- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2001

Playing computer-hacking conspiracy geek Langly on "The X-Files" spinoff "The Lone Gunmen" guarantees that Dean Haglund is in touch constantly with apparent illegal aliens from distant galaxies and other highly unusual fans right here on planet Earth via his www.deanx.com Web site.
"I get some strange e-mail for sure," says Mr. Haglund, 33, who looks the part of a genuine geek with long, shaggy blond hair and really ugly frames for his prop eyeglasses. "The conspiracy theorists are always unusual, including the guy who thinks there is an entire city with back-up military runways for jet fighters under the five acres his house sits on. This person hears the rumbling of an underground city.
"The man doesnt watch 'The Lone Gunmen that much, so I guess he is just trying to rally support for his underground military base — good for him," Mr. Haglund continues, dry as dust. "I also post some of the funny e-mails, including the one about taking Pink Floyds 'Dark Side of the Moon and substitut it for the soundtrack of 'The Wizard of Oz as soon as you hear Leo the lion roar on the MGM logo. Lots of teen-age kids tell me it syncs perfectly and is totally cool."
Mr. Haglund hasnt tried the "Oz" bit yet ("It sounds like it was discovered by somebody on acid") but expects to get around to it in the near future, as he is a low-grade computer geek in real life.
"I know how the Internet works and get around pretty well, but Im not a hacker," he says. "I used to answer my own e-mail, but the volume has become overwhelming since 'Gunmen hit the air. Now, after a 12- or 15-hour day on the set, all I have the energy for is to check the news, look at my stocks and look at the ratings of my friends TV shows."
"Gunmen" was a blessed accident that climbed out of "The X-Files" primordial ooze during its first season in 1993, according to Mr. Haglund.
"The writers came up with the weirded-out 'Mission: Impossible team for one 'X-Files episode… . but had a hell of a time casting it. I showed up on the Vancouver set with about 45 other quirky-looking character actors, mostly friends of mine, and got the part along with Bruce Harwood (Byers) and Tom Braidwood (Frohike)."
Creators-executive producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz just envisioned the demented trio as a small group of bodies working one day on one scene and then disbanding forever.
"I had never seen 'The X-Files and had no idea what the hell it was all about," Mr. Haglund recalls, "but we said our lines and got out of there, happy it was all done before lunch so we could have the rest of the day off."
Much to his surprise, Mr. Haglund was called back — along with Mr. Harwood and Mr. Braidwood — the following season for three more episodes. They have done at least a half-dozen shows per year ever since, and the "X-Files" producers started developing "Gunmen" two years ago as a response to heavy viewer interest.
"Its pretty bizarre,"Mr. Haglund says, laughing, "but here we are, eight years later, with our own show, starring in 13 episodes."
He finally has a handle on his straw-haired character. ("I never got around to cutting my hair and thats the way I showed up for the first audition.")
"If you want to be Freudian about it, Byers is the superego, Frohike is the ego, and Langly is the id," Mr. Haglund explains. "He is the emotional, irrational and somewhat impulsive guy fighting against 'the Man as a computer hacker. I like to think he is the fighting spirit behind the team."

The pride of tiny Oakbank, Manitoba, which is separated "by many wheat fields" from Winnipeg, is the youngest of four children born to an iron-willed homemaker and a hard-working mechanic for Canadian National Railways. Both parents are officially retired, but Mr. Haglunds father still works for various foreign aid organizations as a senior quality-control consultant on distressed railroad systems, and that takes the couple from Bosnia to Bangladesh for years at a time.
"I still have fond, fond memories of summer train trips across Canada and the U.S. when I was a kid," Mr. Haglund says. "We met a lot of people, and it was a cheap way for us to travel."
Passing up a certain amount of job security, Mr. Haglund decided to become a professional class clown during his first semester in school. He began private acting studies at the age of 12 and two years later made his professional debut as Uncle Sam in a "badly done multicultural event" at an obscure Winnipeg theater. ("They decided my long blond hair looked gray and gave me a beard.")
It was enough to whet his appetite for more punishment.
Majoring in theater and minoring in modern dance, he earned a bachelors degree in fine arts and performing arts in 1991 from Vancouvers Simon Fraser University.
"I was in a couple of dance shows — it was standing room only," he says, delivering a bald-faced lie. "They were real esoteric productions involving running around in rubber boots and so on. The audience was composed mostly of fellow performers who also ran around in rubber boots doing similar shows."
Mr. Haglund started his long, slow climb toward financial solvency with guest shots on U.S. shows produced in Canada, including "The Commish," "Sliders," "MacGuyver," "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and "Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years." Dividing his time between Southern California and British Columbia ("We are what you call 'West Coast International"), the laid-back actor has added such Hollywood-based shows to his resume as "V.I.P." and "Instant Comedy With the Groundlings."
Between straight acting gigs, Mr. Haglund adds to his retirement fund by voicing cartoon characters in the TV series "Robocop" and "The Big Guy" — and he provided his vocal chords to Sid in the animated feature film "Tom Sawyer."
He is most animated, though, while doing his stand-up comedy act at clubs and college venues all over North America when "The X-Files" and "The Lone Gunmen" go on hiatus. Hence, "home" is where his laundry is.
He has been married for eight years to a woman "who likes her name out of the press" and runs his two TV production companies, which shall remain secrets. No children are involved yet, and thus theres plenty of time for play.
"We love the outdoors, and Im into mountain biking and kayaking," the fitness freak says. "For rest and relaxation, Im also a cartoonist, published quite a few times in the X-Files magazine. I have samples on my Web site. Want to buy a cartoon?"

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide