THE X-FILES: David Duchovny and Rob Bowman on the Importance of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE X-FILES: David Duchovny and Rob Bowman on the Importance of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

July 17, 2023 by  

The X-Files reunion

The X-Files team reunites. (Credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote)

As pickets have sprung up over Los Angeles and New York (and in hubs across the world) to support the ongoing writer and actor strike, honks and cheers frequently pour in from people and vehicles passing by. But as THE X-FILES vet David Duchovny started his interview with Give Me My Remote, unexpected voices lent their support: kids on a passing school bus.

“Strike, strike, strike!” they chanted from their open windows, as it drove past the picket line, with a number of kids pumping their fists in support.

“Well, there you go,” Duchovny said with a laugh. “The youth.”

The cast and the creative team of THE X-FILES reunited at the Fox lot on Monday, July 17 at a tumultuous time in the industry: after weeks of the WGA being on strike, SAG-AFTRA joined them last week. (The DGA signed a new contract in June and is not officially on strike, though much of the production has halted with writers and actors not working.)

“I think the biggest change has been the streamers that have [joined the fray] in the past five to ten years,” Duchovny noted. “That’s the tough part—they have different metrics. Television, and even cable television, they were ad-driven revenue streams. Now it’s some arcane metric that nobody really understands. So, you have the studios now, deciding whether something is a success or not, and therefore, be responsible for rewarding that. I think you have to have a more transparent way of measuring successes and failures than they’ve come up with so far.”

Duchovny picketed in the blazing Los Angeles heat, gamely taking photos with fans and writers. “Obviously, for somebody like me, I had success and I can strike from a position of comfort, in a way,” he said. “But it’s really [important to be here supporting] the people who have to live on a paycheck month-to-month. It’s important to settle these issues and get back to work as soon as possible without giving up too much. With fighting for the future, within this system. It’s a weird hybrid, show business.”

For Duchovny—who served as an actor/director/writer during his tenure playing Fox Mulder on the series and has continued doing all three creative endeavors in the years since—the A.I. talk that has seemingly become a sticking point in both WGA and SAG-AFTRA contracts is something he acknowledged he’s wary of. (Allegedly, the studios wouldn’t agree to have language in the contract that would make it mandatory to have a script written by a human; SAG-AFTRA alleged that the AMPTP wanted to pay background performers for a single day of work, and then own their image forever.)

“I think we have to wait and see—it’s definitely an issue, whether of using a likeness or generating a script in the style of so-and-so,” Duchovny said. “My personal feeling is you’re always going to be able to tell what’s what. If you show me a rug that’s handmade versus machine-made, if I don’t care that much about rugs, then I probably won’t be able to tell the difference. But if I know something about rugs, then I’ll know.”

“It’s a thorny question, because most consumers, they want a cheaper product,” he acknowledged. “The people who are making [the shows and movies] are going to say that we can do it cheaper if we use these machines.”

Though the directors’ guild signed a new deal, Rob Bowman—who helmed 34 episodes of the series, as well as the first film FIGHT THE FUTURE—was there to support his former co-workers.

“I’m here to support my brothers and sisters in the Writers Guild,” he explained in the video below. “If somebody compliments something I’ve done, I always say, ‘I get my inspiration from the script.’ So I want them to have a fair and equitable deal with the studios. We need the studios to be profitable so they make shows. Let’s remember that when we work, we spend millions of dollars of other people’s money And then they pay us to do it. It’s a good gig. On the other hand, it’s hard work and I don’t want to do it for free. I can argue both sides.”

“Filmmaking’s a team sport,” he continued. “How do you express the value of a writer? We have nothing to shoot. When we’re shooting, who are we pointing at? So, we need them all…I feel for the kids. I don’t want kids to suffer because mom and dad can’t work. Kids didn’t choose the film industry; the parents did. For everybody else, I hope there’s a reasonable, equitable deal. Everybody needs to take a few lumps, a few victories, and walk away and say let’s get back to work.”

Both men joked it wasn’t quite a reunion, since they’re still friends in real life. But being back at the Fox lot—with former co-star Annabeth Gish, as well as writers like John Shiban and James Wong—was a trip.

“It’s very nostalgic for me to be here, since this was my home for 15 years or so,” Bowman said. “I’ve been through this gate hundreds of times. A lot of memories here; we shot the series on these soundstages, we shot the movie on the soundstages. I’m friends with all the executives—I don’t think any of them are here anymore. But it was a great time of my life.”

“We spent many a long night a few hundred yards from here,” Duchovny added. “It’s a little surreal being here and not having a parking space.”


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Filed under Strike, The X-Files

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