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California man

In the new Showtime series Californication, David Duchovny plays Hank, a writer who moves to California to stimulate his creativity and ends up giving into temptation with wine and women. Abbie Bernstein spoke to Duchovny about the show and the much-rumoured new X-Files movie.

How would you describe Californication?

At its heart, it’s a comedy. It’s not a sitcom - it’s not Sex and the City or something like that. This is a dark world, but it’s got a kind of buoyant heart. The only thing that concerns me sometimes is that I wouldn’t want people to judge it superficially - that ‘it’s a show about a drug addict’ or ‘a show about a sex addict’ or all these tags that you try to put on things because they might make good copy or might enrage somebody.

It’s a human comedy. It’s an adult comedy. It’s an adult doing adult things; it’s not an adult acting like a six-year-old, which is what most comedies are like.

How do you feel sex is depicted on the show?

I just like that there’s no bullshit about it. So that makes Hank vulnerable, I think.

How has Californication evolved since the pilot?

What really should happen on television shows is, you get better. Because you start to figure out what the show is. I’m proud of the pilot, I’m glad that we made it the way it is, and it’s close to what I thought it was going to be. I just want it to get better. And that’s on the writers, that’s on the actors – it’s on all of us.

Is your Californication character Hank at all like Mulder?

Well, I think Hank might be in a little better shape! I guess they both want to know the truth. I guess they both speak their mind to their own detriment.

You’ve said that the second X-Files movie is finally going to happen. What’s different this time?

I’m actually supposed to see it next week. Before, I would just say that because they told me, but now I’ve been talking to Chris [Carter], he’s been giving me progress reports. He actually called yesterday and said he’ll have it next week.

Do you know when you’ll shoot it?

I think it’s November, for a summer release.

How do you think X-Files would have been different if it were on Showtime?

Well, Mulder and Scully probably would have had sex right away and the show wouldn’t have lasted!

You’ve done a lot of indie films in the past couple of years. Is that just where the good roles have been or is that a creative ethos?

A bit of both. I started there. The X-Files was kind of a crazy, mainstream success that I never expected and it was wonderful. But I think my personal view always kind of fit more in the independent world, and I just really liked some of the parts that I was able to do.

I loved Trust the Man and I loved The TV Set - Jake Kasdan’s great, a really talented writer/director, so I was happy.

So do you think that Californication has an indie feel?

Yeah. I feel like on this show, I can do the kind of work that you want to do on an independent film, but I get to do it 11 weeks out of the year and pursue a story and character through a much longer genesis than a film.

What’s your relationship been like with the showrunners?

I’m getting to know Scott [Winant] and I think he’s really talented. I’ve had a great experience with [Californication creator] Tom Kapinos thus far, and I don’t see any reason for that to change because we have a really great collaboration happening.

Do your children understand your job as an actor?

They think it’s fun to come visit set, but obviously, my kids aren’t going to see this show for a number of years. I mean, they can see The X-Files, if they want to, in five or six years. I’ve done maybe one job that my kids have seen - the movie Beethoven, about the dog.

They know that we [Duchovny and wife Tea Leoni are] are actors and they know that sometimes people know who we are…but I’m sure they wish I was on Hannah Montana!

Californication is currently airing on Showtime.

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