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From TV Guide, October 15, 1997
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Listen up with David Duchovny
Interview by Jeanne Wolf
Copy by Maitland McDonagh
How much hotter can one man get? David Duchovny's got The X-Files and the
much-anticipated X-Files movie, a new film called Playing God, and he's married
to The Naked Truth's Téa Leoni. Figures that a banal pop song would
have the situation nailed: Some guys have all the luck. Proving once and
for all that he's not just like the brooding, secretive Fox Mulder, Duchovny
lets us in on what's coming up in X world, how he and Téa cope with
their hectic, glamorous lives, what passes for must-see TV at his place (did
he really say the Animal Channel?) and why your mom might not have been right
when she said you couldn't go wrong marrying a doctor.
What was your first job? (Wav File 96 Kb)
- 18 seconds
My first paying job was delivering meat in the Village [in New York City].
I was a delivery boy with a big bicycle that people throw things at, and
I don't know why people wanna throw things at the delivery boy, 'cause he's
just doing his job. You're driving this big bike with a silver basket that
rattles around, and you got meat in there and people throw things at you.
What did you learn about surgeons while preparing for your role in Playing
God? (Wav File 223 Kb) - 41 seconds
I can't say it was fun -- the worst part about surgery is like the worst
part about acting: You get up at 4 in the morning. I went to watch a brain
surgery and surgery on an infection in somebody's leg bone, and it's very
strange to watch an unconscious person get cut open and dealt with in that
way. I had a friend that divorced her surgeon husband, and she said that
she didn't trust him because he was more comfortable dealing with people
when they were unconscious. It's a strange relationship you have with your
surgeon -- he cuts you open when you're not looking. Apart from the blood
and the gore and the knives and things like that, which are things that you
would think of off the top of your head, it's a weird psychological place
What was it like working with Andy Wilson, who was making his
feature-directing debut? (Wav File 246 Kb)
- 46 seconds
The making of the movie was difficult because we never had a script that
was set in stone, and Andy had a certain vision in the movie that was different
from mine. I saw it as a character study -- I wanted to do my movie of the
week writ large -- and Andy wanted to do his Pulp Fiction. I think that the
good thing that happened is we collided. Neither of us could make the movie
that we wanted to make, and in the end it turned into something better than
what either of us would have done alone. It became kind of an adventure movie,
and I realize that most adventure movies in Hollywood don't have an idea
to begin with. They explode things trying to find an idea. It's like, if
I blow up this building maybe an idea will be underneath it, and if they're
lucky they find one. Our movie started as an idea movie, and then became
an adventure movie of some kind.
Can you give us a little hint about the season premiere of The X-Files?
(Wav File 105 Kb) - 21 seconds
The big deal is, is Mulder dead? I guess anybody out there that knows anything
understands that Mulder's not dead, but we have to show why he's not dead
and how he hoaxed people into thinking he had committed suicide. The great
thing about our show is that we have the same storyline running through five
years now and we just add a little bit to it every time.
What are you allowed to tell us about the upcoming X-Files movie?
(Wav File 393 Kb) - 73 seconds
Oh, I'm allowed to say whatever I want. It's funny, the worldview that is
portrayed on the X-Files is this one of conspiracies and monolithic propaganda
machines. And it's funny when people ask us about the X-Files movie, as if
we've been programmed to speak a certain way about it, and it's just not
the case. I mean, I just don't think it's a good idea to tell you what happens
in the movie because I don't wanna know what happens in any movie that I
go into see. So, I can tell you that it's more along the lines of the shows
that we do that deal with my past and extraterrestrials and what are generally
considered to be the conspiracy. I mean, you'd probably make that assumption.
So it's a culmination of the five years of the show dealing with whatever
this conspiracy is, whether or not there is [sic] extraterrestrials, where
are they, what happened to them, who's hiding them, who's killing 'em, what
are we doing genetically with 'em, all those questions are addressed in the
movie -- I mean, addressed in the way we do it, which is fictionally. That's
what the movie's about. It's a great, perfect plot for what it is. I mean,
without sounding like a salesman, I have to commend [X-Files creator] Chris
Carter, because if you haven't seen the show, it stands alone as a movie.
And if you have seen the show, there's enough new stuff so that you won't
feel like you're watching a reprise of the television show, so it actually
works really well.
Why do you think The X-Files has become as popular as it has, not just
in the U.S. but around the world? (Wav File 184
Kb) - 34 seconds
I don't know. [Laughs] I think that it came at the right time and it was
a good show, and it was about something that the other shows weren't about.
It's not a doctor drama, and as good as ER is, that's all it is. It's not
a cop drama. As great as NYPD Blue is, as great as Law & Order -- our
Emmy-winning show -- is, these are cop dramas. X-Files is something completely
different, it has a little bit of both. It has a little cops, it has a little
medicine, and it has a little soap opera and it has a lot of scary stuff.
It's just a really good show that happened to come across the screen at a
time when aliens were hip.
What's it like, being so well-known to so many people?
(Wav File 279 Kb) - 55 seconds
Well, the initial thing that's odd is that it's, like, people always have
an advantage over you because they know you and you don't know them. So,
at first, when I started to realize that people knew who I was, I always
felt guilty because I thought that they had just met me and I had just forgotten
them. I was constantly trying to get people's names and trying to remember,
and then I gave that up a long time ago. I was told that Don Rickles has
a guy that travels with him that, as he's putting his hand out, whispers
in his ear, "That's Joe Schmoe from mutter mutter mutter." And he goes, "Joe,
how are you," so he looks like he knows everybody. It's a weird transition
that you have to make. And then, without whining and without making myself
a tragic figure, there is no replacement for the loss of your privacy. It's
a huge sacrifice that you don't know what you're doing when you make that
sacrifice. And once it's gone, there's no underestimating how painful and
strange that is, and irrevocable in a lot of ways.
Now that you're married to Téa Leoni, you have a two-celebrity
household. Does that double the pressure? (Wav
File 138 Kb) - 39 seconds
I don't know if it adds pressure. Personally it's somewhat easier, because
we both understand the kind of thing that's going on. I don't think we expected
that much right when we got married -- there were actually people in our
way. I think it can get mean and it can get nasty when they try and set people
against each other, or if one person in a relationship is doing well and
the other is not. You know, I expect and will be very happy to be called
Mr. Leoni at some time in the future because that's how much I think of her
talent. Those are the kind of things that you have to deal with. In terms
of more people looking, I don't feel the difference. The odd thing is that
people ask you about your wife. Or that people hate me because I'm married
to her. I realize that -- I realize that everybody hates me now.
Much of the time you're in Canada shooting The X-Files and she's in L.A.
shooting The Naked Truth: Is it hard maintaining a long-distance
relationship? (Wav File 138 Kb) - 26 seconds
It's hard, but I will only do it for this year: Either they'll move the show
to L.A. or I won't be on the show anymore, so it has an end. I know that
we can make it to May, and it's not a dramatic relationship. There's not
a lot of anxiety in it. I'm not sitting on the set on a Tuesday afternoon
going "I've gotta get to L.A. and deal with this crisis because Téa's
hair color is wrong." It'll be sad 'cause I'll be lonely up there and I'll
wanna be with her. But it's not like I feel like the relationship is in jeopardy.
What did you watch on TV as a kid, and what do you watch now?
(Wav File 294 Kb) - 55 seconds
I liked Gilligan's Island. I liked F Troop and Bewitched and Kung Fu and
Star Trek. Brady Bunch. Partridge Family. There was a Sunday matinee of scary
movies called Chiller Theater, which would play these horrible scary movies,
but I loved that. I like scary stuff, even Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolfman
[Frankenstein]. I loved Abbott and Costello; they played on the weekends.
I watch Larry Sanders, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. I love King of the
Hill. I watch Seinfeld, I watch Naked Truth [laughs]. I watch NYPD Blue
sometimes. All these are on tape, by the way, 'cause I'm working during all
of 'em. I just saw this great cartoon, South Park -- I'd like to see more
of that. Téa and I like to do this thing where we rent a really good
movie and then we come home and we go, "Hey, let's watch bad TV." And we
usually end up on the Animal Channel. In fact, I probably won't leave the
house: I'll be watching the Animal Channel.