Dean Haglund was a big surprise. First off, he doesn't wear glasses like his character, Langley, does on the show. He's hyper and energetic and smiling, just like he is on stage. His part of the EXPO was actually an improv gig - he put together little skits and selected fans from the audience to participate, which drove the audience wild. I'd never heard so much hooting and hollering and laughter. It's hard to ever imagine him in a bad mood. He sat on the edge of the couch facing me, eagerly talking to me and listening to my questions and comments. In no time, I was so comfortable with him, the interview went off track and, well, you'll see. . .
Haglund has a web site and I ask him about it.
Dean Haglund: I get people emailing me from my web site, but I only answer the ones with new subject lines. People are really surprised that I do answer email I receive.
J. Hitchcock: Do you get many weird ones?
DH: Sometimes I do because I don't think they realize I really do read all the emails I receive. Or I will respond to someone and they'll be like "Hey, this guy writes back! Let's send something real stupid!"
We laugh a bit, then he continues
I don't think I'll be able to do this forever, though. I imagine in a year or so I'll have to stop or hire someone to answer the emails. I've had the site for three years now and it's a really nice way to answer a fan's question and stuff like that.
JH: So, what do you think of all this (the EXPO)?
DH: I love it! It's such fun! I've done all 10 of the Expos. I do stand-up comedy as well the X- Files.
JH: Do people expect you to act like the Lone Gunmen or joke about the X-Files when they see you do stand-up?
DH: No, actually they don't. They're completely surprised if I do. I used to have my regular 45- minute, you know, relationships and 'did ya ever know' stuff that bored me to tears. I stopped listening to myself and found no one else was listening. It was funny, and I was getting laughs and stuff, but I said to myself, 'You know what? Traveling on the road, I'm going to these different cities, different cultures,' and I wanted to meet these people more than just having them watch me do an act. So I developed this interactive thing, like having people come up on the stage, meet the actor, you know, you saw it.
JH: Yeah! It was great!
DH: When I do my regular stand-up, it's pretty much the same thing, although raunchier and people are really drunk.
JH: What's the weirdest thing that's happened to you on the EXPO tour?
DH: Coming here was weird. The driver that was to bring me to White Oak dropped me off at some house - he thought that was the Expo location. He had the street address and found a Gedard Street, but it was in the wrong place. He had a map, which had the top secret facilities (which White Oak used to be), but no street names. We're in front of some guy's house and the driver says, "Okay, here you are." I told him he had to be wrong and the driver is sitting there, looking at this map saying, "I don't see another Gedard Street on the map, this has to be it." I'm asking him if there's a military base nearby and he says, "Yeah, but there's no Gedard Street near it." I had to do a TV interview and it was getting close to that time. But we did find it, want to know how?
DH: I had a sheet of paper saying Fox TV will be at White Oak with the winners of a local radio station. So I called Information, got the number of the radio station, called the DeeJay and the DeeJay gives me directions. So I tell the driver, "Okay, get on the Beltway. . ." and give him the directions. And I got here with two minutes to spare before my interview.
JH: It's almost like it was a conspiracy and part of the show. Especially in this area (jokingly).
DH: Yeah, when I'm up on stage, people will joke with me and ask me if I'm really paranoid and if everything is a conspiracy. We got a tour of the White House yesterday (Friday, May 15). Saw the offices and some of the stuff tourists don't see. But the President and Mrs. Clinton weren't there. No Buddy. No Socks (the cat).
JH: No Socks?
DH: Ahhh, you know, the cat's irritating (jokingly). I did get pictures of me with the Secret Service guys and the SWAT team and I don't think they even knew who I was. Well, if they did, they were playing it really cool. I guess being on duty they couldn't really go, "Heyyy, it's you!"
JH: Do you get people recognizing you on the streets?
DH: People will sort of look at me, do a "Hey, aren't you?" double-take and it takes a while to recognize me, only because I don't wear glasses (like on the show). But now that they keep mentioning in the press that I don't wear glasses, I expect I'll get recognized more often.
JH: How come the other Lone Gunmen aren't here?
DH: It was either Bruce (Harwood who plays John Fitzgerald Byers) or Tom (Braidwood who plays Melvin Frohike) with me, but not for all of the Expos.
JH: Do fans expect the three of you to be together when they see you?
DH: Sometimes. I really do my own thing, the other two aren't into improvising. I did have Bruce join me in a part or two at an Expo, but he's a trained Shakespearean actor, so he actually - that wild, doing crazy things on stage is not really his cup of tea.
JH: How long have you done improv?
DH: Oh, over 15 years, then I went and auditioned for the X-Files.
JH: And that was it?
DH: That was it.
JH: Did you go in wearing glasses?
JH: So you went in and they had you read something?
DH: Yeah, from the episode "EBE," just the one scene, and I thought it was dumb because I'm on the phone for half of it, so it was like, "Hmm, whatever." And then there were a couple of callbacks and here I am. My role wasn't supposed to be recurring at that time, it was just going to be the once.
JH: So what happened?
DH: Well, Chris Carter and the writers would lurk on the newsgroups on the Internet and when we (the Lone Gunmen) came on, they found we represented 'that' Internet culture, so that amazed them. They figured they'd better keep our characters on the show.
JH: I was wandering around the EXPO and noticed a big difference from the usual Sci-Fi conventions - a lot more families.
DH: Yeah, it's a real family thing. The Expo isn't about "buy your ticket, get the autographs, get souvenirs and leave." Here they made a very conscious decision to make the entire day fun, have the whole X-Files experience, like you're really there. The Expo organizers saw what went on at other conventions and wanted to make this more family-oriented, so they decided to make it so the fans and visitors are treated well and want to stay the entire day. I think it's worked really well and it's encouraging to see everyone really appreciate it.
JH: Are you doing anything besides the X-Files series?
DH: Yes, I'm a voice in Robocop: The Animated Series, coming out in September. I'm doing a feature film in Canada called "Deadline." That's the working title. I'm also in the Foo Fighters music video. I may or may not do a film in Prague (he laughs). I'd play a Muslim terrorist (really laughs and I join in).
JH: Yeah, you look like a terrorist.
DH: Well, you put on a wig, some make-up, grow my beard out, dye it black. . .(we laugh some more)
JH: You do your stand-up in the US?
DH: Yep, my agent is planning an England tour
JH: The English love improv.
DH: Ryan Stiles (from The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and I are the best of friends and did improv for 10 years together.
JH: I love British comedy.
DH: I grew up on Monty Python
JH: How about Fawlty Towers? (We get into a huge discussion about director's cuts, laserdiscs, etc)
JH: So, what are you going to do after this? After the last EXPO?
DH: You know what? I'm going immediately to the movie opening in L.A. and all the stuff associated with that. Then I'm booked with stand-up right through September, then the show starts up again and I'm in the first three episodes. And they're actually talking about taking the EXPO into Canada, which I'll probably do.
JH: Are you in the X-Files game?
DH: Yep, I'm in the game.
JH: How was it working on the game? DH: Surprisingly, it wasn't that different from filming the series. They shot us in a smoky room, we did our lines, but instead of addressing other actors, we looked directly into the camera. I was like, 'Are you sure about this?' And they were like, 'Get closer.' It was a super wide lens and it was like this far from my face (he gestures). They never explained how our part fit into the game.
JH: Have you seen the game yet?
DH: No, just the promos everyone else has seen.
JH: How about Unrestricted Access?
DH: No, haven't really seen it. I got the first run version, kept it sealed up and I'm keeping it with all my other X-Files things in a closet. Just sell it later, you know, 20 years down the road. When I hear how Mark Hamill gave his kids Star Wars action figures and they trashed them and you look at how much they're worth now. . .
(Now we get totally off-track and talk about Star Wars collectibles, which turn out to be something he and I both collect)
DH: I grew up on Star Wars.
JH: I have a collection, not the action figures, more the unusual stuff. I recently added this R2D2 cassette player, about this high, it's the weirdest thing I've ever gotten.
(DH begins to hyperventilate with excitement)
JH: At this store in Annapolis where they marked it down because it didn't sell. I thought it was so weird and it was half price - only $14.99
DH: Shut up! That's the coolest thing ever! I found the coolest piece of swag I'd never seen before, from Fargo? The snow globe?
(This was a snow globe with a scene from the movie Fargo that came prepackaged with the video)
JH: Yeah, we almost got that!
DH: I got it!
JH: Did you hear about the second one (globe)?
DH: NO! Which one is that? The one I have is the dead body in the snow. JH: The second one is the wood chipper.
DH: I thought there had to be a wood chipper one!
We get into a huge discussion about collectibles from movies and the guard comes up to see what's going on. I guess we got a bit loud. Dean practically hugged me when we parted. Another one I hope Hollywood doesn't get in its clutches.
J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at jahitchcock.com.