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Film Studies 101

The X-Men: Brian Thompson
We quiz the X-Files regulars

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Played: Bounty Hunter
Number of episodes: 9

The X-Men: Brian Thompson

When did you last see an episode?
I caught the end of one last year. I was in a hotel, flipping through channels, and it was, "Oh, look, there's Gillian and David." And I was completely sucked in. There are so many amazingly well-produced shows at the moment: Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, House Of Cards, which is made in Washington DC, one of the most difficult places to shoot… I think they all grew off The X-Files, because that was the first series with so much production value that you felt like you were watching a mini-movie every week. Especially a couple of episodes I was involved in, like the one with the submarine breaking through the ice. Without it I doubt you would have Lost or 24, which were my two guilty pleasures a few years ago.

Do you remember any of your lines?
I didn't have many. My guy was really not a chatterbox! But most of my lines were important because they were tied to the mythology of the show. In my first or second episode, Mulder asks me about his sister and I say, "She's alive… Can you die now?" That was emotional. And there's kind of a funny story about how those lines came about. I'd been offered the part based on a script that I was told had yet to be written. I hadn't seen The X-Files as I'd been out of the country doing Dragonheart, but I accepted the role based on all the buzz. Then, when I got to set, I slowly realised that they'd been bullshitting me about the script - it had been written, but they just didn't want to show it to me. Finally I got hold of a copy and opened it, and my character was basically a Terminator. He didn't have a single line of dialogue. I confronted the director of the episode and said, "I don't do these parts. Put me on a plane and send me home." He said, "Brian, I don't know anything about this. Let me investigate." And within two hours that scene on the boat between David and I showed up. If you talk to Chris Carter, I don't know if he would say that scene was already in the works, or if I forced it out of him that morning!

Did you come up with a backstory?
The character was all very shadowy at the beginning. But it gradually became clear that I was an extraterrestrial cop, tracking down aliens that were not supposed to be on Earth. I was basically immigration. I did not go so far as to devise or name the cop academy that I had graduated from.

Are you a Shipper or a No-Romo?*
It gradually became clear that I was an extraterrestrial cop, tracking down aliens that were not supposed to be on Earth. I was basically immigration.
I would definitely be a Shipper. Because of the puritanical nature of British and American society, the sexual nature of relationships has been sterilised in so many of our stories. Me and my girlfriend, we're very affectionate in a physical way. So why don't you see on-screen couples with their hands up each other's shirts and fondling each other all the time? I would love to have seen a bit of that on The X-Files.

What's the strangest encounter you've had with a fan?
Five years ago, I went to a charity auto auction the day before the actual auction to look at a VW TDI Bug. I walked into the office, where a nice-looking lady was behind the counter. She looked at me, squealed and ran out of the room. Moments later she came in towing a young gentleman by the hand, who turned out to be her husband. The first words she spoke were, "It's the Bounty Hunter from The X-Files!" After the small talk and the autographs, and my test-driving the car, they sold it to me a day early for half of its street value. And it was a great car, until my son totalled it...

What's the best thing you kept from the set?
Chris Carter did say that I could have one of the gimlet weapons, but the props department never sent it. So the only thing I got to keep was some clothes. I have a sweater and the nice overcoat that my character wore. It's not much use in LA.

Mulder's obsession is aliens. What's yours?
I have a trifecta answer. 25 years ago I started wind-surfing. Twelve years ago I started kite-surfing. And three years ago I bailed on all of those wind-driven sports and became a stand-up paddle-surfer. That sport by far leaves you the healthiest - you're constantly working your core muscles. Chris Carter is a big surfer, so I bought him a five-year subscription to Kite-Surfing Magazine while we were doing the show. I didn't tell him I was the one who'd got it for him until the third year! But I don't believe he ever got around to it.

When did you last cross paths with someone from the show?
The last season of Californication, with Mr. Duchovny. I played a dude called Mr. Scary in a surf bar. An agent is challenged by a writer: "Go up to that guy there and tell him you want to cradle his balls and suck his dick." So the agent comes up to me as I'm playing pool with my buddies, and says it to me. Then we go outside. So it's implied that some cradling actually takes place.

Sum up the conspiracy storyline in 30 seconds or less.
It is a complete cover-up of extra-terrestrial technology by the American government. Period.

* Shippers want Mulder and Scully to hook up. No-Romos don't.

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Head to our X-Files hub for more exclusive features and interviews celebrating the 20th anniversary of the classic sci-fi TV show
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