Hollywood is full of stories of near-misses and surprise big breaks. Turns out something along the lines of the latter happened to David Duchovny on the sets of the iconic paranormal investigation drama The X-Files, which made Duchovny a star in the lead role of FBI agent Fox Mulder. In an interview with Rob Lowe, Duchovny admitted he nearly quit the show before it began due to his lack of faith in its central premise.
"I had gotten... a couple of scenes in this movie of the week, and it was a director who I was friendly with, and I was going to have to...pull out of that part to do The X-Files pilot. I said to my agents, 'I don't want to do that. You know, she's a friend, and I don't want to pull out.' [At the time, I thought] X-Files, this is about extraterrestrials. How long can it go? It's a good pilot but you're either going to see the aliens or [not]."
Duchovny's reservations are understandable, given the television landscape at the time. The X-Files was the kind of slow-burn thriller that was more interested in the government procedural surrounding the investigation of paranormal phenomena, rather than showing the phenomena itself.
Few could have predicted that an entire series about Mulder and his partner Dana Scully arguing about whether or not aliens actually exist could prove so compelling for audiences. According to Duchovny, his character's obsession with shadowy government conspiracy theories was not shared by him in real life.
"I wasn't interested in conspiracy theories. And I was perfectly willing to just say, 'I'm going to have to pass on that pilot, because I said I'd do this other project.' It's scary to think back on, if you didn't open this door, or you took that left instead of that right. It's like, none of it had to happen. You talk about actors being dumb...well, that was me."
Fortunately, Duchovny was convinced by his agents to give the series a shot, and the rest is history. Despite appearing in other shows and movies, The X-Files remains by far the most well-known project the actor has ever been a part of. Even if the kind of fans that David Duchovny had to deal with confused him quite a bit.
"There were a couple years there where people were asking me about lizard people, and I had no clue that it was a big thing... I'd be signing somebody's thing and they'd say, 'Oh, so-and-so's a reptilian or a lizard,' and I'd be like, 'Yeah? Uh, all right. This kind of thing...happened all the time and I'd go, 'What the f**k is wrong with people?' You know? It didn't make any sense to me."
With the recent revival of The X-Files as a tv show, fans are hoping another movie starring Mulder and Scully might be on the horizon. And from his comments, it seems Duchovny would be glad to be a part of the project this time around.