David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson—The X-Files: I Want to Believe—2/23/08

Winner of a Golden Globe and four Emmy nominations, David Duchovny famously played Fox Mulder on the hugely popular series The X-Files. He played opposite Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, a role that won her both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. On the big screen, the duo paired up again for The X-Files: Fight the Future and now The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Duchovny's films include The Rapture, California, Chaplin, Return To Me, Evolution and Stephen Soderbergh's Full Frontal, among others (he also directed House of D). Anderson's films include The Last King of Scotland, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, The House of Mirth, and Playing by Heart. I spoke to Duchovny and Anderson backstage at San Francisco's WonderCon, during a break from shooting I Want to Believe.

David Duchovny: (to a departing Chris Carter) Did you tell them the whole story?

Groucho: Chris said from the stage that we get to see your characters again in a whole new way. And I know you can't say too much, but can you talk a little bit about where your characters are at emotionally or intellectually or socially when the film starts?


Groucho: Or where it takes them? In a general sense.

David Duchovny:
Well, in a general sense, there is a journey to be had. So you either have to start on top or on the bottom for a journey to happen. You can't start at the middle. Like in a television series, you often stay in the middle area. I mean, you have arcs, where shit goes up and down, but in general, you know, you're doing your thing in the middle. A movie has to start at the top or start at the bottom. So having said that, we abide by the rules of the movie genre. How's that?

Groucho: You talked around it very well!...Gillian, you said it was really difficult kind of getting back on the bicycle again in terms of the character—did either of you roll back through your head the plots that you'd been through, or how did you get back into character?

David Duchovny: I didn't do that.

Gillian Anderson: I mean, every once in a while we'd reminisce about certain episodes and stuff. At the beginning—

DD: "Bad Blood."

GA: "Bad Blood," yeah, that's an interesting choice. (Pauses for laugh.) At the beginning, I think, you know, at one point, shortly after we'd started shooting, somebody sent me some clips that had been put together on YouTube. And that was the first time that I'd seen something like that. You know, clips of intimate moments between Mulder and Scully.

DD: It's very romantic.

GA: Yeah, and it kind of—it was actually a good thing for me to see.

DD: Yeah.

GA: It was good to step into the shoes of some of the audience members at the history of this relationship.

DD: Right.

GA: And try and honor that again. And not treat it with such a, y'know—not indifference. But it was important. And it was unique.

DD: You're kinda like striding the line between what's yours and what's theirs. What's yours, what's mine; what's ours as creators of it, and what's yours as (pause) owners, in a way...

G: You said on stage earlier that you felt a special pressure—or you wanted to put a special emphasis on the scenes with Gillian, and I wonder if you two could just talk about your working relationship, and  what it's like coming back, getting that groove again with your scenes together?

GA: I think what's wonderful is that there's something incredibly familiar when we get to work together. There's a natural rhythm that we step into. It depends what the scene is and how it's written and how much it allows us to play on some of the old dynamics between the two of us. Y'know, there's so much that— (pause) yeah, I ummm.

(Duchovny chuckles. Anderson breaks into a laugh.)

GA: But, yeah, it feels very natural. And we want it to be—y'know, it's important that we choose the right pitch for the scenes that we do have that it encompasses the right amount of kind of everything of where we've been in the past few years and where we've arrived at today. So, you know, it takes some thought.

G: Coming back to it as films, you don't get a chance to get on each other's nerves over the years.

DD: What's that?

G: Coming back and doing films every few years, or many years, there's no chance to get on each other's nerves—

DD: Oh, sure there is. (Pause for laugh.) Not us particularly ourselves, but shit, yeah, you can get fed up with people on films.

GA: On day one! (Laughs.)

DD: There's always enough time for that...

G: At the end of the series, there was some understandable ambivalence, having done it so long, wanting to get out and do other things. Now that there's been so much time away, are you open to doing another film in the series, do you think? Do you find it enjoyable?

DD: Oh, of course. Of course. Going out and doing other things was only a matter of the fact that we were busy for ten months out of the year doing that thing. It was never a hatred of "that thing," it was a hatred of the fact that you couldn't get out and do anything else...

G: Since you can't actually tell us the plot of the film, could you instead tell us a lie? Could you tell us a fake rumor to spread about what the film is about?

DD: (Smiling.) No, you could make that up yourself. Can't you?

G: But you're "the talent"!...Do you know what you'll be doing next after X-Files?

DD: [Californication shoots through] late April.

GA: I'm filming something in South Africa [Ed.: The Smell of Apples], and then maybe something in Chicago, and then that's all I know.

G: Are you planning a return to the stage anytime soon?

GA: Yeah! Actually either the end of this year or the beginning of next year, in London.

G: Are you able to say what you'll be doing?

GA: Uhh, can I say? No, it hasn't been announced by the theatre yet.

DD: (quickly) Pride of the Yankees.


GA: There's something that I have been hoping to finish and direct for a long time, and I'm still pretty committed to that being the first feature that I direct, so whenever I have an opportunity to finish that. But I haven't had the time.

G: And David, do you have a project in the drawer that—

DD: Two. Yeah.

G: Should financiers come up, you want to get rolling?

DD: Time and money. When the money comes together, and I have time, then, you know—you hesitate to try to get the money when you don't have the time. Because when those things come, they don't happen twice. In the independent world, they happen or they don't. And if you're lucky enough to get the money together, you've got to be ready.

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