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D–E Entries
Meyer Dolinsky
Faith Domergue
David Duchovny
David Duncan
Harlan Ellison
Roland Emmerich
Maurice Evans
 
DUCHOVNY, DAVID
(David Ducovny 1960– ). American actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: "Masked Ball" (1990), "The Black Widow," "Checkmate" (1991), episodes of Twin Peaks; The Rapture (Michael Tolkin 1991); The X-Files (tv series) (1993–2001, 2002); "The Girls of Route Canal" (voice) (1994), episode of Darkman; "Eek Space 9" (animated; voice) (1995), episode of Eek! The Cat; "R & R" (uncredited) (1996), episode of Space and Beyond; The X-Files (Rob Bowman 1997); "The Springfield Files" (animated; voice) (1997), episode of The Simpsons; "All about Yves" (uncredited) (2001), episode of The Lone Gunmen; Evolution (Ivan REITMAN 2001).

Wrote story: "Colony" (story with Carter; script Carter) (1994), "Anasazi" (story with Carter; script Carter) (1995), "Avatar" (story with Howard Gordon; script Gordon), "Talitha Cumi" (story with Carter, uncredited; script Carter) (1996), "William" (2002), episodes of The X-Files.

Wrote: "The Unnatural" (1999), episode of The X-Files.

Wrote and directed: "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati" (1998), "Hollywood A.D." (1998), episodes of The X-Files.

 
Critics should speak kindly of David Duchovny— because, after all, he was almost One of Us. There he was, studying English literature as a graduate student at Yale University, perfectly positioned to earn a doctoral degree, become a tenured college professor, and write scholarly articles deconstructing novels, poems, and films of his choosing. Unaccountably, he threw it all away to go to New York and pursue an acting career. Even more accountably, he was wildly successful—though due entirely, one must say, to the timely arrival of a unique opportunity.

One of the many unheralded brilliancies that made The X-Files such compelling viewing was the way that creator-producer Chris CARTER cast precisely against type. Duchovny, naturally the detached and dubious critic, was the true believer in UFOs, strange phenomena, and impossibly convoluted conspiracies; Gillian Anderson, naturally the caring and credulous sympathizer, was the hardened skeptic. Duchovny's fervent faith, and Anderson's icy debunkings, had extraordinary power since they were so blatantly contrary to their characters; their prickly partnership was electrifying not only because of its frequently-noted suppressed sexuality but because one was witnessing the irresistible force of Duchonvy's improbable conviction colliding with the immovable object of Anderson's improbable skepticism.

Eventually, however, in a long-running television series, type will inexorably exert itself; and, as The X-Files carried on into later seasons, Duchovny visibly grew less and less interested in the fantastic goings-on around him, as his inborn critical perspective reasserted itself, and he gradually distanced himself from the unfolding story, at first mentally, then physically by leaving the series. All the while, Anderson gave in to her natural credulity and became the series's true believer and driving force, with significantly less impact.

Fortified by some early exposure to weirdness in Twin Peaks and The Rapture, and ending a long and successful run as the star of a heralded science fiction series, Duchovny seemed well prepared for a career in science fiction movies, but the question remained: could this idiosyncratically detached actor actually carry a film on his own? The emphatically negative answer came with Ivan REITMAN's Evolution. Granted, there are numerous ways to explain this film's failure, prominently including its catastrophically ill-conceived conclusion, but much of the blame must be placed on Duchovny's shoulders. He wanders through the film like a graduate student assigned as a research project to visit the set of a Hollywood blockbuster and observe all of the necessary ingredients for box-office success. Let's see .... overweight white frat boys as politically acceptable comic relief; an intelligent African-American man as sidekick; a beautiful but conspicuously brainy woman as romantic interest; unfailingly stupid generals and bureaucrats as inept foils; a new splash of colorful computer-generated special effects every fifteen minutes, to hold audience interest .... Unfortunately, having come to the set of Evolution, such an observer would fail to note one of the most important attributes of a popular science fiction film: a leading man who can actually convey that he cares about what's going on.

Perhaps, instead of starring in Evolution, Duchovny should have asked to rewrite its flawed script; after all, even as he tired of standing in front of The X-Files cameras, he became highly engaged in business behind the cameras, writing or co-writing several episodes and even directing a few. However, he may lack a natural interest in or aptitude for science fiction, since he has recently avoided the genre to focus on offbeat appearances in mainstream films, while also writing and directing the disappointing House of D (2004). At this point, Duchovny might find it invigorating and refreshing to return to his original avocation; after all, actors like Bill Cosby and Robert VAUGHN have earned doctoral degrees while continuing to perform, and Yale University must surely keep its doors open for returning students with demonstrable potential. Armed with the latest critical theories, Dr. Duchovny might then be able to fruitfully analyze the vicissitudes of his own career in a landmark critical study: The Truth Is ... Who Cares? Detachment and Disinterestedness in the Contemporary Science Fiction Film.

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