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David Duchovny at 63: “I Added My Own Nude Scene for Humor”

“It’s all failure to me,” says David Duchovny. The Golden Globe-winning actor has led a life many would deem a success — a Masters from Yale, iconic roles in “Twin Peaks,” “Californication,” and “The X-Files,” along with credits as an author, director, producer, podcaster, and musician. However, he is fascinated by the concept of losing, a theme evident in both his podcast “Fail Better” and his new film, “Reverse the Curse,” based on his novel “Bucky F*cking Dent.” The film, now streaming on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other platforms, revolves around the famed 86 year-long “curse” of the Boston Red Sox.

In “Reverse the Curse,” Duchovny plays Marty, a terminally ill Sox fan trying to reconcile with his adult son Ted (Logan Marshall-Green). A nurse specializing in end-of-life care (Stephanie Beatriz) aids them during one of the Red Sox’s most memorable seasons. In a recent “Salon Talks” conversation, Duchovny shared his distaste for a “win at all costs mentality” — including that of Trump’s — and why a man frequently featured in GQ would write himself a nude scene that’s meant to be humorous.

Diving into the film’s premise, Duchovny explains the real “curse” is the Red Sox’s infamous sale of Babe Ruth, colloquially known as the “curse of the Babe.” It becomes a metaphor for the strained relationship between the father and son, exploring how they reconcile and reverse their personal curses. The father’s health declines whenever the Red Sox lose, prompting the son to fake game outcomes to protect him— a role reversal typically seen between parents and children.

Duchovny initially envisioned himself as the son in the story. He wrote the screenplay years ago but struggled to get it made after his first film didn’t perform well. As time passed, he decided to adapt it into a novel, which then reignited his desire to turn it into a film. By the time circumstances allowed him to direct, he was old enough to play the father, a more fitting role.

Duchovny’s fascination with the theme of losing comes from what he sees as a “sickness” in society’s obsession with winning. He points to figures like Trump, who refuse to accept loss, and compares the mentality to that of George Steinbrenner’s winning-at-all-costs Yankees. Duchovny believes there’s a healthier way to address failure, one that acknowledges it as part of life rather than a defining moment.

He also observes how modern parenting often shields children from loss, raising them in a bubble where failure is unacceptable. Duchovny is skeptical of both the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality and the “only winners count” mindset. He promotes a balanced approach where losing is seen as a natural part of life that doesn’t define one’s worth.

The film also delves into society’s fear of aging and disease, often viewed as forms of losing. There’s a scene where Duchovny, nude and discussing his aging body, uses humor to tackle these topics. He finds humor in the inevitable, believing it can help people embrace what’s universally experienced — aging and death.

For Duchovny, cast selection was crucial. He chose actors known for their comedic talents, like Stephanie Beatriz from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” He praised her depth and ability to convey real pain effortlessly, accentuating the film’s emotional layers.

Discussing his returns to “Twin Peaks” and “X-Files,” Duchovny noted that revisiting a character after decades involves subtle changes. Despite the external shifts, audiences still recognize their beloved characters. Duchovny attributed the enduring popularity of these shows to their unique creators. David Lynch’s singular vision continues to captivate, while Chris Carter’s “X-Files” masterfully blends wonder and foreboding.

Humor is another element that endeared “X-Files” to fans. Duchovny’s character developed an irreverent tone that evolved, aided by talented writers like Vince Gilligan and Darin Morgan.

Duchovny also shared how music became a new creative outlet, despite starting late. Picking up a guitar later in life, he discovered an unexpected knack for songwriting. The process of being a novice at 53 made him feel young and inspired, offering insights about maintaining a beginner’s mindset even with age and experience.

Embracing failure, Duchovny sees his musical journey as a continual trial where perfection isn’t the goal. Instead, he finds value in the process and the authenticity that comes from trying despite knowing he won’t achieve greatness. This outlook resonates in his work across various creative fields.

By exploring themes of failure, loss, and reconciliation, Duchovny offers a narrative that resonates on multiple levels, inviting audiences to reflect on their own lives and relationships. His unique perspective and willingness to tackle uncomfortable topics with humor and honesty make “Reverse the Curse” a poignant, relatable film.

Source: Salon