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TIWWA EXCLUSIVE - Stephen Snedden "The Lone Gunmen" Interview

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Whilst we are, evidently, a Millennium Fan Community there is room in our hearts (and our forum) for all the franchises that were created by Ten "Thirteen Productions". "The Lone Gunmen" is one that I am hugely fond of and it is one I find myself revisiting more than any other with the exception of "Millennium". Part of the shows appeal for me is not the only the adventures of the already adored Lone Gunmen, but the new additions to the show in the form of Jimmy Bond and Yves Adele Harlow. I have wanted an opportuity to speak to Mr. Stephen Snedden for some time and I opted to use my spare time after BTFB to do just that. Stephen couldn't have been more forthcoming with his time and I am incredibly grateful to him. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed doing it and if you still haven't checked out this wonderful show then may I urge you to do so. That said, here's over to Jimmy Bond himself, Stephen Snedden. I'm sure you'll agree with me, his kung foo is best!

TIWWA: I wanted to ask you how you came to secure the role of Jimmy Bond? I believe you were travelling at the time the character was in the process of being cast and that you were meeting with the casting Directors and Chris Carter in between jaunts to China, Thiland and a soujorn in the jungle?

STEPHEN SNEDDEN: My manager at the time pushed for the casting directors to see me. They finally relented and agreed to see me. I had just finished a commercial, a guest role and was leaving soon for China to shoot a mini-series about the Korean War. I had been working, going to China and planning to travel after, so I was in a great head space.

I guess casting liked what I was doing and asked me to come back so that they could tape me. Then the producers wanted to see me, but the only time everyone could get together was the day that I was traveling. I met everyone and went to the airport. After filming in China I travelled to Thailand, spent some time in the jungle and had planned to visit several countries in the area. My manager emailed and told me to come home. I wasn't happy at all. Most of the time actors don't get the part and I would have to cut my trip short. Obviously I came to my senses.

I read another time for the producers and then tested for the studio and network. After I tested, Chris Carter came out and asked me to read again. How many times is that so far? He told me not to change anything. My first thoughts were, "what should I do different?", but I listened and did it the same.


TIWWA: I recall reading that with respect to casting the new characters on the show that Jimmy was the hardest role to find the right person for. I also recall you saying that "After years of auditions in this business, it seems you're the wrong guy all the time. Everything you go in for, there's something wrong. Then one day, you're right." Why do you think you were so right for the role? I get the feeling that something about the character spoke to you and I wondered what that was?

SS: Most of the time you aren't what "they" envisioned. You are too short or too tall or your eyes are the wrong color or you just remind someone of an ex. But once in a while the stars align or you picked up the right penny. When I first read the sides for Jimmy Bond, I thought he was stupid. I sold him short and I'm sure a lot of other actors did too. I jumped to the easiest label. Then I tossed my judgments and got to know him.

I'm not sure I can explain what I came up with, because even multiple labels don't work. He wanted to believe in mankind. He was filled with integrity and trust and love. I listened more than ever as Jimmy. Jimmy is anti-cynical. When others couldn't see the forest through the trees, he would climb the tallest one and wave his arms. I began to admire Jimmy when other actors were making fun of him.

TIWWA: The Lone Gunmen were a very established trio when your character joined them as an intern. How did the dynamic of the group change thanks to the introduction of Jimmy Bond and did you find it easy to assimilate into the group given that Dean, Tom and Bruce has such an established bond by that point?

SS: I was worried about joining Dean, Bruce and Tom. I had no idea what to expect. I'm sure that they had reservations about a new character and how it would effect the dynamics,but they never told me. They were extremely kind and supportive. Everyone was so excited about the show and trusted the writers. Most of the crew thought I was a guest star and didn't expect to see me again, so they got to know me before they could pass ill judgment on the idea.


TIWWA: The show is undoubtedly a blast to watch and it seems that everyone had so much fun creating the show and its characters. You had the chance to tango, work with monkeys, potray Elvis etc. It must have been a memorable experience to take part of, what memories in particular stand out for you today?

SS: I have fond memories of filming. Mostly, I remember how I felt. Every time I got a new script their was a surprise and a challenge. I had a blast with the Elvis scene. The background had been waiting a long time to film. We had been filming other scenes and then I was held up for an interview. The audience cheered when "Elvis" walked in. It was a great way to get started. I got a huge kick out of rolling the van into a ditch.

When we were shooting with the monkeys, one of the monkeys wanted to use whatever crayon I was using. During a scene at the office, Zuleikha had one line and had to leave early. They shot her coverage and then moved on to the rest. As the camera rolled on the gunmen, we got to her line in the scene. Since I was off camera I thought it would be helpful to deliver the dialogue for her in her voice. I wasn't trying to be funny, but the guys couldn't keep filming.

During one of the episodes, Bruce had to carry a box with a cinder block. He began the scene outside of the office. I could see him through the Gunmen's security camera. I pretended to call out "rolling" and he would pick up the box. As soon as he would get sick of waiting for action and put down the box, I would call rolling again. He finally figured out that I could see what he was doing.

TIWWA: Do you recall what the reaction was like from established fans of The Lone Gunmen to the addition of your own and Zuleikha's characters?

SS: I think the fans were skeptical in the beginning. After all, why add someone to the dynamic trio? They earned the show and the fans respect. I'm sure that many fans still question the choice of adding Jimmy and Yves as well as the direction of the show. It was never meant to be the X-Files. Mostly I found that fans appreciated Jimmy once they understood that he was not created to change the status quo. Since Jimmy believed in the Lone Gunmen and looked up to them, he wasn't competition for the characters.


TIWWA: One of the more endearing aspects of your characters journey was not just his relationship with the Gunmen but his emerging feelings for Zuleikha Robinson's character, Yves Adele Harlow. Was it enjoyable for you, as an actor, to pursue this side of of your character with Zuleikha and have you any idea what the intention was with regards to how their relationship would have developed had the show not been cancelled?

SS: Yves and Jimmy were opposites, but like Roger Rabbit and Jessica, something made sense. Yves was definitely beginning to appreciate Jimmy, but I think any real relationship was a long way off. Even if she had wanted to pursue it, I don't think she could act on it. She had to protect her identity, but also protect Jimmy from her past.

TIWWA: I remember Frank Spotnitz remarking that Jimmy was created as the gunmen needed a character to explain things to in order to keep the viewer informed of some of the technical aspects of the stories. As the series progressed he was becoming much more full bodied in the sense that he was beginning to solve aspects of the episode's mysteries when the gunmen were unable. This must have been pleasing to see the character becoming much integral and well-rounded?

SS: Jimmy had several purposes. One was so that the Gunmen had an opportunity and reason to explain what was happening. Especially when it came to technology. The writers also seemed to discover that Jimmy could sometimes see the simple truth without clouded judgment. He could see the obvious like Winnie the Pooh. He was also easily overlooked or dismissed which gave him an advantage sometimes. I think all of the characters and actors started to grow and learn.

TIWWA: 'Diagnosis, Jimmy' was very much a showcase written for Jimmy Bond, was it a highlight of the show for you, to have an episode very focussed on your character?

SS: I felt honored when I read "Diagnosis, Jimmy". As the series progressed, the writers could have easily kept Jimmy on the sidelines. I guess I was always surprised that they trusted me!

TIWWA: I still feel that The Lone Gunmen was a show of great quality and great premise and had really found its voice by the end of what was an incredible first season. How did news of the cancellation of the show reach you all and what was the reception like to this news. Have you any idea of what plans, if any, there were for future episodes of the show?

SS: I was surprised by the cancellation. We were in a tough time slot, but had done very well compared to previous shows. I think that being an hour long show that wasn't a drama was confusing for the network. Reality television didn't need time to find and audience and people were impatient. The beauty of the Lone Gunmen was that it was different, but that may have also been its demise.

TIWWA: I remember the ire of fans of the series when The Lone Gunmen were killed in the ninth season X-Files story, "Jump The Shark". Whilst it seems that this decision was not made lightly or without much wrestling of consciences I heard that you and Zuleikha were both saddened by the decision at the time. How do you look upon the end of The Lone Gunmen in hindsight?

SS: When I heard that they would be killed, I called called the Execs right away. I was distraught. I felt saddened by the loss and also felt a level of responsibility since the show was cancelled. I knew that I wasn't really going to change any one's mind, but wanted to make sure that the Gunmen's dignity was kept in tact. Of course I was preaching to the choir. They loved the guys as much or more than me. It was an amazing journey and they died in battle. They earned their place in Valhalla.

TIWWA: I know Dean has spoken, on occasion, of his desire to resurrect the characters in an independent production focussing primarily on the actors who played the roles. Are you aware of this project and are there plans for your involvement in it?

SS: The Lone Gunmen is one of those phenomenons that never really dies. I don't know of any plans for a resurrection, but I haven't lost hope of getting a call.

TIWWA: Looking back over your career to date, how does the experience of being part of The Lone Gunmen compare to other shows you have been involved in and are you still remembered for being "Jimmy Bond"?

SS: Playing Jimmy was probably the most rewarding role to date. As simple as he may have seemed, he was very challenging to play. I was always focused on listening. I hung on the Gunmen's every word. He was a blast to play. I still have people stop me. Everyone from the homeless guy (not sure where he watched the show) to my father-in-law to new friends, have fond memories of the show.

TIWWA: Could I ask you what fans of The Lone Gunmen can keep their eyes and ears for in the future with regards to the continuing career of Stephen Snedden?

SS: I was fortunate enough to do voice over work on the video game, Red Dead Redemption that was just released. Soon, the movie Minkow will be coming out and I have a great role in it. The cast includes James Caan, Ving Rhames, Mark Hamill and Talia Shire.

TIWWA: My thanks, Stephen, for taking the time to speak to me and for creating such a wonderful, and enduring, portrayal.

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Although I haven't seen an episode of The Lone Gunmen, I have to say that was an enjoyable interview. I'm very sad to hear that the Lone Gunmen died in the last season of the X-Files, I did not know that. I only saw bits of the 8th season, I guess, when Robert Patrick came into the picture. I've always been meaning to pick up this series and Harsh Realm on DVD...I will some day watch it, I know.

I will also pick up the video game someday when the price has lowered, game prices are ridiculous here in Iceland. And that Minkow film sure has a good cast, well, I'm intrigued.

Thanks, Mark and Stephen.

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Guest jamhaw

It really is a shame that the show was cancelled. I'm still hoping that they can find a role for Jimmy and Yve in a new X-files movie but I suppose that is pretty unlikely.

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Don't thank me folks, Stephen is the man of the moment. I get the impression he is a very busy individual which makes me all the more appreciative of him sitting down to do this for fans of the show.

I think it's clear from reading his words that he really did love that character and came to understand him in a way that other actors might not have grasped. I know Frank Spotnitz said they were having a hard time trying to find "Jimmy" and the couldn't have found a better person that Stephen for the role.

Long live The Lone Gunmen.


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Guest WaveCrest

I have wanted to see or read an interview with Stephen Snedden, and this was a very enjoyable interview. I didn't realise he had recorded his voice for Red Dead Redemption, and I did look at the voice cast list inside the game's booklet. It wasn't until some months or a couple of years after seeing the film, but I didn't realise he had appeared in the film Coyote Ugly.

A documentary or film, starring the actors in The Lone Gunmen, looking back at the show, is a great idea. :thumbsup:

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"Red Dead Redemption" seems to be a something of a phenomena. I know a number of my friends are having a hard time finding it in stock for their kids. It's great to think he is involved in something so successful.

I managed to find a synopsis for Minkow after some looking. Sounds intriguing.

Justin Baldoni has been cast in the title role in the real-life story of "Barry Minkow."

Baldoni joins James Caan, Armand Assante, Mark Hamill and Ving Rhames in the bizarre story of a teenage entrepreneur running a successful carpet company, ZZZZ Best, who gets busted for running a Ponzi scheme. After experiencing a religious conversion in prison, Minkow becomes a pastor doing anti-fraud work with the FBI.

The screenplay was written by Jonathan Meyers; Bruce Caulk will direct.

Bret Saxon, Jeff Bowler, Ari Palitz, William MacDonald, Charles Arthur Berg and Minkow are producing for Insomnia Media Group. The film is shooting in Los Angeles.

Baldoni, who is repped by Talent Works and Kritzer Levine Wilkins Entertainment, appeared on "Everwood" and "Heroes." He next appears in the feature "Unrequited."



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Guest SpooktalkGiGi

Ok this is the third time ive tried posting here so fingers crossed it works. lol I posted a comment in the blog section too. So, here it goes, I just wanted to say thank you Mark and thank you Stephen for bringing us this great interview. The Lone Gunmen was such a fantastic show that really took on a life all its own. The characters were great, it was fun to watch and very enjoyable and entertaining. It is such a shame that it did not get the credit it deserved. I loved Jimmy on the show and thought his character was great to watch. :) Stephen did a wonderful job playing him. :) Mark, you never cease to amaze me how wonderful you truly are, you can pull interviews out of your hat and they are always so enjoyable to read and so intelligent. I love your questions. They always seem to to be just what the reader wants to ask or know. :) I hope there are more interviews like this one in the very near future. :)

Laura. :)

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Guest WaveCrest

I've checked in the booklet inside my copy of Red Dead Redemption (PS3), looking through the voice cast list...and I eventually found Stephen Snedden's name. He's under the heading "The Local Population".

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