by Anne Moore
David Duchovny has had a very busy and productive year and it’s only just beginning. His new series Aquarius is doing well on NBC, his first album Hell or Highwater is receiving good reviews and he’s once again playing Fox Mulder in 6 new episodes of The X-Files (Untitled X-Files Revival).
In Aquarius, Duchovny plays Los Angeles police detective Sam Hodiak and its 1967, right in the middle of the Summer of Love. It’s also right in the middle of political changes; Black Panthers, Vietnam war protests, love-ins, sex, drugs and lots of rock ‘n’ roll. It is also the beginning of Charlie Manson and the destruction of innocence.
ANN: Since this show deals with the 1960s with all the weirdness, the politics, drugs and finally Manson it’s a bit creepy. Did you get the willies when you read the script?
DAVID DUCHOVNY: Being as young as I am, I had to research. (Laughter.) I mean, to me what’s interesting, is Manson is a historical figure, yes, but he also has come to represent so much symbolically to us as a country when we look back on the ’60s, which is an era that we keep coming back to as if we’re looking for something. We’re trying to figure out something from the ’60s that we haven’t figured out yet. Manson kind of stands symbolically as flower power, hippy, go this way, or we can go Reagan, America, Bush this way. Manson is kind of the guy symbolically that pushed us to the right, because this is what happens when the hippies take over mayhem, murder, madness, all this. This was the bullsh*t that was sold at the time. So it’s very interesting to me to keep coming back to this point, and I think as a country, we keep coming back to this point to try and learn again.
QUESTION: Okay. So you were not creeped out by the idea of this?
DAVID DUCHOVNY: I do The X-Files. Nothing creeps me out. (Laughter.) I should say I did Californication. I’m not creeped out
QUESTION: Obviously, we know what happened to Charles Manson. Are you going to have subplots that the two detectives can solve within a season?
DAVID DUCHOVNY: The first season is full of subplots. One of the great ways that I think John [McNamara, Executive producer] has figured out to tell the story is that when I first hear of Charles Manson, nobody’s ears prick up. It’s just a name. It’s just Charles Manson. I look him up. He’s been arrested for being a pimp. He’s done this. He’s done that. But to me, he’s nothing. I’ve got my job to do. I’ve got other more pressing things to take care of, and I think that’s the attitude of the show, which would be the attitude of the world at that time. It’s like Charles Manson is nothing. It’s not until he becomes Charlie Manson that we all turn around and look at what happened.
The show is kind of this cool combination of a ’60s procedural, which is what’s cool about playing in the ’60s, is I don’t have access to all this bullsh*t CSI stuff to solve cases. We actually have to use our brains and follow clues and do police work.
Also, what makes this kind of the worse police, but better characters to play is that we get to crack some heads too, intentionally. We’re cops of that time. So it’s a very interesting show, two shows side by side. Grey [Damon] is undercover and we’re two cops doing our daily job, looking at our cases. Then we’ve got this guy named Charlie Manson who’s turning into something [big] while we’re looking away a little bit too much.
Q: Have you spoken to David Lynch about redoing your character (Agent Dennis/Denise) in the new Twin Peaks?
DUCHOVNY: I haven’t, but would love to. I don’t know what their schedule or what their plans are or how may they are doing even. I love that character. I’d love to shave my legs again.
Q: Would that work for The X-Files (time wise)…?
DUCHOVNY: I’d just wear pants; you’d never know they were shaved. (Every one laughing as he deliberately misunderstands the question.)
Q: Tell us, are you looking forward to going back to The X-Files? Will it be easy to step back into playing Mulder again?
DUCHOVNY: I don’t know if it is easy yet, until I get there and do it, but I am looking forward to it.
Q: But you did, you went into a movie after doing…
DUCHOVNY: But that is already eight years ago, so it has been a while.
Q: What made you want to go to doing X-Files again at this particular time?
DUCHOVNY: We always wanted to keep it going. We envisioned having a movie franchise when we stopped the TV show. We did two. The second one did well, but I guess not well enough to do a third. And we were all kind of disappointed that didn’t happen that way…
Then television started to change in that now there are limited runs. I would never have gone and done another 22 episodes of X-Files but I’m going to do six. So it became like doing a movie, that is like continuing the show in a way that we can all do it at this point in our lives so that’s how it all came about.
Q: Is that why you liked the idea of doing Aquarius – because it’s limited to 13 episodes?
DUCHOVNY: I got attached to this show before it got set-up. John [McNamara] and Marty [Adelstein] went out to set it up with me attached. I assumed that we were going to set it up at a cable outfit…I was thinking HBO or FX. So when NBC stepped forward and said they wanted to do it I was shocked and then I thought about it and yes, it’s kind of ballsy and brave because networks talk about wanting to compete with cable. So to me, this is really as hard as a cable show. I don’t think we compromised a lot to put it on network. We’ll see if we can draw an audience that networks might be losing to cable. It’s an interesting experiment but it’s the way networks have to survive. I think you attract the kind of talent you want by having a shorter season and you can tell more interesting stories if you only have to do 12 or 13 hours than 24.
Q: If these six episodes of The X-Files does well would you want to do anymore?
DUCHOVNY: I don’t know, six to me sounds very do-able at this walk of my life. It’s not a great hardship in terms of time. I would hope it would be successful, I would hope we could continue, but right now we are just looking at it as these six and then we will see what happens.
Q: Do you feel that television now has more freedom to depict violence?
DUCHOVNY: I suppose so. I’m not a fan of violence. I don’t look at it so much, so I don’t think about it. I have seen some images from Hannibal and I think that is well within what we need. I can’t imagine we what to get any weirder and darker than that. So I feel like we’re fine.
Q: Can you tell us about your album?
DUCHOVNY: It’s called Hell or Highwater. It’s just something that came about in the last few years. I started singing, playing the guitar and writing songs and I got someone foolish enough to let me make an album. It was so much fun, because of all the things I’ve ever done in my life as a creative person for me, to me it is the most unadulterated, coming from a sincere place. Of course I want people to like it. I’d be lying if I say I don’t care, but I can’t say I would have done anything any differently.
Aquarius is on NBC – Thursday nights at 8:00 PM ET/PT followed by Hannibal.
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