REYES OF LIGHT (May 2002)
Annabeth Gish sheds some insight on her short-lived role as The X-Files' Special Agent Monica Reyes.
Annabeth Gish pauses for a beat, as if certain the entire world knows about these creatures, and how they relate to her recent late nights shooting The X-Files.
"They're like a type of bug," she says. "You can only imagine that - in X-Files style - the bugs take on a certain, alive, almost freakish quality."
Whether it's a spaceship, bugs with a mind of their own, or some other unexplained phenomena, she adds, "There's never a lack of things to react to on The X-Files."
Gish has learned that lesson fast in this, her first full season on the series (she appeared in only four episodes last year).
"I can unequivocally say that in 17 years of film and TV work, this is the hardest thing I've ever done," she exhales. "On a day-to-day basis, it's the most demanding experience - physically, emotionally and personally. People had warned me, but nobody really told me [what to expect]. It's like a real lesson in endurance."
Gish acknowledges that it took some time to find her footing as Monica Reyes. The character, the newest FBI Agent assigned to the X-Files, has penchant for the unexplained, and an emotional shared history with her partner, Agent Doggett.
"Honestly, it's been an interesting acting experience that way, because I'm still finding her voice," she marvels. "It's not like when you do a feature film or a play, where you have the script that is the bible and you have the beginning, middle and end. This is ongoing - it's like you're filling in the pieces as you go."
One thing that was certain from the onset was what role Reyes would play in the partnership she shares with Doggett. Whereas once upon a time Mulder was the believer and Scully was the skeptic, in this new partnership between Agents Reyes and Doggett, it falls to Gish's Reyes to act the part of believer.
"The nice thing about Reyes is that she's a believer, but she's not a righteous believer, so she knows Doggett's cynicism and she [can act as] a bridge," Gish explains. "And I think a lot of what we see this season is that Doggett starts to walk over that bridge. He doesn't stay there, but he does come over and he sees, through Monica's openness and her lack thereof. She enables people to open their minds by her own non-threatening openness."
Though there are differences between the real-life Gish and her fictional alter ego, the actress admits that there is some overlap: "She's more fearless than I am. I like what Chris and Frank have set up for her - that she's open, she's spiritual, she's sensual and she likes to smile, which I think is a distinct character trait for an X-Files actor."
Her character has also had the chance to grow considerably in episodes like "4-D" and "John Doe," both of which helped flush out hints of a growing relationship between Reyes and Doggett.
"There's a friendship bond between bond between them," Gish observes. "I think they've really done a lot this year to explore the relationship, and the connection between John Doggett and Reyes, which is a very deep connection from the past."
Fortunately for Gish, she and Patrick have jelled well together, on-screen and off.
"Working with Robert is great," says Gish. "I mean he is such a raw, committed, emotional actor. There's no guile with Robert Patrick. I think it's very attractive."
Although her opportunity to further explore Monica Reyes will be cut short, already Gish has noticed that her character has a specific arc through the scripts.
There is a definite reason that Monica is in this field," she promises. "She's very driven from a deep place, from her childhood, as most people are.