David Duchovny opens up to TV Guide about his risky new role on Showtime's Californication (Mondays at 10 pm/ET), the next X-Files movie and being lucky in love.
TV Guide: What attracted you to such a darkly comic series like Californication?
David Duchovny: It was more of an adult-style, '70s-movie-type comedy rather than what you see in movies today. It was adults acting badly, but like bad adults rather than bad children. It's so much fun to be able to play a guy who really doesn't care what anybody thinks about him.
TV Guide: What's the key to your character, Hank Moody?
Duchovny: This is a writer who's not writing anymore. He's come to Hollywood to watch his novel get turned into a crappy movie and in the process has lost his family, and he's just drinking and driving himself to the grave. The only thing that's keeping him going is the fact that he thinks he should be with his family, and he's trying to figure out how to get them back. It's not a dark show — it's the lighter side of self-destruction.
TV Guide: When your wife, Téa Leoni, read the script, she didn't think Hank was a character the audience could relate to. Why did you think he could be?
Duchovny: She just thought, "How are you going to pull this off?" That's what was always interesting to me. How do you make him funny? And how do you make him somebody that you're actually going to root for? So that was the big trick.
TV Guide: So what are his redeeming qualities?
Duchovny: He bathes every day. I think anybody is redeemable if you understand their motivation. And by motivation, [I mean] usually it's pain.
TV Guide: Plus, he's a good parent. He wouldn't let his daughter get away with the same stuff he does, right?
Duchovny: I like that about him. He's hypocritical and he knows it. Rather than [having] family values rammed down our throats and then [see people keeping] dirty little secrets, this guy is the opposite of that — his dirty little secret is that his family values are actually intact.
TV Guide: Is it true you didn't want to do another TV series?
Duchovny: Yeah, I wasn't thinking of it. But whenever I thought of TV, I just thought of network schedules. So when I started to think of doing a character like this in a workable, livable 11-week burst, it seemed kind of like doing a movie.
TV Guide: Speaking of which, have you seen an X-Files 2 movie script?
Duchovny: I haven't seen it. I'm a little behind there, but it's in the air. It's nearby.
TV Guide: Has creator Chris Carter said what it's about?
Duchovny: I have vague ideas, but they're so vague that I wouldn't be able to say anything that would make any sense. And I could be wrong.
TV Guide: Is Mulder a character you like revisiting?
Duchovny: Sure. I always wanted it to be a movie franchise. I never wanted to kill the character and leave the character behind, but I was tired of the grind of a television show. I thought it was a natural for movies.
TV Guide: You've been married for 10 years. Is there a secret to a happy marriage?
Duchovny: It's all in the first date. I think the statistics for arranged marriages are the same as for marriages of choice: Only half survive. That tells me that marriages survive if the people are suited for one another. So, as far as Téa and I are concerned, we chose well. But I can't take credit for it, because it certainly was just a hunch. It wasn't because I'm so smart or sensitive.