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Transcribed by CarriK

The Late Show with David Letterman
June 16, 1998

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DAVID LETTERMAN: Our first guest tonight is the star of the hugely popular television program, "The X-Files," and on Friday, a motion picture version of that very show opens in theatres nationwide. Please welcome the always entertaining, David Duchovny. (Lots of screaming. He’s wearing a blue suit with a seventies green shirt.Band plays "Cuts like a Knife.")

LETTERMAN: Welcome back to the show.

DD: It’s nice to see you.

LETTERMAN: It’s pretty exciting for you. Friday the big film opens up, and you’ve got the summer right ahead of you. It must be a nice feeling, huh?

DD: Well, yeah. It’s … I guess it’s kind of unprecedented for a TV show to become a movie.

LETTERMAN: Well, we were talking about that this afternoon, and it’s happened in a couple of cases, but I don’t think it happens often certainly.

DD: Well, I think it happened with "The Beverly Hillbillies." (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: But that was after … they had gone off the air.

DD: No, actually…it happened while they were on the air.

LETTERMAN: Is that right? I didn’t know that.

DD: It happened with the "Munsters."

LETTERMAN: Mmm-hmm. I didn’t know that either. Well, was that after they went off the air?

DD: That was while they were on the air.

LETTERMAN: Wow. I know it happened with "Beavis and Butthead."

DD: That’s true.

LETTERMAN: They had a film while they were still on the air. (Laughter.)

DD: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: But it doesn’t happen often.

DD: Well, it doesn’t happen often for a drama …


DD: …on Fox. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Now this is probably a dumb question, but you’ve seen the show. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Does … is it the same group of people that do the television show that do the film? Is it the … I mean, you see the same faces, you work with the same people?

DD: Pretty much the same, although the movie is a lot bigger. The movie is a movie. I mean the explosiveness of the TV show is just … it’s made rectangular, if you can imagine that.

LETTERMAN: Now, were you worried?

DD: But I just have to say in all honesty, it’s the first time in my show business career, which goes back .. with you spanning, I don’t know how many, 40 years? (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Yeah, I would think so. Sure, the ‘50’s, yeah.

DD: Back to the 50’s, where I’ve been involved in a project where it’s turned out better than I thought it would.

LETTERMAN: Oh, that’s pretty good.

DD: I’m honestly so pleased with this film, and I want you all to see it, because it’s… it’s great.

LETTERMAN: Well, you couldn’t get a better endorsement than the guy who stars in the film. (Cheers and applause.)

DD: No, I … I would sell the movie even if it stunk … (Laughter.)

DD: …but I’m selling it honestly right now. I’m telling you that …

LETTERMAN: I’m going to believe you, is that all right?

DD: Okay.

LETTERMAN: I don’t want to look like a fool later. I believe you.

DD: It didn’t look like you believed me.

LETTERMAN: No, I do believe you.

DD: I had to sell you.

LETTERMAN: Now were you worried in the beginning that " Oh it’s a great television show, does that necessarily mean it would be a great movie?" Were you worried about it kind of living up to the big screen?

DD: Sure, sure. You know, you have a success and you don’t want to ruin it by having a worldwide failure. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Which did you prefer doing more, the TV show or the film? It’s the same, isn’t it really?

DD: It’s very much the same for me as an actor. It’s different for the technical people. I would love it if it became a movie franchise and it would free me up to have my years off to do other things.

LETTERMAN: So you would rather do just like an occasional "X-Files" movie, and not necessarily the TV show.

DD: That’s like saying, "Would you rather work two days a week or would you rather work seven days a week?" (thinks) Well … (Laughter.)

DD: … I’ll have to get back to you on that. (laughter) I’m not really sure.

LETTERMAN: Now, would the show continue without you? Would they get another "X-Filer" in there while you did the movie?

DD: (laugh) I don’t know. That would be… that would be embarrassing.

LETTERMAN: Have you talked this over? Have you talked this over with the people?

DD: Yeah. I mean, they all know my feelings. They don’t care. (Laughter.)

DD: Honestly, they don’t.

LETTERMAN: This sounds like a story out of my life.

DD: You’re involved in a huge money-making machine; your wishes don’t count.

LETTERMAN: Don’t count, no. But I’ll bet that if you left the show, the thing would just go to Hell, because, you know, after all, it’s still Fox, for God’s sakes. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: And they’d better be taking care of you, my friend. They’d better. I hope you have representation. I hope they’re taking care of you.

DD: Let’s just say that this little clip of videotape will be used in my renegotiation.

LETTERMAN: All right. Well, believe me, I’ll help if I can. I haven’t been able to do any good for me, but …

DD: I’ll go to bat for you.

LETTERMAN: Now in the film, was it a lot of special effects, of not a lot of special effects?

DD: There’s more special effects than we use in the TV show.

LETTERMAN: That makes it harder on the actor, doesn’t it?

DD: It does. It’s more boring for an actor to work with green screens and things that aren’t really there. But we worked with bees. If you watch the TV show, there’s a lot of … there’s occasionally bees on the show …

LETTERMAN: And these are actual …

DD: Actual bees.

LETTERMAN: Bzzz. Honey bees.

DD: I don’t know. What you’ll see in the movie are mostly computer generated bees, because apparently real bees don’t look real …. enough. (Laughter)

LETTERMAN: They don’t photograph? Actual bees don’t photograph?

DD: Something happens to them They just don’t … they just don’t bring …. come to life on the screen.

LETTERMAN: Invisible bees. But it must be difficult to work with real bees.

DD: There was thousands of actual bees during the filming, and, you know, they’re not like trainable animals.


DD: You don’t see like Stupid Bee Tricks.


DD: They’re like … they’re like lions with wings, you know? It’s dangerous.

LETTERMAN: They’re dangerous. They sting you.

DD: They’re tiny little lions with wings. (laughter.)

DD: And uh … So we’re working with these, and they confused them by taking away the queen.

LETTERMAN: Oh, that does something, because the queen is the leader for the swarm, is that right?

DD: Well, not so much the leader, but they will try to protect the Queen.


DD: So if there’s a Queen, they will be very aggressive and protective of human beings that are around her. And so if they remove the Queen,…. they put her in a nice trailer on the Fox lot. (Laughter.)

DD: She kicks up her little legs, you know.

DD: She takes her fur off. They’re bumblebees. So they become confused, and they don’t attack quite so much.

LETTERMAN: Right, right. Did you get stung?

DD: No, I didn’t get stung. Gillian and I were running through, you know, five, ten, 15, 20 times, and finally at around 3:30, one of the producers Dan Sackheim, came up to me and said, "I’m going to have to force you tomorrow," which means that I don’t get my normal 12 hours off in between finishing work and coming back to work. And I said, "Why? I like … you know, I like my time off."


DD: And he said, "Well, the bees have to wrap by 4:00." (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: See, this is wrong. Something is desperately wrong.

DD: I … no… And I wish I was making this up. I really do.

LETTERMAN: Bees …. bees are getting better treatment and first consideration over the star of the film.

DD: This was my response. I said, "The bees have to wrap by 4:00?"

LETTERMAN: Yeah, exactly.

DD: And they said, " Well, as the sun starts to go down, the bees start to get cranky."


DD: "Queen or no."


DD: And I said " You think those bees get cranky?" (Laughter.)

DD: So actually, what happened was in the end I changed representation. Now the bees’ agent represents me. (Laughter and applause.)

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Here’s how you handle … here’s how you ought to be handling those bees. Something like this, just … (LETTERMAN whaps the table with a paper, audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ll be right back here with Mr. "X-Files" David Duchovny. (Commercial.)

LETTERMAN: David Duchovny is here, Stevie Nicks. I asked you during the commercial how long you’ve been married. And it’s a year and a half or so? 14 months, something like that?

DD: Yeah, yeah. 14 months.

LETTERMAN: It’s working out pretty well for you?

DD: Yeah, it is. It’s kind of in a groove, now which is nice.

LETTERMAN: What does that mean? Everything’s easy? Everything comes … everything’s quite healthy?

DD: Well, at first, it’s just, you know, you get … everybody just wants to know what’s it like being married …


DD: … which is I guess what you’re asking right now.

LETTERMAN: That’s what I was saying, yeah. (Laughter.)

DD: Yeah. But you know, and then eventually people start to accept the fact that you really are married and they stop asking that question.

LETTERMAN: Your wife is a well-known actress in a big blockbuster summer film.

DD: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, she is.


DD: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Do the folks know who this is? DD Oh, Téa Leoni. is my wife, yeah. (Cheers and applause.)

LETTERMAN: Yeah. she was in the, the "Deep Impact," whatever it’s called.

DD: Yeah. Well, in Italian, it’s "Impacto Profundo." (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: That’s lovely, isn’t it. "Impacto Profundo." (Laughter.)

DD: Isn’t that better? I just love that.

LETTERMAN: That’s a huge film, a huge success, isn’t it?

DD: Got a profound impact.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. (Laughter) And there is like, a little rivalry because now your summer blockbuster is coming out, and hers already, you know, made 130 and climbing …. 130 million.

DD: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: Is that cause … That’s silly, though, to worry about stuff like that, isn’t it?

DD: Yeah. No no, I mean I think people got another spare eight bucks to spend on our movie, I’m hoping.

LETTERMAN: Mmm-hmm. Yeah.

DD: The one problem is that, you know, we come to New York and hang out with her in-laws a bit, and….

LETTERMAN: Now you say a problem. You identified that as one problem.

DD: Well, I’m identifying it as a problem only because of what I’m going to do right now, which is … this is a hat that my mother-in-law has made. (Pulls out this huge white floppy cloth hat with a black electrical tape X and what looks like a miniature beehive on the brim and puts it on his head. Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Oh, they’re Amish. (laughter.)

DD: Now I’ve made it the official "X-Files" hat. I mean, that’s … so you can actually … this was made by Emily, my mother-in-law, and you could … it’s a sun hat that you can tell. (DD, does a model pose, laugh)

LETTERMAN: Yeah, is it … (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: And for your mother-in-law, is it a hobby or is it therapy? (Laughter.)

DD: She’s actually making these hats to sell.

LETTERMAN: (Cracks up.)

DD: And I think …

LETTERMAN: It’s a beauty. (laughter)

DD: Thank you. Would you like to try it on?

LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah. I’ll try it on, sure. I hope it fits. (It is huge.) I hope I don’t look ridiculous. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: There you go. And I’ll tell you, it’s from the "X-Files" beekeeper edition. (laughter) It’s a collection of bee-keeping items. Well that’s very thoughtful, and it is … it’s functional, absolutely functional, and you got to …

DD: Well, you know it folds up.

LETTERMAN: Oh, I didn’t realize you got to fold it up….

DD: Fold it up. I don’t know how to fold it up.

LETTERMAN: I don’t want to … Does it fold up of does it wad up? Two completely different techniques there …

DD: I wouldn’t know how to begin to answer that question.

LETTERMAN: Well, that’s sweet that they’re thinking of you though.

DD: Isn’t it?

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Let’s show the folks a couple of seconds from the film.

DD: Yeah, yeah.

LETTERMAN: Do you know what we’re going to see here?

DD: Yeah, I think we’re not running from bees in this one, although we should have been. We’re running through corm fields in this one. Yeah, this is a little taste of the big action.

LETTERMAN: This is you and your co-star, Gillian Anderson…

DD: Gillian Anderson, right.

LETTERMAN: She was here a couple of weeks ago.

DD: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: She’s nice.

DD: Yeah, very nice.

LETTERMAN: Lovely woman.

DD: Lovely woman.

LETTERMAN: Is she married, that woman?

DD: No, she’s not.

LETTERMAN: Really? Attractive. (Laughter.)

DD: Yeah, I mean … you know, I can get her number for you if you want.

LETTERMAN: Really? (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: It wouldn’t kill you, would it?

DD: Yeah. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Be a sport.

DD: I will. I’m sporting.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. All right. See what happens. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Be like calling that newspaper in Louisiana. (laughter) Doesn’t seem to be working. What happened there? All right, so it’s … here is David Duchovny in a field. It’s a scene from the …

DD: We’re being chased by the bad guys.

LETTERMAN: Here you go, "X-Files," opening Friday.

DD: Yeah. (MULDER and SCULLY being chased through the cornfield, longer than usual.) MULDER: Talk to me, Scully!!! (Cheers and applause.)

LETTERMAN: There you go, there you go. wow. (Cheers and applause.) And that was shot in Bakersfield, California.

DD: Let me just say that I’m very proud of my acting in that clip. (laughter) I thought I ran well. (laughter) I thought that …

LETTERMAN: You were doing some crouching. I thought that was first-class crouching.

DD: Thank you. I thought I crouched beautifully.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. It wasn’t squatting; it was crouching.

DD: All I can say is that is not representative of the film in any way. (Laughter.)

DD: It’s so hard to bring a clip that doesn’t give away too much, but that’s just an idea that … it’s bigger than the TV show.

LETTERMAN: What I like is it’s reminiscent of that scene from "North by Northwest" Hitchcock film.

DD: Reminiscent is a kind word.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, and …. (Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: … which was also shot I think, in the cornfields near Bakersfield.

DD: Was it?

LETTERMAN: In the same location.

DD: I didn’t know that.

LETTERMAN: I think pretty much the same deal, yeah.

DD: Yeah, that’s very possible.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah..

DD: Yeah.

LETTERMAN: And are there other little things like that on the film?

DD: I .. I think there are, but I’m so ignorant that I don’t … (Laughter)

LETTERMAN: No, you’re not. Come on.

DD: I don’t know …

LETTERMAN: Come on, put the hat on. Put the hat on! Here we go. (DD puts on hat again. Laughter.)

LETTERMAN: Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. "X-Files," David Duchovny. We’ll be right back with Stevie Nicks. (Cheers and applause.)

The Late Show with David Letterman June 16, 1998.

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