David Duchovny on the end of 'Californication' and why a third 'X Files' film 'is going to happen'
David Duchovny returns for his final season of Californication on April 13. The actor has brought fast-living novelist Hank Moody to life for seven seasons, and saying farewell to his wild character isn’t going to be easy.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Duchovny tells Parade. “We usually go back to work in late April, which hasn’t come around yet. Intellectually, I kind of get it and we’ve all said our goodbyes and made our peace, but I think they’ll be another round of nostalgia and sadness when April rolls around and I’m not being Hank.”
Before Californication returns for its seventh and final season on Showtime, you can catch up on all the drama and debauchery with the release of the sixth season, now on DVD.
Duchovny, 53, talked to Parade about the final season of Californication, another turn on the big screen for The X Files, his big technology confession, and more.
Season six was Californication‘s highest rated yet. What did you think of it?
“I think last season was our wackiest season! The characters that came in and out of the Californication world were probably nuttier than they’ve ever been, especially Tim Minchin playing a rock star. We kind of spun off from what I always like to think of as the heart of the show, which is the family. I’m always a little amazed because there are certain things I like about the show and then it seems like people like other things about it.”
What are some of the things you like best?
“Well, the heart of the show was always about this fractured love story and this fractured family with these weird, fractured family values. We were trying to make a family with these crazy people whose hearts were in the right places, but they kept screwing up. To me, it was somewhat realistic in the sense that it seemed like a modern-day world to me. It wasn’t this fantasy sitcom, happily-ever-after world. The comedy forced us into some absurd situations, but the love story was always my favorite part.”
Considering the show’s popularity, why is it ending?
“It’s really the nature of the cable business. It’s done on subscription, so the fact that last year was our highest-rated season doesn’t really matter in terms of cable because they want to make new shows that attract new viewers. So by the seventh year, people that want to watch Californication have already gotten Showtime to watch it. What they want to do is get new people to come watch, so they need new shows. If you look at cable shows, they rarely go past seven years, whereas a network show — if it keeps on getting advertisers — it can go on theoretically forever.”
What has been your favorite thing about playing Hank Moody?
“It was a real opportunity to try to be funny in a way that I thought I could be. When I took this show seven years ago, I had been kind of disappointed in my opportunities to play in a comedic world, so I’m eternally grateful for a character that was human and funny. When I look back on it, it filled an artistic need and desire for me in my career.”
What’s next for you?
“I never have a plan, which is both a blessing and a curse. I’m constitutionally incapable of thinking about my career in that way. I gravitate towards things that interest me in the moment and I do them. I’m close to choosing a couple new things to do. I’ve been playing music and I’ve been writing, not necessarily film or television. I’ve kind of been looking to express myself in other venues as well, which may or may not be something that other people want to see or hear, but it’s something I want to do.”
How did your experience on Californication compare to your time on The X Files?
“Obviously, stylistically and thematically they don’t compare at all, but it does in terms of the friends that you make over that long period of time and the commitment that you make as an actor and as a person. You put so much work and focus in that it is a real loss when it ends. It’s a lot of time that you put in with a lot of people that you’ve come to know and love, so there’s a real sadness around it. Having a show for that long is really a matter of pride and integrity.”
Can you share any news about a third X Files film?
“I don’t have any information, but as I always say — and I don’t say this just to fuel speculation — [creator] Chris Carter, Gillian Anderson, and I all love the show, we love each other, and we’d be happy and privileged to work with one another again. It’s just a matter of finding the venue, the time, and getting Fox or whoever to do it. To me, that means that eventually something is going to happen. I’m not saying that anything is happening right now, but I would say that because we all want it to and there seems to be a continuing interest in it, eventually — and I hope sooner rather than later — we will get to do something with it again.”
What shows fill up your DVR these days?
“I’m so old that I still watch TV the way I grew up watching TV, which means I turn it on and watch whatever is on! I started watching TV before there was even a VCR, so you were at the mercy of programs. I’m also an idiot when it comes to any technology, so as much as I want to be watching Breaking Bad, I haven’t, and as much as I want to see Orange Is the New Black, —which my daughter tells me is great — I haven’t. These are shows that I want to see and I will but I haven’t yet. Vince Gilligan wrote on The X Files and he did Breaking Bad, and I can see that it’s amazing because it’s universally acclaimed, so I’m looking forward to it. What do I watch? I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. That’s mostly because I know when and where it’s on! And my oldest friend in the world, Jason Beghe is on Chicago PD, so I’ve been watching that as a loyal friend and been enjoying that.”
I bet your daughter could help you figure out some of that technology so you can watch those shows!
“Exactly! I get my daughter to help me with everything!”