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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, June 8, 2001

Movie Scene
Duchovny tries out big-screen comedy

By Jack Garner
Gannett News Service

David Duchovny, having cut ties with TV's "The X-Files," is starring in the new feature film "Evolution," a sci-fi comedy.
With his eight-year run on "The X-Files" at its end, David Duchovny wanted a major change of pace. So he was thrilled to be asked by Ivan Reitman to star in the director's new comedy, "Evolution."

"I wanted to work with him, and he wanted to work with me. What's better than that?" Duchovny asks.

And what better way to distance yourself from a sci-fi TV drama than to jump into a big-screen comedy?

But then "I took the script home, and wanted to kill myself when I saw that 'Evolution' was about aliens," the actor says. Duchovny was so passionate about escaping space invaders that he almost didn't do the picture.

"I told Ivan about my hesitation, because I was trying to break away from 'The X-Files,' and he said, 'Why do you want to do it?' "

That's when the 40-year-old actor realized he was searching for a project that called for a different kind of acting, a different sort of energy than he demonstrated on "The X-Files."

"That's what Ivan has in his movies," Duchovny says. So the actor decided he would do an alien film because it's a comedy. "So I wasn't looking to skewer my old show; it was just an outrageous coincidence."

However, Duchovny and Reitman both recognized the shadow of "The X-Files" when Duchovny's character in "Evolution" says a line about not trusting the government. The audience laughs.

"Ivan said he didn't realize it was a funny line," Duchovny says. "Turns out, he never saw 'The X-Files.' "

Duchovny says he got what he wanted out of "Evolution" — the chance to expand beyond the tight-to-the-vest, low-key portrayal of Agent Mulder.

In "Evolution," Duchovny plays a community college professor who saves the day after he discovers evolving aliens.

"I told Ivan to push me till I'm fake, and then leave the fake stuff out of the movie. Ivan was great that way."

A native New Yorker, Duchovny holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton, a master's in literature from Yale, and is only a dissertation short of a Ph.D.

He initially explored acting to help his writing.

"I was interested in play-writing, so I thought I should learn something about acting. It was a mode of expression that was foreign to me.

"I had been in rigorous schools, developing my intellect, but not my 'emotional intellect.' This was an area I had left unexplored. So, acting became a human quest for me."

Duchovny's first break was a brief but memorable role as a transvestite drugs agent on David Lynch's "Twin Peaks." He also served four seasons as narrator on "Red Shoes Diary."

But "The X-Files," which first aired in 1993, made Duchovny a household name. A spooky drama about aliens, government cover-ups and rampant paranoia, it became a sensation.

But after eight years, Duchovny knew he needed a change from the show. "So it's over, and I have all the feelings you'd expect. I'll miss everything about it. But I'm sure it's time to move on. I don't have regrets, just nostalgic feelings."

Don't look for a Mulder reappearance in occasional cameos next season. "I'm gone. I feel cheated when people cameo it up like that. It's usually just a ratings ploy."

Duchovny says he's looking to keep acting, in a variety of things, and also wants to crank up his writing-directing career. (He says directing two "X-Files" episodes gave him "some of the most blissful times I've had.")

He also looks forward to spending more time with his wife, actress Tea Leoni, and their 2-year-old daughter.

"I'm just looking to do as many different things as possible," he says. "I want the challenges, but I won't know what they are until they smack me."