Elise Harris talks to Dean Haglund about The Lone Gunmen’s role in The X-Files, Season eight
In the early days of the X-Files, the internet was instrumental in shaping and popularising the show. What was said on message boards often directly influenced storylines and character development. The Lone Gunmen represented internet nerds everywhere.
By season eight the approach was far more cynical.
Dean Haglund, who played Langly, the tall, blond, bespectacled Gunman, says ‘I think by this stage it was used as a marketing tool. It was no longer a wonderful discovery as it was in 1994, it became ‘let us drop hints, let us plan our online marketing strategy – the corporate use of the internet.’
Although the internet was less influential in shaping the show by this stage, its avatars, The Gunmen (originally something of a Greek Chorus) became ever more central to the plots.
‘They had killed off so many people – Mulder was gone – you had Robert Patrick and Anabeth who were new, you were dependent on Scully and the Gunmen who had come together as a team.
‘We were the only survivors left, we kept the continuity of the show so the new people coming in could all mesh.’
The Lone Gunmen spin-off was in production at the same time. ‘That was the really mad year because we were up in Vancouver shooting the spin-off then having to fly down to Los Angeles to do The X-Files, or they would film us up there and just cut us in. It became very confusing. Got a lot of Air Miles that year.’
The same writers were writing both shows, ‘They had to think of conspiracy comedy type shows for the Gunmen then think of the heavy drama for the X-Files and also think logistically how are we going to shoot that down there and this up here. It was very very difficult, you can imagine. I think Chris Carter doesn’t want to come back from surfing yet,’
Dean looks a lot different to Langly in real life, shorter hair, no thick-framed glasses, and far more well-dressed, but surprisingly he still gets recognised.
‘ I just got stopped two days ago and I am flawed because I think what with the glasses and long hair it’s like being Clark Kent/Superman.
‘It must be a special thing in the brain – because if I see someone on the screen and then see them right there they look completely different to me – a two-dimensional image and a three dimensional person. This is how embarrassing this is - I’m out walking in Los Angeles , Robert Patrick – my co-star- walks right by me and goes, ‘hey Dean’ I go ‘yeah, whatever’. My wife has to point out to me it’s Robert Patrick – I didn’t even recognise him. How pathetic is that?’
Despite the different image, Dean has a lot in common with Langley, ‘You think “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about” – but I do,’ he says.
‘When I was majoring in theatre at university, my minor was in physics, so I know enough about those sort of things just to be dangerous,’
He has even invented a way to speed up your laptop computer ‘without installing any hardware or uploading any software. Don’t I sound like the biggest geek?’
The invention, involving a specially adapted gel pack, is available on the internet.
There is still talk about a second movie, but Dean thinks it’s unlikely in the near future – and of course, at the end of the last series, the Gunmen died. Dean has a theory about that.
“They were killed off -theoretically, but you never see the bodies. And then there’s s the funeral – all the coffins are the same size. Frohike is much shorter than the two of us, he should have a shorter coffin. So, that’s why I think it was all faked – just to put us deep undercover.’
With the new haircut and the suit and tie the disguise just might work.
First printed 2004. All rights reserved.
X-Files Season 8 was out to buy on DVD on 15th March 2004 from
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. (The second X Files movie was released in 2008).