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Analyse This: David Duchovny

Cult sci-fi show The X Files has been off the air for six years, but David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are back as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigating another paranormal case in the new film The X Files: I Want To Believe.

Duchovny, 47, is married to actress Tea Leoni and they have two children.

Here he answers questions about his career and the significance of the series.

WOULD YOU RATHER BE RICH AND FAMOUS OR POOR AND ANONYMOUS?

Fame for me at this point is something I can’t make go away; I just don’t want it to be infamy. I love what I do, I get paid well, I’m happy with my life and am very grateful, but I don’t do it for the fame. I understand fame, I accept it and I get it, but as an introvert it makes me uncomfortable. But you know, poor pitiful me – whatever – it’s just tough!

WHAT WERE YOUR DREAMS AS A CHILD?

I never dreamed of acting. I loved basketball and dreamt about being an athlete and a writer; those were my two ambitions. I never had any firm plans, though, they were just childhood fantasies. But somebody should’ve told me that I was never going to make it as an athlete; I wasn’t good enough.

WHAT WAS THE DEFINING MOMENT WHEN YOU REALISED YOU WERE FAMOUS?

When The X Files became popular and everybody knew who I was, there was a lot of attention, but it was a positive experience because it was good attention most of the time. Mulder was a great character to be able to play, and I am grateful for the chance to have done so.

These days, the attention is not so relentless. I actually think people must be extremely tired of seeing me at all. But everyone still remembers The X Files and they know who I am.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST REGRET?

I don’t have any. My view is that if something happens, it must’ve been because it was supposed to happen. You can’t say something else should’ve happened.

I try not to look back. I could talk about some things I wish I hadn’t done, but what’s the point? That’s not going to change things.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?

The ability to travel and have houses in two places: we are about to move to New York and we have a place in LA. We like to travel a lot with the kids and that’s a luxury.

When I grew up, I was in Manhattan the whole time. But my kids have been all over the world.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE STUCK IN A LIFT WITH?

Definitely not my wife and kids, I have plenty of time with them already! I’d like to be stuck with my sports heroes, like the late baseball player Mickey Mantle.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE?

Probably to stop being so sensitive – I get very sensitive about criticism, how things play out and how my work is received by others. I am an entertainer; we’re doing stuff for people to see, we’re not doing it in a vacuum. But the challenge is to take the joy and creativity of what I’m doing and hope it translates, instead of worrying: ‘Oh my god, who is going to like it?’

WHAT’S YOUR IDEA OF HEAVEN?

Just being at home with my family is great. Tea and I are lucky. Our relationship just keeps getting deeper – which is exciting.

My kids don’t care about the work I do. Children just care about having a stable home, having a mom and dad, and we spend a lot of time with them. We try to work at different times so that we are not both away too much.

I don’t believe there is just one person for you. I believe there are a number of them and that it is all a matter of timing and luck whether you find any of them.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE TRYING TO GIVE UP?

Ego, delusion, insecurity, fear of failure. It’s like the Samuel Becket line ‘Fail again, fail better’, so I am always trying to fail better, not feel better.

ARE YOU AN OPEN BOOK WHEN IT COMES TO EMOTIONS?

No, I am an introvert. More actors than you’d imagine are introverts in my experience. I’ve always been pretty solitary, even at home with my family. Tea understands. She doesn’t get hurt if I want to be alone.

But I actually try to be open. I think it is really easy to be cynical and hard, and it’s quite courageous to be open and sentimental.

YOUR CHARACTER IN THE X FILES IS A BELIEVER THAT THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE  –  WHAT ABOUT IN REAL LIFE?

I have not seen any paranormal evidence, but I do have suspicions. I think it makes more sense to believe that there is more to the world than just the physical, and that there are more forms of life than live on this earth.

I am open to spirituality, but not to quackery and things that are clearly ridiculous. But if I saw as much evidence to point to the existence of the paranormal as Mulder did, I would be open to it all, certainly.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN AN AFTERLIFE?

No, I don’t believe anything happens after we die. But I do lie to my kids because I don’t think children are capable of dealing with ultimate loss. They believe my father is up in heaven with our dogs that have died.

HOW DO YOU PICK YOUR PROJECTS THESE DAYS?

With an Ouija board, mostly! It varies from project to project depending on the challenge. Perhaps it’s a great story or a good comedy. I don’t care if it’s a small role, I just like a challenge: if it makes me terrified, I might feel like trying it.

WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY?

I am not a fan of hypocrisy, but I don’t expect to change it; it’s been around a long time. And I don’t like people who give up. You have to have the balls to keep failing in life. Nobody’s ever happy and fulfilled, a lot of people give up, and I haven’t, so I am proud of myself for that.

WHAT THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?

Someone told me not to react to bad things that might be happening today, but to take the long view and know that things will settle down and then you’ll get to figure out what it was all about. Don’t get too excited about today – whether it’s good or bad.

YOU’RE A MAJOR HEART-THROB – HOW VAIN ARE YOU?

I have an awareness of what I look like because of what I do. I don’t know if I would be more or less vain if I wasn’t an actor. Actors are confronted with ageing on a daily basis, but men have it easier than women because they say we look better as we age.

I don’t look in the mirror too much. I brush my teeth, I put some stuff on my hair, I comb it back and then I put on a pair of jeans and a shirt and go. If I have to go somewhere special and look good, Tea will help.

WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST EXPERIENCE YOU’VE EVER HAD WITH A FAN?

Nobody has ever confused me with Mulder, but years ago I was in an elevator in Chicago and a guy said: ‘Good morning doctor.’ I was like, OK. And then I realised he thought I was Noah Wyle from ER, which is set in Chicago, so I said: ‘You’ve got the wrong show there, chief.’

•The X Files: I Want To Believe is out on August 1.

Source: The Daily Mail

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