Recently we got to speak with David Duchovny and Graham Phillips about their new movie “Goats” as part of an round table session with the press. Duchovny also discussed the upcoming season of Califonication and future X-Files films.
This is such a weird character. What was it about him that appealed to you? Do you ever do a character that doesn’t gets stoned?
DD- Um…yeah, I don’t think I got stoned before…let me think about… X-Files I don’t think he ever took a drink.
That wasn’t serious, you don’t have to think about it
DD- Well, I’m sorry but those are the kinds of nincompoop questions I get (smiles) so I have to take them seriously when I get them I’m like ‘Oh my god’ (smiles). The question being the character was really interesting in that it was very different but it had nothing to do with the drug intake. It was just kind of the pace of the guy, the kind of poet philosopher stoner, but you know working him kind of a stereotypical character. We’ve seen that guy, but he was a little different and I wanted to make him not Cheech and Chong , but actually the philosophical center (one of them), of the movie. That was the challenge of the movie for me.
GP – I like my character, because despite the circumstances he never seemed to mope. He took it all in stride and despite being the most responsible person in the entire film. Despite holding his entire family together he never complains. It’s not until the very end that I think he realizes that through all of his life that he doesn’t have to be the only adult in his life. I really admire that about him.
David, can you talk about your relationship with goats?
DD- My relationship with the actual animal… I am an animal lover, I would say although I’m also from NYC, so I’m not Nature Boy, but…
Did they bite you?
DD- No, they did not bite they were not friendly, but their not unfriendly. They were very neutral with humans they are perfectly willing to hang out with you but it’s not like a dog- You don’t get the feeling that they are enjoying it they are just, they don’t have anything better to do. The baby goat was pretty sweet. The baby goat at the end of the movie… that was a sweet little creature.
Did you think about or want to keep them?
DD- Yeah, I always… whenever I shoot with an animal, I want to keep it. Whenever I work on location, I want to move there. Then you stop and you forget and go …‘Oh, um…alright, maybe I don’t want to move there’.
When Image releases this on Blu-Ray/DVD in September, somebody is walking down the isle in Best Buy. Goats catches their eye, but they’ve never heard anything about it. One paragraph…
DD- That seems a very feasible (laughs)…
You know, they’ve never read any reviews what you would say to convince them to give this film a chance?
DD- Well…that’s the hard part trying to discuss or sell a movie like this in that… you can’t really distill it into…You can’t say ‘Ok, Batman you know- ok I get it. I understand what that movie is about’. Personally when I go into a movie theatre I just want to care about something. That’s what fun about seeing a movie for me, not so much explosions, but for caring about characters and going on a journey as cliché as that sounds. This is a movie without an explosion and with character that I think that you haven’t seen before, really.
They are in a vain that you have seen before like I said the stoner guy is of a ‘type’ that I am playing, but it doesn’t really give you many easy answers. It’s got a bunch of laughs I’m sitting next to Pam Adlon (of Californication), my friend and co-star and she was crying so, apparently it can make you cry as well. You see, I have already gone on for minutes and you’ve walked past it in Best Buy, you’ve now picked up Batman and you’re at the cash register paying for it.
GP- Madagascar 3…
DD- (laughs) Yeah, exactly.
How long was the shoot?
DD- I don’t know…8 weeks… it 10 weeks?
GP- I think it was 8 weeks. It was a little segmented. There was maybe a week break between filming in Albuquerque and filming in Tucson and our week shoot on the east coast for all of the exteriors which I thought were really beautiful.
DD- Yeah, they looked like money.
Was it a fast paced environment? Was it chill or relaxed?
DD-It wasn’t that fast. For a movie of that budget, it’s actually quite leisurely. I would think a movie like that might have to be shot in 5 weeks rather than 8 or 9. So, I think that there was a lot of time. Maybe they didn’t have a lot of time at the prep school.
GP- The prep school was very, very rushed especially because rain was coming and all sorts of good stuff. All of the Tucson portions of the film I never felt pressed for time.
DD- Neither did I
Was it a comfortable environment? Do you guys prefer that kind of quick pace?
DD- I like a quick pace. I find it makes you worry the stuff a little less, get a little less self conscious. If you have more time, I tend to just over-think things and I think I’m better when I’m not thinking. (laughs)
Is that the appeal of television?
DD- No, there’s no appeal to television or film. I mean the appeal is the character or the story or whatever it is that you are doing. I don’t distinguish between the acting in either medium and to me, they are exactly the same. It just comes down to the work as an actor. Personally you know, just temperamentally I’m more suited to work quickly…I like that. I’m not temperamentally suited to spend three day shooting one scene. I mean I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but I would tend to go crazy.
What about you, Graham? TV vs. film?
GP- I don’t have too much experience with film except for this experience. I would say I agree with David in the sense that the most important thing is the script and the story and whether or not you can connect with the characters and whether the characters come across as real… whether the story sheds light to anything that matters with you. I find that when you are working on a tv show and you’re working with the same crew and often times the same cast over and over and over often times in the same location, the pace does quicken. I find that you have to make a lot more decisions before you get to set because there is not a lot of time to work through-
DD- The discovery with the director
GP- Yeah, exactly. Where as on a film, you have a lot more times have more time to work through it with the other actors and directors.
David, I have a question about the preparation for this film. Like Californication you have nudity moment in this film and also your character has knowledge to grow weed. I think it is safe to say that your character in Californication there is an overlap with the preparation.
DD- You know, for me, my approach to any kind of nudity is that ‘Is it right? You know, ‘Does it make sense in this story’? In this film it’s the opening of the film you know and it’s a funny line ‘Naked men shouldn’t squat’ and it kind of encapsulates very quickly our relationship- his intelligence, his humor, my lack of taking offense. It’s just kind of a perfect start to the film. So, that all I look at. Whether or not my ass is showing I don’t care, just, does it make sense and it made sense.
DD- Less and less I believe as I get older. Then I will be talking to the horror people.
Did you train something knowing you were going to show…
DD- I tell you what was important to me was the tan of this guy. Because he works, he is a gardener, he is always working outside. So, I knew that I would be naked at one point, well I just thought ‘This guy would be really tan, but he would not be tan all over like they always are in the movies’. You know somehow, people are always naked sunbathing in the movies. They have a complete, all body tan I don’t know how that is realistic, but they do…
GP- You wore socks…
DD- Yeah, so when I went to the tanning bed, I made sure to wear shorts and socks so that: my feet would be totally white, my legs would be really tan, my ass would be totally white and everything else would be tan. So for me it was a great kind of character choice that I have never done before.
Graham your character kind of thought of you (David) as a father figure, and then he deserts you in the desert. Can you talk a little more about that? I mean you worried about him for months and he didn’t even try to contact you?
GP- As Ty Burrel, who plays Frank Whitman says ‘Disappearing for a few months is a very Goatman thing to do.’ It is kind of dissatisfying just to write it off as ‘that’s just who he it’, but that is who he is. He’s not a responsible person and he does care, deeply, about Ellis, but he’s not someone who is good at putting himself in someone else’s shoes it seems. So, I don’t think he really gets that Ellis is…I mean he gets that Ellis is worried about him, but he doesn’t get it like a normal person would. I think when he sends Ellis with the dollhead filled with pot that says ‘sorry’ on it, that’s a much bigger gesture.
DD- Nothing says ‘Sorry’ like a dollhead filled with pot. That’s what my mom always used to say. (laughs) That’s how I was raised.
Ellis had no real parental figure. Is that why he became such a serious young man? Do you think he had no choice or do you think he just born that way?
GP- I think that he is a product of his own environment as I think we all are. He had to be responsible, and he had to be the parent in his life. He is the most responsible person in his life; he is more of a parent than his father and Goatman are. He has to take care of the bills on a more basic level and I think that it did sort of harden him a little. I think that’s why he is a little bit more serious. Then again, I think that Goatman does a pretty good job of keeping him relaxed and not…
DD- Parenting is a lot of different things. The kind of parenting that Goatman does is not the nuts and bolts of it you know. He is not writing the checks, he’s not making the money, he’s not driving him to school, but he is imparting some kind of philosophy to the kid trying to give him the best of what he think he (Goatman) has…what Goatman has learned or what Goatman knows. It’s unconventional for sure, it’s not the prevalent cultural norm, but he is a father to the guy and I think he takes that seriously.
The one thing about Goatman that I thought was interesting is – Here was the mother’s boyfriend, and Goatman caught him with a guy, and yet he was worried to go and clean up and go to Mexico and get drugs to sell because he thought he wouldn’t be able to stay there. Why doesn’t he just bust the guy?
DD- We were just talking about that with Chris (the director). He reference a line that got cut out that was in the film where in the scene where I get caught with the girl he(Ellis) is disappointed in me. He (Ellis) says ‘Frank is going to have a baby, should I tell Wendy?’ and Goatman says ‘ Never volunteer…
GP- He says ‘Never volunteer information, never withhold…’
DD- ‘Never withhold, never volunteer’. I wish that this was still in the movie because it shows that Goatman is kind of a philosopher in that way. So I think that if that is you philosophy, never volunteer, never withhold, I think that if she would have asked him ‘Did you see something?’ he would tell her the truth. I like that about him.
GP- He hates conflict.
DD- Well, it’s not only that, but it kind of a moral decision. Even though he hates this guys and he thinks he’s bad for Wendy, he’s not going to go tattle. It’s not a part of who he is or his code and I kind of like that code.
David, you have a great sense of humor. Any jokes on set?
DD- Graham and I would have a laugh a bit we had a good time…
DD- (laughs) I can’t remember specifically a moment…
GP- Something about glochids…
DD- Oh, glochids! I forgot about the glochids. Are those the things that get in your fingers?
GP- Glochids are those little spiny…
DD- From the cactus…
GP- Marching around the Tucsonan desert…
DD- I was taken by the word.
GP- Got quite familiar with glochids. I think we would just call it out when glochids were up ahead.
DD- We got obsessed with the word
DD- (laughs) But, nothing specific. We always had a pretty good time.
GP- I going to pay a Russian to say glochid. I just want to know how they would say it?
DD- You probably don’t have to pay, you just have to ask.
GP- I don’t know any Russians.
How about what you have laughed at recently?
DD- What have I laughed about recently about. I don’t know, yesterday I watched the movie. I laughed, I thought Justin was very funny, Justin Kirk. I have seen the movie twice and last night I really…the movie played different. It’s almost like seeing a play. You see it at different times. It’s the same performance, but for some reason it just strikes you differently. Last night I thought Justin was really funny, he had a good night, Justin had a good night last night, he was on fire. I was enjoying him.
GP- I thought it was interesting seeing it for the second time because I could have sworn that there was bunch of little things that changed since Sundance. Really it was just seeing it for the second time I saw certain nuances that I didn’t see before. I think that the crowd was different. Sundance is such a competitive environment I feel that now the film is out, it is a very different crowd. It’s cool because what I thought were changes were really little gems in the film I didn’t notice the first time around.
One Californication question?
So you are lying on the couch you are dying maybe..?
From wine and pills of some kind, obviously there is going to be another season and they are going to rescue you so can you talk of what the first five minutes of the film are might look like?
DD- They are in Hank’s head as he’s unconscious so they have to do with his life previous to that and what’s important to him. Actually begins with him meeting Karen, you see them meet. I actually got to direct it. We got to do it in New York, got to shoot it in New York was faced with the fact that I was trying to shoot a scene that happened 18 years previous…
Right, so how do you make yourself look younger?
DD- We didn’t even try. We just decided ‘ Hey, it’s a dream’. I mean, what do you do? I’m sure on a Fincher movie you can figure out a way to spend the money to make it look decent, but we didn’t have the means at our disposal. We just made the decision ‘Ok, lets not try anything. Let’s make it exactly the same’.
Duchovny also shared his frustrations that there are not more X-Files films already in the works. He stated how Chris Carter has ideas for several films and that both he and Gillian Anderson would love to do “many more X-Files films.” He stated that the last film was given a small budget and made to go up against “The Dark Knight” when it would have been better suited had it been given a bigger budget or non-summer release.
Duchovny went on to say how that since FOX owns The X-Files, it would be smarter, cheaper, and easier to use their own proven franchise instead of investing so much trying to find others all the time.
Despite his frustrations, he holds hope that Carter and FOX will soon have another film in the series lined up.