X-Files x'es out tourism stunt

Not clime fighter, Duchovny says

Catherine Porter
Vancouver Sun

ALIENATED?: X-Files star David Duchovny was presented Monday with "survival kit" by ex-weatherman Norm Ghromann after he complained he didn't like Vancouver's wet weather. Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun
A $7,000 attempt by Tourism Vancouver to smooth things over with X-Files heartthrob David Duchovny after his disparaging comments about life on the wet coast went awry Monday morning when the show's production crew tried to bar local press from the site.

"It was supposed to be a fun little thing. It got out of hand," said press relations coordinator Ian Edwards of Verus Group International.

Edwards' firm was hired by Tourism Vancouver to do damage control after Duchovny compared Vancouver on network television to an Ice Age forest. He also said it is a nice place only for those who like 400 inches of rain a day.

According to Janna Ross of Tourism Vancouver, Entertainment Tonight had originally been invited to a "spoof" meant to convince U.S. viewers that Vancouver is an ideal tourist destination.

The Tourism Vancouver stunt, arranged outside the Travel Lodge in North Vancouver where The X-Files was filming Monday, had former BCTV weather person Norm Grohmann dressed as a tree and presenting Duchovny with a Vancouver survival kit. Included was a salmon, a provincial flag, and a rain poncho with bonnet.

"It was meant as a tongue-in-cheek spoof," Ross said. "To show people that Vancouver is not all wet and that we have a good sense of humor."

But while the X-Files' production crew may have been willing to play along with the stunt, they seemed less keen on pacifying the locals.

The crew, which limits the number of non-production people on the show's set, believed only one TV crew would be at the event. But word leaked out to the local media, and a small cluster of reporters gathered behind the motel Monday morning.

As the stunt began, X-Files assistant executive director Tracy Elofson announced that the event was "closed." A van was pulled up to block the scene of the interview.

"I am so annoyed with you guys," Elofson snapped at Ross before pulling her beyond the reach of prying ears.

According to Edwards, Elofson's reaction was overblown.

"That anybody was barred at the set was unreasonable," he added. "He was very upset . . . he could have handled it much more in the spirit of the event."

Duchovny, however, was diplomatic. He said that he liked Vancouver and only wanted to move to Los Angeles so he could be closer to his wife, Tea Leoni.

"I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. . . . We love shooting here. There's never been a problem. It's just a matter of me wanting to go and live with my wife," he said. "I've always loved the rain."