Source: X-Files Lexicon | Posted By: Dan Geer
While Glen Morgan may not be a name that is immediately recognizable to the average movie/TV fan, it is more than likely that most are familiar with his work. Whether it’d be through TV series such as 21 Jump Street, The X-Files or Millennium, or films such as Final Destination and Willard, the man has had quite an extensive career in storytelling. For me, he wrote some of my all-time favorite episodes of The X-Files, including “Home,” which was banned from network television after its first airing because of the episode’s intensely dark subject matter and visuals.
Over the years, the general perception amongst Glen Morgan fans has been that creative blood existed between he and his colleagues at Ten Thirteen Productions, and that, because of it, Morgan was unwilling to discuss his work on The X-Files, Millennium, etc. In a recent (and rare) interview conducted by Matt Allair from The X-Files Lexicon, Morgan got the chance to shed some light on the subject, as well as provide some interesting insight into his amazing career. Hit the jump to read some highlights from the interview!
Highlights from X-Files Lexicon‘s interview with Glen Morgan:
Matt Allair: Growing up, were there any particular films that inspired you to work in the business?
Glen Morgan: Oh yes, it’s endless. The first five Marx Brother’s movies, all of the Universal Monster movies, even the cr**py ones, even the ones [like] Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, and all that kind of stuff. The Planet of the Apes movies, all of the Kubrick movies, the Coppolla movies, Hal Ashby movies, absolutely. Even as a little kid when I didn’t know who Hal Ashby was, I liked his movies. Later I would go, “that guy’s in all of them.” John Ford, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, you know. Spielberg, Scorsese, Taxi Driver. I watched that. I can’t tell how many times Darin and I would watch Taxi Driver on cable or Cuckoo’s Nest, as well.
Matt: As a writing team, I wanted to find out how your collaborative process worked with James Wong. Would one of you come up with an idea for a story, and then write a treatment, and the other would write the script? Or would you split up the work on the writing based on what each of your strengths were?
Glen: A lot of this with a partnership that is almost like a marriage, there’[re] some things for that couple just to know. Back in the good old days, you didn’t have to write treatments and stuff. Nowadays, it’s ridiculous. You have to do sixty page outlines and it just makes me crazy. What we would do back then, all of the stuff we ever did with TV through Millennium and everything, was to have a corkboard, and write down on index cards, ‘this happens here.’ We sat down together and plotted it out, and then somebody would take it off and write it, and another guy would re-write it, or it depends. I mean, sometimes like on Space [for example],I did the bulk of the writing, and he did editing and he had to be other places. The one year we went back to The X-Files, he was heavy duty on Millennium. There’[re] episodes of Millennium that have my name on it that I don’t think I’ve seen, where Jim just totally did it, and then I would do those X-Files. It just sort of became that way. The point being, there’s this dynamic that there wasn’t ever a specific way every time we [did] it.
Matt: You have been known for writing some pretty edgy material, with “Home” being a kind of benchmark, as well as Final Destination. In light of such films as Hostel, the Saw films, or The Human Centipede, or A Siberian Film, as a writer who has worked in horror, is there a line you won’t cross? Do you ever self-censor? Does it just depend on how an idea is treated?
Glen: I think it’s how the idea is treated. I don’t know if I succeed. I prefer the horror to arise usually out of a non-horrific situation, you know. Ellen Burstyn is going through a divorce in The Exorcist. Janet Leigh steals forty thousand dollars, and that in a way, gets her to Norman Bates’ hotel. So, it could be something grounded and real that we could all go through, experience, that launches us into this horrible effect. So, that’s kind of more my issues with those things. With Hostel, maybe your trekking through, maybe stopping at a place. My memory is, it didn’t really seem to be a character piece. It’s just horrific s**t that I’m not going to ever experience, and so I’m not afraid of it. Whereas I can still be afraid of things that happened on the Twilight Zone. It’s black and white and thirty minutes long and it really freaked me out because they tapped right into a specific issue that all of us are concerned about. But no, I think you can cross any line, but I prefer it to be crossed because of a theme or a character motivation.
Matt: Lance Henriksen had creative differences with the direction that Millennium was taking in the second season. Have you reconnected with him since then? Has he personally expressed to you that he’s reassessed the direction that you and James took the show?
Glen: No, but those guys, Troy and the guys from Back To Frank Black website, they had said “Oh, Lance had said to say ‘hi.’” You know, Lance is a hard guy. Jim and I were sitting next to him in a first class lounge. I don’t know where we were going, but Lance just sat there and it wasn’t like he wasn’t speaking to us, he just didn’t know who we were. We didn’t go, ‘Hi, Lance,’ but it wasn’t like I hated him. But, time goes on, and you know, and Tom Wright is a great friend of mine, and Tom uses Lance in a lot of episodes, and goes “Lance says ‘hi’”, so, if there was animosity, it’s long gone, hatchets are buried. I just did this show that was in Hawaii and Michael Katleman was the director who did the “Shadows” episode of The X-Files, and he had just used Lance, and he was like, “Lance says ‘hi,’” so, it’s all fine.
Head on over to The X-Files Lexicon to read the full interview!