David Letterman Interviewing David Duchovny

LETTERMAN: Our first guest tonight is the star of the hugely popular Television program, "The X-Files," and on Friday, a motion picture version of that very show opens in theatres nationwide. Please welcome the always entertaining, David Duchovny.

(Audience applauds)
(David Duchovny comes out wearing a blue suit with a seventies shirt)

LETTERMAN: Welcome back to the show.

DUCHOVNY: Itís nice to see you.

LETTERMAN: Itís pretty exciting for you.  Friday the big film opens up, and youíve got the summer right ahead of you.  It must be a nice feeling, huh?

DUCHOVNY: Well, yeah. Itís Ö I guess itís kind of unprecedented for a TV show to become a movie.

LETTERMAN: Well, we were talking about that this afternoon, and itís happened in a couple of cases, but I donít think it happens often certainly.

DUCHOVNY: Well, I think it happened with "The Beverly Hillbillies".

(Audience chuckles)

LETTERMAN: But that was after Ö they had gone off the air.

DUCHOVNY:  No, actuallyÖit happened while they were on the air.

LETTERMAN: Is that right?  I didnít know that.

DUCHOVNY: It happened with the "Munsters."

LETTERMAN: Mmm-hmm.  I didnít know that either. Well, was that after they went off the air?

DUCHOVNY: That was while they were on the air.

LETTERMAN: Wow. I know it happened with "Beavis and Butthead."

DUCHOVNY: Thatís true.

LETTERMAN: They had a film while they were still on the air.

(Audience chuckles)


LETTERMAN: But it doesnít happen often.

DUCHOVNY: Well, it doesnít happen often for a drama Ö



(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Now this is probably a dumb question, but youíve seen the show. 

(Audience chuckles) 

Does -- is it the same group of people that do the television show that do the film?  Is it the -- I mean, you see the same faces, you work with the same people?

DUCHOVNY: Pretty much the same, although the movie is a lot bigger. The movie is a movie.  I mean the explosiveness of the TV show is just Ö itís made rectangular, if you can imagine that.

LETTERMAN: Now, were you worried?

DUCHOVNY: But I just have to say in all honesty, itís the first time in my show business career, which goes backÖ with you spanning, I donít know how many, 40 years?

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Yeah, I would think so.  Sure, the Ď50ís, yeah.

DUCHOVNY: Back to the 50ís, where Iíve been involved in a project where itís turned out better than I thought it would.

LETTERMAN: Oh, thatís pretty good.

DUCHOVNY:  Iím honestly so pleased with this film, and I want you all to see it, because itísÖ itís great.

LETTERMAN: Well, you couldnít get a better endorsement than the guy who stars in the film.

(Cheers and applause)

DUCHOVNY: No, I Ö I would sell the movie even if it stunk Ö 

(Audience chuckles)

Öbut Iím selling it honestly right now.  Iím telling you that --

LETTERMAN: Iím going to believe you, is that all right?


LETTERMAN: I donít want to look like a fool later.  I believe you.

DUCHOVNY: It didnít look like you believed me.

LETTERMAN: No, I do believe you.

DUCHOVNY: I had to sell you.

LETTERMAN: Now were you worried in the beginning that "Oh itís a great television show, does that  necessarily mean it would be a great movie?"  Were you worried about it kind of living up to the big screen?

DUCHOVNY: Sure, sure.  You know, you have a success and you donít want to ruin it by having a worldwide failure.

(Audience chuckles)

LETTERMAN: Which did you prefer doing more, the TV show or the film? Itís the same, isnít it really?

DUCHOVNY: Itís very much the same for me as an actor.  Itís different for the technical people.  I would love it if it became a movie franchise and it would free me up to have my years off to do other things.

LETTERMAN: So you would rather do just like an occasional "X-Files" movie, and not necessarily the TV show.

DUCHOVNY: Thatís like saying, "Would you rather work two days a week or would you rather work seven days a week?"   (Pauses)  Well Ö

(Audience laughs) 

Ö Iíll have to get back to you on that. 

(Audience laughs) 

Iím not really sure.

LETTERMAN: Now, would the show continue without you? Would they get another "X-FilerĒ in there while you did the movie?

DUCHOVNY: (laughing) I donít know.  That would beÖ that would be embarrassing.

LETTERMAN: Have you talked this over?  Have you talked this over with the people?

DUCHOVNY: Yeah.  I mean, they all know my feelings.  They donít care.

(Audience applauds) 

Honestly, they donít.

LETTERMAN: This sounds like a story out of my life.

DUCHOVNY: Youíre involved in a huge money-making machine; your wishes donít count.

LETTERMAN: Donít count, no. But Iíll bet that if you left the show, the thing would just go to Hell, because, you know, after all, itís still Fox, for Godís sakes. 

(Audience chuckles) 

And theyíd better be taking care of you, my friend. Theyíd better. I hope you have representation. I hope theyíre taking care of you.

DUCHOVNY: Letís just say that this little clip of videotape will be used in my representation.

LETTERMAN: All right. Well, believe me, Iíll help if I can. I havenít been able to do any good for me, but Ö

DUCHOVNY: Iíll go to bat for you.

LETTERMAN: Now in the film, was it a lot of special effects, of not a lot of special effects?

DUCHOVNY: Thereís more special effects than we use in the TV show.

LETTERMAN: That makes it harder on the actor, doesnít it?

DUCHOVNY: It does. Itís more boring for an actor to work with green screens and things that arenít really there.  But we worked with bees.  If you watch the TV show, thereís a lot of Ö thereís occasionally bees on the show Ö

LETTERMAN: And these are actual --

DUCHOVNY: Actual bees.

LETTERMAN: Bzzz. Honey bees.

DUCHOVNY: I donít know. What youíll see in the movie are mostly computer generated bees, because apparently real bees donít look real Ö. enough.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: They donít photograph?  Actual bees donít photograph?

DUCHOVNY: Something happens to them, they just donít Ö they just donít bring -- come to life on the screen.

LETTERMAN: Invisible bees. But it must be difficult to work with real bees.

DUCHOVNY: There was thousands of actual bees during the filming, and, you know, theyíre not like trainable animals.


DUCHOVNY: You donít see like Stupid Bee Tricks.


DUCHOVNY: Theyíre like Ö theyíre like lions with wings, you know?  Itís dangerous.

LETTERMAN: Theyíre dangerous.  They sting you.

DUCHOVNY: Theyíre tiny little lions with wings. 

(Audience laughs) 

And uh Ö so weíre working with these, and they confused them by taking away the Queen.

LETTERMAN: Oh, that does something, because the queen is the leader for the swarm, is that right?

DUCHOVNY: Well, not so much the leader, but they will try to protect the Queen.


DUCHOVNY: So if thereís a Queen, they will be very aggressive and protective of human beings that are around her.  And so if they remove the Queen -- they put her in a nice trailer on the Fox lot.  (Laughter.)  She kicks up her little legs, you know.  She takes her fur off.  Theyíre bumblebees. So they become confused, and they donít attack quite so much.

LETTERMAN: Right, right.  Did you get stung?

DUCHOVNY:  No, I didnít get stung.  Gillian and I were running through, you know, five, ten, 15, 20 times, and finally at around 3:30, one of the producers, Dan Sackheim, came up to me and said, "Iím going to have to force you tomorrow," which means that I donít get my normal 12 hours off in between finishing work and coming back to work.  And I said, "Why? I like Ö you know, I like my time off."


DUCHOVNY: And he said, "Well, the bees have to wrap by 4:00."

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: See, this is wrong.  Something is desperately wrong.

DUCHOVNY: I Ö noÖ And I wish I was making this up.  I really do.

LETTERMAN: Bees, Bees are getting better treatment and first consideration over the star of the film.

DUCHOVNY: This was my response. I said, "The bees have to wrap by 4:00?"

LETTERMAN: Yeah, exactly.

DUCHOVNY: And they said, " Well, as the sun starts to go down, the bees start to get crankyĒ.


DUCHOVNY: "Queen or no."


DUCHOVNY: And I said  "You think those bees get cranky?"  (Audience laughs) So actually, what happened was in the end I changed representation. Now the beesí agent represents me.

(Laughter and applause.)

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Hereís how you handleÖ hereís how you ought to be handling those bees.  Something like this, justÖ

(Dave slaps the table with a paper)
(Audience laugh)

LETTERMAN: Ladies and Gentlemen, weíll be right back here with Mr. "X-Files" David Duchovny.


LETTERMAN: David Duchovny is here, Stevie Nicks.  I asked you during the commercial how long youíve been married.  And itís a year and a half or so? 14 months, something like that?

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, yeah.  14 months.

LETTERMAN: Itís working out pretty well for you?

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, it is.  Itís kind of in a groove, now which is nice.

LETTERMAN: What does that mean?  Everythingís easy? Everything comes Ö everythingís quite healthy?

DUCHOVNY: Well,  at first, itís just, you know, you get Ö everybody just wants to know whatís it like being married Ö


DUCHOVNY:  Öwhich is I guess what youíre asking right now.

LETTERMAN: Thatís what I was saying, yeah.

(Audience laughs)

DUCHOVNY: Yeah. But you know, and then eventually people start to accept the fact that you really are married and they stop asking that question.

LETTERMAN: Your wife is a well-known actress in a big blockbuster summer film.

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, she is.



LETTERMAN: Do the folks know who this is?

DUCHOVNY: Oh,  Tea Leoni, is my wife, yeah.

(Audience applaud)

LETTERMAN: Yeah.  She was in the, the "Deep Impact," whatever itís called.

DUCHOVNY: Yeah. Well, in Italian, itís "Impacto Profundo."

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Thatís lovely, isnít it? "Impacto ProfundoĒ.

(Audience laugh)

DUCHOVNY:  Isnít that better?  I just love that.

LETTERMAN: Thatís a huge film, a huge success, isnít it?

DUCHOVNY: Got a profound impact.


(Audience laughs)

And there is like, a little rivalry because now your summer blockbuster is coming out, and hers already, you know, made 130 and climbingÖ 130 million.


LETTERMAN: Is that cause Ö Thatís silly, though, to worry about stuff like that, isnít it?

DUCHOVNY: Yeah.  No, no, I mean, I think people got another spare eight bucks to spend on our movie, Iím hoping.

LETTERMAN: Mmm-hmm. Yeah.

DUCHOVNY: The one problem is that, you know, we come to New York and hang out with her in-laws a bit, andÖ.

LETTERMAN: Now you say a problem. You identified that as one problem.

DUCHOVNY: Well, Iím identifying it as a problem only because of what Iím going to do right now, which is Ö this is a hat that my mother-in-law has made.

(Pulls out this huge white floppy cloth hat with a black electrical tape X and what looks like a miniature beehive on the brim and puts it on his head)

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Oh, theyíre Amish.

(Audience laughs)

DUCHOVNY: Now Iíve made it the official "X-Files" hat.  I mean, thatís  so you can actually -- this was made by Emily, my mother-in-law, and you could -- itís a sun hat --that you can tell.

(Duchovny does a model pose)
(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Yeah, is it Ö 

(Audience laughs) 

And for your mother-in-law, is it a hobby or is it therapy?

(Audience chuckles)

DUCHOVNY: Sheís actually making these hats to sell.

(Dave laughs)

DUCHOVNY: And I think --

LETTERMAN: Itís a beauty. 

(Audience chuckles)

DUCHOVNY: Thank you. Would you like to try it on?

LETTERMAN: Oh, yeah. Iíll try it on, sure.  I hope it fits. (It is huge.) I hope I donít look ridiculous. 

(Audience laughs)

There you go.  And Iíll tell you, itís from the "X-Files" beekeeper edition. 

(Audience chuckles) 

Itís a collection of bee-keeping items. Well thatís very thoughtful, and it is Ö itís functional, absolutely functional, and you
got to --

DUCHOVNY: Well, you know it folds up.

LETTERMAN: Oh, I didnít realize you got to fold it upÖ.

DUCHOVNY: Fold it up. I donít know how to fold it up.

LETTERMAN: I donít want toÖ Does it fold up of -- does it wad up? Two completely different techniques there Ö

DUCHOVNY: I wouldnít know how to begin to answer that question.

LETTERMAN: Well, thatís sweet that theyíre thinking of you though.

DUCHOVNY: Isnít it?

LETTERMAN: Yeah. Letís show the folks a couple of seconds from the film.

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, yeah.

LETTERMAN: Do you know what weíre going to see here?

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, I think weíre not running from bees in this one, although we should have been.  Weíre running through cornfields in this one. Yeah, this is a little taste of the big action.

LETTERMAN: This is you and your co-star, Gillian AndersonÖ

DUCHOVNY: Gillian Anderson, right.

LETTERMAN: She was here a couple of weeks ago.


LETTERMAN: Sheís nice.

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, very nice.

LETTERMAN: Lovely woman.

DUCHOVNY: Lovely woman.

LETTERMAN: Is she married, that woman?

DUCHOVNY: No, sheís not.

LETTERMAN: Really? Attractive.

(Audience laughs)

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, I mean Ö you know, I can get her number for you if you want.


(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: It wouldnít kill you, would it?


(Audience chuckles)

LETTERMAN: Be a sport.

DUCHOVNY: I will. Iím sporting.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. All right. See what happens.

(Audience chuckles)

LETTERMAN: Be like calling that newspaper in Louisiana. 

(Audience laughs)

Doesnít seem to be working. What happened there? All right, so itís Ö here is David Duchovny in a field.  Itís a scene from theÖ

DUCHOVNY: Weíre being chased by the bad guys.

LETTERMAN: Here you go, "X-Files," opening Friday.


(Clip starts)

(MULDER and SCULLY being chased through the cornfield, longer than usual)
MULDER: Talk to me, Scully!!!

(Clip Ends)
(Audience applauds)

LETTERMAN: There you go, there you go. Wow. 

(Audience applauds) 

And that was shot in Bakersfield, California?

DUCHOVNY: Let me just say that, Iím very proud of my acting in that clip.

(Audience chuckles) 

I thought I ran well. 

(Audience laughs) 

I thought that --

LETTERMAN: You were doing some crouching. I thought that was first-class crouching.

DUCHOVNY: Thank you. I thought I crouched beautifully.

LETTERMAN: Yeah. It wasnít squatting; it was crouching.

DUCHOVNY: All I can say is that is not representative of the film in any way.

(Audience chuckles)

DUCHOVNY: Itís so hard to bring a clip that doesnít give away too much, but thatís just an idea that Ö itís bigger than the TV show.

LETTERMAN: What I like is itís reminiscent of that scene from "North by Northwest" Hitchcock film.

DUCHOVNY: Reminiscent is a kind word.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, and Ö. 

(Audience chuckles)

which was also shot I think, in the cornfields near Bakersfield.


LETTERMAN: In the same location.

DUCHOVNY: I didnít know that.

LETTERMAN: I think pretty much the same deal, yeah.

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, thatís very possible.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, yeah..


LETTERMAN: And are there other little things like that on the film?

DUCHOVNY: I... I think there are, but Iím so ignorant that I donít Ö

(Audience chuckles)

LETTERMAN: No, youíre not. Come on.

DUCHOVNY: I donít knowÖ

LETTERMAN: Come on, put the hat on.  Put the hat on!  Here we go.

(Duchovny puts on the hat again) 
(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. "X-Files," David Duchovny. Weíll be right back with Stevie Nicks.

(Audience applauds)

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June 16th 1998
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