Second interview (1998)
Mitch agreed to answer a large number of questions via email. I have broken this transcript into two parts as well for easier reading. Below is his first set of answers. Click here to jump to the second set.
Mitch Pileggi: First of all I want to thank you and all of the people who have been so
faithful to us over the last seven seasons. I hope what we give you this
season will please you all ... or y'all.
Robin Mayhall: One question that it seems like everyone wants to know the answer to is this: Did you receive the star package that was sent by some of the forum "wenches"?
Mitch Pileggi: Yes, I did receive the beautifully framed star certificate sent
to me by "my wenches." It was extremely thoughtful of them to take the time
to do something like that. It's considerations like that, that prompted me
to contact you again so I could give my thanks to these people for being so
kind. Please do give them my thanks and affection.
RM: Are you aware of your XF Message Board following - Walter's Wenches In Waiting (WWIW)? Are you aware of our summer campaign "More Skinner in S8"? (Some ladies sent around 100 letters to CC!)
MP: Yes, I have been aware of WWIW for some time. I'm usually asked
in the rare interview I do about the various websites dedicated to Skinner
and they are usually one of the ones mentioned. I recently did an interview
with The Official X-Files Magazine and the interviewer informed me of the
write-in campaign. It's, once again, very flattering and much appreciated.
I have had a larger role in the episodes that I've been in and if that's a
result of their efforts ... Thanks Again!
RM: It's been five years since you gave the first interview to The Office of the Assistant Director to launch the website, which at the time was the first Skinner fan site. Of course, now, there are tons of Skinner and Mitch Pileggi fan websites, as well as many X-Files sites that mention you and your character. How does that feel?
MP: It's very cool. I always wonder, if without any response from
the people that websites are dedicated to, would the fans eventually lose
interest in the subject? Having just recently become semi-computer literate,
I haven't had the opportunity to follow the progress so I don't know the
answer to that.
RM: Do you feel that the character of Skinner has been allowed to grow and develop over the past few seasons? If so, how?
MP: I think only now with the events that have taken place with
David's semi-departure and the introduction of Doggett and the fact that
having seen a spacecraft he is now a full-fledged believer is Skinner being
given the opportunity to grow. New avenues have not only been opened to the
show but to the character. I don't believe the past few years have afforded
Skinner any room to grow. It's been a nice change. And I'll try not to use
semi in anymore of my answers.
RM: How about yourself as an actor? How have you grown and/or changed over the past several years of working on The X-Files
MP: The thing that I've changed the most are diapers. I think that
I'm doing the best work I've ever done this season. Partly because I'm being
given something to do and partly because there is a new energy on the set.
It's a nice change. We're having fun and laughing again.
RM: How has the move from Vancouver to Los Angeles affected you personally as an actor, and as an X-Files actor?
MP: The move from Vancouver really hasn't had all that big effect on
me. It has given me the opportunity to work on several other projects that I
wouldn't have had the chance to work on if we were still up there. But, all
in all I miss it up there a lot. We go back up as often as possible.
Arlene's from there and the baby was born there.
RM: Going in to season 8, we are all of course hoping to see more of Skinner in as many episodes as possible. However, we are wondering about the truth of some of the following rumors:
a) Is there any truth to the rumor that Skinner will turn out to have been a bad guy *all along*?
b) Is there any truth to this never-ending nag of a rumor that Skinner will be killed off?
MP: I just signed a new contract for 2 more years after
c) Are there any plans to fix Skinner up with *anybody* this season, or is the poor man doomed to face the darkness *alone*?
MP: If you think about it, we're all alone ... Mulder,
Scully, Skinner. I won't give away anything about Doggett, although y'all
seem to know more about the show than anyone. Chris joked to me that they
were going to spin Skinner off in a series titled "The Secret Life of Walter
Skinner." Note I said "joked."
RM: A Krycek hater asked if there were any plans for Skinner to kill Krycek, preferably with his bare hands? (I added that last bit)
MP: I've been lobbying for a long time to let Skinner take care of
Krycek. Bare hands would be nice.
RM: What's up with Skinner only being in 2 of the first 8 episodes? Is CC already reneging on his promise to expand Skinner's role?
MP: I think as they air I'll be in the first three. We shot some
episodes out of sequence, so I don't think they'll air in the same order we
shot them. But, then there will be a gap before Skinner reappears.
RM: What has it been like working with Robert Patrick? Is his style very different from David Duchovny's? Do you all get along well on the set?
MP: Okay. From what I understand there are a lot of unhappy people
out there because of the introduction of John Doggett played by Robert
Patrick. Let me start out by saying I miss David and I miss Mulder. I
haven't had the opportunity to work with him this year because there has been
no interaction between our characters. But, the storyline that is being
developed due to Mulder's abduction has, I think, given the show a shot in the
arm. It's allowed the writers to reinvent the show and opened new avenues
for us to pursue. I know that there are people that will have none of it and
we could sit and argue the point until we pass out. But the fact is David
has chosen to commence his journey into other aspects of his career. This is
his choice. It's not Chris's, it's not Fox's and it's certainly not Robert
Patrick's. Working with Robert has been a joy. He has great energy, he's a
really good actor and he is extremely happy to be there. He's just a regular
guy who has a great sense of humor and is so happy to have this job. He's
told me numerous times that he feels like the luckiest guy in the world to be
working on such a great show. I know this will fall on many deaf ears, but
give him a chance. I think he's going to really surprise a lot of people.
He's surprised me.
RM: Will we get to see anything more of Skinner's past? (The questioner continues: I would personally like to see an episode dealing with an old case of Skinner's, in his early days in the FBI. And I mean *Skinner* working on the case, not Skinner handing it over to Scully or somebody. A Viet Nam story would be cool too.)
MP: I really don't know if we'll get to see into Skinner's past.
RM: Several fans want to know your opinion on the ending of the episode "Avatar." Did Skinner's wife Sharon die at the end, or did they go ahead with the divorce? And speaking of "Avatar" are we ever going to learn more about that Old Lady?
MP: I have no idea what the hell "Avatar" was about. I went through
that thing in a total state of confusion and remain confused about it to this
day. I would assume Skinner and his wife divorced. Honestly I have no idea.
I guess that's one of those things you have to create the story to satisfy
your own desires.
RM: Have you been approached at all about being on the Lone Gunman spinoff?
MP: Yes, I will be doing a limited number of Lone Gunmen episodes.
RM: Do you have any other upcoming projects, outside of XF, that you can tell us about? Movies, etc.?
MP: I have nothing in the works at this time. Taking care of
Sawyer and working on the show is enough for me. I should probably be more
ambitious, but I'm really a pretty lazy person so I don't push my agents to
get me other work. Unless something falls in my lap and I have time to do it
I'm happy with the way things take their natural course.
RM: Have you done or would you ever do an independent film?
MP: I would love to do independents if it was the right project. I
think I'm going to be a little more careful about what I get involved in.
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Note: Because there were so many questions to answer, Mitch sent me his answers in two parts. This is the second segment of the interview.
Mitch Pileggi: Before I get into answering the rest of the questions I'd like to straighten
out any misunderstanding about my comments on David. I didn't say that
working on the show was more fun because David wasn't around. I have had
some of the best times ever in working situations with David. We've laughed
so hard at times we've cried. I'm not putting any blame for anything on
David and to assume that I am is wrong. Please don't read things into my
comments that aren't there because of a sensitivity that may exist regarding
David. Believe me I completely understand the disappointment his fans are
feeling due to the situation on the show. I was and still am disappointed.
But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to still enjoy myself and have fun
working on the show. If I wasn't I wouldn't want to still be doing it.
Robin Mayhall: Have you ever entertained doing any more theater (hopefully musical theater)?
MP: I would love to do more theater. I don't think it would be
here or in New York, though. I enjoyed doing theater in Austin and I think
it would probably be there. If there is an actor's strike in June you just
might see me going down there.
RM: Is there any one thing that you have always wanted to see the character of Skinner do on the show?
MP: Other than kill Krycek and get out into the field more often, I
can't think of anything offhand.
RM: Will anything with your singing on it ever be released that would allow us to hear your singing voice?
MP: Unless you can get old videos of the musicals I did in Austin,
I don't think so.
RM: Will we see you and Arlene team up in any more shows like you did in "That 70's Show"? (It was a funny episode.)
MP: I don't think you'll be seeing us team up again. That was a
rare situation. Arlene and I had run into the producers of the show at a FOX
function and had told them how much we enjoyed the show and they asked us if
we wanted to be on it. I'm not terribly comfortable in the sitcom format, as
you could probably tell, so I declined. But, after I got to know the cast
members on the show I decided it might be fun so we told them we would do it.
RM: Do you still inline skate?
MP: We get out for a skate when ever we can. It's great exercise
and a lot of fun at the same time.
RM: What's your favorite football team?
MP: St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins.
RM: Do you ever read any fanfiction?
MP: I checked it out once. I'm afraid my wife would walk in while
I was reading it.
RM: Are you going to be doing any more episodes of Exploring the Unknown?
MP: I'm not sure if they are going to be picking it up. We're
waiting to find that out. It's a lot of fun to do and it's a great group of
people to work with.
RM: What's your middle name?
RM: Is Takedown ever going to be released?
MP: I have no idea of what the status of Takedown is. The only
thing I've heard is thet there was a lawsuit brought against them by the
person the movie was based on.
RM: What is your favorite food/meal/dessert/snack?
MP: The question should be what isn't my favorite
food/meal/dessert/snack. That would be a hard one to answer. However, I do
love my chocolate in any shape or form.
RM: If/when you watch TV, what do you tune into besides TXF and Buffy (LOL)?
MP: I watch The West Wing, Angel and a lot of sports. Last episode
we were shooting in Skinner's outer office and I walked into Skinner's office
and Martin Sheen was standing there. He had brought some friends of his by,
who were fans of the show.
RM: What are your 5 favorite books/movies/albums?
MP: Robin, can I answer this at another time? I have to think
about this one.
RM: Do you like poetry? If yes, who's your favorite poet and why?
MP: I've tried to write some poetry. But that was during my
college days and a long time ago. A lot of poetry I just don't get. I used
to think I got e.e. cummings but, once again, that was during my college
days, the early 70's, and I'm not sure I was really "getting" anything back
then. If you know what I mean.
RM: What is your favorite gift to give and to receive?
MP: Gift giving is for me, as I would think it would be for a lot of
people, a tough one. Not the giving itself, but figuring out what to give. I
don't think there's any one gift I like to give in particular. I like to
give people what they really need, not something that is going to end up in a
closet or in a junk pile somewhere in their house. Hopefully, something that
means something to them. And I think that's different for everyone. Usually
when I go out to buy gifts I end up buying stuff for myself so I don't have
to face making a decision. I like jeans. Levis. Of course, I'm assuming
you meant material gifts.
RM: It's a lazy Sunday afternoon. There are no chores to do around the house (yeah, like THAT ever happens!), Arlene & Sawyer are out for the day shopping with friends. What would you do with your time?
MP: Lay on the couch and watch football or basketball.
RM: What is your favorite prized possession?
MP: My daughter.
RM: You and Nick Lea went to Ireland a few years back for XF promotions. One fan was wondering what you thought of the country and did you have a favorite memory of the place? A favorite city? (This fan was in Ireland in the summer of 1996 and adored it.) Did you try any of the beer? Have a favorite?
MP: The thing I remember the most about Ireland was how beautiful
it was driving through the country and then to come into a city that has had
some of its buildings riddled with bullets. A heartbreaking contrast.
Still I found the Irish to be very friendly and we had a wonderful time
there. And yes Nick and I tipped a few there. I don't think I can recall
exactly what it was we were drinking but it was good.
RM: Is there any chance for a further work with Wes Craven, maybe even finally Shocker 2?
MP: I'd always love to have the opportunity to work with Wes again.
It won't be on any sequels to Shocker, though.
RM: What kind of music do you listen to in private?
MP: I like a lot of different types of music. Everything from
classical to some country/western with a lot of rock 'n' roll in between. Led
Zepplin, Pink Floyd and Neil Young are some of my favorites.
RM: Is that "Horace Pinkton" who is mentioned on the thank-yous on Alice Cooper's Trash-album supposed to be "Horace Pinker"?
MP: I'm not familiar with it so I can't answer that.
RM: We of course hope that most fans make a good impression on you and your family, and maintain a respectful distance. Do you get much interaction, fan mail, etc. from fans? Is it mostly polite, or do you have problems with fans who get too personal?
MP: I have to be honest with you and tell you that FOX had to take
over my fan mail several years ago. For awhile I tried to handle it but it
got to be unmanageable. I figured it would be better to have some kind of
response sent out rather than no response at all. I hope they have been
doing their job properly and you all understand the situation. There are
occasions when a large package comes in, for example the gift from WWIW, and
they'll bring it to my trailer and leave it there. Fans have been extremely
polite and very respectful in my personal interaction with them. My wife and
I take Sawyer to Disneyland alot and the people that do recognise me have
been very nice. I know there are some people who post on your Forum that
seem to have a certain amount of enmity for me and my character (Hi Abby)
but, they are entitled to their opinion and I think they should be left alone.
RM: What are your plans after XF -- do you have any yet?
MP: I want to take my family and go live on the southern coast of
Once again I want to thank our fans for sticking with us, because our true
fans are the ones that are still there. My best wishes to you all and I hope
you enjoy the season. Take care.
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