Disclaimer: The following is a summary of the question and answer session. No recording devices were allowed so this is from notes and I don't know shorthand so I tried to get down the basics but keep in mind this is not a transcript - only a summary. I need to point out that the sound system wasn't the best so it was often impossible to hear the questions asked. I will try to give you the main points that the speaker touched on with actual quotes in bold. Occasionally a bit of my own opinion may come through regarding a question or answer. I mean no disrespect to anyone who may have asked one of these questions and apologize ahead of time if I offend anyone. Keep in mind, I'm just another person with another opinion so don't let it get to you.

Mitch Pileggi's Q&A


Well, you've seen the picture so you know how he was dressed. Very casual and un-Skinner in appearance. Very impressive, to say the least...the very least. As I mentioned, they showed the usual episode clips and when he hit the stage, the first thing he said was "God Bless Texas!", then admitted that he had stolen that from a song but what the heck. He said it was good to be back and he was happy for the chance to have some barbecue. He told the crowd that he used to live in Austin and did a lot of driving between Austin, Houston, and Dallas auditioning for work. Without spending anymore time talking about himself (he said he felt a bit weird just standing up there and talking about himself) he opened the floor to questions.

[Keep in mind that I couldn't hear ANY questions for this session. Well, one guy only who talked so darn loud. But no questions so I'm driving blind here and will just try to get as much down as I remember. And also, I should mention that Mitch got the same questions over and over. He had the patience of a saint.]

Mitch mentioned Fox pulling Home off the schedule and said it wasn't too bad because we'd get to see Small Potatoes. He said he thought it was a great episode, plus "You get to see Darin Morgan's butt."

Someone asked if Skinner had a crush on Scully. He said that he himself likes red-heads but that Skinner only cares about Scully; he doesn't think he has a crush on her. He said it's all about what Mulder and Scully are doing. He approves of what they are trying to accomplish and in that way he really cares about his two agents. He said he doesn't believe that romance is what the show's about. "Skinner just has strong feelings for both of them."

The next question was something having to do with the magic shows he's hosted for Fox. They asked if he got to see how the tricks were done. He said it's just a script he gets beforehand and he isn't actually on the set with the magicians so he doesn't see the magic tricks being performed.

Somebody must have asked something about the Cigarette Smoking Man because he started talking about him. He refers to him as Cigarette Butt and said that CSM "really gets around. He's a randy old dude." I think they must have asked about his illegitimate kids and maybe whether Skinner would turn out to be one too. Who the heck knows. I couldn't hear a damn thing. Very frustrating.

He was asked what was his favorite episode to make. He said he enjoyed every one of them. He said it's a real treat to get a new script and open it up to see what's going to happen and what he gets to do. He commented that he especially liked the ones where he gets to kick Krycek's butt. I should mention that he was making Ratboy comments all throughout, pretty much at any opportunity. It appears these two get along great and are good friends and enjoy teasing each other. He took every chance he could get to shout some obnoxious thing over Nick's way where he was slaving over the autograph table.

Okay, in my notes I say there were more lame questions here. This probably means that someone asked again about whether he and Scully would ever get together or asked if they could come up and get a hug or kiss. He denied anyone the chance to come up and touch him the entire time and I thought it was fantastic. He used his wife as a scapegoat, saying she wouldn't let him. Every person that asked for something like this was politely told that he'd see them in the autograph line where he would shake their hand. He was very gentlemanly about the whole thing but would make no exceptions.

Somebody must have asked about the relationship between Skinner and Mulder because he commented that he respects and believes in what Mulder is doing. That's why he lets Mulder get away with so much stuff in the course of his investigations.

He commented on the on-set atmosphere and goofing around during taping. He said that there wasn't much he could say since it was a G-rated audience. He said that Gillian is a real crack-up. That when she starts laughing it's all over and you might as well break for lunch. He said she usually starts squeaking first so you know she's on thin ice. Once the squeaking starts, it usually leads to her just falling apart laughing. He says that one time as a joke (and this must have been when they were filming Zero Sum) he came down the stairs wearing a padded bra and just his underwear. Skinner/Pileggi fans can meditate on THAT image for awhile.

Someone asked how much of himself goes into Skinner. He said a lot of who Skinner is comes from his own personality and experience. "Except he doesn't smile and laugh." He said he tried to laugh on the show once and Chris Carter said no, that Skinner just doesn't laugh.

He talked about how great it is to work with a group of such talented people. He commented on David and Gillian, in particular saying that working with such a cast brings out a higher performance in him.

Someone congratulated him on his impending fatherhood. He thanked them and I think he said they were due in May...but I could really be wrong here.

He was asked about what he has planned career-wise for the future. He said he has one more taping for another of those magic shows on Fox. The X-Files feature film, of course. And he said between those, The X-Files itself, and moving from Vancouver to LA, he thinks he'll be busy enough without seeking out any additional projects for now.

Somebody came up and asked him if he'd say the "pucker up and kiss my ass" line. He did it but somewhat reluctantly. He said when they originally filmed that scene he said the line many times and many different ways. When he first saw the script, he thought it was a fantastic scene and a defining moment for the show and his character, in particular.

He was asked what kind of music he enjoyed. He said he liked country, rock and roll, and a wide variety of music in general. He said his wife is really good with the names of bands and knows all the lyrics of songs but he says he's an idiot. He likes what he likes but he doesn't necessarily know who it's by or what the song title is. He named a few bands, though, including Led Zeppelin and Pink Flloyd.

He was asked about living overseas and what languages he speaks. He said they moved all over and he lived in many countries so he used to speak some Turkish, German, and Arabic. But he says he doesn't use these languages much anymore so he's losing his skill and fluency. He thinks that with a little practice he could be speaking them again without much trouble.

Somebody from the Screaming Pileggians asks to bring something up to the stage for him. This is actually the second person who has taken an offering up to Mitch. I'm not sure what the items are since I can't hear what the people at the microphone say, but Mitch has them come up to the stage and accepts the items graciously.

Some poor guy finally gets his turn at the microphone and can't remember his question. Mitch tells him it's no problem and to just step to the side and ponder for awhile then take another stab at it later.

More comments on Mitch's physique. A young woman says something about him being a pectoral god. The crowd goes wild. Then she and a friend ask if they can come and rub his head. He tells them no, of course, once again using his wife as an excuse. But as they step from the microphone he says, "But thanks for that pectoral god thing."

He is asked if he ever plans to write, direct, or produce. He says, "No. Absolutely not." He says he doesn't have the discipline for it and besides, his true love is acting.

I'm not sure what the question was but Mitch mentioned that there is a Skinner-centric episode coming up. He said he has probably the most dialogue he's ever had in an episode. Sounds promising.

Someone mentions that they are in the military and wonders if his experience growing up around the military has influenced his portrayal of Skinner. He says that being in a military setting (Army and Air Force) while growing up has certainly had an impact on him and on the way he views the character of Walter Skinner. He says some of the behavior is ingrained and comes across in his characterization of Skinner.

Another red-headed woman (one of about a dozen!) comes to the microphone and he comments on all the red-heads today. I didn't write down the question because I think it was another repeat of an earlier question. At least three people asked about a Skinner/Scully relationship and this wasn't the only repeated question.

While Mitch was answering a question, Nick Lea, who had just finished his autograph session, sneaked up on stage behind him and goosed him. Mitch said it's an agreement he has with Nick. Nick has to do that every half hour. Then Mitch said, "He loves me."

Someone asks him to say the "pucker up and kiss my ass" line AGAIN. He doesn't do it saying (1) he already did it, and (2) it's too hard to just say a line without being prepared and in character. He can't just jump into the role immediately. He mentioned getting into his make-up and being on the set, around the other actors, and how by the time they're ready to shoot, then he's in character.

Okay, this had to be my favorite part. Somebody asked him about the boots he was wearing. He had cowboy boots on and they wanted to know if they were custom-made. I thought this was fairly obscure as questions go but now I'm glad they asked. He said he wasn't into custom-made anything so, no, they weren't custom-made. But then he said he didn't know what brand they were. He then proceeded to remove his left boot and look inside to try to figure out what the brand was. He just kept peering in there saying it was hard to see and he still wasn't sure. After a dramatic pause he announced, "JC Penney". Truly hilarious. I think he said the actual brand after that but I didn't catch it. He then tried to put the boot back on but ended up with his entire pant leg inside the boot. So now he's standing up there with both boots on but one pant leg over the boot and one inside. He just looks down at the state he's in then finally leans over and begins trying to pull the pants out. As he finally succeeded, he lifted the pant leg just a bit higher than he needed to and flashed some skin. The crowd responded and he admitted, "That was so cheap!"

The next guy at the microphone was the only guy I ever heard pose a question (and to tell you the truth I'm not sure if it's the next one I wrote down). The funny thing was that after he blasted off his question up to the stage really loud and really fast, Mitch asked him if he worked for a radio station.

He was asked if he had talked to any FBI agents or visited the bureau. He said he hadn't been (I think) but said he'd heard from some agents that his portrayal of Skinner was pretty much on target.

He commented that he thinks the XF feature film is going to be really good.

Someone asked him to take his hat off. Actually, this was at least the second time and he still declined. The first time he said it was because he wasn't sure if he had washed his hair. This time he said no because he would probably have a big hatband mark across his forehead.

Somebody asks about the whole Spender/Mulder thing. He says that Spender is just another character to bring on board and is not intended to replace David's character. In the course of this, he says something about "that David Du-chuv-ny guy", making a point of mispronouncing DD's name and pronouncing a 'ch' sound instead of a hard 'k' sound. He says, "Spender is a good character but he's not David Duchovny."

He must have been asked something about the episode Bad Blood. I think they might have asked what he thought about the portrayal of the sheriff; did he think it was demeaning, or something. I'm not really sure. But his reply was that he thought the sheriff was great. That it was a parody and they weren't making fun of anybody (Texans) and he thought it was a good performance and very funny. He also mentioned that in the scene where Mulder and Scully are waiting to come in and see him and his secretary is on the phone telling someone it might be a long meeting...well, the actress that played the secretary was his wife. When she heard that the episode called for a scene with Skinner's secretary, she called casting and asked to play the role.

Asked about the length of time to shoot an episode. He says the first unit usually shoots for 8 days. It seems that as the episodes get more and more complex, the shoots take longer and longer. He said, "It's getting pretty wild." Sometimes scenes are still being shot on Friday that will need to be on the air for Sunday.

He comments about Skinner sacrificing a lot for The X-Files. He mentions that Skinner has a wife but that his commitment seems to be focused on his job and that he's constantly putting his job and his life in jeopardy.

The guy who forgot his question has finally remembered it. Unfortunately, I still can't hear it. Mitch says that he doesn't think Skinner knows as much as people think he does. He says that Skinner is not hiding things or holding information back from Mulder and Scully. He thinks that Skinner would tell Mulder and Scully anything he possibly could to keep them informed and out of danger.

He is asked his favorite episode and he's hard pressed to come up with only one. He mentions Home, Ice, Memento Mori. Then he asks the person what their favorite episode is. He did this more than once; turned the question back on the person who asked. Like the guy who asked about music got asked what HE listened to and liked.

Somebody asked what it felt like to be a sex symbol. He didn't really have an answer for this one and seemed to want to avoid this sort of question. He said he was finding some of the questions embarrassing.

When asked what he thought was the hardest thing (don't go there you text perverters!) about the job, he said memorizing his lines. He said both he and Gillian have a harder time memorizing dialogue but David, he said, has a mind like a steel trap. He finds it irritating. He said he'll be there on the set, struggling with his lines and David is just standing there and he wants to say, "At least pretend you have to work at it!"

When asked what he thinks makes the show so good he said the writing and directing.

Some guy came up to the microphone and explained some long drawn-out thing and the end result was that the guy walked up to the stage and Mitch took the plastic bottle of soda he'd been drinking, signed it, and gave it to this guy...unfinished. I have no idea what that was all about.

But that about wrapped it up. The event coordinator came up on stage and nearly dragged him off to start the autograph signing. He said, "It's been great talking to you all. Thanks for coming."

March 23, 1998 

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