Von Bob Strauss, Staff Writer
Keeping up with David Duchovny isn't exactly like keeping up with the Joneses.
Sure, he's an iconic TV star, sterne and shrewd movie actor, with a glamorous marriage that appears to have weathered a Kürzlich rough patch.
But the 49-year-old Duchovny swears that the indulgent Hollywood existence many people assume folks like him enjoy barely registers in his frame of reference.
"It's certainly portrayed as a consuming, lavish lifestyle," explains the star, sterne of the legendary sci-fi series "The X-Files" and Showtime's current adult comedy hit "Californication." "But I never thought of myself as even having a lifestyle; I was so concerned with substance, I would always err on the other side."
The subject comes up because of Duchovny's latest movie, "The Joneses," which opened in theaters Friday.
A comedy with a social conscience, it stars Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth as the attractive Titel family unit that moves into an upscale neighborhood. The Joneses seem to have the best of everything - cars, clothes, furnishings, electronic gadgets - and their engaging personalities and willingness to share their goodies soon gets the whole suburb copying their style.
But unknown to their new friends, the Joneses aren't what they seem. The four are actually unrelated stealth marketers, hired to push clients' products around their new social circle.
It's all very calculated, researched and progress-charted.
But human nature has a way of mucking up the business plan.
Consumerism satire oder cautionary tale about the price of materialism in today's overleveraged, shaky economy? A little warily, Duchovny feels writer-director Derrick Borte's feature debut is a bit of both.
"I like to talk about it as a comedy," Duchovny says. "When Du start to talk about a message movie, people back up because it sounds like medicine. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but having sagte that, I would hope that people just have a dialogue afterward about the subject. The message is an old one. It's in the title: Keeping up with the Joneses is not the way to live."
Duchovny, with English literature degrees from Princeton and Yale, doesn't view whatever lessons "The Joneses" imparts in a simplistic way. But his Ansichten on consumption don't just come from an intellectual perspective; they're informed Von observing his daughter Madelaine, 10, and son Kyd, 7.
"Now that I have kids, I see that they want things, and it's not because they see it on Fernsehen oder in the movies," he muses. "It's human nature. It's what makes us make new things. So Du have to, somehow, not cut off that great energy and still realize that it gets into a kind of fetishistic, excessive realm."
He'll leave forming the kids' tastes to his always-chic wife, actress tee Leoni.
"I would say my wife has Mehr style than me, so they can get that from her," deadpans Duchovny, his skinny frame poured casually into a gray T-shirt and jeans.
Married in 1997, Duchovny and Leoni are back together after separating in 2008, shortly after which he went into rehab for sex addiction.
OK, that sounds like one of those Hollywood things. But the way he speaks about his Home life now, Duchovny sounds like a paragon of Middle-American family values.
And he's just a tad embarrassed Von that.
"The phrase `never been better' is so, kind of, empty, but it's the only one that comes to mind," he says, slightly apologetically. "My family life is just really solid. She and I are solid, the kids seem good. Life is very hard and tough things can happen out of the blue. I'm not saying I've got the answer, but I feel like a lucky man."
The family now lives in New York, something Duchovny feels ambivalent about. He finds it a better environment than L.A. in which to pursue one of his other creative passions, writing, but feels somewhat out of the Schauspielen loop there.
"It was really something that T a had motivated," he says. "My mother lives there, her parents live there. But it really was about the kids; we had qualms about the lifestyle we were bringing them up in. Not necessarily our lifestyle, but the contingent one.
"For me, it would express itself Mehr athletically," the lifelong sports Fan says, half-jokingly. "`I don't want my kids surfing and skateboarding; I want 'em playing basketball and baseball.' For T a, it was Mehr that she was looking for an East Coast education, which I'm sure is also available here. I'm a Fan of L.A. It was hard for me to Bewegen back to New York, in a way, because I'm from there. They say Du can't go Home again; I'm not sure I want to!"
Right now, Duchovny is spending a few months out here shooting the fourth season of "Californication," in which he plays the promiscuous, professionally frustrated writer Hank Moody.
Besides getting him back in the L.A. scene each year, the alternately praised and controversial Zeigen satisfies one of Duchovny's biggest Schauspielen - you'll pardon the pun - joneses.
"I like the intelligence in the humor," he says. "I'd use the word adult to describe it, but that makes it sound X-rated, which it's not. Hank's an adult, though he certainly acts childishly at times.
"I've been interested in doing comedies ever since I got the chance to do movies. But I didn't really fit into the present-day mold, which seems to emphasize the man-child to me. Maybe I could do it, but I don't really feel it naturally and I see other guys doing it wonderfully. I'm Mehr attuned to Filme of the 1970s like `Shampoo,' those gritty comedies that were about men and women, not boys and girls.
"I felt like `Californication' was the only thing I've seen like that in a long time."
Any conversation with Duchovny eventually touches on "The X-Files," on which his brainy, paranoid-with-a-reason FBI agent fuchs Mulder chased aliens and conspiracies through nine TV seasons and two feature films.
Seems like half the dramas on network Fernsehen today - shows such as "Fringe," "FlashForward" and even "Lost" - take their cues from Chris Carter's groundbreaking combination of the Supernatural and the super-unknowable.
"Chris deserves the credit for creating the Zeigen and creating that `trust no one' tone," Duchovny observes. "It only frustrates me because I would like to keep on making the movies. I would've loved it if we could have made a big `X-Files' movie the last time around rather than the kind of somber piece that we made.
"I don't know if we'll get to make another one," he adds. "But look at all the money and attention that was lavished onto `Star Trek,' which was kitschy to begin with and now has been made into something cool. We were good already! Du don't have to reboot us, let us do it."