Archive for January, 2012

The A.V. Club: Alex Gansa walks us through Homeland’s first season (Part 2 of 4)

Jan-25-2012
The A.V. Club
Alex Gansa walks us through Homeland’s first season [Excerpt of Part 2 of 4]
Todd VanDerWerff

[Original article in full here]

AVC: You worked on The X-Files, a network show that had some level of ambiguity for its first two seasons. And so many people from The X-Files, like you and Howard Gordon, Vince Gilligan, and John Shiban, moved into this cable area. What do you think that show taught you guys?

AG: I worked on The X-Files on staff for the first year. That’s actually when Howard and I broke up as partners, after that first year. I wrote some episodes in the second year with Howard. I knew Glen Morgan and Jim Wong really well. I knew Chris [Carter] really well, obviously. But I did not know Shiban; I did not know Vince, I did not know Darin Morgan. I don’t know John’s work as well as I know Vince’s and Darin’s, but I view those guys as outright geniuses. I won’t speak for Howard, but I struggled to write coherent, compelling episodes of television on The X-Files. And I like some of the episodes we did.

But Darin and Vince took it to a whole other level. Darin was able to make fun of the show while telling a compelling episode of television, which was outrageous. And Vince was in some other world. He was in some other zone. So I would just watch those episodes with my jaw in my lap. I think that Chris Carter had an incredible knack for picking writers, and I think that show afforded me a room to move as a writer. And the very nature, the very absurd nature, of Mulder and Scully’s investigative quest was so ridiculous that it just gave everybody freedom. But there was still a mystery to solve. I felt that the mythology episodes were always the weakest. It was always the standalone episodes that riveted me. The mythology episodes were always more ambiguous.

Associated Press: David Duchovny’s roundabout way into showbiz

Jan-18-2012
Associated Press
David Duchovny: ‘The X-Files made me a better actor’
Alicia Rancilio

[Original article here]

NEW YORK (AP) — David Duchovny has starred in two hit TV shows, “The X-Files” and “Californication,” and yet the thought of going into showbiz never occurred to him when he was growing up.

“I never even had the wayward thought. It never even entered even the furthest reaches of my imagination. … I never thought about the actors on television or film like what kind of life they had,” he said in a recent interview.

Duchovny, 51, said he didn’t begin acting until his late twenties

“I wanted to write plays. I was at Yale graduate school at the time for English literature not for acting. … I liked the idea of collaboration and I thought if I’m gonna write plays I should learn something about speaking the lines that I might try to write. It might help me as a writer to actually know it from that side,” he said. “So that’s pretty much how it started.”

His career took off with roles on “Twin Peaks,” ”Red Shoe Diaries” and, of course, “The X-Files,” which made him a star and a sex symbol.

“I was kind of blissfully overconfident at first and I don’t say that as a joke,” he said. “I knew I thought I was good. Not great. Not in a conceited or cocky way, but in a way like, ‘Yes, I can do this.’ You need in a way to believe sometimes.”

Duchovny credits “The X-Files” with helping him with acting.

“Every day I had to go to work and every day for 14 hours year after year after year I don’t know if I would’ve made it to this point if I would’ve just gone from movie to movie to movie like a three-month stint here and a three-month stint there. It was very good for me and my particular sense of myself or my craft to have to go in every day and do it.”

Now when he looks back at old “X-Files” episodes, they remind him of home movies.

“I’ll remember the day, you know I’ll remember the lunch, I’ll remember the weather … and, as I said, I will laugh at how bad I am or stuff like that. It used to come on and I’d say to (wife) Tea (Leoni), ‘Can you just see how bad I am?’ and she’d never agree but it’s kind of funny embarrassing. Like home movies.”

“Californication” is now in its fifth season on Showtime.

Duchovny plays Hank Moody, a sharp-tongued writer who consistently finds himself embroiled in outrageous and often sexual situations.

He says it’s not easy to pull off the show’s quick-witted dialogue.

“Sometimes the better the writing, the harder it is to play because you really want to service it,” he said. “It’s hard to be that quick and articulate in life. You’ve got to try to make it seem discovered, you know, not rehearsed.”

Much of the series is devoted to the push and pull of Hank’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) and whether they will ever get back together permanently.

“Both Hank and Karen are changing in their own ways over the years and I just think they have to believe that they got it right the first time,” said Duchovny. “They have to get back there, get back to the beginning.”