Transcript of the DVD Audio Commentary by Kim Manners for the episode 'Two Fathers'

Transcribed by: Libby
Edited by: X_Follower

Hi, I'm Kim Manners, I directed this episode called 'Two Fathers'.

[Doctors in hazmat suits preparing to operate on someone in a train car.]

This episode is kind of interesting because the original script, the one we shot, had several flashback sequences to the actors Peter Donat, Bill Davis and Veronica Cartwright, all maybe twenty, thirty years earlier, and we did a makeup job on all three of them to make them look thirty years younger, and it just didn't quite work out, so we cut out that, that whole storyline from this episode was all dropped and we shot some fresh material. This is a train yard down in Long Beach, California.

[Dr. Openshaw arrives.]

These doctors all work for the government, all for the Syndicate, and they've just completed their experiments and they have developed their first human/hybrid alien.

[Dr. Openshaw goes into the carriage and looks at the person on the operating table.]

This human/hybrid aliens were developed to work as a slave race for the aliens and in a deal that the conspiracy, or conspirators, I should say, struck with the aliens that want to invade the earth and now these faceless aliens, who have disfigured themselves against the Purity or the black oil, are trying to destroy the project.

[Outside, the other doctors are set alight by a faceless man. The faceless man then goes into the carriage and sets Dr. Openshaw alight. The patient is Cassandra Spender.]

At this point, when we use the faceless aliens, this is a stuntman named Alex Daniels. We found that it was important to use stuntmen because they couldn't see, and just the nature of the character it was dangerous enough we thought we should protect ourselves and at least use a stuntman so if he did fall down he wouldn't kill himself.

[CSM lights up a cigarette.]

Bill Davis, he knew how to work that cigarette. The cigarette and the lighter almost became two separate characters from Cigarette-Smoking Man.

[CSM is sitting in a dimly lit room, talking to someone.]

This episode is told from the Cigarette-Smoking Man's point of view and you don't know until the end of the show who he's talking to, but he's finally telling the truth about the entire conspiracy and how many years they've worked to develop these human/hybrid aliens. We find out through his point of view about his relationship to Jeffrey Spender and Veronica Cartwright who plays Cassandra Spender, that in fact they were at one time married and Jeffrey is their child.

[Spender is in The X-Files office. Skinner enters the room.]

As I panned from that last scene on to this one, we just panned in and did a natural wipe, I like to keep things flowing when I direct, whether it's the camera moving within a scene or sliding from one scene into another, you know, just give the camera some movement. I guess it just helps to take the audience to the next story point, or it does for me anyhow.

[Skinner and Spender at the train yard.]

This is one of our Los Angeles shows and we were still trying to get adjusted to all the sunlight that we played in these exterior day scenes because while we were in Vancouver of course it always had a dark and gray feel and now suddenly we were in sunny California and it took quite a bit of time, I think most of the sixth season, just to get used to the fact that the show was now, the sun was out suddenly on The X-Files.

[CSM continues his monologue. Elsewhere, Mulder is playing basketball when Scully enters.]

David was an excellent basketball player, he played often when we'd break for lunch or something - he'd throw the basketball. Matter of fact, one year he bought the entire crew a basketball, everybody got a basketball, a signed basketball from David. When we were shooting in this gym, we were supposed to shoot this up on the rooftop and when we arrived it was pouring down rain so we moved this scene inside. On the rooftop, this is in downtown Los Angeles, there's a rooftop basketball court, so we shot it in here and unfortunately it was so noisy with that wood floor that I think this whole scene had to be looped.

[FBI. Spender is writing something at Mulder's desk in the bullpen. Mulder enters.]

Those establishing shots of the J. Edgar Hoover building were kind of funny because we had only a limited amount of them and every week it was probably our most agonizing decision is, oh god, now which shot are we going to use now. So I think finally after maybe five years we put Paul Rabwin on an airplane and sent him back to Washington D.C. to shoot some fresh shots of that building.

[CSM visits Dr. Openshaw in hospital. He's in an oxygen chamber.]

This scene is, I think, one of my favourites in the film.

[He tells CSM that Cassandra is a success. When he says that they are going to question him, CSM turns off the oxygen.]

I believe this make-up here was done by Cheri Medcalf, and Cheri always shot in LA here, she won an Emmy three out of four years. She did some fantastic work for us.

[Second Elder's house.]

This was a house in a very upscale, very expensive neighborhood in Los Angeles and I was very, very nervous about shooting here because we had to have a fire inside the man's house, and our special effects guys pulled it off really well. Kelly Kerby and Bobby Calvert.

[The Second Elder is attacked by a faceless man who looks like Dr. Openshaw.]

You know, it's interesting, I just saw a mistake in that shot. You can see the special effects guy running in with his rig, just as the camera's pulling back you could see the top of the rig come in that window and they hit the switch on the fire. I just saw it for the first time.

[Mulder at his desk in the bullpen. Scully enters.]

I think this is the first episode where we find out the faceless aliens can also shapeshift, if you will, and become another character, imitating other people. So now we've got a new twist to our story because they can now take on the identity of somebody who may no longer be with us.

[Cassandra in her hospital room, eating green jello. Scully arrives.]

That was an insert that Paul Rabwin shot. I chose not to start the scene on the bowl of green jello, but when I saw it put in the final cut I loved it because for a moment there you have no idea where you are.

[Cassandra can now walk.]

This is kind of a remarkable moment for Scully's character because she's now buying into the fact that Cassandra was indeed abducted, I mean here she is walking when she used to be in a wheelchair and suddenly she's healed. And now nobody'll believe her.

[Mulder and Cassandra meet.]

I think that scene platformed the next four years really of The X-Files, end of season 6, 7, 8 and 9, when she said 'the same thing they did to me and to you, Scully', because we never really did know whether Scully's baby was part-alien or was just purely Mulder's child, and I think that scene right there platformed the balance of the series.

[CSM continues his monologue. Later, Krycek addresses the Syndicate.]

Now, if you'll notice, I think one of my trademarks as a director is I love to get low with the camera and shoot up, but it requires a little more money because most television sets don't have ceilings on, and we established that all of our sets would have a ceiling on them and that we lit from the floor instead of lighting from above. There's no top light on The X-Files, it's just something we decided early on that we wouldn't want to top light anybody, so our sets always had ceilings and we can get down nice and low and look up. It's a powerful angle.

[CSM looks at the Second Elder.]

Now here the Cigarette-Smoking Man is very suspicious. He has a feeling that this is not who he pretends to be.

[Mulder and Scully enter the basement office.]

The Cigarette-Smoking Man really pushed all the buttons, you know. He had X assassinated, he destroyed Marita Covarrubias, he was a very powerful man. I think that Krycek wanted to inherit the throne one day.

[Mulder and Scully in the basement office.]

This is one of my favourite things while directing The X-Files; I loved to do these tight two-shots with David and Gillian, their faces that close together and that tight in the same frame of film. I always found there is something very fascinating about it, they just looked great together. It was fun to compose them in a tight frame of film.

[Skinner interrupts them. Spender arrives. Spender then visits CSM.]

Very interesting line because eventually you're going to find out that Fox Mulder is the Cigarette-Smoking Man's son as well.

[Mulder playing basketball again. Scully arrives.]

All net, baby, all net.

[Scully has information about CGB Spender.]

I think if you'd look closely at that photograph you might realize why we cut out all of the youth footage, youth flashbacks, out of this episode. The CSM with a 1973 hairstylist just doesn't work.

[CSM continues his monologue.]

This was a fun episode because everyone was guessing, this episode right here, they were all guessing, all the crew, everybody, all of us, is CSM really Fox Mulder's father? And Chris Carter, (laughs) he wouldn't tell us, he wanted to surprise us later down the line.

[CSM meets with Spender.]

There's a very famous story about The X-Files, when we designed this alien-killer, this spike that you put in the back of their necks, they wanted to come up with an interesting sound as it opened, and that's literally Paul Rabwin, after a lot of frustrating hours trying to find the right sound, stepped up to a microphone at Dave West Studios and went 'Pfft!' and that's it, that's the sound they used. Paul Rabwin's voice. I wonder if they send Paul Rabwin a little residual for every time they hear that noise.

[Spender and Krycek arrive at the Second Elder's house.]

I kind of laugh every time I see that shot. The neighbor who lived across the street had just put peat moss all over their entire lawn and the neighborhood just stunk, it was horrible to shoot in, and we were wetting everything down so that really kicked up the smell.

[Krycek kills the alien Second Elder.]

Jeffrey Spender's having a bad day. Can't do anything right.

[Skinner goes to Mulder's apartment. Scully is also there. In the Second Elder's house, Spender watches the alien dissolve into green goo.]

This is a stuntman lying on the ground and he's got some of the make-up on him, and then what they do is they take it to the CGI lab and they make it pulse and foam and do that kind of thing. I think we shot different elements so that we'd lock off a camera or do some motion-control. And then as the years went by you didn't have to worry about any of that, the technology was actually must faster than the length of our show, so that toward the end we could do anything we wanted with the camera, and we'd shoot just elements, maybe some green foaming liquid and that kind of thing, and then they'd take it, make it all come together with the computers.

[Spender and Krycek talk.]

I love Nick Lea in that scene, I think he did a wonderful job. Krycek was a great character.

[CSM ends his monologue. The person he has been talking to is Diana Fowley.]

Mmm. Another FBI Agent, Diana Fowley, now joins the conspirators.

[Skinner looks for Cassandra in her hospital room. Spender arrives. Cassandra goes to Mulder's apartment.]

This was a really tough scene to shoot.

[Somebody knocks on Mulder's door. Cassandra pleads with Mulder to shoot her.]

Scenes like this, we had to work very, very hard on, to make them believable. Not over the top. It was a real fine line we were walking here. Veronica did a great job.

[Mulder aims his gun at Cassandra.]

["To Be Continued"]