GISH AND TELL (2002)
Annabeth Gish arrived on The X-Files scene late in Season Eight, playing Special Agent Monica Reyes first in "This Is Not Happening," and then in three more episodes before becoming a regular X-Files castmember during the ninth season.
Reyes proved fascinating from the get-go. She was warm and sunny, but simultaneously somehow a touch detached. She was also bright and open to a world of possibilities, quickly forming a significant bond with John Doggett and not once dismissing the notion that strange forces - good and evil, aliens, whatever - might be closer than anyone dared imagine. Series creator and executive producer, Chris Carter, hoped that Reyes and Doggett would ultimately pick up where Mulder and Scully left off, that they'd serve as the show's anchors and lead The X-Files faithful into seasons 10, 11 and beyond.
Unfortunately, with Carter's decision to end the show after the ninth season, Reyes' adventure - and Gish's, too - will stop earlier than anticipated. The X-Files Magazine was there when Gish met the press - soon after Carter's announcement, but just before production commenced on the two-hour series finale, "The Truth."
The X-Files Magazine: Do you have a favorite episode so far from this season ?
Annabeth: Well, obviously, "4-D," because it was a real journey for me as an actress to do. I loved "John Doe" as well. And then "Improbable," the numerology episode that Chris wrote and directed with Burt Reynolds. That was very intriguing, the script is great and we had a blast.
The X-Files Magazine: Are you sad that your X-Files experience is coming to an end ?
Annabeth: I am. I am. I feel like I've just been kind of beginning to hit my stride as Monica Reyes and really have grown to have a deep affection for the cast and the crew. It is sad, although I think there is an elegance to the way that they're dropping the curtain, and I respect that tremendously.
The X-Files Magazine: Can you elaborate on your point about it ending with a sense of elegance ?
Annabeth: Yes. I think that Chris and Ten Thirteen Productions made sort of a mature, wise decision to end the show before people had ended it for them. I mean it had its own time and I think closing the curtain on their own and ending the show the way they want to end it, is really quite honorable. I think they'll be able to tie up a lot of loose ends. Maybe. This show has a lot of loose ends. But I think that the fact that David [Duchovny] is coming back and everyone is really [still giving it their all], it's quite elegant.
The X-Files Magazine: You're known mostly as a film actress. So what's been the most challenging aspect of working on a series like the X-Files ?
Annabeth: I think the pace and the endurance that's required, and you really don't have much time to rest and prepare. There's the physical aspect of needing to know your words for that day and then the next day and then the pace at which you have to keep creating, but also the actual physical activity that's required on the show. I had to do a lot of stunts and thrilling things that you don't even have time to decide whether or not you have the courage to do them. You just have to because your character would. I had to do a stunt for "Audrey Pauley" and I had to jump about 35 feet and I thought, 'What am I doing? Oh my God!' But I can't stop to think Annabeth-wise. I have to just go with what Monica would do. And, you know, that was an out-of-body experience.
The X-Files Magazine: At this point, to your thinking, who is Monica Reyes ?
Annabeth: Monica Reyes is, I think, a very open-minded detective with an edge. She obviously has come from somewhere and has some demons, but we probably won't get to see what they are in any further episodes. I think she's very driven and I think a lot of her joining the X-Files was due to her deep love for Doggett, her unrequited love.
The X-Files Magazine: Will they resolve that storyline, in some way, shape or form ? We certainly got a sense of where things may have been heading through "4-D."
Annabeth: We got a touch of it in "4-D" and we have taken it further in ensuing episodes that you will soon see. I don't know how they're going to wrap us up in the end, in the season finale. I think we're just kind of one of those couples where "Will they or won't they?" will be how we'll go.
The X-Files Magazine: You've said that you respect the decision of the producers to end the series, but you've got to be frustrated - as you've hinted - that Reyes won't be further developed and explored. Obviously you couldn't do anything about it, but how did you feel ?
Annabeth: It's that bittersweet feeling. I knew going into this project that I was sort of a tangential piece of a very large franchise. Robert and I came on late in the game, so I always knew it was something bigger than myself or Monica Reyes. But on a very personal level, as an actor, it's going to be frustrating because I'll never know. I really will never know more about her. It was such an interesting experience to come to work every day and I'd call Chris or Frank [Spotnitz] and ask for certain details and they would say "Well, we haven't decided that yet about Monica's bio or her history." And it's something that, by the nature of episodic television, you make it up as you go. So I kind of wonder if I'll finish the season with this ghost limb, if I'll be thinking, "What happened to her ?" Or will she come with me ?
The X-Files Magazine: What's been the reaction to your character by the fans ?
Annabeth: It's funny because I just had a bunch of emails printed up that came through which were very positive. It warms my heart because the fan base is very loyal to Mulder and Scully and at the beginning some were almost violently resentful to new people like Doggett and Reyes. But I had a sense of accomplishment reading the emails. People would say, "At first I didn't know if I'd like Reyes, but now you've joined the show and it's been so great and dah, dah, dah." It's made me feel proud because I think that they gave her a chance and she did fit into The X-Files.
The X-Files Magazine: The show is ending, but in all likelihood there will be a second X-Files feature by 2004. Do you think you'll be a part of that ?
Annabeth: I don't know. It's been kind of the blessing of my participation in this show that because Mulder and Scully have such an established franchise themselves, there wasn't so much pressure to come in and replace them. We were just literally added on and included and woven into their stories, so I've been able to not have to think about whether or not Reyes and Doggett will be a part of the film. I think they've had a world of their own in these episodes, so what will be is what will be.
The X-Files Magazine: Are you interested in being in the film ?
Annabeth: Sure. Chris is great and Gillian and David as well.
The X-Files Magazine: Very few series have lasted as long as The X-Files or had the same kind of impact on people that it's had. When all's said and done, what do you thin the show's legacy will be ?
Annabeth: I think it teaches ... well, teaches is the wrong word, but I think the overall message of the show is to keep an open mind and that so much is possible. I think it's timely and it was probably before its time. It probably led into what is now an awakening of ... call it consciousness or just awareness. I think people are much more interested and curious about metaphysics and alternate life forms and just a bigger universe.
The X-Files Magazine: So where are you with all of that? Do you believe in extraterrestrials or are you superstitious at all ?
Annabeth: I am, yes. I think that one of the things that's been a mutual play with Chris and Frank and myself is that a lot of what Monica is and says on the show is true to myself as well, in terms of keeping an open mind and my belief that there are other forces out there and larger realms. I'm open to them, but I'm also terrified of them.
The X-Files Magazine: Have you ever had an out-of-body experience or seen a U.F.O or anything like that ?
Annabeth: I've never seen anything that would constitute a U.F.O., but I've had dream states and I do believe in ghosts. It's always dangerous to talk about these things because when it's taken out of context you sound a little like...
The X-Files Magazine: Very granola.
Annabeth: Right. Well, no, here's the thing. I've decided that I'm not granola, that I'm herbal. If granola is crunchy, herbal is kind of almost crunchy, but not quite. (Laughs).
The X-Files Magazine: Chris Carter has said that the phrase "Trust no one" came about from his own experiences in Hollywood. With regards to your own experience in this town is "Trust no one" a line you buy into ?
Annabeth: Yeah. I hate to be jaded or cynical, but I think you have to be very careful with people in this town. I don't think I have lost faith in humanity or anything like that, but I don't think you can trust people as far as you can throw them unless they're really close to you.
The X-Files Magazine: It may be a little early to ask this particular question, but in what ways has being on The X-Files affected your life? What changed for you personally ? Professionally ?
Annabeth: Not much that I'm cognizant of yet because all I do is work. I don't think I've been on an airplane [since I started on the show]. I guess I've just pretty much been in Los Angeles, where famous people are a dime a dozen. So in terms of my recognition or anything like that it hasn't affected me that much that I know of. I know my parents, they get, "Are you Monica Reyes' parents?" The show is on a much larger scale than anything I've ever done before.
The X-Files Magazine: Have you had any time at all for your personal life during your time on the show ?
Annabeth: I have but it's been very, very minimal. It's been about sleeping and working and preparing for the next day, and then my weekends are usually with my dog and my boyfriend and just kind of regrouping. I have to say I'm looking forward to the summer.
The X-Files Magazine: So end this with a story you couldn't possibly tell if you hadn't had this experience on The X-Files.
Annabeth: One of the highlights for me this year was that a college professor of mine from Duke called me and he said, "It's so phenomenal that you're on The X-Files. It's mine and my mentor at MIT's favorite show. And, in fact, he wrote a book about it called Gilligan Unbound." Somebody wrote their thesis and their doctorate and it's like this hard-backed book, and my college professor - who intimated the hell out of me when I was in college - was calling me to say "Good for you." So that was pretty cool.
The X-Files Magazine: Annabeth Gish, thank you very much.