Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny made TV history Sunday night when the actors reprised their roles in The X-Files—thirteen years after the show aired what everyone expected to be its final episode. So what was it like to team up again nearly a decade and a half later? “We’ve always had fun together. I mean, we’ve always laughed, didn’t we?” Anderson said of her and Duchovny’s relationship at the TCA Press day in Pasadena, Calif., recently. “There was always laughter,” she added.
Though the two stars were cast for the show separately, X-Files creator Chris Carter knew they’d work well together. “I had an inkling of that chemistry, whatever chemistry is, when we did a table reading,” he said. “But it wasn’t until the day they both appeared in Mulder’s office that I saw they just both lit up, and it was the same ever since. It’s one of those things that you can’t manufacture. It just happens, and we got very, very lucky.”
So what would Duchovny have done had the duo not instantly hit it off? “It’s like an arranged marriage, right? And some of those work and some don’t,” he said. “It’s your job as an actor to make that happen. That’s what you’ve got to do. That’s what they pay you to do, is to fake a relationship with somebody that you’re supposed to have a relationship with.”
Thankfully, joining forces on-screen was a breeze this time around. “Having known each other and worked together so much for the last over 20 years, we’ve gone beyond chemistry into history, which is a really cool thing to play as well, because you don’t have to play either because well, if you don’t have chemistry, you’ve got to figure out a way to make it happen,” Duchovny said. “Gillian and I actually have history, so we don’t have to play it.”
For Anderson, the spark has always been there. “I don’t buy that. We had it from the very beginning,” she said. “No. No. I’m not saying we don’t have chemistry. I’m saying now we have chemistry and history. We’re going to try and get biology,” Duchovny joked.
The X-Files airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
—With reporting by Carita Rizzo