Transcript of the DVD Audio Commentary by Vince Gilligan for 'Je Souhaite'

Transcribed by: X_Follower
Edited by: Libby

[A storage facility in Creve Coeur, Missouri. The manager, Mr. Gilmore, drives in a golf cart past rows of storage units. He's talking on a walkie-talkie to a worker, Anson, who is sitting in an empty storage unit reading a boating magazine.]

Hi, this is Vince Gilligan, executive producer of The X-Files and you are watching 'Je Souhaite', my directorial debut, my first episode I directed for the show. 'Je Souhaite' in French means 'I wish' or so they tell me, I don't speak French myself, but this show was one that I wrote and directed, first one I ever got the opportunity, the privilege to direct, and I was nervous as hell going into this. I had never... I directed stuff in college and directed short films as a teenager, but this was the first time I had 300 people all at my, you know, all in my responsibility and it was pretty nerve-wrecking, but I was very lucky to get to do it.

[Gilmore tells Anson he's fed up with his attitude, and asks if he's sorted out unit 407.]

The story came about, as most do, in a very sort of roundabout way. I had an idea originally about a self-storage place which is what you're seeing in here. This one in fact I think was, I can't remember now, I think it was shot down in Carson, an area just south of Los Angeles. And the original idea was, I had this weird image of this long-locked-up self-storage locker and it gets cut open and rolled up and the person looking into it finds a person standing inside among all these cobwebs and dust, someone who's wide-awake and who's just sort of standing there and the original version, that original idea was not in any way comedic, it was gonna turn out to be something I can't even remember now, something weird about... it was gonna be somebody built some sort of android or robot or something, and that's what the person standing in there would have been. And then that went by the wayside 'cause I didn't feel like an android seemed like X-Files, it seemed more to me like Star Trek or something.

[Anson has opened 407, which contains furniture covered in plastic sheeting. There are several cobwebs, indicating that the unit hasn't been entered for some time.]

And then I had some even weirder idea where inside the storage facility there was this, I don't know, like a black hole or something, some weird, you know, kind of maelstrom that separated our world from some other, you know, other world, and I had this weird image in my head of, like, human teeth falling through it.

[A rolled-up carpet is on the floor. There's a movement in the carpet and Anson approaches it nervously.]

And that sort of gives an insight, I guess, into how we come up with these things 'cause, of course, you know, where the hell had human teeth come from, but I didn't quite know what to do with that one either, so with the help of Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban, some of these ideas I had wound up being what you see here, this episode, and wound up being comedic and the idea of a genie coming in rolled up in a rug came later than these other ideas that I just mentioned. But that's sort of the roundabout way we come up with these things.

[Gilmore has driven up to unit 407 to find Anson isn't there, the unrolled carpet lying on the ground.]

This actor, Paul Hayes, real trooper, coming up here and you'll see why. We put a little make-up on him to make it look like he had no mouth, our make-up guys did a really great job at this. And this poor guy... I think it took a couple of hours to do this make-up effect on him during which time of course he couldn't open his mouth. And luckily he breathed well out of his nose. That would have been problematic if he couldn't do that.

[Gilmore's mouth has disappeared, there is just smooth skin over the lower part of his face.]

[Main titles]

Here was the title sequence which I also directed. (chuckles) No, just kidding, that's not true, I didn't do this, obviously.

[Mulder's office. He is talking with Gilmore.]

The episode is set in Missouri, that was the teaser you just saw, in Creve Coeur, Missouri. I'm not sure why at this point now except I knew up to this point we'd set a lot of episodes in California because of course at this point, Season 7, we were shooting the series in Southern California here in the beautiful city of Los Angeles, and it just seemed like we should mix it up a bit, so I thought Missouri would be a good place to set something. [Scully enters the office and Mulder introduces Gilmore who turns to Scully, showing the surgery performed to create a mouth.]

I'd loved Gillian Anderson's reaction, by the way, in that bit with the mouth, that mouth was so nauseating to look at. Again, Paul Hayes put up with a lot of long make-up ordeal to get into that, and Gillian's reaction when she first sees that mouth was, uh, I got a chuckle out of it on the set.

So this was my first opportunity directing David and Gillian, of course, being my first episode as director, and it was a real treat, they're both troopers and they're both excellent actors and I'm very fortunate not only that I got to direct, but that I got to direct an episode before David left the show because he was a lot of fun to work with.

Of course it goes without saying that David and Gillian know their characters better than any other people on earth, having played them for nine years now, seven years at this point when this episode was made, so they're a dream to direct as well because they don't need to be told how to play their characters, they know full well how to do that.

[Mark Twain Trailer Park. Mulder and Scully arrive.]

So now we're in a real mobile home park. This was shot in Carson which is a little town, a little suburb south of Los Angeles, maybe about 35, 40 miles south of L.A. And I have to say the people in this mobile home park were so nice, they're the actual residents of the place, they were really a sweet bunch of people and they would come out to watch us shoot and they particularly came out in droves the day we blew up the trailer which is a scene coming up later in the episode.

[Mulder and Scully discuss the case as they walk towards Anson's trailer. In the parking space next to the trailer is a yacht.]

And I think actually in this scene here you see how gray and cloudy it looks, and I think it was actually raining on and off that day and we had to stop a little for the rain. The thing about rain though is that it doesn't actually read on film, so it might have actually been sprinkling in this shot, you just can't really tell because unless you light rain, specifically light it, back-light it with lights, you won't actually see it.

[Inside the trailer. Anson's brother, Leslie, is using a motorized wheelchair. He comes up to Anson who's peering through the curtains. He thinks Mulder and Scully are IRS agents, here because of the yacht. Mulder and Scully knock on the door which Leslie opens.]

Now we're on stage. The magic of film, huh? It looks like we're inside a trailer, but this is actually on a sound stage, that inside stuff is on a sound stage at the FOX lot in Los Angeles, and this shot is... this shot's on location, this shot's on a stage, it's really neat how it marries together. I'm always surprised, I mean, even having directed this, you know, it's easy to forget that these are two entirely different physical locations, one indoors and outdoors, and a little bridging them together, just cutting back and forth between them.

This actor, by the way, I was so happy to get to work with. His name is Will Sasso, the guy in the motorized scooter and he is a, uh, you probably recognize him if you watch the TV show 'Mad TV' on FOX, he's been on it for several years now, four, five years. Very funny guy as is everybody on that show.

[Mulder notices a woman standing in the trailer; this is the woman who was in the carpet.]

It's funny, we actually wound up reading just about every cast member, current and former, from the TV show 'Mad TV' because I'm a big fan of it, and we read a bunch of folks from it, everybody was great, but Will, in particular, was a guy I had in mind for this part, I sort of wrote the part with him in mind and luckily he was available, his schedule permitted him to do this role and he was funny as hell, I just enjoyed working with him. And I think David and Gillian liked him a lot, too.

[Leslie suggests that Gilmore's condition could be the result of chemicals and that Mulder and Scully should investigate that.]

And that was Paula Sorge you just saw briefly, the genie in our episode. I can't say enough good things about her. She was wonderful to work with. To be honest, I wrote the part originally for Janeane Garofallo, I had her in mind when I was writing, and I thought, 'gee, maybe we can get her', and it turns out she was unavailable, she was locked up doing some HBO stuff, and as wonderful as Janeane Garofallo is, I'm very fortunate to have been able to work with Paula Sorge. Paula was a real pleasure to work with.

[Mulder and Scully visit unit 407. Mulder finds a 1978 calendar.]

Everybody was... I sound like I'm just blowing smoke here, but this was a wonderful experience for me because everybody made it easy for me, all the actors. Kevin Weisman, who you also saw in that previous scene who plays the part of Anson, he's the other brother, he and Leslie are two brothers. Everybody was a lot of fun to work with.

[Scully uncovers some of the furniture which she says is expensive, and suggests that Anson might have stolen something, hence his disappearance.]

So now we're back in our... this is again location work, we're in this... we actually shut down this used-store place. It's really neat to work on a show with as big a reputation as The X-Files because you get to... when you come in everyone sort of knows what the show is, and most of the time people are fans or at least certainly friendly toward the idea of you shooting there, and this was a working operation that they closed down for us, which was nice.

[Mulder has found a photograph of a seventies playboy. Also in the photo is the woman he saw in the trailer, looking no older. Mulder and Scully head back to the trailer park.]

That boat, by the way, was a big hassle to get loaded into that trailer park, the boat outside. It was a big deal to get that trucked in, and we had to move, had to shift a few trailers around and sort of shoehorn it in there.

[In the trailer, Anson is still nervously peering out the window. He argues with the woman who picks up the remote for the TV.]

Check out the remote control, by the way, that Paula's holding in her hand, it's quite a sight, a girl in a bikini kind of thing. I was surprised our Broadcast Standards people let us get it on the air. It's a little bit... the kind of thing you pick up at Spencer Gifts, I guess, and a little risquι, but I don't guess they noticed.

[Anson has used two wishes (for Gilmore to shut up, and for the boat) and asks why he ended up with the boat – the genie says because he asked for it but didn't specify that it should be in the water somewhere.]

Directing-wise, this was a tricky scene for me, being a neophyte, because this trailer... this is again on the sound stage at the FOX lot, this is not an actual trailer interior, but it is about the size of a real mobile home, maybe just a little bit wider, we fudged a few feet here and there, we raised the ceiling a bit, we made it a bit wider than normal mobile home, a single wide mobile home, but it was so tight inside and this scene was three characters talking for a prolonged period, logistically it was a bit tricky because when you shoot a scene like this, you want coverage, which is to say you want different sizes, different shot sizes and compositions on each actor and the scene and... so basically a scene like this was three people, it probably took, uhhhh... three, four hours to shoot this scene, probably took a good half a day and it probably wound up being a bunch of angles on every single actor. It wound up being probably four, five different shots on each actor, so, four times three, twelve plus a master, it was probably thirteen/fourteen setups, what we call setups, individual camera positions.

[The genie indicates Leslie in his wheelchair. Neither of the brothers understands what she's trying to convey to them. Then Anson has an idea.]

There's also something in directing – I don't want to get into, delve into too deeply – called "the line" which is for instance in this shot here Kevin is looking basically screen right, everyone else is looking screen left to him, except now, just then, he crossed the line, I'm confusing myself trying to explain this, you want everybody looking in a consistent direction throughout a scene, now they're looking left to him, he's looking right to them. If suddenly you were to pop on the other side on the line that divides Kevin from Paula and Will, you potentially confuse the audience 'cause suddenly he's looking left and they'd be looking right and a better director than I would know how to make that work but I stuck to it pretty religiously because I didn't want to confuse myself and least of all the audience, I didn't want to confuse them either. This was fun to shoot, this scene. These guys were real troopers.

[Anson has decided he wants to be invisible.]

This shot originally was going to be very fancy, um, very expensive, it was scripted to be a very expensive special effect with Kevin fading away and his clothes still being on him and his clothes walking around just a la 'The Invisible Man', his empty clothes walking around still on his invisible body, and we learned pretty quickly on that that would have been exorbitantly expensive and hard to shoot, so I went back and changed the script and made him get naked, we changed the lines so he says 'oh wait, are my clothes going to be invisible, too?' And actually it worked better, this is one of those nice moments where it's better not to shoot which you originally had planned, what you change for logistics and to save money actually makes for a better story, so I'm glad that worked out the way it did.

[Anson has run out of the trailer down the road, and invisibly pushes over garbage cans, but has some problems because he can't see his feet. Leslie thinks it's great. He wheels himself back into the trailer. He looks around, but the genie has disappeared.]

I think we shot here with a 10mm lens, stuck it way up in the corner of the set, very very wide.

[Anson continues his gleeful, invisible path through the park, causing minor vandalism, running through a puddle which splashes up with every footfall.]

This was a fun day - this take here I think took something like 10, 11 tries to get it just perfect, and then this scene here, this was toward... I think this was about my last day of shooting. Of course, we shoot out of chronological order, and this was I think the last day on the schedule of about 11 days, 8 days first unit, 3 days second.

[Anson sees a couple of attractive young women across the street trying to fix a bicycle, standing by pedestrian-controlled traffic lights. He presses the button and waits until the lights change in his favor. He steps out into the road but an oncoming truck driver, who sees nobody on the crossing, continues driving.]

This shot here was fun, coming up. Boom. That was done... I wish I'd made that go a little bit longer, that was done with that actual truck hitting a giant mirror, we set up a mirror in the street and drove a truck through it at 50 miles an hour and just obliterated this giant tempered glass mirror. And there's a cut hidden from the girl, on the other side of the street, there was a cut when we pan a camera to the right, there was a cut hidden in there, so we panned off her and then edited to panning on to this mirror with the truck just about to hit it. That was fun to do, we did two takes on that, did three or four thousand dollars worth of damage to the front of the truck. It wound up leaking radiator fluid by the time we did the second take, because hitting that heavy mirror was definitely not what GM designed it for, or whoever built it.

[Anson's body had been discovered because a young boy, cycling down the side of the road where Anson had been thrown by the collision, hits the invisible body. Later, the body is taken to the morgue and two attendants wheel in an "empty" gurney. Scully gingerly reaches out a finger and contacts something she can't see. She gets some yellow powder and starts applying it, showing the outline of Anson's head.]

That's a piece of glass Scully just touched, about the oldest trick in the book that would make it look like she's touching the side of an invisible guy's head. You probably already figured that out, though. But I tell you, the old-time tricks that they've been doing since time began are often the most effective, and of course it helps to have a great actress and we certainly have one in Gillian Anderson, she did a wonderful, wonderful job in this scene, I think we did this in like one take and she just nailed it. We had two cameras going, two to three cameras, and that way when you have two to three cameras, what we call A and B camera, you can shoot things much quicker because you're getting two different sizes, two different shot sizes on the same performance and you know it's gonna cut together, you know you're not going to have a problem editing from one shot to the other. I think this was the A camera and then there's the... actually, this was a whole different deal, this was a big, big deal special effect thing. The way this is done is our make-up guys cast Kevin Weisman's head in plaster and then painted it blue, so what Gillian Anderson in real life was actually doing was spreading yellow dust, yellow make-up dust onto a blue plaster head of Kevin Weisman. And then Bill Millar, our special effects wizard, basically erased out all that blue, there's probably a better technical word for it than that, but that's essentially what he did, and in place of the blue put in Scully's coat and the background behind it to make it look like he's invisible. That was a very effective trick.

[Mulder arrives at the morgue. By now, Scully has put yellow powder over the whole of Anson's body.]

By the way, Kevin Weisman, on day two of our shooting, had to get into his yellow make-up for the first time and we ran into a snag early on that day when he started to have an allergic reaction to the yellow make-up that you see on him there. That was kind of a bummer that put us back, knocked us off schedule by a few hours, but he was a trooper, and he wound up just sort of cowboying up and basically I don't think we, at end of the day, changed the make-up. We were using pretty gentle stuff but unfortunately he was having a bit of a reaction, but he just sort of was a trooper and sort of dealt with it which I appreciated him doing.

[Mulder relates to Scully some information on the man in the photograph – a man who died in 1978 in a very extraordinary way.]

Also this kind of scene, you see a lot of these in The X-Files where there's a dead guy laying on a table and I wanted him to be completely nude, not the actor but rather I wanted the scene to play like he didn't have a sheet on him or anything because often we'll have a sheet on top of someone and there's nothing wrong with that but in real life when someone is doing an autopsy there's no sheet on the body, it's just basically a nude cadaver laying there, and I wanted to stick to realities so I think we had him in a pair of bicycle pants and I very carefully placed Agent Scully around about his midsection so we could frame out the naughty bits, as Monty Python says, but in these scenes it's always tough for the actor to have to lie there for a long time and hold his breath, and Kevin again was a trooper, that's... I think it's a lot harder than it seems also because these takes go on for minutes and you have to... you can't obviously stop breathing for minutes straight so sometimes you have to breath very carefully so that we can't see you breathing.

[The trailer park later that night.]

The "you suck" on the boat here, I don't know why I put that on, I just thought it'd be funny, I figured the neighbors would get a bit jealous of some guy suddenly having a giant yacht in his driveway and maybe the neighbor kids put that on there.

[Mulder is talking to Leslie.]

This was a fun scene to shoot, particularly the part coming up here when Agent Mulder does the 'I dream of Jeannie' bit, does the song, the theme song from 'I dream of Jeannie'. That was fun to shoot.

[Mulder asks him about the woman, saying that he thinks she's a jinniyah, a female jinni.]

Ah, the 'I dream of Jeannie' bit that Agent Mulder does, that was fun to shoot, and by the way, whenever you have your actor even so much as hum a few bars from a published song, in this case the 'I dream of Jeannie' theme song, you have to pay, and sometimes through the nose, it's a good deal for the music publishing people and for the folks who wrote the original song, they get paid sometimes thousands of dollars, I think in this case probably several thousand dollars exchanged hands, maybe way more than that. But that's as it should be, I mean, as a writer I feel that – I don't write music, I write screenplays and TV, teleplays and I think it's always good when someone who works their butt off gets paid for what they do. But it's always interesting to me just how much it is just for a guy humming a few bars.

[Mulder suggests that Leslie should hand over the object that the genie was in when Anson found her. Leslie hands over a metal canister.]

The T-shirt Leslie is wearing, by the way, is one of my favorite bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and every scene, he has several costume changes throughout the episode but I think in nearly every one it's a different incarnation of the Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt, there's different versions of it. I felt like character-wise that'd be something Leslie'd be into and I like it myself a lot. And I've got a bunch of... actually I wound up keeping a bunch of the shirts, I got like five or six of them.

[Leslie has gone to the lockup and shines a flashlight around, showing the rolled-up carpet. Meanwhile, back at the morgue, Scully is photographing Anson's yellow body. Mulder comes in and they go to an adjoining room where Mulder shows her the metal canister, which he already knows isn't the right container. He shows her images of the genie with Mussolini and Richard Nixon.]

This scene coming up here brings back somewhat sad memories for me and I'll tell you why. This episode, when it was first cut together I had it to my liking and yet it was 11 minutes long as in overlong, as in The X-Files without credits and title sequence needs to be something like 42 minutes 56 seconds long, and this was – I can't do the math on the fly here, uh – 53 minutes long and change, and that can't be, TV is sort of Procrustean bed – Procrustes being the old king of mythology who would strap you to a bed exactly six feet long and if you were too short he'd stretch you and if you were too long he'd lop you off at the ankles, and TV is sort of like that, I guess it was Harlan Ellison, the science-fiction writer who first called TV that and in my mind it is that way because if you're too short in an episode, you got to pad it out. Luckily on The X-Files, we're never too short, we're always long but then that's where heartbreak comes in of having to cut scenes that you like and that last was a prime example. In it, Mulder showed three examples originally of the genie being in past lives Mussolini and Nixon and then there was a fun one with her standing next to an old newsreel footage of this guy taking a canon ball shot to the stomach, and that had to get cut. And a lot little bits like that in this episode had to get cut. My favorite one of all and the hardest one to cut is coming up which is a scene where Leslie here winds up sitting on the couch watching TV next to his deceased brother and watching 'The Dukes of Hazzard', one of my all time favorite TV shows, and that had to get cut.

[Leslie has taken the woman back to the trailer and is working on his three wishes. Again, the genie indicates his wheelchair and talks about his condition, but all he can think of is a solid gold wheelchair.]

That was actually, that was the act out that you just saw, the original act out was he makes the wish and then the dead body comes to his house and they sit there and they watch 'The Dukes of Hazzard' together in a very brotherly sort of way.

[Some very important people have arrived at the morgue. Scully opens the cabinet door to show them Anson's body, but the body is missing.]

Oh, the guy standing on the right of the frame, by the way, the guy in the bow tie and the glasses, is Harry Bring, one of the producers on The X-Files and a wonderful guy, we call him Uncle Harry, and he's a real character and Harry and Michelle MacLaren together run the production end of our show and do a great job and he's just a wonderful guy and I'm so glad to get to give him a little cameo in the episode.

[Leslie and the "resurrected" Anson are sat at the kitchen table in the trailer. Obviously, Anson is in very bad shape.]

The fly buzzing around that you see in this scene is completely computer-animated.

[The genie points out that Leslie asked for Anson to be brought back; although he meant brought back to normal, he hadn't specified that, so Anson is an animated corpse. He's beginning to smell bad. Leslie then decides he wants Anson to be able to talk. His wish is granted and Anson screams.]

This kitchen scene, by the way, is again on the soundstage and the way these sets are built by our wonderful, by the way, our wonderful production designer Corey Kaplan and Duke Tomasick, our construction coordinator, together do a wonderful job designing and then building these sets and that trailer set was built with what we call 'wild walls' or 'wildable' walls, which is to say you can yank out a wall and our grip crew can grab a wall and yank it right out of there and get it out within a matter of minutes so that we can have room to get the camera in there, and that last scene was a scene where we had to shoot them in a fairly wide shot at the breakfast table, the dead yellow brother, yellow brother and his elder brother who's just brought him back to life, and I was a little nervous that we were wide enough that we could tell - here, here it is again - wide enough that we could tell that we're actually outside of the set because at that point we were, we pulled the wall immediately to... for instance, Leslie's left shoulder, we pulled a wall out and... but I guess it plays when you watch it and I think there was some concern when we shot it that the audience would feel like we're outside of the trailer. But hopefully no one would pay attention to that kind of stuff at this point in the story anyway.

[Mulder has suggested to Scully that the body disappeared as the result of a wish. In the trailer, Anson eventually stops screaming. He's feeling cold because his heart isn't beating, and Leslie turns up the thermostat.]

As far as coming up with these shots goes, there was a little bit of storyboarding done early on mainly for the action scenes, for scenes like the one you just saw with three people talking. Those... they're sort of a... I don't want to say a standard way but there's sort of a time-established way of shooting scenes like that, there's only really so many places you can put the camera. So scenes like that I didn't wind up storyboarding, but other scenes with action in them, for instance what's coming up here, the trailer blowing up, that kind of stuff gets storyboarded and I had a wonderful storyboard artist who helped me visualize this, sort of what was in my head and helping me put it onto paper.

[Anson has gone to gas stove and tries to light it. He accidentally breaks off the gas controller and tries to light some matches.]

There's a shot coming up here I was so proud of when we shot it and I don't know how well it reads on camera but we... I wanted to have heat going in the foreground, it's a shot through the back of the stove, I wanted all this ripply sort of heat haze coming up past Anson's yellow knees - here it is, you see a little bit there - and man, that was hard to get right. I think at the end of the day our special effects guys wound up burning big casserole, empty casserole cans full of alcohol right underneath the lens to get that heat, that heat haze rising. Of course here, finally Leslie gets it, coming up here, and finally realizes legs ... kaboom ... this was so much fun to be on the set for.

[The trailer blows up just as Mulder and Scully arrive, sending them tumbling to the ground.]

We had eight cameras going and one inside that car, they had something called false knee underneath the car that... it's a little hydraulic joint that popped out and made the car fall, make it look like some big concussion hit the car. Those were stunt man and stunt woman, by the way, doubling for Mulder and Scully, there's no way we would put our two stars of our show that close to an actual explosion. And I have to say I was there on the set probably 60, 70 feet back with the special effects guys behind the plexiglass screen and I could feel the heat coming out of that explosion, it felt like opening up of giant pizza oven right into your face. It was pretty impressive. Although oddly enough I will say as impressive as it was, those kind of things almost always look better on film. They're impressive in real life and yet they look ten times bigger on film, especially when you shoot them in slow motion and whatnot.

[In an office at the trailer park, Mulder is interviewing the genie.]

This scene here was shot on location and I was very happy we got to do that. You can see out the window, at the top of the scene especially and out the window behind Paula Sorge, you can see the trailer park and that's exactly where that is, it was some abandoned building, I'm still to this day not sure what it was we were shooting inside of but it was some sort of small tower, configured sort of two or three story office building and that room we were shooting in was so tiny that we shot with really nothing but wide lenses because we were just jammed in there like sardines. It looks like, you know, obviously it's meant to play like there's just three people in there but in reality shooting it was probably about 15, 16 people and we were jammed in so tight that I was sitting back by the monitor watching... there's a video monitor, by the way, that the director gets to watch, it's hooked to the eye-piece of the cameraman's camera, Panavision camera, and it shows exactly, on a video, it's called a 'video tap', and it shows exactly what the camera operator is seeing – so I'm sitting back watching on the monitor and I either had to yell to the actors, I was in just around the corner in another room, I had to yell to the actors, asking them to do things differently, faster or slower, whatever, or another take, let's do another one, because I couldn't actually step over all the huddled bodies of our crew to get in there to talk to people, it was that tight. But very, very fun nonetheless. It's a fun sort of camaraderie that I felt, uh, I got to say this crew, by the way, again sounds like I'm blowing smoke but the best damn crew and best crew working. We had a wonderful crew in Vancouver and now we have a wonderful crew in Los Angeles and these guys take the cake, they're just fantastic and, and everybody from Bill Roe, the director of photography, on down just gave a 110% and made this directorial debut of mine such a pleasure. And also made me realize from day one through day eleven that I knew basically nothing. I say that in a sense that I was always aware just how little I knew and how much I was being helped along, I was being carried on the shoulders of all these wonderful actors and crew people who knew their jobs inside and out and, and I realized... I feel proud of the job I did on this, there's many things I see that I'd like to have done differently, but I realize this thing moves like a freight train, like a supertanker and even if the director's not even all there, you know, mentally, the train moves on without him and the shots get set up and the show goes on, and it takes a strong director to stay on top of it because something'll get shot one way or the other and it'll most likely be good, but when you're directing you have to sort of stay ahead of the supertanker as it were, which is what Kim Manners does and Rob Bowman and all our... David Nutter before them, all our great directors we've had, and I just try to lean from those guys and do a job I thought they would be proud of, but, boy, there's lots to know about directing and there's so much more I need to learn but this episode was a great start me.

[In Mulder's apartment. The woman has told Mulder and Scully how she became a genie. Scully says that they have no evidence of her involvement so she's free to go. The genie says she isn't because Mulder unrolled her from the carpet so now he has three wishes.]

So now we're in Agent Mulder's apartment and as I recall that aquarium shot at the top of the act was one that took a bit of setting up and I wanted to show more of it but again this was one of those scenes, as with just about every scene in the show, eleven minutes we had to cut out of this thing and that is a lot of time, that is, what is that – again I'm not a math wiz – but that's like one-fifth of the running time, between one quarter and one fifth of the total running time we had to chop off this thing and that was, as great an experience at directing this episode was, that was one of my least favorite experiences, editing it, not because I didn't have a wonderful editor who was helping me through the process, but just because we sat there trying to figure out, day in and day out, what we could lose and still the story we needed to tell, and Louise Innes, my editor, really helped me there, really helped make the story make sense. Because there was so much we had to lose, you know that Procrustean bed of TV has to be adhered to and we had no choice but to chop stuff right and left to make it fit on between the Coca Cola commercials and whatnot.

[Mulder has decided that other people's wishes turn bad because they're selfish. So he wishes for peace on earth.]

This was one of my favorite scenes of Paula's, this scene coming up, I'm glad we could keep it and it's nearly in its entirety. She is so funny and she's got a lot of charisma, I haven't seen her in anything since this episode, I hope she's out there working and doing great things because she deserves to, she's a wonderful actress, she's funny and yet in this scene, at the tail end of this scene she... actually I'm sorry it's not the scene, but you'll see coming up she can turn on a dime and get nice and play nice emotion.

[Mulder realizes his wish was a mistake when all traffic sounds cease. He runs outside to find only empty vehicles and streets.]

This shot I got to say, you don't see stuff like this on TV every day. This was shot on a Sunday morning, right there that's pretty amazing because The X-Files shoots Monday through Friday, David Duchovny and our crew and Michelle MacLaren, who's our co-executive producer who runs our production, were all nice enough to figure out a way to make us able to shoot this on a Sunday and this is downtown Los Angeles and that one shot you just saw, that oner, that one camera shot, cost well above 50 000 dollars to shoot because we had off duty police officers, we had 20 or 30 production assistants, we had all these people blocking off downtown Los Angeles to make it look like there was nobody down there and if you've seen "Vanilla Sky" since then... I haven't seen it but I understand there was a great opening sequence where it's Tom Cruise running around Times Square with nobody in sight and my hat's off to those guys because I know that just this one little shot we got for this show was a logistical nightmare and I can't imagine how they did that in Times Square.

[Mulder has gone to the FBI building which is also empty. He finds the genie sitting at Skinner's desk.]

Sunday morning, by the way, is of course the best time for downtown Los Angeles because there's the fewest people there, like 7:30 in the morning on Sunday, that's not that many people you have to ask to step out of the shot to begin with.

[The genie points out that as no religion has been able to create peace on earth, why did Mulder think she could. Mulder wishes he hadn't made that wish. The genie grants that and Skinner reappears, along with others, sat around his conference table. The genie has disappeared.]

There was a little hand-off in this scene that I was sort of proud of, hand-off meaning Mulder walks in and Skinner's chair is empty and then the camera swings around and comes back and then Paula's sitting in Mitch Pileggi's chair there. Here's another one coming up, there's another hand-off where in the background of the previous shot you've seen there's nobody there and then the camera cranes up a bit and then you see AD Skinner and all his staff in the background. I sort of wanted that to be a theme throughout the show, I didn't want to see anybody magically - there's another one right there and now Paula's gone - I didn't want to see anybody magically appear or disappear on camera, certainly not the genie herself, I wanted to do it with cuts and make it more subtle. There's another one coming up here.

[Mulder is in his office, typing up his final wish, with many caveats to cover all eventualities.]

As I sit here and do this commentary, by the way, I'm putting the finishing touches on the second X-Files episode I've directed, one I've written and directed, it's called 'Sunshine Days' and it will be the last one-hour episode of The X-Files ever, as I'm recording this we're deep into Season Nine, what we now know to be the last season of The X-Files and 'Sunshine Days' is really the last stand-alone episode and I had a great time directing it too, it's funny I think just pure enjoyment-wise I enjoyed directing this one even more, 'Je Souhaite', even more because, mainly because I was not as aware on this one of the tightness of the schedule, I was much more painfully aware of just how tight the shooting schedule on these episodes is this time around and I had a hard time making my days, as we say, in other words I had a hard time getting everything shot in a day that I wanted to get shot on 'Sunshine Days' than I did on 'Je Souhaite', so I guess the first time is always the most fun and then it becomes a real job from there, but I hope you guys like that one when you see it, probably by the time this is on DVD you probably already will have.

[Scully has entered the office and asks the genie to leave – she disappears.]

But it's been a great run, The X-Files, it's been the best I've ever had, it's been like going to film school except getting paid to be in attendance and I feel very, very fortunate to have been able to direct two episodes and to have written, jeez, I counted up the other day, I can't even remember now, something like 30-some episodes had my name on them as a writer or co-writer, and it's just been a real honor and privilege to work with people like Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban and Kim Manners, Michelle MacLaren, Harry Bring, Bill Roe, the list goes on and on, I hope I'm not leaving anybody out, but of course Chris Carter, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, and of course not to leave out Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish who were just absolutely wonderful and whom I wish could have gotten a longer run at it because they were great folks, great to work with, do a wonderful job. But this has been a great job I wanted so much, and I'll never forget it.

[Mulder continues to work on his final wish. He's aiming for something wonderful – freedom, a safe world, the end of tyranny. But Scully suggests that the point of life is to achieve that, rather than the process being circumvented by a wish.]

This is Mulder's big decision, of course, this scene here where he decides to do the right thing and try not to save the world and potentially screw it up, he decides to make a very simple wish instead.

[Scully has left, and the genie reappears. Later, Scully visits Mulder in his apartment. Both are dressed casually. He puts a video in the VCR, picks up a bowl of popcorn and sits next to Scully on the couch.]

And this scene was fun to shoot. I will say, though, as fun as this scene was to shoot, this was second unit – we have two different crews, we have first unit, main unit, and then we have a second unit crew with... they're basically two completely staffed crews and they're both run by a bunch of people who really know their jobs inside and out – but here on second unit shooting this scene, we had to get this scene in very short order because Kim Manners, with first unit, was literally standing by, it was like a hundred people standing by with their arms folded, waiting to get onto this stage that we were on, this being Mulder's apartment, they needed to shoot in Mulder's apartment that very day for whole other episode, and that was a little taste of pressure that was, for me, that was actually good learning experience in that when you shoot a television show or a movie or a commercial or anything I guess, but especially TV with its supertight schedules, you have to learn to get what you need to get first and foremost, but you need to do it in a very timely manner and you need to do it with a minimum of BS and fuss, and you need to not shoot any more than you absolutely have to.

[Mulder isn't revealing to Scully what his final wish was. But in a coffee-shop, the genie takes off her glasses and the jewel, the sign that she's a genie, has gone. She happily sips her coffee, watching the world around her.]

Of course, this is the last shot of the show, a oner. This was done in Westwood Village, right around the outskirts of the UCLA campus, this was in a little French bakery called LSA and this was actually shot the first day of production and of course it's a last shot and, as I said, fun to do.

Thank you very much.

The End