The X-Files Is Back but David Duchovny Wants to Read the Third Movie Script

The actor who played Agent Mulder returns to his role in a new six-episode series, premiering this weekend.

by | January 23, 2016 | Comments


(Photo by Angela Weiss / Getty Images)


The X-Files returns to Fox this week in a six-episode event series. Fans have been waiting 14 years to see Scully and Mulder again and only had one movie sequel, The X-Files: I Want To Believe to tide them over. The cast and creator Chris Carter met with the Television Critics Association to introduce the new series, where Carter revealed he actually wrote a third movie script and scrapped it to conceive this six-episode series instead.

Rotten Tomatoes joined a group of reporters speaking to David Duchovny about his return to the role that made him famous, FBI agent Fox Mulder. When we pick up with Mulder, an internet conspiracy theorist (Joel McHale) convinces him to resume his pursuit of the truth. While back on the FBI payroll, Mulder and Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigate some other new cases too, including a were-monster.

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Has it been fun to play Mulder as the skeptical one in a role reversal?

David Duchovny: It’s difficult because Mulder was always the engine of the show, was the guy putting his foot on the gas. It was more familiar to me once Mulder got reinvested in The X-Files after the first episode.

Rotten Tomatoes: Even in the third episode, for comedic purposes, he’s like, “This can’t be a monster.”

Duchovny: That’s a Darren Morgan episode. In these six — and it’s a very interesting thing because we always did it on the show — it was really like doing a different show almost from week to week on The X-Files even back in the day. It’s very tricky as an actor to try to find the right tone all the time on this particular show. A thriller, a horror, a mystery, a quest, a comedy. You’re right to point that out. I was skeptical; I’m skeptical in the first episode and I’m playing it again in a comedic way. Think about it as a gift to the actors and a real challenge to try to play it in different keys.

Q: Do you look forward to playing Mulder more and more, revisiting him again?

Duchovny: When I left the show and when we ended the show, the idea that I was talking about with Chris was to come back and do movies. We did the second one in 2008 and there just didn’t seem to be an appetite at Fox for the movie anymore, which surprises me, because we’re a homegrown property. It’s not some crappy comic book that you’re going to dig up and breathe life into. I’ve never understood. I think there’s probably more money in television, for them. That’s probably why they want to do it. When television reinvented itself in terms of its seasonal quality and the amount of episodes it demands, it became obvious to all of us that we could come back and do it in a way that would suit us at this point in our lives. As much as I would’ve wanted to get away from Mulder at a certain point, I always hoped and knew that if there was a demand we’d be able to come back and revisit from time to time. This would be now.

Rotten Tomatoes: Did you ever read Chris’s third movie script?

Duchovny: No, that’s the first I heard of it. I’m going to ask him for that later.

Q: What do your kids think of this? Have they seen The X-Files?

Duchovny: They’ve seen some. My son has seen more than my daughter. They’re excited about it coming on. They’re very excited about it coming on. I’m kind of happy. The last very visible thing I would’ve done is Californication. There’s no way they’re going to watch that. So I’m happy that they’re going to get a chance to see this. Although, they watched Aquarius, but this is more up their alley.


Q: Could you ever see somebody else playing Mulder?

Duchovny: My role? No, I don’t know how you could.

Q: Would you ever want to go back to The X-Files as a series?

Duchovny: Not a full series, no. Not every year. I think we could do more than six. We could do eight or 10. It depends on how it does. It depends on if people really want to see it. I feel like they do. I feel like it’s going to do really well so I imagine I would bet that we would come back and do another iteration. I’m not sure how many but it’ll never be 22 or 24 episodes. We’re just too old to work that hard.

Rotten Tomatoes: Did you ever think you’d see the day when conspiracy theorists like Mulder were so prolific and had so many forums to express their views?

Duchovny: That sounds like a nightmare. Is that happening? That is kind of the world we live in, isn’t it? It has its good points and its bad points, I guess. There’s so much information available, and there’s not a real vetting process of what’s true and what’s false. I’m much more old school, pre-Google. We had an encyclopedia in my house.  That’s kind of where I got my information. I think I still live in that world.

Q: What was it like going to the cemetery with headstones for Kim Manners and Jack Hardy?

Duchovny: I knew Kim very well. Jack less so. Kim is a part of the show and he’s missed. He’s missed as a person and obviously as a director on the show. It was probably Darren. It might’ve been Chris but it was probably Darin Morgan because it was his episode. It’s sad but sweet as well.

Q: Do you prefer standalone episodes to mythology episodes?

Duchovny: I don’t say I enjoy one more than the other. They have different challenges. It’s just that’s what keeps the show fresh for an actor. It’s a cop show. It’s an FBI show, but it’s not really a procedural in that way. Procedurals can get pretty dull for the actors. Aside from having an interesting relationship to play within the procedural, there’s also, as I said, these changes of tone, these changes of subject matter. The frame of the show itself is incredibly flexible. I can’t think of any other show that had the same actors in it. You’ve got something like The Twilight Zone, that’s different actors. When you think about it, it’s very challenging and interesting to an actor to have to go in and do one of Chris’s episodes and then turn around and do one of Darren’s episodes. I think because it’s natural to us, just because we’ve been doing it for so long, it seems de rigueur, but it’s quite crazy when you think about it, and scary. I would be in middle of a Darren episode and somebody described it as a sitcom. It’s like, “Holy s–t, what are we doing? Is this really working?” We don’t know. It’s a little trippy.


Q: After all these years, when did this new series become real for you?

Duchovny: Just right now. Just this moment. I think when I received the first script, you know, obviously I knew I was going to do it.  We were signed to do it at that point.  But the work or the kind of imaginative reality of it, which is always, to me, the only reality of it.  Probably when I got that first script and started to think about, “How are we going to do this?  What do we do?  What do we do now?”

Q: Did you have to be convinced to come back?

Duchovny: Well, for me, the experience of doing The X-Files, obviously from the beginning, I had no say in what was going on. It was  one of my first jobs, and I was just happy to be working and happy that the scripts were interesting and good. But later on, I had more interest in writing or in adjusting sometimes with the scripts. But the trust that I have in Chris as the runner of the show, as the creator of the show, as the conceiver of the show, is complete. I don’t question Chris. If he says he’s got an idea and it’s going to work, six, eight, ten episodes, whatever, Chris is a serious person and an artist.  If he says he’s got a way to make it work, I trust that.

Q: Did you discover anything new about Gillian working with her this time?

Duchovny: I think being able to have that history and to let it play in a scene. I think at this point, having known each other and worked together so much for over 20 years, we’ve gone beyond chemistry into history, which is a really cool thing to play as well, because you don’t have to play either. Well, if you don’t have chemistry, you’ve got to figure out a way to make it happen, but if you have history, we’ve all seen movies and television shows where you see a mother and daughter or father and son and you’re like , “There’s no way. It doesn’t feel right. There no history. It doesn’t feel like history.”  Gillian and I actually have history, so we don’t have to play it.

Season ten of The X-Files premieres on Sunday, January 24 on FOX after football. Read reviews here.

  • Crockett

    Hope to buy it all on DVD when it’s released!

    • Gregg Cerenzio

      You can grab the Season Pass on ITUNES for $15. Well worth it! 🙂

Tag Cloud

SDCC Apple TV Plus cinemax Thanksgiving YA stand-up comedy Trailer blockbuster cults Binge Guide Country venice Mary Poppins Returns Sundance talk show Certified Fresh Mystery Sneak Peek Summer 007 Baby Yoda anthology Nominations Elton John revenge Hulu Watching Series Lionsgate 4/20 crossover directors tv talk reboot archives Writers Guild of America MTV Hallmark harry potter based on movie cops San Diego Comic-Con BAFTA batman adventure 24 frames comiccon Sci-Fi werewolf best singing competition canceled Disney streaming service Disney+ Disney Plus Warner Bros. scary movies Amazon Studios Cannes discovery Turner Classic Movies Animation Britbox Showtime worst Acorn TV YouTube Red El Rey Paramount Network Pop Film golden globes Academy Awards cancelled TV series WGN Classic Film documentary all-time parents cartoon 71st Emmy Awards mutant Captain marvel Rocky Comics on TV Oscars award winner CNN Fox News versus stoner game of thrones australia DC streaming service sag awards aliens 2020 The CW Mindy Kaling Pet Sematary 2019 ITV Marathons Comedy foreign A&E Kids & Family halloween tv Ovation ID Lifetime LGBTQ french National Geographic Nat Geo cars Family stop motion NBC asian-american 72 Emmy Awards renewed TV shows dogs Logo nature psycho PaleyFest slashers spy thriller video on demand Syfy DGA Fox Searchlight PlayStation movie hollywood spider-man GLAAD nbcuniversal VOD a nightmare on elm street jamie lee curtis ESPN BBC America child's play transformers ABC spanish name the review Vudu Sony Pictures Trivia ratings comedies Emmy Nominations streaming disaster Black Mirror FOX TIFF Schedule TNT The Academy richard e. Grant strong female leads See It Skip It Super Bowl blaxploitation TCA spain Extras Valentine's Day theme song Arrowverse italian police drama Fall TV animated Red Carpet Spectrum Originals period drama series deadpool Lifetime Christmas movies concert cancelled BBC cancelled television chucky CMT USA dragons superhero scorecard TCM Song of Ice and Fire screen actors guild Television Academy festivals Pixar BET Action Crackle Infographic zombies Rocketman comic elevated horror facebook RT History 2015 franchise GoT FX on Hulu Starz book social media Western A24 TV cooking Pop TV Calendar Countdown Mudbound serial killer films American Society of Cinematographers black Brie Larson TV renewals LGBT Election rotten IFC Films crime Universal reviews HBO Go Reality Competition SundanceTV Netflix Christmas movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt HBO Max Winter TV WarnerMedia Grammys diversity FX japanese Star Wars historical drama Stephen King independent nfl Shudder south america CBS All Access OneApp Sundance Now Film Festival sequels Cosplay boxoffice Ghostbusters Crunchyroll christmas movies cats E! Black History Month Emmys USA Network crime thriller OWN thriller Photos Apple 2017 Reality YouTube Premium Marvel Television Anna Paquin E3 miniseries The Arrangement 21st Century Fox Rom-Com what to watch Funimation MCU canceled TV shows news Box Office Lucasfilm Amazon comic books DirecTV Tubi unscripted Marvel Heroines medical drama CBS rt archives dramedy finale hist documentaries Interview DC Universe DC Comics IFC BET Awards anime TBS Netflix latino children's TV screenings Paramount teaser VICE Masterpiece TLC Musicals Winners MSNBC Disney Channel Pride Month Columbia Pictures Spike Creative Arts Emmys Tumblr television Toys Awards festival Comedy Central Music political drama Spring TV APB toy story ABC Family romance TCA Awards mockumentary Martial Arts game show Musical X-Men psychological thriller ghosts Discovery Channel casting TCA 2017 Star Trek 20th Century Fox comics Trophy Talk spanish language cancelled TV shows Avengers quibi 2016 Chernobyl Rock fast and furious obituary Holiday Food Network New York Comic Con AMC Horror Adult Swim technology The Walking Dead zombie Awards Tour Peacock Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spinoff First Reviews die hard Amazon Prime video Freeform 99% Comic Book Women's History Month Opinion Cartoon Network universal monsters Biopics twilight Set visit Teen Quiz satire Tarantino Travel Channel Television Critics Association Pirates Amazon Prime Video green book HBO BBC One Nickelodeon critics VH1 mission: impossible TCA Winter 2020 james bond The Witch Ellie Kemper Epix Character Guide First Look robots Tomatazos Mary Tyler Moore Year in Review Turner TruTV History The Purge Video Games halloween toronto science fiction Hallmark Christmas movies Dark Horse Comics biography indie supernatural doctor who Christmas true crime Sundance TV romantic comedy travel CW Seed Hear Us Out laika sitcom war rotten movies we love indiana jones joker emmy awards Marvel Studios zero dark thirty free movies criterion Premiere Dates composers Drama FXX breaking bad witnail vampires Polls and Games kids dark Walt Disney Pictures Superheroe Best and Worst President justice league natural history football binge Bravo Fantasy RT21 Shondaland Endgame sports sequel crime drama space GIFs PBS Superheroes TV Land dc Apple TV+ Esquire Mary poppins adaptation worst movies 2018 Disney NYCC remakes Podcast movies Holidays Disney Plus SXSW hispanic 45 politics docudrama dceu classics YouTube