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From 'X-Files' to just plain X

August 19, 2007|Choire Sicha | Special to The Times

DAVID DUCHOVNY began his TV career playing Agent Dennis/Denise Bryson on "Twin Peaks." He went on to star in "The X-Files" -- and, yes, he is on board for an "X-Files" movie sequel. He currently stars in Showtime's "Californication" and is married to actress Téa Leoni.

You're back on the TV!

Yeah, it's a little different. Cable television has changed everything. For the better, I think. You can have access to all the glories of the English language that you might want.

What's it mean for a show when the star is also an executive producer?

Well, I want to be aware of what's going on on set. I take it as my responsibility that the actors are being treated well, the crew is being treated well. Hopefully I show up prepared and professional, and everyone takes their cue from that. I take that responsibility seriously.

There's a lot of room for abuse in this system.

I might try that after lunch.

Every time one talks to an actor or a producer, it's always, "Oh, everyone gets along so well, we're all so happy." We never hear about sets in discord.

Many of them are. They are hastily thrown together families that have to spend a lot of time together. If the parents are [messed] up, it's a good chance the children will be too.

Has enough time passed that you can tell the truth about the "X-Files" set?

For a show that ran nine years, it was remarkably very highly functioning. A slick, well-oiled machine. There were spats, as there would be -- but the proof is in the pudding there. There was nine years of a high-quality show, and you can't get that with too much bad [stuff] happening. It's just too ambitious a show. And much of that came from Chris Carter, who stayed with the show the whole time -- it's rare a creator would stay that long. We had continuity.

Meanwhile, you did some video game voicing. How does that work? Do they put you in a box and make you say 40 phrases and utter 20 different grunts?

Yeah, that's pretty much it. I haven't done it in a couple years -- you get a long script and there's so many permutations you gotta cover with lines of dialogue. I don't even play them!

You live in Malibu, the very end of the world.

I love being able to see the end of the world, wherever I am. I always like being on a body of water, even if it's a big puddle -- I just feel good when I'm seeing nothing. I always look at the ocean and know it's going a lot longer than me and it doesn't give a [darn] about what I or anyone else thinks. I wish I could surf.

Why can't you?

I have surfed a little. I used to live right over a surfing beach, and I could just go out there. But now I'd have to put it in a car. I guess I don't love surfing that much. The water's kinda cold.

You were something of an early revolutionary in the Just Slightly Odd Famous Baby Names Wars. It was last century when you named your first Madelaine West.

Yeah, it's a good name. I like my kids' names. My wife, Téa, who's really early in the strange baby names, her name is beautiful. And that's her middle name. She always knew if she had a daughter she wanted to name her West; that's a family name. My son's middle name is Miller, that's what we call him.

It's no Apple.

His first name is Kyd. I hope he calls himself that one day, but it's his choice. He can be a cowboy or a boxer.

Is that after Elizabethan dramatist Thomas Kyd?

Yes, it is. I knew we were gonna call him Miller. A week before we were nowhere on the name, and I was reading, and I thought that was a cool name. He was a real romantic figure.

Your lunch break is almost over, so you should go shoot. But one more thing: Is "The Rapture" one of your favorite movies?

Yes! A show like "Californication" is trying to plow the same field. Sex, religion, literature -- a movie that can hold the end of the Christian world and a threesome in a furniture store all in the same place. Michael Tolkin is a great writer. He's the real deal.

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