Even as he appears to be the most laid-back guy in the room, there's a lot going on for David Duchovny, who is shooting a new season of cable hit Californication and starring alongside Demi Moore as the fake head of an artificial household in a movie about stealth marketing in The Joneses. Duchovny spoke with TIME about gadgets, his greatest golf shot ever and annoying X-Files pitches.
The Joneses is all about commercialism. You've made your share of commercials. Anything from the early-struggling-actor days?
They used to pay well. They could get you through the lean months. I did a couple of beer commercials. I did a vitamin commercial and a lottery commercial. When I started getting notoriety it was cheesy to appear in a commercial. Everyone was saying, "I have to get a commercial in Japan." It was okay to appear on camera in Japan. But not in America. But that's changing. Like with Luke Wilson and Catherine Zeta Jones. Seinfeld did the credit card one. It's a sign of the changing times and I don't think it's an aberration. I think you'll see more familiar people doing these.
So are you thinking about it? You do voice-overs for Pedigree dog food, but what what would you push onscreen if you had to push a product?
I'm not thinking about it. I'm not grabbing at the money. My kids are fine. We're okay. It's not something I think about. At one time there were voiceover artists, now there are celebrity voiceover artists. It's unfortunate because these people need the money less than the voiceover artist. Commercials were traditionally a way for actors to support themselves to work on stage, movies or television.
You say in the film that whoever has the most toys when they die wins. Sounds good to me. Do you subscribe to that?
Not at all, I'm about three years behind the curve usually. I do have a Kindle, so maybe it's only about six months behind the curve.
Do you have any tech obsessions?
No, I'm a luddite. I like my computer. But I don't know how to use it as well as the 10-year-old daughter. I guess I like watches, but that's kind of a 19th century obsession.
Really, how many watches?
I think I have two good ones.
That's not an obsession. I probably have two watches somewhere.
I like sneakers. But they are given to me in the same way this film works. I think that satisfies an obsession because I was athletic as a kid. I was 12 or 13 when the Adidas Superstar came out and it was first time that you would pay more than $10 for a pair of sneakers. I remember wanting to pay $18 for a pair of sneakers and my dad was like "No way!"
Guessitmate your sneaker population.
There are a lot. I don't know. 30 pairs.
Speaking of being athletic, there's a scene in the movie on a golf course where you sink a hole in one. No trick photography?
Nope. Easily 40 feet. I was off the green. Into the hole. Second take.
How did you stay in character and not fall on your knees in joy when you hit that?
First of all it was freezing and windy. As [director] Derrick [Borte] set up the shot, I was like, "Are you kidding? I could be here all day trying to put that ball in the hole. It will be luck if it goes in." I was surprised the first one was close. And when the second one went in, my impulse was to jump up and down. And I was like, "No my guy is a good golfer. He expects that." So I put my head down again to hit another one.
Is that your greatest acting moment ever?
Derrick gave me a Quicktime movie of the shot and I sent it to everyone I knew.
Will you ever go back to The X-Files?
It's ready-made nostalgia. It depends on whether [creator] Chris Carter wants to do it again. He certainly doesn't have to. We always talk about it amongst ourselves. We talk a lot. Or I'll text him and say "Do you have an idea?" Or I'll say, "I have an idea for a show. I wish I had that one eight years ago. This would have been a good episode." But generally I'll be on an elevator with someone and the elevator will bump and they'll say, "There's an X-file." And I'll say, "Actually that's not an X-file. That's not a great story. The elevator just bumped."
Super heroes are all the rage now. Which superhero would you want to play?
I'm not a big comic guy. Who's not taken? Is anyone left? I knew a guy in graduate school who wrote about a cool character called Balloon Man. He floated above the city and he could see crime. But he couldn't get down. He'd have to deflate himself in order to get down and by the time he did he had no power. I thought, "That's the super hero I'm playing." Because he's totally ineffectual. To me that's the truth. Balloon Man. He has no powers. To me The Incredibles was the apex of superhero [stories]. It deconstructs it and constructs it at the same time.