The Guardian: David Duchovny - ‘I can't play Mulder the way I did. That would be obscene’

By Dave Schilling | February 5, 2016

A small crowd has gathered in front of the Fox theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Carrying rolled-up copies of Variety magazine and holding up mobile phone cameras, they press their flesh as close to the metal barricade as possible. They are here to see David Duchovny, most famous for the newly resurrected science-fiction drama The X-Files, whose star is being unveiled on the Walk of Fame today. Duchovny’s closest confidantes are here, too – X-Files creator Chris Carter, Californication co-star Pamela Adlon, his manager Melanie Green, his brother – but they’re outnumbered by the strangers, the autograph seekers, and the tourists who will stop anywhere they see a fence and some security guards in LA.

Duchovny is a recovering sex addict and a famously private man. During the ceremony that follows, his friend, the comedian Garry Shandling, refers to him as a “sensitive, vulnerable guy”. A few hours later, at a nearby hotel, I ask Duchovny if this is true. In his slow, laconic drawl, he says it is. “You know, Garry can stand there and tell you I’m this or I’m that,” he says, “but that’s not really the narrative that’s out there, and that’s OK.”

Duchovny’s hotel room is an ornate, whimsical pastiche of styles and patterns. The entire building reeks of a pungent perfume, as though the staff were covering up an even more heinous smell. It is a fitting location in which to discuss one of the more artificial, touristy traditions of Hollywood, one about which Duchovny seems ambivalent.

“You know, we live in an ironic age,” he says. “To hear Garry go up there in this quite probably cheesy ceremony from another time – you know, campy, kitschy, in a crappy part of Hollywood – it could be just awful. If you pull back a certain way, you want to just run. Listening there, I don’t know what Garry is going to say, and I hear him try to say heartfelt, loving things as a friend, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, he’s really trying to communicate, and that’s beautiful and ballsy.’ Because people are out of that habit. It’s so hostile the way we communicate socially now, and so ironic and so meta and distant and multilayered. To hear a guy go out there and say, ‘I love Dave.’ I felt exposed.”

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