LOS ANGELES—“He was dressed better than me,” said David Duchovny, wearing a polo shirt and slacks, about Jon Hamm, whom we just interviewed. The “Mad Men” actor wore a suit. “I saw him.” He joked, “I didn’t like that.”
Settling down into a chair, David said he just wrapped shooting Season Six of his TV series, “Californication,” where he plays Hank Moody, a hedonistic novelist. He confirmed that rocker Marilyn Manson will make appearances in the series. “Manson is a big fan of the show,” he disclosed. “Apparently, he signs into hotels as Hank Moody, which I find funny.” He quipped, “Coincidentally, I sign in as Marilyn Manson.”
The star explained how the rocker with the dramatic Goth make-up ended up on “Californication.” “He’s been in touch with Tom Kapinos, our show runner for years,” David explained. “They’ve been trying to work him in.”
The actor also noted for his FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder character on his previous series, “The X-Files,” added, “Hank goes into the rock ‘n’ roll world. The main guest star is this guy named Tim Minchin (he plays Atticus). He’s very talented. This position doesn’t really exist in America, but he’s a political humorist-musician. Tim writes political, philosophical and funny songs, and performs them quite powerfully. He’s the rock ‘n’ roller I’m palling around with, because I’m trying to write a rock opera for him from a book that I’ve written that he loves.”
David said, “Anyway, since Tim plays a rock star in that fictional world, he’s friends with Manson.” He said with a grin, “So, Manson just shows up every now and then.”
The Yale- and Princeton-educated actor said that his recent “biggest thrill” was that he started playing guitar about nine months ago. “Tom Kapinos started writing into the show that I’m playing guitar,” he said.
The fledgling guitarist sounded excited about shooting the show’s finale at the Greek Theater in LA. “It was a big concert for Tim’s character,” he recounted. “Manson also came and performed.”
Rock also dominated the series’ recent season-wrap party. David disclosed, “I got to play one of the backup guitars for Manson as he sang ‘Hotel California.’ I found it touching that he would do that for us. He appears to be a monster, but he’s actually sweet.”
The actor dished that men who think they are like his sexy, rakish character would try to tell him stories. “People think that they’re Hank Moody, and they want to tell me,” he said. “If they are under 30, I think, OK. If they are over 30, I think, no, that’s a problem. If they are 70 and they think they are Hank Moody, I go, ‘OK, cool—good for you.’ So there’s like a window—between 30 and 70, you’re in trouble if you’re acting that way.”
He talked about how the show’s characters have evolved. “It’s interesting that in the first three years of the show, Hank was the wildcard in his world,” David began. “He was the person who would go into a situation and create havoc. Then, a subtle shift happened in the last couple of years, where everybody around Hank seems crazier than he is. So, all of a sudden, Hank becomes the calmest, the voice of reason on the show.”
“For me, the show is always about going back to the family and the relationship between my character and those of Natascha McElhone (Karen) and Maddy Martin (Becca). We can spin off into absurd scenarios and the craziness that we do, but what has made the show last is that it has heart at its center—this family, love story or father-daughter relationship.”
The New York native laughed off talk that he and his “The X-Files” co-star, Gillian Anderson are living together. “Gillian and I have been trading e-mails,” he volunteered. “Very funny. I wish I could show the thread where I wrote, ‘I’m very sorry for leaving the toilet seat up. I didn’t know you were living with me. Where are you exactly in the house?’ I just haven’t found her yet. So, it’s not true.”
David confirmed that he’s still married to actress Tea Leoni, but they are separated. Asked about the tattoo on his ring finger, he explained that it was a substitute for an actual wedding ring. “Because I would always take a ring off at work,” he said. “I don’t like wearing jewelry. So, I got this (tattoo) instead of a wedding ring.”
The 52-year-old actor sounded optimistic about another “The X-Files” movie. “I hope so (it happens),” he said. “I rent one of (creator) Chris Carter’s many homes when I’m shooting in LA. He says he’s going to have a script. We’re all eagerly awaiting what he’s got up his sleeve.”
On his former students at Yale, where he taught English, David said, “They get in touch with me sometimes. Because of the social media, nobody can hide. One of them has become a pretty well-known writer. I taught him expositional writing. He’s a respected novelist. I had nothing to do with that.”
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