Australian Reviews and Articles

Don't bring up the X
DAVID Duchovny says he's happily evolved into a movie actor but everyone insists on talking about his phenomenally successful TV career.

David Duchovny has some baggage to carry. Not that he carries it, it's just everywhere he goes people lump him with it.

He was the star of a hugely successful TV show, The X-Files, but abandoned it after eight years to try movies. And because he's not yet Tom Hanks or Mel Gibson, he's being derided.

The first question Duchovny was asked during his recent visit to Australia was whether he felt he'd become David Caruso, the ginger-topped star of NYPD Blue, seen to have failed when he left the high-profile series.

Caruso left, not to be a movie star but because he was blueing with the producers. Yet it's Caruso, not any of the Friends cast, not the Seinfeld or Cheers casts, who is shorthand for failed movie ambition.

Duchovny, of course, starred in one of 1998's major box-office hits, The X-Files movie, but that's somehow ignored.

"It's kind of a false formula," Duchovny says of the baiting by journalists. "I try not to show it gets under my skin, so they stop asking.

"But they ask, to see if it gets under your skin."

The 40-year-old actor says there's no formula for big-screen success, with all actors having a tough battle.

"It doesn't matter if you're coming from TV or going from movie to movie. Every movie actor is concerned he's not going to make the leap from his past movie to his next movie," he says.

For every Caruso who happens to be getting enough film work anyway there's a John Travolta, Bruce Willis or Alec Baldwin.

"There are so many examples of people doing all different kinds of work for people to harp on about David Caruso or Julianna Marguiles. They're people who turned down a lot of money, not because they wanted to become movie stars but because they wanted to do other work," he says.

Duchovny says it's absurd to think about the idea of these stars musing over their career choices together.

"Hey George Clooney, how did you do it, because Batman didn't hit big and One Fine Day didn't really work that well and then all of a sudden bang, you make that transition? How'd you do it George?" Duchovny jokes.

One of Duchovny's earliest acting gigs, in the erotic drama series The Red Shoe Diaries, typifies the reality of best-laid plans.

"It wasn't like I said to myself 'I'm going to be the narrator of the most successful softcore pornography in the history of the universe since Anais Nin,' " he laughs.

Duchovny's jump from the successful sci-fi series proved timely. The X Files has floundered, only recently showing signs of regaining its potency.

Meanwhile, Duchovny hasn't rushed into anything, even though he would be swamped by projects.

"Yeah, I'm not complaining," Duchovny says.

His latest film, Evolution, is a sure thing. An alien comedy, with excellent special effects directed by Animal House and Ghostbusters' Ivan Reitman.

Yet Duchovny gave his publicity minions a scare when he admitted in Sydney that Evolution was "not the kind of movie that I rush out to see" even though it is "the exact kind of style of movie that I wanted to try".

"My challenges as an actor are different from my challenges as a viewer of films," says the actor, who was educated at the prestigious Princeton and Yale Universities.

Indeed, he hopes to soon put his English literature degree to better use as a writer, to make use of "all this unnecessary knowledge".

"The good thing about having read all those books is that you're exposed to the best stuff to steal from," he jokes.

"Even the stuff that I wrote on The X-Files, I stole from [William] Blake and I stole from [poet, John] Milton," Duchovny reveals.

"It's good stuff.

"It was kind of depressing because when my mother watched the show she said: 'I loved what you wrote, that one line where you say 'the body is all of the soul that our senses can perceive.'

"It's a classic but it's the one line I didn't write in the script." he says of Blake's prose.

"She can zero-in, the one compliment she'd ever give me because she's not effusive with the compliments is like, love that line. Yeah, well, Blake's a genius."
By Michael Bodey, Daily Telegraph, 12 July 2001

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