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Archive for April, 2004

TeenHollywood: David Duchovny: He's Funny! Honest

David Duchovny: He’s Funny! Honest
Lynn Barker

[Original article here]

He’ll always be known as Agent Mulder from “The X-Files” but actor David Duchovny is so much more. He’s very funny, which Mulder rarely was, he gestures when he talks and he is more interested in comedy timing than UFO’s.

In the new comedy film Connie and Carla, David plays Jeff, a really nice guy who falls for Nia Vardalos…in drag. Being a straight man, Jeff wonders why he’s so attracted to this drag queen. In casual blue tee and matching long-sleeved shirt, the actor buzzed in to our interview room at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills (where Pretty Woman was shot) and was willing to answer all questions, including those about another possible “X-Files” movie, his on-set pranks and his previous experience with being in drag.

TeenHollywood: Is this character Jeff similar to you? Or, having played a guy in drag, did you give advice to Nia and Toni?

David: I suppose Jeff is similar, but in my history, from “Twin Peaks”, I’m the one usually wearing the dress which is what I would’ve preferred, but they wouldn’t let me. It’s been 15 years since I did that and my a** isn’t as good as it used to be. There were real drag queens in this movie though. I’m just a dilettante, a dabbler. I’d done it and really enjoyed doing the character and thought I was decent at it. But these guys, they were real performers. I wanted to show them, I wanted the chance to dress up and dance and sing, but they wouldn’t let me.

TeenHollywood: Not even between takes?

David: Well, it’s really hard to all of a sudden bust out in a dress and a wig. It’s not something you can do, ‘just give me 30 seconds and I’ll come back with my own drag name’. No, it didn’t happen, but maybe if there’s a sequel, Connie and Carla and That Guy.

TeenHollywood: How did you get that famous “Twin Peaks” cross dresser role anyway?

David: That part was written for James Spader who knew the producers of “Twin Peaks”. And he, for some reason, had to drop out and they were desperately trying to cast the role and I think I came in on a Friday with an emery board. That was my big deal. That’s all. That’s what I did during the audition and it worked. I just remembered thinking ‘oh my God, I’ve never been in a dress or shaved my legs and now I’ve got to go do this on Monday’. And I had no idea what I was doing. I was thinking why, aside from sexual preference or liking to wear a dress, would a man want to be a woman? And I just felt well, you get to be more spontaneous and open and friendly. That’s kind of the approach I took. A very innocent, friendly kind of point of view.

TeenHollywood: Did you look hot?

David: (laughs) Not good. I had good legs, but as Bill Murray said in Tootsie, “Don’t play hard to get.” That’s probably what I would be told. (note: Hey, we saw him in drag on that show and he was cute!)

TeenHollywood: Talk about what attracted you to this role in Connie and Carla? There’s a nice relationship between Jeff and his cross-dressing brother in the movie.

David: I saw the fun kind of Cyrano part of falling in love with a woman that you think is a man, the Shakespeare in Love part and I thought that was a fun and classic comedy set up in a way, but on top of that or below that was this relationship with the brother… and I thought that was really interesting. One of the difficult things in trying to do the performance was to strike a tone in the movie and in the performances that could withstand both the wacky comedy aspect but also a very real kind of family situation and two brothers coming together.

TeenHollywood: Did you go try out for the role?

David: Well, we had to meet in the middle somewhere. They came to me to express interest but I think that there is always this thing where they wonder too if I was funny. They thought I might be funny, but they wanted to see me be funny. So I went and I was really funny. Then we did the movie. And I just look at auditioning as rehearsal, because there’s so little rehearsal that we get to do in movies. They spend millions of dollars and then the first time these actors are saying the words to one another is on film, and it’s ridiculous.

TeenHollywood: We hear you are famous for on-set pranks. Did you pull any pranks on this set?

David: I seem to remember that I gave Nia a Polaroid of my a**. I can’t remember why, or how I took it. Because when you do it in the mirror, it flashes out and you don’t get anything, because I’ve tried that 100 times. When I’d gotten to my trailer, they had already been up for like two weeks working and Nia had done something to my trailer, something bad. I can’t remember what it was but I had to avenge it. I saran wrapped her toilet seat at one point. You know that trick? It seems clear and it’s not and then you, you know. But she never said anything about that which leads me to believe- – well, we all know she doesn’t have to go. She’s perfect.

TeenHollywood: Okay, here come the “X-Files”questions. Do you still have to box your way out of being typecast?

David: For sure. I’m always joking with my manager about how people always say to me, “I didn’t know you were funny.” It’s just part of the baggage of being on a show that was that big. It doesn’t make any sense to run from it or deny it. It just is what it is, I’m proud of “The X Files”, I’m happy that it made so much happen for me as a person, as an actor. I wouldn’t want it any other way, but it also brings these other barriers. If you look at it the right way, it can be fun to overcome because you can surprise people.

TeenHollywood: Will there be another “X-Files” movie?

David: I think it definitely will happen. Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz are busy at work. They have an idea which they like and they keep threatening to tell me. I wish they would. They’re going to tell me soon. They’re just setting about writing it now, so we’ll be doing it in the next year.

TeenHollywood: How will the character develop?

David: I don’t know if Mulder should develop. I mean, Mulder is Mulder. That’s one of the things I learned fighting for the last three or four years on the show trying to change the guy or give him a French accent one day. The nature of the character and what I eventually learned to love about him is he’s set. He’s set and he’s a great character. So the great thing about Mulder is we know what he’s going to do and we know what he likes and what he loves and what he hates. We’re just going to play with that I’m sure.

TeenHollywood: Will the film start where the series left off?

David: I don’t know. My feeling about the second “X Files” movie was, since it’s going to come after the show is not running anymore, is that it had to be like a stand alone show with a really great part for a guest star, another actor who’s not part of the show. So apparently, that’s what Chris and Frank have is a great X-File idea with another actor or actress who can really score in a really great thriller/sci-fi role, so I hope that takes the show towards the fans but also towards new fans. And Mulder will wear a dress of course.

TeenHollywood: We’d pay to see that. Would you star in something opposite your wife Tea?

David: Tea and I have chemistry, obviously I think we do in life, but sometimes that’s a very sacred thing. We’re married and we consider our chemistry sacred. So in a way, if we were to act, it might feel weird exhibiting this sacred chemistry and in a way, we might be more inhibited as performers with one another than we are as people with one another, or it could be great, I don’t know. But it’s my feeling that I would feel a little more inhibited showing people what I feel about this woman because I feel like that’s my business. Whereas I can fake showing how I feel about any other woman. That’s my show business. That was well put, come on.

TeenHollywood: Connie and Carla are great musical theater lovers. Are you?

David: I can’t stand it. No, I kept saying I could dance as long as you don’t tell me I’m supposed to be dancing. I never was a big fan of musical theater. When we all did the big table read before we were going to start shooting, Nia and Toni had all these song cues and they had the actual song arrangements down and they sang. And at first, I thought, “Oh my God, this is going to take forever.” And it did. But, I kept turning to Nia and I go, “That’s a really good tune.” And she was just laughing at me because it was all these really famous tunes that I was hearing for the first time and I was like ‘That’s from “Cats”? Really? If I had to sit through three hours to hear that one tune, I wouldn’t do it but the good thing about this movie is it seems like they had all of the good tunes put together. It’s fun.


Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.

Dreamwatch: Lone Star

Lone Star

As one third of THE X-FILES loveable geek squad, The Lone Gunmen, Richard ‘Ringo’ Langly will forever be remembered for his flowing locks, huge IQ and love of Dungeons & Dragons. More than 10 years after he first stepped onto THE X-FILES set, actor Dean Haglund recalls his role as Langly and tells Kate Lloyd why he wasn’t *too* disappointed when THE LONE GUNMEN spin-off series was cancelled…

DW: What did you enjoy most about playing Langly?

The wardrobe! Seriously, I didn’t have to change a thing. The hair was real, I would just come in my jeans, change my T-shirt and I was ready to go. Everybody else had to wear leather or put on a suit or something, but I was in and out in a minute and a half. It was nice.

DW: Looking back, why do you think TXF became as successful as it did? Was is simply a case of right time, right place?

It was the right time. I believe the Germans call it zeitgeist. There was a moment in history where the Berlin wall had come down, there was an Israeli peace accord and there was no war on terror. For this 7 to 10 year gap there were no enemies. You could just sit in this kind of peaceful silence and go, “Oh yeah, up in space there are enemies. Oh, and I don’t trust my government.” And you had time to really enjoy this story. Now, if you came up with the idea of an alien hybrid invasion with your government against you, everybody would go, “Oh God, not again. Do I have to hear this?”

DW: As someone close to the show, did you have any idea where it was heading in terms of its mythology?

They kept that really under wraps. I think in the press they said they had a long, rich plan, but I don’t think it was that laid out really! [Laughs] It was sort of, “Well, we should eventually get to there, I guess, but in the meantime let’s just try to make crazy stuff.” So I really had no idea!

DW: Were you disappointed when TLG spin-off series was cancelled?

Not really, I think it was a great amount of time. I know the writers were particularly hurt because they were just laying out the groundwork of what they were planning to do, which was going to be *really* cool, and so they were like, “Aw, what a shame!” It ended too early for their part, but for me I was just thankful that we got to do 13 episodes.

DW: Why do you think the studio pulled the plug?

It was the year everyone was watching WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, which was showing five times a week in America. I don’t know, these game shows!

DW: In the end, the Lone Gunmen went out in a blaze of glory in TXF season 9 episode, “Jump the Shark”. Was that a good way to go?

I thought so. If they hadn’t ended it that way we’d probably have been walking into the sunset with a stick and a bag in search of another adventure. And that wouldn’t have been the smart way to go …

DW: What was the atmosphere like on the set of the final XF episode, “The Truth”?

There was this sense of relief because the show was really long and hard to do. Some of these guys would see the sun come up every Saturday morning because they’d worked all Friday night, for months on end. They were thrilled to finally get their lives back. So while it was sad to see it go it was also like, “Thank God, we can go shopping at a normal hour again!”

DW: Do you think it was the right time to end the show?

I do. I think it could even have ended with season 8. But, at that point, those are the decisions that the network makes and one is powerless to argue against. Plus, the writers still had some cool ideas, and didn’t really want to fully wrap it up and get that Smoking Man …

DW: Season 8 of TXF is coming out on DVD this month. Where does that year rank for you?

This was the year we were filming the Gunmen spin-off, so it became quite the ordeal logistically because we were in Vancouver shooting the spin-off and TXF was filming down in LA. We either had to get on a plane and film an episode, or they would send scripts up and we would shoot these extra scenes and they would be cut it. It was very confusing trying to keep track of the storyline. One minute we were at Mulder’s funeral, next there was a baby. But it was a lot of fun!

DW: What kind of reaction did you get from fans to the last few years of the show?

I think round about season 8 a lot of people said, “No David? I’m out of here, see you later.” And so those two last years just sort of hung on. Because of [Duchovny’s absence] some fans sort of went, “Oh dammit!”

DW: Do you have any favourite XF episodes?

Oddly enough, my favourite ones are the ones the Gunmen weren’t in. Maybe this is my taste but I really like the Jim Rose freakshow circus episode, “Humbug”, just because it was those guys and I’d seen them in the bar doing their act and always enjoyed it. Oh, and “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”. From a Gunmen standpoint, I liked the flashback episode, “Unusual Suspects”. That set up how the Gunmen started and how we introduced Mulder to the concept of conspiracies. That was a lot of fun to do and that was the first all-Gunmen episode, so it was a real thrill for us.

DW: You guys were a big hit with fans. Was there ever a time when you were getting more fan mail than David Duchovny?

No. [Laughs]. He got a *lot* of fan mail. He would get all these girls painting him pictures — you know, ladies in sweaters and that kind of thing …

DW: What are you working on at the moment?

Where shall I begin? I did a movie called SPECTRES with [STAR TREK actresses] Marina Sirtis and Linda Park. I’m doing a lot of standup comedy and I’ve also invented a way to speed up your laptop computer without installing any hardware or uploading any software. It’s called the Chill Pak. It’s a simple little thing. It goes in your freezer and then you just whip it under your computer and it draws the heat directly away from the CPU. Time Warner Cable had just heard about it so they’re taking it to their regional meeting. We’ll see what happens.

DW: Finally, how likely is a second XF movie?

Well, Chris Carter is off surfing and climbing the mountains of the world at the moment, so I think the last thing on his mind is sitting around his computer. So it might be a little way off. I think they’re going to give it a little time so that fans can forget the Brady Bunch episode and move on!

DW: But it’s not a definite no?

It’s not a definite no. In fact, I know some executives at Fox are really looking forward to a second movie. So if they are the ones who have the wallet, then they make the decisions…