‘The X-Files’: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson Say These 2 Guest Stars Blew Them Away

Out of all of the seasons and episodes of the TV show, The X-Files, which guest stars did David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson say blew them away?

‘The X-Files’ star Gillian Anderson recalls her favorite guest star

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Agent Mulder and Agent Scully on The X-Files
Agents Mulder and Scully, played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson on The X-Files | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

In a 2014 Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread, Anderson and Duchovny delighted X-Files fans by answering their burning questions about the cult series.

“… who was the guest star on The X-Files who most blew you away with their performance and made you say, ‘wow?'” one Reddit user wondered. While a few questions on the thread garnered longer stories from Duchovny and/or Anderson, both of the stars of the sci-fi series had quick-and-easy answers.

“Brad Dourif as Luther Lee Boggs,” Anderson wrote. Dourif appeared in the season 1 episode titled “Beyond the Sea.” The 13th episode of the X-Files’ 1st season appears to be based loosely on The Silence of the Lambs — with Boggs and Agent Scully’s relationship reflecting that of Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling in the film. (X-Files creator Chris Carter has also said in interviews the character of Agent Scully was highly informed by Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs.)

But Dourif’s Boggs was far from a re-interpretation of Hannibal Lecter; he took the character and made it his own.

What was the season 1 episode ‘Beyond the Sea’ about?

In the season 1 episode, Scully’s father dies from a heart attack. Getting back to work, Scully is reeling from the shock — and Mulder decides to consult death-row inmate Boggs on a new case.

Boggs throws Scully’s fresh pain back in her face by telling her he is psychic and is getting messages from her recently-deceased dad. Boggs also claims he can use his mystical powers to help Mulder and Scully catch a kidnapper. Scully, ever the skeptic, is doubtful of Boggs’ claims. However, she is tempted — especially when Boggs tells Scully her dad is trying to tell her something.

The character could easily read as cheesy and over-the-top (especially when Boggs is “channeling” people who have passed away). However, Dourif pulls it off masterfully.

Gillian Anderson and Brad Dourif, cast of The X-Files
Gillian Anderson and Brad Dourif at The X-Files 100th Episode party| Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

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It’s no surprise that Dourif took his X-Files guest-star role and ran with it; the actor has quite the iconic filmography, per IMDb.

Dourif played Wormtongue (Smeagol’s brother) in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and the terrifying Raymond in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. The actor scored an Oscar nomination — and he won a Golden Globe — for his role in Cuckoo’s Nest.

Which cast member of ‘The X-Files’ Season 2 blew David Duchovny away?

How about Duchovny’s favorite guest star? He cited “Steve Railsback from ‘Duane Barry” in the Reddit AMA. Railsback played the eponymous character in The X-Files Season 2 Episode 5, “Duane Barry,” as well as the 6th episode of season 2: “Ascension.”

In the 1st episode, Mulder gets called into a hostage negotiation. He eventually finds out the man holding the hostages is a former FBI Agent who believes he has been abducted by aliens — Duane Barry.

Throughout the episode, Mulder and Scully go back and forth on whether or not Barry is reeling from UFO-related trauma — or if he is having a psychotic break. Railsback toes this line perfectly, setting up a mystery we as viewers need an answer to.

According to the actor’s IMDb bio, Railsback is “noted for his dangerous, chameleon-like portrayals while possessing the scariest-looking pair of eyes in the business.”

His filmography holds up to that statement; he broke onto the scene with his role as Charles Manson in the 1976 miniseries Helter Skelter. Railsback also starred in the 1980 dark comedy The Stuntman (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and played one of the most notorious serial killers in the U.S. in the 2000 movie Ed Gein.