September 05, 2007 12:00am
DAVID Duchovny is tired of sex talk. The Hollywood actor is concerned his new show, Californication, is being promoted as some sort of racy sex show.
He insists Californication is an intelligent adult comedy, in the style of the movie Shampoo or US cable series such Sex and the City and Weeds.
Californication, like Weeds, has been condemned by family groups and conservative Christians who say it uses shock tactics to win ratings. But it's hard to know whether Californication critics have actually watched the show, or simply the sexed-up hype Duchovny moans about.
In an interview in the US, Duchovny says: "I hope people and the press don't judge the show superficially and morally -- that it's a show about a sex addict, all these tags you try to put on it because it might outrage somebody.
"It's a comedy. It's an adult comedy. It's not an adult acting like a six-year-old, which most comedies are like."
Duchovny rose to fame as Fox Mulder in the cult hit The X-Files. He has not starred in another series since leaving The X Files in 2001, though he made a guest appearance in Sex in the City in 2003.
He's been busy doing other things: "Like raising a family, movies and writing and directing and not finding the thing I wanted to do".
"The thing that The X-Files afforded me was the luxury of being able to just choose what I wanted to do rather than have to do. I didn't feel I had to do anything until this."
It was Tom Kapinos, a former writer on teen drama Dawson's Creek, who lured Duchovny back to the small screen.
"His camp warned me that he wasn't interested in television and would pass," Kapinos says. "But I knew something was up when he wrote me a letter saying that the script had been keeping him up at night."
Aside from the sex -- and, yes, there's lots of it, despite what Duchovny says -- Californication is about Hank Moody (Duchovny) and his mid-life crisis.
It is based on Kapinos's own life, suggesting things must be fairly wild in his house.
"All around me, friends were getting married and having kids, but they were changing -- settling in, getting fat, watching reality TV with their wives," Kapinos says. "I started dreaming up this character who was the polar opposite -- a guy who was staving off adulthood for as long as humanly possible and would not go gently into the good night of domestic bliss."
Duchovny's personal life is a picture of domestic bliss. He and wife, Jurassic Park III star Tea Leoni, have two children, Madelaine, 8, and Kyd Miller, 5.
"You exist for these kids," he says.
"They're more important than you and that's a good thing. It takes the attention off yourself -- which is a good thing -- especially for an actor. It's humbling and wonderful.
"If you think you're tremendous at what you do, you've got a big hit movie or TV show and you've got to deal with an eight-year-old, you realise you really can't do s---."
It has been reported Leone almost talked Duchovny out of Californication because she thought Moody was unlikable.
"It's comforting actually to check in with her, and I think she would say the same," he says. "I ask her opinion. I don't listen to her, but I ask her."
Duchovny felt he could make Moody work.
"It's not a mid-life crisis," he says. "I think it's a life crisis. Actors are always having life crises because you don't know what's next. So it's always a crisis. You're constantly in some kind of low-level crisis modem and yet I think if we were all honest with ourselves, I mean, that's really what life is."
Like Duchovny, co-star Natascha McElhone was attracted to Californication's sharp writing and strong characters, rather than its lusty bedroom scenes.
"The scripts just get juicier and juicier," she says. "It's great to have a show that is character-driven. Usually it's about people who are cops, lawyers or doctors. This is just about people."
Duchovny says he was lucky notoriety didn't come until he was 32. Before The X Files, he played a transvestite drug-enforcement officer in Twin Peaks, made family movies Beethoven and Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead and the cult hit Kalifornia.
"It's hard when you get famous when you're a kid -- 25, 18. I had a chance to mature a little before that happened, so when it did happen I could see it for what it was," he says. "I think on some level, even when I wasn't famous, I always felt I was famous. I always felt if fame came, it would be for a reason. It was something I wanted, it was something I was doing."