After bonding over their shared love of The X-Files and cryptids, David Farrier speaks to pal Rhys Darby about how he annoyingly ended up on Farrier’s favourite show.
I met Rhys Darby years ago when I interviewed him for TV3’s Nightline about his starring role in HBO’s new show, Flight of the Conchords. We filmed our talk in a MediaWorks boardroom, his wife Rosie just out of frame with their brand new baby chilling in a stroller. We seemed to get on. I liked the fact he abused me for my terrible questions (“Where do you get your ideas?”).
That interview led to other chats, and we soon discovered we shared a love of Cryptozoology, the science and study of “hidden animals” like Bigfoot, the Mongolian Deathworm and Mothman. Our passion morphed into hosting a radio-show and podcast together called The Cryptid Factor, with our friend Buttons. The podcast would often reference The X-Files, as Mulder and Scully’s investigations often mimicked our own interests.
I never saw it coming at the time, but I should have. I mean, of course Rhys would end up on Season 10 of my all time favourite show. Of course he would.
We talked at length on The Cryptid Factor years ago about The X-Files coming back and how great that was. Then to annoy us all, you went and became a cast member on the best episode of the run. Did you do this just to annoy me?
Of course, David. I knew it was your favourite TV show, so I packed my things and moved to Hollywood with one intention – to score a role in the greatest TV show of all time, thus making you insanely jealous of my entire being. Yes, it was a gamble and yes, I always had stand-up comedy and sitcom guest roles as back up, but the thought of your head spinning out of control after I landed the big one just kept me on track.
I made contact with Chris Carter and writer/director Darin Morgan through telepathic means. Using my inner thought realm which has been fine-tuned through my extensive paranormal research I implanted their brains with the idea of casting me. They woke up one morning and were simply convinced ‘by themselves’ that I was the only choice for the role.
Take me back to that audition. You’ve done a lot of auditions. How did this one compare? Was it just your bog standard audition? Was Chris Carter (aka “X-Files God”) there staring at you, or did you just tape it in your bedroom?
I had to go in. I hate having to go in because it means leaving the house. Usually, as you know, I tape my auditions and send them in. Sometimes I even phone them in. I’ll leave an answerphone message of myself doing an impression of the character they need. This show, however, was a big deal.
I went in and I was in the room with Darin Morgan, and yes, Chris Carter. Darin took me through the part. He didn’t want to give too much away so he just told me that I was a ‘recent’ human. The scene he gave me to audition with was sad and dramatic. I showed my best sadness and dramatic-ness while Chris just sat there and stared at me.
After a bit of direction I did the scene again. Chris continued to stare. Then it was over. On the way out I was asked about my availability and whether I could shave the moustache off. As soon as I got home I received a phone call telling me the job was mine and that I could keep the moustache.
I don’t know what I would do or say if I met David and Gillian. What did you do and say?
I was my usual cool, calm, collected self. That’s the best part about being an actor, acting like you’re relaxed in front of people who genuinely make you tingle with excitement. Both David and Gillian were very nice, very professional people. Questions were asked about New Zealand. I did my usual thing and promoted the quality of our pies and coffee.
It was a little more awkward with Gillian because in our first scene together we banged in the cupboard. She was actually very cool. They’re both very cool people. Mind you they’re are very good actors, maybe they were just acting that way around me?
What I like about your episode is that it was a monster of the week… and you were monster of the week. It’s crazy. How did you get into this role? Like in a really practical way, were you covered in makeup and prosthetics all day?
Due to time restraints, I had a double who was in the makeup chair for the full six hours. He was used for all the running around in the background shots. I was in the makeup chair for around four hours getting half my body done for close ups, and the lizard-changing-into-man sequences. It was a blast.
I’ve always been obsessed with monsters, particularly possible real-life monsters like the cryptids you and I study. The Lizard Man is one of my favourites because it has extraterrestrial connections. I have always felt a little ‘different’ to other people, so this was all very real to me.
How cool is it that you got to be a rambling drunk at a graveyard and have this giant rant to Mulder. This isn’t really a question just an observation.
Coolest thing I’ve ever done, perhaps? At least right up there with hunting down the Chupacabra in Texas with you and Buttons. Fighting Duchovny with a broken bottle is pretty tops as well.
What was your favourite bit of the episode, or the whole season? What I like about your episode is that it’s a Darin Morgan ep. It was very smart but also very funny. I think a lot of people forgot about how funny The X-Files could be. Your episode reminded me why I love The X-Files so much.
That’s exactly it. It’s funny. Life is funny. We should never forget that. It’s true, life can be dark and dangerous and even downright scary at times, but as humans we have a sense of humour and it differs us from the rest of the animals. It’s a survival mechanism that lets us breath when the going gets tough.
I take monster hunting as seriously as the next guy but I like to laugh along the way. Having said that, my favourite part of the episode is actually the serious dramatic moment at the very end when Mulder and Guy Mann connect. Guy trusts Mulder in the end because he believes. They shake hands. It’s paranormal gold, brother. Pure gold.
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