Surprise! David Duchovny is returning as Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files: I Want to Believe, the second film spin-off of the FBI-meets-aliens TV hit. Maddeningly, that "no, duh!" information seems to be the only tidbit the deadpan 47-year-old—or anyone else—will reveal about the movie, whose "secret" has somehow yet to surface on the Internet. Duchovny, a native New Yorker who is married to actor Ta Leoni, is less tight-lipped about his Golden Globe--garnering role as a horndog novelist on Showtime's Californication (which he also executive-produces), returning for its second season on September 22.
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Time Out New York: I hear you're moving back to New York with your family this fall. How long has it been since you last lived here?
David Duchovny: Over 20 years. Has it changed?
TONY: Not at all. Especially not the East Village, where you grew up.
David Duchovny: [Laughs] Yeah, it's very different. But the East Village was always struggling to have an identity. I think it always will.
TONY: Does this mean the title of Californication will be changing to Newyornication?
David Duchovny: No, but I never liked the title anyway, because I didn't want the focus to be on sex. I thought fornication kind of did that. So I tried for a long time but couldn't come up with a better title.
TONY: What about Pecs and the City?
David Duchovny: There is a bunch of sex in it, yeah, but the sex part is really a marketing notion. Because you can't say, "Hey, watch this show because it's intelligent and it's funny in a way that you haven't seen in a while." Early on it was apparent to me that they were going to hang it on tits and ass even though that's never what the show was to me. But whatever. Come for the tits, stay for the dialogue.
TONY: On behalf of male writers everywhere, I want to thank you for making us look like total studs.
David Duchovny: I guess that is every writer's fantasy. Once upon a time, though, people were turned on by the written word. Has that time passed?
TONY: Well, I'll bet you got pretty hot when you read the script for the big Mulder and Scully sex scene in the new movie.
David Duchovny: Somehow I don't think that'll happen.
TONY: Dang. You're not going to reveal anything about the X-Files movie, are you?
David Duchovny: Well, we've done a good job of keeping it quiet so far, so I don't think I should ruin it now.
TONY: I strongly disagree.
David Duchovny: The idea behind that is that the kernel at the heart of the movie is surprising if you don't know it.
TONY: Surprising like The Crying Game?
David Duchovny: Yes. Mulder's a woman. Oh shit—it slipped out! No, not like that so much. More conceptual. And a concept that I think is fun to discover in the theater rather than going in knowing, Oh, that's what this is about.
TONY: The big secret revolves around the Lost City of Monkeys, doesn't it?
David Duchovny: The Lost City of Monkeys? No. We're going to get to that in the next one. Or maybe in the fourth. If you want to flesh that story out, I'm all ears.
TONY: Okay, I'll have my people send it to your people. Before filming, did you go back and watch old episodes?
David Duchovny: I will catch one here and there and call [creator] Chris Carter the next day to say, "That sucked," or, "That was great." I actually just e-mailed him because I happened to catch the first few episodes. I was just terrible, and the show was cheesy and cheap. So I e-mailed Chris and said, "Thanks for giving me the opportunity to get better."
TONY: What do you want to believe in?
David Duchovny: At the risk of sounding like Obama: change.
TONY: I want to believe in free nachos for everyone.
David Duchovny: No, you already believe in that. That's just something you want.
TONY: So true. When referring to hard-core X-Files fans, which of the following words do you use: nerds, dorks or geeks?
David Duchovny: I refer to them as old friends.
TONY: Very political, Mr. Duchovny. Maybe you are the next Obama.
David Duchovny: I want to believe.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe opens July 25.