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10 things you didn't know about David Duchovny

The "Californication" star talks about video games, "The Twilight Zone" and the dangers of Googling himself.

By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 27, 2007
David Duchovny, currently starring on Showtime's "Californication" but best known for his portrayal of smoldering Fox Molder on "The X-Files," has so much to promote right now!

We spoke to him in honor of the DVD release of the film "The TV Set," in which he stars, but he also has a film coming out with Halle Berry on Oct. 19 called "Things We Lost in the Fire."

We knew a few things about Duchovny before the interview. He's married to Tea Leoni, he went to Princeton, he has a master's degree in English from Yale, and he wrote a very academic-sounding thesis called "The Schizophrenic Critique of Pure Reason in Beckett's Early Novels."

So we knew he was smart enough to get into all those places and marry a cool lady, but here are 10 other things we learned.

1. He does not have an iPhone and doesn't want one. "I'm very happy with my Cingular Blackberry. I don't need a camera. I don't want a camera. I don't need my phone to play me music. I need it to be a phone and an e-mail thing.... Sorry."

2. He doesn't Google himself, but he has Googled projects he's been in and doesn't think it's a good idea. "That always leads me to see things I should never have seen. Googling yourself is like seeing your parents having sex. You're never supposed to see it, and once you see it you can't get it out of your head."

3. He recently watched "The Twilight Zone." "I still like 'The Twilight Zone.' It scares me. I think it's the black and white. My TiVo gives you descriptions of the show, and I just read that the first airdate for that show was 1959. So I'm watching it almost 50 years later. It's crazy. That to me is the creepiest -- that 50 years later I'm watching it."

4. He's reading "Tree of Smoke" by Denis Johnson. "I think it's really good, but I'm only in the first 30 to 40 pages, so I'm just kind of entering into the whole consciousness. He's a great writer."

5. His last vacation was to the Cape Cod area. "I love it there. I'm from the Northeast, and it was summertime. I had a great trip with the family."

6. If he didn't become an actor he would have liked to be a professional athlete. "But I guess I would have been some kind of prose writer and teacher. That's what I thought I was going to do. But I would have wanted to be a basketball player or baseball player. I was good, but it wasn't a possibility."

7. He memorizes lines by himself.

8. On a health scale of 1 to 10, he puts his diet at a 9. "As I finish my coffee … I do think about it. I think about it from different perspectives -- from my own health and what animals I'm going to think about eating and how they were treated before they were harvested."

9. He doesn't play video games. "I have made video games, so I'm a hypocrite."

10. He's just as happy behind the camera as he is in front of it. "They are both a lot of fun. I enjoy them both immensely. I would say I have more of a hunger to be behind it because I've done that less. But I love being in front of it too."

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The Tv Set: David Duchovny talks about this film that skewers the television industry

David Duchovny became an icon for movie and TV fans everywhere with his layered acting work as Fox Mulder on the much lauded TV show, The X-Files. However, he is almost unrecognizable in his most recent role as Mike Klein in Jake Kasdan's The TV Set. Wearing a beard and looking heavier than we ever seen him, Duchovny plays a television writer going up against the dreaded network to keep the vision of his show intact.

On the eve of it's DVD release, we recently sat down with Duchovny to discuss this character as well as the The X-Files 2.

Did you base any of Mike's experiences on your own experiences working in television?

David Duchovny: Not so much for me because I had not, although I did write and direct a movie, not so much the television experiences of somebody taking a project from zero to the end. Most of my experience is as an actor, or as a director of a long running show like when I directed X-Files. I kind of had to base what I was doing as the writer Jake Kasdan did on his own experiences; that he and Judd Apatow had, he's one of the producers of the movie, doing shows like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Where they actually did take it from an idea to a network show.

Having said that, over the years, I knew my way around it. I knew the truth of what they were writing and the comedy of it.

Where there a lot of conversations with Jake Kasdan or Judd Apatow where you said, "Guys, did this really happen?"

David Duchovny: No, but they would volunteer it. Of course they think their lives are really interesting or else they wouldn't have made a movie about it. Jake would say to me, "This was actually said to me that spouses are not necessarily a fixture of the schedule." Things like those lines from the movie were verbatim from studio heads or actors. So I know that pretty much everything in the film happened to one of those two guys.

I love that your character had principals. He was a good guy but he also seemed very effected by the industry. Especially in the beginning of the movie when he's outside complaining... I was wondering if that attracted you to the character at all?

David Duchovny: I get what you're saying and I think that you're right. Mike sees, as I see and as Judd and Jake also see, these executives who are telling you these things, who are making you crazy, are really trying to make the best show that they know how to do; while they're trying to keep their jobs. As you're trying to make the best show that you know how to do while you're trying to feed your family. So everybody is kind of in the same game. Everybody's got the same things on their mind. Nobody gets up in the morning and says, "How can I make the sh*ttiest television show I can make today?" Everybody gets up and tries to make the best show they can make. It just so happens that when so many people are involved and there's so many different segments of the population you're trying to please, when that happens it starts to get gray and everything feels like you've seen it before because of the fact you have.

It's like in trying to be everything to everyone you end up having nothing.

David Duchovny: That's kind of what the movie is about. It has to begin and end with the creator. If Mike Klein... well you can't say if with the guy because he's got a baby coming, he's got to feed the family so he's really got to do these things. He's got to make these compromises. In hindsight, if the guy had just stood his ground in the end he would have made more money because the show would have been better. That's all hindsight, you don't know.

Where did the beard come from? Was it your goal to be almost unrecognizable?

David Duchovny: Jake had said, "I know Judd Apatow a little bit and he said a lot of the stuff like the back going out and that kind of stuff has happened to Judd." I said, "Judd is actually a really interesting sort of a character to base this on." So Judd has the beard, Judd's a little overweight, I wouldn't gain weight for these guys because they weren't paying me enough but I wore a fat pad. At the time when I was doing the movie I would volunteer to people, "You know I'm kind of doing Judd Apatow and people would kind of look at me blankly like, 'Who the f*ck is that?'" Now everybody seems to know so it's kind of funny, you base it on somebody that nobody knows and now he directs a couple of movies and everybody knows who he is.

Looking at at your work on The X-Files, it ran for a very long time, are there still things that you would like to see Mulder do? Is that maybe why you're interested in doing another X-Files movie?

David Duchovny: Well, I had always kind of wanted to segue the television show into a movie franchise. I never really wanted the show to die or to quit it. I got tired of the grind of making a network television show but I never tired of the character or the possibilities of the show. I would love it if we were able to expand it into a movie franchise because I love playing the character and I love the show.

Can you talk at all about The X-Files 2? Maybe where that's at or what people might expect from that?

David Duchovny: It's at... the script is written and as far as I know we're all trying to shoot in December at some point. We would all love it if we could keep it a secret and just give everybody a fresh experience of not knowing what the movie's about. I know if I was a fan of the show I would kind of be excited to be surprised.

What do you think is the biggest thing you've learned working in television?

David Duchovny: It's a scary thing and I think it's all you have is your gut, in the end. You can learn a bunch of sh*t and you can tell yourself a bunch of rules, but in the end it's like listening to a song, you either like it or you don't. You've gotta be able to keep your own counsel. You can't come into a room saying, "I like that song," and leave going, "I don't like that song." You've got to stick to your gut which is all you have. That's why everybody is so crazy out here, because there's no formula and all anybody has is there gut. That's a terrifying thing to have to feed a family on.

What do you have coming up next?

David Duchovny: Well, I've got Californication on the air on Showtime. We've got like 7 more episodes to air then I have a film coming out in October called Things We Lost in the Fire with Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro.

The TV Set is currently on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment.

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New promo images for 'Things We Lost in the Fire'

Video: David at the Triathlon

A brief David interview before the triathlon

More videos to come tomorrow...

More David at the Triatlhon... This time in HQ

Duchovny gets live action at Cartoon net

By Kimberly Nordyke
Sept 17, 2007

David Duchovny is making the leap from the adult themes of sex addiction in his new Showtime comedy series "Californication" to a kids-oriented half-hour for Cartoon Network set in junior high.

As part of its strategy to expand into live-action programming, Cartoon has given a pilot-presentation order to a live-action project from Duchovny, "Even Stevens" creator Matt Dearborn and Robert Mora.

The untitled project, written by Dearborn, centers on a junior high school student from a long line of newsmen who turns his school AV Club into a hard-hitting citywide broadcast. Duchovny, Dearborn and Mora are executive producing.

Cartoon entered the live-action arena less than a year ago with the December debut of live-action/animated movie "Re-Animated." A live-action series spinoff -- "Out of Jimmy's Head" -- premiered Friday night. Cartoon also recently aired a live-action reality special, "Props," that gave kids a chance to meet their celebrity heroes.

Duchovny also executive produces "Californication," which recently got picked up for a second season. He is repped by ICM, manager Melanie Greene and attorney Peter Nelson.

Dearborn created the live-action series "Even Stevens," starring Shia LaBeouf, which ran from 2000-03 on Disney Channel. He is repped by Gersh Agency.

Mora was a producer on Disney Channel's "Phil of the Future" and Nickelodeon's "The Secret Life of Alex Mack."

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David at the 2007 Nautica Malibu Triathlon

David Duchovny participates in the 2007 Nautica Malibu Triathlon on Zuma Beach on September 16, 2007 in Malibu, California.

Insider's Guide to L.A.: David Duchovny's favorite hangouts

Favorite restaurants: "I go to this little place called A Votre Sante in Brentwood. It's healthy-ish, cheap-ish kind of food [13016 San Vicente Blvd.; 310-451-1813; entrées, $10-$13]. I also go to a vegan place called Real Food Daily. I'm a bit of an on-again, off-again vegetarian, so it's a great place for that kind of food [514 Santa Monica; 310-451-7544; entrées, $11-$13]."

Favorite theater: "Edgemar Center for the Arts, run by my friend Larry Moss, who's a great acting coach. He's a tremendous guy and his theater does interesting things [310-392-7327;]."

Favorite galleries: "Bergamot Station in Santa Monica has a bunch of galleries. Two good friends of mine, Greg Colson and Daniel Wheeler, are very accomplished artists, and they'll have an opening or two a year, or they'll tell me about one I should go to [2525 Michigan Ave.; 310-586-6488]."

Favorite beaches: "We love Zuma and the beach at Point Dume."

Favorite ways to work out: "I do yoga, though not as much as I wish that I did. I like the classes at Yoga Works []. For the last few years, I've been into tennis. Before that, I went through a boxing phase. I always play basketball and swim. I would like to get back into boxing a little more than I have, but right now, tennis is my thing."

Source: Condé Naste Traveller

Nautica Malibu Triathlon tomorrow

Portion of the Proceeds to Benefit Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

WHO: Andy Baldwin, Jon Cryer, David Duchovny, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Paul Walker, Mark Paul Gosselaar, Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), Anthony Azizi (Desperate Housewives), ...

WHAT: The Nautica Malibu Triathlon brings together professional athletes, celebrities and triathlon enthusiasts to test their strength and stamina. A portion of the proceeds from this years race will be donated directly to Childrens Hospitals Los Angeles’ Pediatric Cancer Research Program. Thousands of spectators will line the route to cheer on their favorite athletes as they navigate a course that begins with a ½ mile ocean swim, followed by an 18-mile bike ride and ends with a 4-mile run along Pacific Coast Highway.

Participants can race as individuals or relay teams and nearly half the participants will compete in either the Entertainment Challenge or Corporate Challenge. The Entertainment Industry Challenge brings together the top studios, production companies and talent agencies to compete for the Studio Cup, which is awarded to the fastest team in this category. The Corporate Challenge offers non-entertainment companies the same chance to compete.

Adding to the fun of the weekend, a spectator festival will be held the day before the race on Saturday, September 15, 2007. Events will include a Sand Castle Demo, Beach Expo with Interactive Booths, Bike Demonstrations and Specialty Clinics.

'The TV Set' and 'You Kill Me' in DVD

The TV Set According to 'The TV Set' will be avaiable in DVD on September 25, 2007

Director: Jake Kasdan
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Rating: R
Studio: 20th Century Fox

You Kill Me Also according to 'You Kill Me'will be avaiable in DVD on October 9, 2007

Director: John Dahl
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Rating: R
Studio: IFC

David Duchovny eating at "Pinkberry" with a friend

David Duchovny and a friend enjoy a frozen treat at "Pinkberry" in Brentwood on september 12, 2007