You don’t need to sneak your way into the ancient “X Files.”
David Duchovny is an open book when you ask him a highly personal question: Why is it that the gossip always had him feuding with his TV co-star Gillian Anderson?
“You tell me why,” Duchovny says with a laugh during a phone interview from his New York home. “We’re great friends. In fact, last year the tabloids had us living together, so maybe we turned the corner.
“Some guy passed me on the streets the other day and actually said, ‘Is it true? Are you living with Gillian?’ I said, ‘If I am, she’s extremely quiet, because I haven’t noticed her just yet.’ ”
Duchovny, returning soon in a new season of “Californication,” also stars in the film “Phantom,” now in theaters.
It’s a shake-up-the-career moment. “Phantom” is a Cold War-era thriller about a Soviet submarine captain (Ed Harris) who leads a covert mission that might lead to armageddon because the sub is armed with a nuclear missile. “Crew member” Bruni (Duchovny) actually is an elite KGB naval special forces member who wants to gain control of the ship to strike against America and make it look like a Chinese vessel is to blame.
“You haven’t seen me do this role in the past,” he promises.
1 “Phantom” is such a different type of role for you. What was the appeal?
The director called me and said, “I want you to do this role.” My first thought was, “Why do you want me?” That’s a question that I ask myself when I’m thinking about doing something. If I don’t ask that question, then I’ve probably done the role before and I shouldn’t do it again. If I think, “Oh my God, why would you want me?” then I should probably do it.
2 How did you get into the mindset of a KGB guy?
This guy has no doubt, and having no doubt is my definition of insanity. No one is that sure. But he knows his cause is right. Then the question becomes, “How do I inhabit this space?” I could only equate it with religious fervor. None of us gets to experience that absolute type of knowing, where you think you have all the answers. Aren’t most of us trying to just feel our ways through life?
3 On the new season of “Californication,” it’s you and Marilyn Manson. Sounds like an odd couple.
We’re starting our seventh year in mid-April. It just doesn’t seem like seven years, but then again I did nine years on “The X Files.” Oh boy, now I’m feeling old. This is a rock ’n’ roll year on “Californication.” Hank is trying to write a rock opera from one of his novels. Marilyn Manson is on the show and he’s playing Manson. In fact, he’s a great actor. He’s one of those guys you think would be interesting to meet — and he is. He’s also a good actor, but I knew that would be the case. He has created one great character. He was also very smart and sweet.
4 What’s the trickiest part of this stage of your career?
It’s hard to surprise people. It also comes with a lot of anxiety. By definition, you’re doing something that you haven’t done before. So I look for different things, but go, “Dammit, be careful what you wish for.”
5 Will there be another “X-Files” movie?
Gillian, [series creator] Chris Carter and I stay in touch. We’re always ready to go. It’s a matter of getting everyone together. I would bet on us coming back.