THE X-FILES' Rob Bowman Shares Memories From Filming '731' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE X-FILES’ Rob Bowman Shares Memories From Filming ‘731’

September 8, 2023 by  


Photo credit: Fox/X-Files Wiki

Rob Bowman directed 34 episodes of THE X-FILES—and the 1998 film FIGHT THE FUTURE—ranging from the “smaller” monsters of the week (a la “Pusher”) to the structurally complex ( “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'”) to the big mythology hours (“Terma,” “Biogenesis”).

But as the show approaches its 30th anniversary, the director hesitates to name which episode means the most to him now.

“There’s so many, and they’re all so different,” Bowman tells Give Me My Remote in the video below. “Whatever one I say, that means I’m not saying the others, and for those who helped me make the other shows., I don’t want to say, ‘You’re not my favorite.'”

And while he acknowledges he doesn’t have any kinds of “shrines” the show around his home—”the Golden Globes are in a case somewhere”—he does have a piece of memorabilia displayed.

“In ‘731’ we blew up the train car,” he recalls. “When the effects brothers [David Gauthier and Steve Gauthier] were cleaning it out, they found the bell to that particular car—a big heavy brass bell. They had that thing engraved, ‘731,’ the date, which episode number, my name, the effects brothers, all that kind of stuff. And they gave it to me…and it’s on display. It’s so big and so beautiful and so heavy. In my home, that’s sort of my representation of my time on THE X-FILES.”

“It also was a huge episode, and it’s built around almost a play,” he continues. “Two guys in one room. And David [Duchovny] and [Stephen McHattie]…it was extraordinary to watch these two guys hold up a show, just through their verbal conflict, verbal communication.”

Of course, that train car explosion wasn’t the only big thing he was tasked with during his six years on the show.

“I mean, we shot a submarine conning tower on the soundstage,” Bowman says. “I remember [series creator] Chris [Carter] calling me saying, ‘You think we can do this?’ [I said, ]Write it…Do I think we can figure it out? Yeah.’ And other people are like, ‘No, no, no, no, that’s too big. It’s too much.’ But we did it. So when I walked on and I saw this full-scale conning tower, with articulated biplanes, [I was] like, ‘This is not a TV show.’”


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