The cast and crew of this year’s The X-Files event series on FOX made a concerted effort during production to give back to the communities in British Columbia where they filmed. Building on the socially conscious themes of episodes like “Home Again,” about gentrification in major cities, the team led projects to support the homeless community in Vancouver, which was standing in for Philadelphia in the episode. The production crew worked to integrate the homeless into the show, distributed food vouchers, and donated supplies to local shelters. These and other initiatives were collected into an exclusive behind-the-scenes video, which can be viewed below.
In “Home Again,” the fourth episode in the event series, a creature known as “Band-Aid Nose Man” was fighting to stop a real estate developer and a Department of Housing employee from relocating Philadelphia’s homeless population.
“I liked that Glen [Morgan, writer] brought a social critique aspect to his episode,” said David Duchovny, who plays Fox Mulder. “It broke out of our insulated world of Mulder and Scully – kind of self-obsessed with their own personal lives and journeys – and brought it out into this world of gentrification and social unrest.”
The episode was largely filmed in East Vancouver, a neighborhood with more than 10,000 homeless and injection drug users living in just four blocks. By working with a consultant, Ed McCurdy, who lives and works in the area, the crew was able to hire many of the homeless as background extras, and distribute food vouchers and subway passes to many more.
“We’re not just people who shoot up dope… there are people down here who wanted to be something,” McCurdy said. “[I was able to hire] a team of people who have gone through treatment, who have done all the right things, but can’t seem to get a job.”
The production crew estimated that it spent more than $4,000 on food vouchers for members of the East Vancouver community. The crew also donated supplies such as paintbrushes and furniture to a local mission.
“I just want to thank The X-Files from the bottom of my heart for bringing decency to this neighborhood,” McCurdy said. “It might not seem like much, but you have no idea how happy you’ve made people.”
In addition to the series’ work with Vancouver’s homeless community, Gillian Anderson, who plays Dana Scully, auctioned off set visits to raise donations for three charities with which she works closely: South African Youth for Education and Sustainability (SAYes), Neurofibromatosis Network, and Childreach International.
“We got three sets of people willing to donate to different charities that I’m involved in,” Anderson said. “It was great. They got to have a fun day being shown around the sets. Mitch [Pileggi, who plays FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner] was working that day, and David was working that day too, so everybody was happy.”
For the full story on the social impact of The X-Files, view the video below, and read our previous story to learn how the crew made the production environmentally sustainable.