David Duchovny normally spends his time in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Fox’s creepy cult hit The X-Files is filmed.
But this is Christmastime, and Fox likes its stars to get into the holiday spirit. Duchovny was called down to the Fox lot to shoot promotions of him and co-star Gillian Anderson exchanging gifts. On The X-Files, Duchovny plays an FBI agent who investigates paranormal phenomena. He often looks through a telescope in his search for alien beings.
So, on the Fox promo, he’s looking through the scope, but the only out-of-towner he finds is Kris Kringle.
Ah, to work for the Fox network.
Besides the promos, Duchovny also found time to report the morning weather on Fox-owned KTTV in Los Angeles and have breakfast (orange juice and hot cereal) with USA TODAY.
The X-Files has been renewed for the entire season by Fox, despite cellar-dweller ratings. It’s a cult hit that the Twin Peaks and Quantum Leap contingent have discovered; the show just hasn’t made its way to the general audience.
“Anything that’s weird or tinged with sci-fi will be a candidate for a cult show,” says Duchovny, 33. “But this show deserves to be very popular.”
The actor, who is single, was born in New York City and spent many years in school until he decided his only skill was teaching. Rather than pursue that, he began acting – his first role was in Henry Jaglom’s movie New Year’s Day – and came to Hollywood at age 29.
He got small parts in other films such as The Rapture, Chaplin and Kalifornia. He also appeared in three episodes of Twin Peaks, playing a transvestite, and 20 episodes of Showtime’s The Red Shoe Diaries as the host/narrator.
Then Fox sent him a copy of the X script.
“My only concern was, I thought it was too good to be a series. I also didn’t know where the show could go. How do you do a show about UFOs every week?
“What I found was that the subject was unlimited,” he adds. “The show isn’t just about UFOs, but about things that are strange, weird and unexplained.”
Duchovny believes that’s why the show has struck a chord with some people. “We’re a show that’s good, scary and fun. There’s not a lot of scary stuff on TV anymore, and people really like to get scared.”
Duchovny enjoys working in Vancouver. His one beef: The producers should build a motel room set. “Every week we drive around for 45 minutes going to another seedy motel room in a hideous location. Why not just build one and change the sheets every week?”
Working on a show about weird stuff has given Duchovny a better appreciation for the supermarket tabloids. He recalls a recent headline from the Weekly World News about extraterrestrial hamsters who had come to take over the earth. They look just like regular hamsters, says the story, except they have bright green eyes and tattoos on their ears.
This really cracks him up. Especially the part about how the alien hamsters, not realizing we earthlings were so big, were forced back home.
“Before, I would just glance over and notice how much weight Cher lost,” he says. “Now it’s UFO and alien stories. I don’t know which is more important, but that’s where my eyes are going these days.”