ended up getting the part. Glen jumped in that casting Mitch changed the direction of the show, and then told the story of casting for Mrs. Scully. When it came time to cast her role, Bob Goodwin left the panel when his wife, Sheila Larken, came into read. Glen said that no one knew they were married at the time, and Bob told Glen that he felt his wife was too young for the part, but didn’t want his emotions to cloud the rest of the panel’s judgment. Glen then shared a story about Doug Hutchison audition for the role of Eugene Tooms. In his audition, Doug was told to “get angry.” Doug started off very calm, and then progressed into an agitated state, to the point where security was almost called to remove Doug. After his scene, Doug calmed down and was quickly cast for the part.
Glen added that casting Brad Douriff for Luther Lee Boggs in Beyond the Sea was a challenge, as Brad doesn’t read well for his parts; you just have to know he’s good for the show and hire him. Jim and Glen added that they gave up their writing fees to make sure Douriff was cast, and FOX approved it. Smith asked the writers if there was anything they wanted to write that never made it past the FOX censors. Jim said that he and Glen had another story about Eugene Tooms and Howard Gordon and Alex (Gansa) had a story involving abortion, but FOX rejected those ideas. Glen said he wanted to do a Frank Black/Home crossover for the second season of Millennium, but he was told that the Peacock family would never been seen on network television again.
Glen shared the story of how Home almost never made it to television, which can be found in LAX-Files and says that the actress who played Mother Peacock, Karin Konoval, is the nicest person who will ever meet, having worked with her on Tower Prep. Mitch chuckles and says Morgan and Wong are his favorite writers and thanks them for helping him land the job of Skinner. After a pause, Mitch asked them, “whatever happened to Skinner’s wife?” No one had an answer other than one day they were divorced, and she was never heard of again. Fraga quipped that Skinner found love with his new secretary and Mitch responded with, “yes; for life.”
Smith’s tenth question asked the panelists to share their favorite Kim stories. Glen responded with many of the fond memories he has of Kim involved alcohol, but he does remember the bar fight at Sutton Place in Vancouver, where a guy tried to kiss Kim’s wife. The full details of the event are in LAX-Files. Jeff said he was very young on the series, but remembers hearing lots of swear words and being treated like everyone else, not some little kid around Kim. Mitch remembers recently working on Supernatural and the day of filming happened to be Kim’s birthday. Becoming emotional and teary eyed Mitch shares with the audience how production stopped and everyone sang Happy Birthday to Kim. Darin remembered Kim having creative differences with Vincent Schiavelli on Humbug and how Kim left him to handle it, explaining that the director hands of the actor to the writer. Glen told the story of Kim’s funeral, how his brother Kelly, was not able to get through his speech while Kim’s ashes were placed on a director’s chair. Kelly looked up to the sky and told himself, “Kick it in the ass, Kelly” because that is what his brother would have told him. Mitch added that he was driving down a street in Vancouver and he saw Kim and Marline walking down the street, holding hands. Mitch said there was so much love between the two of them.
The Question and Answer session ended on this note, and the panelists went to the lobby to autograph items and take photos with the audience members.
Interviews were conducted of the panelists throughout the day by XFilesNews.com and X-FilesLexicon.com. Be sure and check out their sites for the footage.
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