David Duchovy on The X-Files: it’s romantic when a man & woman are equals

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have an long enjoyable joint interview over on Deadline. This is in the Awardsline section, so it must be part of the Emmy push for the X-Files reboot. Apparently the first round of voting closes June 27th, so please if we have any Emmy voters reading consider the new X-Files (and also Master of None and Bates Motel) on your ballots.

Ever since I heard David Duchovny promoting his new book on Fresh Air I’ve had a renewed appreciation of just how smart and insightful he is. He has a masters in English literature from Yale and his undergraduate degree is from Princeton. I’ve always found Gillian Anderson a joy to listen to as well, so it’s a treat for me to have this interview to report. The problem is that they both say so many interesting things that I don’t know what to cut. Reading the interview is like having a great meal. If you’re an X-Files fan like me I would recommend that you read the interview at the source, but here are my favorite parts. The good news is that the show is such a hit and that they’ve both expressed an interest in returning, so we’ll probably get more X-Files at some point. Anderson says that no one is is talks yet, though.

The second movie was a problem for them as they wanted to do three
Duchovny: But after the second movie opened against The Dark Knight, and it was kind of a doomed enterprise in that way, I think we assumed it was dead. As television rearranged itself over the last 10 years, the idea of a season changed from 24 episodes, to 6, 8, 10, 12, or whatever. It became apparent that we could exist there, at least temporarily.

Anderson: In my head, at least, was the fantasy of maybe doing three movies. I don’t know where that came from, but it was a shame the second was handled in the way it was. We knew we wanted to continue the conversation and try and trump that experience.

They both say that a shorter series arc allowed the show to come back
Duchovny:As television rearranged itself over the last 10 years, the idea of a season changed from 24 episodes, to 6, 8, 10, 12, or whatever. It became apparent that we could exist there, at least temporarily.

Anderson: But the idea of doing a small pack, and realizing that our series works best when we have an opportunity to show all the elements of it, which you can’t fit into a single feature, suddenly it could be allowed to be all those things it is at its very best.

On their gag on Kimmel about how technology has changed, and how that affects the show
Duchovny: I honestly think the writers’ time is best spent not even concerning itself with the kind of questions about how the show exists now, because I feel like every 10 years or so people like to run around proclaiming that the world has changed and technology has changed us. And the fact is: we’re still humans. Our human nature is exactly the same as it was 500 years ago, let alone five years ago. And that’s really what the show concerns itself with; human nature, and possibility and the freedom to wonder and wander.

On their chemistry on screen
Duchovny: What exists in the writing, as well, is that these two people are true partners and they complete one another intellectually and emotionally. I do think that’s very romantic, when you have a man and a woman treating each other as equals. And not just as equals, but as necessary components of one another. Without the other, they fall as people, as entities, as investigators. It’s highly romantic and yet not sexual, though there’s a lot of tension.

Anderson: They have a clear depth of caring about one another, and that’s what really gets people. They care about one another’s welfare, and so even if they’re at odds in their beliefs, their caring transcends that, through all nine seasons.

On how they had chemistry when they first met
Anderson: We didn’t know each other at all, but for some reason there was something in the room between the two of us that wasn’t there with others. To a degree, you can manufacture that as actors, and you have to most of the time, but for some reason there was something tangible and palpable that existed between us, right then.

On if we’ll get more X-Files
Anderson: I’m open to the conversation, though they haven’t come to us yet. I have no clue when they’re going to. I’m getting on with the rest of my life and I’m booking other jobs, so if it is indeed something that they would like to continue, then that conversation will need to be had. And I have no idea when that will be able to take place at this juncture.

[From Deadline]

I love how Anderson is very blunt and matter-of-fact about her busy schedule and the fact that she’s not waiting around for producers to come to her about doing more shows. She’s putting producers on notice, which she did before by revealing that she was initially offered half of what Duchovny was for the reboot. You know he’s the one who told her that, and that he has her back. Their rapport has always been palpable, which is so much of why the show works. I do think they had something more happening recently but so many of you have told me that’s wishful thinking on my part.

As for Duchovny’s thoughts on how technology should be written into the show in the future, I disagree that it shouldn’t be a consideration. The tech-heavy episodes in the original series were some of my favorites and I absolutely loved The Lone Gunmen.




photos credit: WENN and FameFlynet. Header image from Mark Mann for Awardsline

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25 Responses to “David Duchovy on The X-Files: it’s romantic when a man & woman are equals”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    I love these two, and the reboot…X-Files is all my teenager years, and I know it can sound crazy but when I saw the smoking man…still smoking… I was screaming…pure joy.

  2. Maria says:

    “And not just as equals, but as necessary components of one another. Without the other, they fall as people, as entities, as investigators. It’s highly romantic”

    what a terrible thing to say. how are they equal? in the sense that both cant do anything without the other? you can call that equality just like Liam Hemsworth and a box of stones are equals in acting talent but what he describes here is an awful look at “romance”. people are supposed to be individuals and stand on their own.
    you should never need someone, thats not love or romance.

    • Eleonor says:

      Agree with you, that’s a stereotipycal view of romanticism.

    • Crumpet says:

      I know it’s not a popular belief, but I subscribe to what he said. There is nothing wrong with being in a relationship that completes you. As much as I might disagree with my husband about things from time to time, we are true partners in a way I find difficult to elucidate except that we understand one another on a very deep level. He knows exactly what to say when I am missing my daughter so much I ache. It transcends the physical attraction that exists between us. I have stood on my own two feet for many years, and while it certainly can be done and some may prefer it, I find life a lot less stressful with my husband in the picture. I don’t think this is anti-feminist. Men are not the enemy, and there is nothing wrong with being in an emotional and physical partnership with one that makes your life better – makes YOU better, for it.

      • Tobbs says:

        I agree with this so much! While I can’t put it as eloquently as you did, I find it sad that so much of the feminist conversation these days revolve around denying any form of dependence on others. You can be strong and independent and still rely on others because you’ve chosen to, and you’ve found that it enriches your life just as anybody else can choose what they want based on their preferences in life. You cannot go from one narrow view about what women should want to another narrow view of what women should want and call it feminism.

      • Maria says:

        “I don’t think this is anti-feminist” it is though. as long as you are dependent on someone you will never be equal. thats the whole definition of those words.
        so many women focus their lives on relationships instead of their careers and thats one of the few things where its on women to change to achieve equality. a part of the gender wage gap comes from women taking too much time off from work or prioritizing family over their careers. (thats why childless women often earn more than men)

        you can live your life as you want to but your idea of life and love is dying out. most people, especially women have moved on from that. we dont need men anymore. we can earn money, own property and if you are straight you can find a guy to have sex with without any of the downsides or dealing with his problems.

      • RedOnTheHead says:

        Crumpet and Tobbs, well said. And beautifully put. There is no one size fits all of feminism. I’ve been around a long time and have always stood on my own two feet. I have taken sole care of myself most of my life and have never allowed a man, or anyone, tell me what to do or how to live my life. I married later in life and my husband has added an extra dimension to my life. It’s a partnership. The two are not mutually exclusive and never have been. Feminism is a state of mind and being and you set the boundaries and expectations for that yourself. Having, or not having, a partner is just another element to factor into your life as a feminist.

      • Noname says:

        @Maria…you can be dependent on your partner and still be a feminist as long as the relationship is equal. You both rely on each other equally, one partner is not shouldering the burden of the relationship.

        And I am pretty sure Crumpet did not mention anything about career and finances in her comment. She was talking about emotionally relying on her partner and if she wants to describe herself as a feminist, she can.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Happy for you! We have to remember that independence and interdependence are two different yet equally important aspects of being alive in the social world. I’d hate for healthy interdependence to be confused with unhealthy co-dependence. We’re social creatures, and we need each other.

      • Tobbs says:

        Maria, I think there has to be a distinction between being dependent on somebody financially, culturally and legally. In that sense, no of course it doesn’t have any place in feminism and in the world as a whole. But I didn’t read his comments like that though. I read it more to mean a dependence on each other as equal partners in the adventures of life, a dependence on the spiritual level. And I do find the notion that both people in the relationship are equally dependent on each other to be the best they can be, to be very romantic, and very different from the notion that a woman need a man to be complete. And I don’t think that notion of love is dying out. I don’t find that love has anything to do with the right to equal pay, equal rights in property owning and equality in exploring your sexuality. Love is about finding people that enriches your life, be it in a romantic relationship or a close friendship.

      • Crumpet says:

        Maria – I actually make much more money than my husband and am very happy in my career. My husband takes care of grocery shopping, bills, things around the house. He even tried to do my laundry until I put the Kibash on that! 🙂 Men seem to think that everything should we dried on ‘cotton’ I don’t know why.

      • A.Key says:

        Well said Crumpet!

        Btw I have to wonder what people think love is if they don’t want to depend on anyone? No wonder everyone breaks up these days.

        Love means being vulnerable and letting go of your pride and selfishness. You can’t have real love if you don’t want to admit that your world revolves and depends on someone else.

    • Mia4s says:

      There is a huge difference between real life and narrative fiction though. An X Files where the two of them were 100% independent and competent would be dull. “Efficient coworkers” does not create the tension to keep us watching for a decade. I’m a financially independent professional woman, who loves the movie the Princess Bride. There’s nothing wrong with fantasy as long as you recognize reality.

      • Maria says:

        but thats not what he says, he talks about romance not about shooting a tv show. obviously a show only works with characters who are different, two Mulders and two Scullys wouldnt work but thats not what he was talking about. you could also do an interesting show where there is no equality.

    • EOA says:

      I don’t understand your argument at all. You can argue whether or not co-dependency is “romantic.” But he is arguing that Mulder and Scully’s co-dependency is romantic because it is an equal co-dependency. He isn’t saying that Scully should have given everything up for Mulder, and that’s what makes them romantic.

      Again, your objection isn’t on the equality part, and that’s fine. But he is specifically making a point about their equality as partners.

    • A.Key says:

      It means that they equally need each other, why is that a bad thing?

      As far as I’m concerned true love is about putting someone else first, and if both people need each other that much and always put each other first then that’s the real deal.

      Equal means equally vulnerable and equally open to each other’s faults. No one is perfect or better than anyone else and we weren’t meant to be alone.

      Also folks who are soooo independent and above and beyond anyone else are just full of it. Sure stay alone then, never depending on anyone and never admitting that maybe the world doesn’t revolve around you.

  3. alice says:

    I hate when actors keep milking a product that has already past its time. X Files was a fine show but enough already. Of course unoriginal and greedy producers and networks would keep doing reboots and sequels and prequels and stuff: for them is about money, business. But an artist should know when to stop. Specially after, like in Anderson’s and Duchovny’s case they’ve both been itching about how tired they are of being known for that show and those characters.

    • Dorothy#1 says:

      Agree to disagree 🙂

    • EOA says:

      A). X-Files is not “past its time.” I very much enjoyed the revival. (Yes, some of the episodes weren’t great, but some of them were, just like any other tv show).

      B). The producers have made it clear it wasn’t about the money.

      C). The actors and the producers all feel as if there is more to say about the characters, and I happen to agree with them.

      I am glad we got more episodes, and I am looking forward to even more. There really is nothing better than Mulder and Scully, in my opinion.

  4. Dorothy#1 says:

    LOVE them. More x-files please 🙂

  5. Melody says:

    Reminds me of a Greek saying I was told:

    Dumb man + Smart woman = marriage
    Smart man + Dumb woman = affair
    Dumb man + Dumb woman = babies
    Smart man + Smart woman = romance

  6. Boo says:

    What stood out for me on this was that his ex-wife and mother of his kids, Tea Leoni, has a tv show Madame Secretary which features exactly the kind of marriage/partnership he’s talking about here. When I remember bits I knew of him with Tea, it always struck me that the problems were coming from his end, not so much hers, as least not as much as his.

    Anyway, happy Tea has found love again…with her costar! Much like these two in this article, even if they’re not acting on it in a romantic sense. Interesting and kind of awe inspiring to see how life works out sometimes.

  7. Dee Kay says:

    I only liked about 2 of the 6 (I think?) episodes of the latest X-Files season but I still loved the chemistry of the two leads. Even better than more X-Files episodes would be casting them together in something entirely new, as different characters. They’d still have mad chemistry, I predict, and I wouldn’t have to watch a beloved 90s series get painfully bad.

  8. A.Key says:

    All they have to do now is fire Chris Carter who manages to ruin every script he lays his hands on. He single-handedly managed to eff up the last 3 seasons beyond belief.
    Bring back the folks who wrote those monster-of-the-week masterpieces and you’d be going somewhere. At this point it’s mainly the chemistry of those two that’s making it watchable. That and a lot of love, nostalgia and denial.
    But sure, if Mulder and Scully are in it, I’ll watch it. Anderson and Duchovny should somehow insure the on-screen connection that they have, the way celebrities insure their body parts. It is really so rare and magnetic.