Showtime keeps pushing boundaries with its original series. Their latest, Californication, features David Duchovny drinking, drugging and sexing his way through Hollywood. He plays Hank, an out of work writer who couldn’t hold his family together, and can barely hold himself together. If the pilot is any indication, each week will feature blasphemy, debauchery and other political incorrectness, all for our amusement.
CraveOnline: Is Hank more like a real man than most of the guys we see on TV shows?
David Duchovny: Tom [Kapinos] is much ballsier than me because he’s the one that wants to push it further and I’m always the one who says, "Wait, can we recover this guy?” It’s always that question of like whether he can come back next week and will you still like him. What I like rather than saying male or female, I just like that there’s no bullsh*t about the guy. So that makes him manly in a way, I think. Although, a woman can certainly be that way too and I’m not sure if that makes her manly.
CraveOnline: Would it be wrong to want to be like Hank? Is he so unhealthy?
David Duchovny: It’d be healthier if he was actually doing what he wants. I mean, he’s supposed to be a good writer and he says that he wants to write. So there’s something missing there.
CraveOnline: Are you going to the gym more since we’re seeing you naked every week?
David Duchovny: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’d like you to rephrase your question to be, “Obviously you’ve been to the gym a lot.” You know what, for the first time I started lifting a little weights. That’s it, but I always did something. Just something, sports, swimming, yoga, boxing or basketball. Not really a diet change. With the kids it’s hard because they leave the macaroni and cheese out. I learned early on in X-Files, don’t eat the M&M’s.
CraveOnline: The pilot starts so strong, how do you keep that up for the series?
David Duchovny: It’s hard. Sometimes, or what really should happen on a television show is that you get better at it because you start to figure out what the show is. In many ways it’s not that hard to make a great pilot. I mean, it is hard, but it’s less amazing to me than a great series. So now the hard work begins. I’m proud of the pilot and I’m happy that we made it the way it is and it’s close to what I thought it would be and now I just want to get better. That’s on the writers, it’s on the actors, it’s on all of us.
CraveOnline: And the directors?
David Duchovny: Yeah, and you have to find your core group of directors that are going to keep it in the same ballpark really. It’s a hard thing to do.
CraveOnline: Did you drive the car into traffic in the beginning?
David Duchovny: No, that was a stunt. It was a nice stunt. I was nowhere near that one.
CraveOnline: Was ashing out in holy water always in the script?
David Duchovny: Yeah. That was right there in the script. Tom comes from a Catholic background and he just loves to do that. Me being half Jewish and half Protestant I’m like whatever. If that really turns him on I’m like, “Okay. Ooh, it’s so profane. I’m so offended.”
CraveOnline: Was it your choice or was it in the script that you were laughing during both punches?
David Duchovny: That was a choice because that was one of these instances in this show where it’s such a fine line for us to try and make it what we want it to be, what I want it to be and it was a character insight. What I said to Tom as we’ve been shooting is that this guy’s response to chaos is laughter because that’s actually what he feels all the time and so when it actually turns out the way that he thinks it is it’s actually pretty funny to him. So rather than get outraged that I’ve been punched in the nose or horrified. I said to the director, “You need to stay on me because I need to laugh at this.” It became one of the best moments in the pilot and that’s something that we’re trying to continue. There’ll be scenes that we’re doing and I’ll say, “We need to show Hank laughing here, at the worst possible time.”
CraveOnline: Are Garry Shandling and Jonathan Katz going to be upset if you don’t give them a cameo on the show?
David Duchovny: I would love to have Garry on. It’s just figuring out a character that would be perfect for each other. I never met Jonathan Katz, we just did that in a sound booth. That’s a great show though.
CraveOnline: Have you seen the DVD segment of you playing basketball with Garry?
David Duchovny: I saw that cut together. I didn’t see the other interviews. It seemed okay. I loved that show and I love Garry. When I saw it, it seemed like I was maybe being too complimentary, but I actually do mean it. I think that Garry is not just a wonderful friend, but he created a great environment and that show, not only that show, but to my mind Sanders created HBO and then created comedy, the strain of comedy that I love that we have today. So I can’t really say enough about Garry and I think that people forget how innovative that show is and how smart and funny Garry is.
CraveOnline: Is there a project or role that you’ve passed on that you later wish you took?
David Duchovny: No, there are probably ones that I’ve almost gotten that I wish that I’d gotten, but ones that I passed on, no. And to be honest with you, I always think that it’s bad form to say that you were offered something and then someone else did it and made a huge hit out of it, and you’re saying, “Yeah, I could’ve even been better than that.”
CraveOnline: It seems like there’s always an X-Files script in the works. What’s different about this one?
David Duchovny: I’m actually supposed to see it next week. Before I would just say that because they told me, but now I’ve been talking to Chris [Carter] and he’s been giving me progress reports. He actually called yesterday and said, “Next week you should have something to read.”
CraveOnline: Is the plan still to be a standalone?
David Duchovny: It should be a one off. It should be.
CraveOnline: Is there a tentative schedule for shooting and releasing it?
David Duchovny: I think that it was November for a summer release.
CraveOnline: Are you looking forward to bringing Mulder back?
David Duchovny: Yeah, I am, because he’s cool and it’s a great show and I love playing the character, and I like the people.
CraveOnline: What does Mulder have in common with Hank?
David Duchovny: Well, as you say, I think that Hank might be in a little better shape. I guess that they both want to know the truth and they both speak the truth. I haven’t really thought of it that way, but I guess that they both speak their minds to their detriment.
CraveOnline: What sort of green things do you do for the environment?
David Duchovny: I poop in the backyard. Well, we recycle. We have solar energy. I drive an electric car. I wear disposable diapers. I don’t know. That’s a lot. We try to set an example. Unfortunately, you have to have the means to be green. That’s what has to change in this world. It should be cheaper to be green. I can afford to put solar energy in and I can afford to drive an electric car because I can also have a gas car if I need to drive more than eighty miles in a day. So that’s too bad.
CraveOnline: You’ve done a lot of indie films in the past few years. Is that just where the good parts have been, or is that what’s been the easiest to do?
David Duchovny: Both, kind of. I think that I started there and The X-Files was kind of a crazy mainstream success that I never expected and was wonderful and I think that my personal view always kind of fit more in the independent world and I just really like some of the parts that I was able to do. I love Trust The Man. I love Bart Fruendlick and I thought The TV Set with Jake Kasdan as writer/director was really good. So I’ve been really happy.
CraveOnline: Does Californication have an indie feel to it?
David Duchovny: Yeah. I feel like on this show I can do the kind of work that you want to do in an independent film, but I get to do it 11 weeks out of the year and pursue a character and a story through a much longer kind of genesis than you can in film. So, yes, exactly that and that’s where it came from. It originally was conceived that way. So it still has that flavor and yet it’s also a comedy. I think I said it out there, but that conjunction of things was really what hooked me into wanting to do that.
CraveOnline: Did you help out with some of the music?
David Duchovny: No, but I certainly have opinions on the music and Rocket Man, the cover of that which we used at the end of the pilot, that was a struggle because it was expensive. Showtime is great, but they don’t have bottomless pockets and to their credit they recognized that it was really kind of integral to the end of the pilot and to the feeling at the end of the pilot. They bought it. What I love about that is that it’s a comedy and yet it has these moments of like great kind of feeling and pathos and to me that’s what’s really interesting about pursuing the show through all of these episodes. It’s like, how are we going to do that and how are we going to balance the comedy and the insane life that this guy is living with real moments of feeling like that.
CraveOnline: Does having to talk about your work this much affect the way you look at it?
David Duchovny: No, because you kind of do it in these intense doses. It can tend to make you self-conscious because you go, “These things that I was doing unconsciously before I said that thing about myself. Is that the way that I work?” Then you go to work and you stink because you’re self-conscious. So, luckily I have tomorrow off and I’ll hopefully forget all the things that I was saying about the way that I work and these kinds of things.
CraveOnline: Is there something that you wish people were asking about this show that no one is asking yet? Is there a point that everyone is missing?
David Duchovny: No. I don’t think so. I think the only thing that concerns me sometimes is I wouldn’t want people to judge it superficially, morally in that way, that it’s a show about a drug addict or a show about a sex addict or a show about all of these tags that you try to put on it because they’re spectacular or they might make good copy or they might enrage someone. I think it’s a comedy. It’s a human comedy. It’s an adult comedy. It’s an adult doing adult things. It’s not an adult acting like a six year old which is what most comedies are like.
CraveOnline: Do you think that X-Files would’ve been different if it had been on Showtime?
David Duchovny: Well, Mulder and Scully probably would have had sex right away and then the show wouldn’t have lasted.
CraveOnline: What’s been the most difficult or most physically demanding role you’ve done?
David Duchovny: Probably this one because I have my shirt off and there is some physical comedy as it’s playing out in the series which I’m all for.
CraveOnline: Do you enjoy that?
David Duchovny: Very much, very much. That’s just like playing a game to me.