Speaking | David Duchovny
emily blunt interview
here's one for the inspirational affirmation book; David Duchovny. This a guy
that basically got a part on a B Sci-fi TV show, 'The X-Files.' A show so out
there it easily could have headed into one-season bonus-question-in-the-trivia-round
he (and the rest of the X Gang) parlayed that into the hottest, smartest multi-genre
television series - possibly in TV's history ('Star Trek' was big, but not as
- let's face it - intelligent). David managed to survive the insta-stardom, did
the Hollywood marriage thingy by marrying the beautiful Tea Leone. And after a
self-prescribed respite from the glare of the limelights, David returns (<-
insert X-File theme music here for audio stuimulation) to us with, The
House of D.
is a film he got to write, direct and have a supporting role in. Not bad for a
kid who grew up in a tiny New York apartment
was that just his character, Tommy (Anton Yelchin) in this new, and delightfully
touching film, House of D (The D, not being for Duchovny - though the film
it's for Detention, as in Women's Detention).
pops into the swanky hotel room and you see why Tea's always got a big broad smile;
this guy is stealthily handsome - and comes, I shall find, with a dry sarcastic
sense of humor amid all that manly viscously handsome guy-next-door over-six foot
X-File fans? Yep-I asked Go here for the
411 on the films (You thought I would what? Forget? Tsk tsk tsk):
Was it hard to be both actor and director, not to mention to your own words?
As an actor I found it interesting as a director, it was kind of interesting,
the lack of self-consciousness my mind was thinking about other things. It only
really "got in the way" when I would be in a two shot with Robin Williams
or another actor- if I thought the scene was really going well, I would kind of
get excited! And I couldn't stop smiling. I'd think I got to stay in the scene.
But enjoy acting so much - the joy of being in the movie, as well as being outside
the movie. Believe me it if was my first film? I don't think I would have done
it. Here, I thought it was natural
How close to your original vision is D?
Well you know its miles away from the real vision- which was a wild day dream
running through your head. What is the same is the film's feeling. I think I executed
the feeling that I wanted - I wanted to make a movie that was both very specific
and universal. I wanted to make a film that appeared personal and small but at
a foundation underneath that had power and fable I wanted to make a realistic
movie that was also a fable, that would make you laugh and cry like a classic
movie. People go to movies to do that exactly- and that I believe I executed.
What is the last couple of years like for you- has it been a conscious decision
on your part to not be around?
No. I've been working. A lot has been house of d, I and I've written a couple
of other scripts, I acted in a film called Trust the Man - an Urban comedy. I
just doing the stuff that's interesting to me - I've had that luxury. I also have
a family, that would like me around- not as much as I would like them to want
me around [laughter]. It's a less structured life then working on a TV show- but
it's kind of fallen to me to make my own way now.
Tea said she really had a lot of anxiety over doing this film - she didn't want
to be the one who screwed up your film. Can you talk about what it was like working
You know I order her around the house - so it's pretty much the same [smirk] NO.
It's the reverse actually
in this she was only there a week. She only had
six days of shooting-the fist six days. It was very comforting to have her on
set. I could go to her and say, "Is this shit. " or, "is this working?"
It was the first time I was hearing the words. I had had these guys in my head
and now they were speaking. You know? Were they funny? Were they sad, were they
real? Did it flow? These questions jump up at you hen you first start shooting-
and it was nice to have her there. That was never in my mind 'cause she's so god-
and it was over in a week. I think it would be different if we were producing
together and together three months job everyday- that might be different - but
this was a wonderful start and I would like to work with her again if she would
Do you ever refer to the House of Duchovny as the House of D?
[laughter] No, I often wished there was another word for Detention that they used.
Any other letter but D - and they call it, "The House of D."
Why is this even and indie film? With your name why couldn't you go for a big
'Cause it wasn't a big studio film. It appears to be a small film. As I said before,
I think there are small ideas with big movie going experiences. We don't have
any explosions but we have emotions and we have and humor and I think that makes
it a "big" movie - however, it's mostly a small film because it's a
movie for adults starring a boy. Nobody wants to get involved in that! Name me
a movie that works - that made money- starring a kid? Okay you can name one- but
okay, and Stand By Me, and that was a bunch of boys.
[laughter] The film is very personal- can you talk about any particular autobiographical
There's a lot that is absolutely from my childhood. I don't know how to say it
not so much scenes but environment. I knew what a stick ball game should look
like; I know what driving that delivery bike around feels like. I know what it's
like to live in an apartment where the bathroom's so small and there's only the
one so, while you're taking a shower your mother comes in to pee - I love that
reaction in the audience when they see that scene- it's always half gasps becaus3
they've been watching Oprah, and have laughs because the others know it's living
in a small apartment - it's not child abuse. Living in Manhattan - that kind of
stuff feels real to me. What actually happened? It's funny to say, the thing with
the small chest and small balls - that actually happened. I thought I had to leave
school. The whole thing was indicative of the raised stakes of being 12 yrs old!
Oh my god my life is over these girls don't like me, and they choose to attack
me in that way.
Can you talk about casting Anton Yelchin and Robin Williams?
I just basically I didn't care how the kid looked- I knew he had to be Caucasian.
Eye color? It didn't matter- you see that all the time, and for a second you're
like "wait a minute" but then you just go with it. I just wanted the
best actor. It's a hard role. He has to be emotionally available, he has to be
funny beside Robin Williams, and he has to have integrity. He has to seem like
an artist. He's got to be strong It's hard to find a fourteen year old who can
do that! It hard to find an 18 yr old
it's hard to find a 40 yr old who can
do that! I was just lucky late in the process, a name that's known in kid actors
came in and after that there was never a question. And in terms of Robin? I knew
I had to get a bankable star. To get financier - that's how these movies are made
a lot. They call it Independent, but they actually very dependent. I had a kid
lead, and that was bad - there's no kid's that drive films. So, I had supporting
roles that I had t get my financing on which id scary - and could have doomed
this film to never be made. I was lucky to get Robin early on. He was loyal -
he stayed on. That was really the linchpin of getting the film made. And I wanted
Robin; 'cause I always considered Papas a character as a man boy- and Robin has
that - and that great physicality. He hurt me a few times just shaking my hand
- and I'm not tiny ya know. There's something about
I wanted that strength-
I wanted him to be a little scary if he snapped around the kids. And Robin, as
you know, has a real access to that real child like quality. He's very in touch
with that and it was obviously very important to the role.
The House of D is all about beleiving in yourself; growing - even when you seem
to be at an uncrossable intersection - an X if you will - in the road. What inspired
you to believe in yourself?
[laughter] Well, at that age (14)? nothing jumps out at me. The story that does
jump out at me is when a had 17 accident at school I was in the hospital - I had
a Latin teacher. Latin was my hardest - probably because hard work isn't enough
with Latin - which is how I got by with the other subjects. He was the only guy
that came to visit me, and I thought he didn't like me. He said, "Don't hurry
back. No rush." I was on all the athletics - all that was in my mind was
getting back. I remember being confused by what he said. Many years later - I
was maybe 27, 28 - I realized he knew that I was over achieving - I was doing
for the man- not for myself. I wanted to thank him- but he had died a few years
before of AIDS. And that was one of the inspirations of this story. That phenomenon
of getting advise when your too young and when you finally do "get it"
how to you thank these people - since this is a movie- he gets to go back and