David Duchovny and his Californication castmates gave the Winter TCA some great quotes today, but Duchovny also took a minute to chat about the Showtime series with some reporters. He talked about how he keeps Hank Moody interesting, the heart of the show, and joked about adding in his own bits to episodes.
How do you keep it interesting when you play the same character for years?
David Duchovny: In a way you keep discovering the character. You just kind of remain open to wherever the new storylines are taking you. I'm lucky enough to have really good actors to play along with, not just people who are there every year like Evan and Natasha (McElhone) and Pam (Adlon) and Madeleine (Martin), but people like Carla (Gugino), people like Rob (Lowe), or Kathleen Turner. Actors push one another around into different places. It's kind of an unconscious thing, kind of an instinctual thing. There's a joy in television that's greater than film. It's closer to stagework. In doing something over and over you get to different levels than you would if you had just moved on.
Would you say that Hank is detached?
DD: He is kind of detached. Hank is a guy who doesn't say no, be it drugs, or sex, or experience. What's interesting about him is that he doesn't seek many things out, he's just a magnet that things come to. And in terms of detachment, I think it's true; it's detachment, but an objectivity.
To find out what else Duchovny had to say about the show, and when he has improved a line, just
Have you ever been surprised by the direction of the show?
DD: I knew what it was all along. I didn't know that [creator] Tom Kapinos was going to be able to bring the heart [out] of the show. I knew it was going to be funny; I didn't know it was going to be so effective. And I'm really happy for that, because that was my main concern in starting the show. I wasn't really interested in just a guy jumping from bed to bed no matter how funny or articulate he was. It just seemed like it would be an empty exercise after a certain amount of time. So I'm really happy for that. I think other part is, the more comfortable that I get as a performer, period, and as a performer playing this role, I open up to different areas as well. That's the fun part. If I can surprise myself, then other people will be surprised as well.
Do you ever improv on the show?
DD: Not a lot, lines here and there. Scenes have a shape; it's not a long show, 27 minutes or whatever. There's story you have to do, it's not a film where you can stretch out. There's been times where I've added stuff.
Buzz: Any bits that have made it?
DD: In the first episode, [there's] a line when I'm with Carla. I'm f***ing around, and then I say, no, I know this is important, I'm here for you, I'll "tumble for you." I'll tumble for you is mine, because I'm old enough to remember the song.