The X-Files: I Want To Believe didn't do blockbuster box office, but star David Duchovny still wants to revisit the role of former FBI agent Fox Mulder, whom he refers to as "mine."
He adds that he wants to believe that The X-Files could live on in a spinoff TV series. The movie—the second based on the long-running Fox TV series—is out now on DVD, and it is hoped it finds the audience that eluded it in movie theaters over the summer. That includes Duchovny himself, who confessed that he never saw the film on a big screen. "It's not a special-effects movie," he says.
"It kind of was coming out in a time when you expected it to be--in the summer. To me, it was more a fall movie." Duchovny adds: "It's a beautiful-looking movie. The location, the glow of the snow and the eeriness of that part of it, I think that looks great on the big screen. Everything looks better on the big screen, but I think that, yeah, it's less of a popcorn movie than it is a fall movie, ... for lack of a better term."
Duchovny, who is undeniably an SF icon, says that he's not looking for any more fantastical roles. "I don't feel a need to score in any sci-fi movie or television show for the rest of my life," he says. "I think that we can check that one off for me. But I don't choose genres. I choose characters, so I would never rule out a science fiction movie just because it was the genre. If it had a character or a story that I thought was really interesting, I would do it."
As for The X-Files, Duchovny says, "I never thought of The X-Files as science fiction. I always thought of it as playing this character in this world. The world was recognizable to me. It wasn't The Jetsons. It was present time. You couldn't fly. You couldn't transport our bodies over a teleport and all that stuff, so it was the real world, and it didn't feel like sci-fi to me." Following is an edited version of the rest of SCI FI Wire's interview with Duchovny.
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Do you suppose that the Fox Mulder character could somehow endure along the lines of a Sherlock Holmes or a James Bond? Do you think that other actors could play him, and how would you like to see him go in the future?
Duchovny: I'm sure that someone else could play him, but I'd like to play him for a little while longer. I certainly think it's a pretty good idea to try to make another X-Files-oriented show on television. I wouldn't be an actor in it, but I've always thought it was a great plan. But I would like to continue on as a movie serial. As far as what actors ... I'm not ready to go out to pasture just yet.
What is it about Mulder that keeps you coming back?
Duchovny: He's mine. I feel protective of him and of it and of all of us. It was the first real, real success of my career and will always be a cornerstone of my life in many ways, the creative endeavor it is. I feel protective of the character and of the show in many ways, and I'm proud of it. I think that it can expand and grow, and .. I find that we have bonds. I guess Indiana Jones gets aged, but it remains the same movie even though he's aging. Bond doesn't age, and I find that a little less interesting, at least for me. I'm not just saying this because I would like to keep doing it, but I always talk to [X-Files creator] Chris [Carter] about how fascinating today it would be to take this guy from his early 30s and let's take him into his mid-50s, late 50s. Maybe nobody wants to see 60-year-old Fox Mulder, but we can grow him. We can take him through life's hardships and changes. It doesn't have to be this cartoon where nothing changes. You can actually form the flow of this movie and the expanse of this show to embrace actual passage of time and what that does to a person and relationships. To me, that's interesting as an actor and as a person. As an intellectually based character, you don't give a damn what he looks like.
Since The X-Files: I Want to Believe may not have been the huge blockbuster that everyone was hoping for, we'd like to know: What is your own measure of success for the movie?
Duchovny: I guess it's always the first time I see the movie. What's my feeling when I come out? I always felt like the subject matter of this particular movie was limiting. It was dark, and it wasn't going. I mean, it could always bust out and become something huge, but as you recall, Batman was just suffocating everything at the time. Even so, it was also a $29.9 million movie competing during the summer. It had some stuff going against it in terms of me thinking it was going to break out. I didn't think that it actually would.
It was very dark. The subject matter was limiting in that way. Even though I would hope any movie I do would do the best business it can, that was never going to be a measure of this particular film. I've only seen it one time, and I was sitting in Chris' editing room. I watched it on a little screen. I guess I missed the chance to see it on the big screen, and that's too bad, but when I left that initial screening at Chris' house, the film was pretty much almost done except for some special effects. I just felt like it was really strong and kind of a strangely moving piece of work. Still dark, and still, I thought, limited, but the way that the movie performed did not surprise me so much, and I think that if we do get a chance to do another one ... what I always really liked about the show was that it had a dark vision, but at the heart of it being driven by Mulder was this real optimism or wonder or sense of belief, and then it would kind of open out. Most of the best shows that we did would open out into real wonder at the end, if only because you didn't have an answer, which was the mystery of it, but the wonder.
Mulder's quest, to me, is a very positive one. If we get a chance to do another one, I think because in this movie Mulder kept getting reinvigorated, Mulder was in a down place for much of this film; he wasn't driving the way he drives, the way he drove everything before that. In a way, the nature of how we had to get back into the show, which was to take the guy out of his job, also deprived the movie of some optimism and wonder and enlightenment that occurs when you've got this unhinged guy trying to prove wonderful crazy things.