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David Duchovny on Californication

Published August 8, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of Showtime.
Californication Californication

After years of movie roles and waiting for another X Files entry, David Duchovny is back on series television. It's a Showtime series, the comedy Californication, in which he plays a struggling writer screwing up his life with sexual escapades and chemical indulgences. The actor was not specifically looking for a new series.

Duchovny Has a Sexual Feeling in Californication


"It was really the script that Tom Kapinos wrote and I was interested in the character and the idea," said Duchovny. "Stupidly, I never think that when you do a television pilot it means you might have to do a television show. I never think that way. I just thought this was a real interesting character and I liked Tom and I believed in him. Here I find myself doing it over and over which is a good thing. I just thought let's tackle this one thing. Let's tackle this now. Let's make a great half hour of this guy in this world."

The dry, deadpan performer was not even seeking out a comedy. "I wasn't necessarily looking for comedy. I was certainly open to it. What I loved about Tom's script and what I found out later was that Tom had originally written this as a film. But at his heart it was a drama that was going to play as a comedy. I thought that's exactly what I want to try to do. I didn't want to try to do an out and out kind of balls out physical crazy kind of comedy that might be in your multiplex today, but a kind of adult comedy from the '70s, almost like Blume in Love or Shampoo. So that's exactly what attracted me to the project and to Tom's vision of it."

The behavior of Duchovny's character reeks of midlife crisis, but there may be a bit more to it than that. "I had a lovely interview where the woman said I was too young to have a midlife crisis. So I think it's a crisis for sure. It's a life crisis. I don't know if it's the stereotypical midlife crisis but this is a guy who has lost his job and his family. I think my character has no fear of intimacy. I just think he's intimate with probably just about everybody. I think it's not a fear of intimacy."



Exploring such self-destructive behavior must be a blast for the happily married Duchovny. "For sure there's a freedom in that. That was one of the things that attracted me to want to play that role. There's a certain kind of reprehensible quality to the guy sometimes that I thought, well, this is really interesting to try to make this relatable or to make this guy somebody that you'd want to pull for even though he's not pulling for himself. So these were things I was dealing with when we were sitting down and trying to shoot the pilot and that kind of stuff. To me, that's the most interesting thing. It's a nice question, because it's the most interesting thing to me as an actor to play that part."

Since it airs on Showtime, Californication can also explore sexual situations with graphic nudity. "It's a show about an adult trying to function in an adult world. He had certain vices, certain abuses that he's following. Therefore, you see him smoking. You see him drinking. You see him drugging. You see him having sex. These are important things for the guy's state of mind and for the show. It's not done in a gratuitous fashion. It's part of the character."

Californication begins August 13th on Showtime.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Showtime.
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