'X-Files' star returns to his roots as Agent Fox Mulder, but doesn't buy into 'truth is out there' mythology
So what if it's been a decade since "The X-Files: Fight the Future" graced the silver screen and six years since the hit paranormal investigation series went off the air? All that time, X-Philes have been fidgeting with excitement over the day when they'd finally see iconic FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) back in action. Now, the truth is out there. The wait is almost over.
"The X-Files: I Want to Believe" is scheduled to land on July 25, and it's destined to make a believer out of you. Fresh off the movie's four-month shoot in and around Vancouver, Duchovny, a recent Golden Globe winner for his portrayal of a cynical, oversexed writer in Showtime's "Californication," hints at what we can expect to see in the sequel, why there was such a big delay between flicks and what makes him feel like a "sissy."
What took you guys so long to make this sequel?
It seems like forever, but it's not that long for any of us who were actually making it. After 200-and-some-odd episodes, everybody was very excited to go off and find the next phase of their career, discover their life, raise their children, whatever it was. It took a couple years to get everybody back on the same page, but now here we are and we've done it.
What's with all the secrecy shrouding "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" plot?
Much like "The Sixth Sense" or some other movies that have simple, yet beautiful plot turns, there's a core idea that's much better left unsaid before the movie comes out. That's the inspiration for keeping it all secret, not that it's in the tradition of "The X-Files" or a conspiracy and all that.
Speaking of conspiracies, should we expect to see more government cover-ups, creepy aliens or killer viruses in this movie?
It's a stand-alone movie in the tradition of our stand-alone episodes, so it doesn't center on what came to be called the 'mythology of the show' or the alien conspiracy or whatever you want to call it. It really harkens back to the first three years [of the series], where a thriller, horror movie-style idea sustained an hour of television. Leaving the mythology out makes it accessible to people who have never seen "The X-Files."
Guess that means you didn't have to go back and watch "X-Files" DVDs to brush up on all that mythology then.
I never knew what was going on anyway, it became very ornate by the end. As an actor, you go into the scene with your emotional truth, rarely did we need informational brush-ups or fact checks. Sometimes, even in the episodes that weren't conspiracy oriented, you'd go, 'What the hell am I referring to?' But that's just the nature of series television.
A lot of fans thought they'd never see Mulder again. Any truth to rumors you were totally over the role?
I never felt like I didn't want to play Mulder. The only thing that got to me was the network television schedule of shooting 22 to 25 episodes a year, which took 10 months. I was always very hopeful of taking the series into a movie incarnation and, in fact, when I was leaving the show, that was really an express concern that I had with [series creator] Chris [Carter]: Let's make sure that we don't run the television show into the ground and not make it possible for us to continue into movies.
How does "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" compare to other summer blockbusters?
Chris is making a movie that's more in the thriller tradition than an explosives-filled, CGI, summer blockbuster. It's probably a headier experience than just sitting back and watching things blow up.
No gratuitous explosions? What about stunts, will we get a lot of those?
Sure, stunts are cheap. It's cheap to put your lead actor up in a harness somewhere and dangle him over something. One stunt I had to do was climb a pretty vertical, icy rock face and I have no experience doing that, I actually didn't think that anybody could do that, but the stuntman did a pretty good job. I started it off, got about 10 or 15 feet up the rock face, and then he took over and went up pretty far. I felt like a big sissy.
PICKING HIS BRAIN
"I miss walking, I miss New York all the time. I think we are going to move back in September."
"I'm a Yankees fan, but I'll root for the Mets if the Yankees are out of it. I'm also a Knicks fan. I'm trying to stay with them through their time of need."
"There's a certain area in the Village, where if I get stopped, it's usually about my mother [a retired NYC private school teacher]. They'll make it very clear: "I'm not talking to you because of what you do, I just want you to know that my cousin was taught by your mother and she's a fantastic teacher.' "
"We shot about a third of ["The X-Files" movie sequel] north of Whistler [in British Columbia]. The movie's beautiful looking because it's shot on a white landscape of frozen ice, it's kind of majestic - I've never seen landscape like that, it's one of the most beautiful areas of the world I've ever seen. My family came when we were up in Whistler and that was really the sweetest part of the shoot for me, because my kids were enjoying learning how to ski, and being on this beautiful mountain. I'd go off to work and come back and they were just blissfully exhausted."
On finishing his English Literature doctoral studies at Yale, where he was ABD (All but Dissertation): "I have immense desire to do so and no capability of ever actually achieving it. It's like brain surgery once you've forgotten how to do it, you have to go back to school all over again to figure it out."
"I play basketball every once in a while, but I play more in New York than I do here [in Malibu]. There are guys that I know that rent an hour a week at a gym and have 12 guys that rotate around and play."