David Duchovny admits he does have some things in common with Fox "Spooky" Mulder, the stone-faced, alien-seeking FBI agent he plays on Fox's cult hit The X-Files. "We look alike," Duchovny says from the show's Vancouver set. "We're not completely different. That'd be too much of a strain to do 10 months out of the year. To have to act all the time would kill you."
Okay, so both guys have a deadpan sense of humor. (Mulder's wit has been emerging this season; when a vampire asked him if he wanted to live forever, Mulder replied dryly, "Not if drawstring pants come back into style.") Duchovny says he also shares Mulder's curiosity and, "most importantly, nothing shocks either one of us. I think I get that from growing up in Manhattan."
One other thing: Neither dude's a dummy. Duchovny, 34, left New York City to attend Princeton, then proceeded to Yale, where he worked on a doctoral degree in English. Does he ever miss academia? "Only at 3:30 in the afternoon when the sun is getting a little lower and it would be nice to take a nap with a book. Or a coed."
Though X-philes love to speculate about it, Mulder won't be bedding down with his partner, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), according to Duchovny. "The characters' bond is just as good as sleeping together. If we progress into a [sexual] relationship, that becomes the focus of the show," he says. "And then it becomes like any other show which focuses on a boring relationship between two white people."
Not that Mulder's celibate. He recently got lucky with a bloodsucker played by Perrey Reeves, Duchovny's real-life girlfriend. That's a switch from his other current role, as the lone-wolf narrator of Showtime's soft-core anthology Red Shoe Diaries. "Everybody else gets the girl on that show," he says. "I'm always alone with my dog."
Dogs are something of a recurring motif in Duchovny's career. He played a yuppie villain in 1992's Beethoven. "He had a lot of saliva," Duchovny says of his canine costar. "Saint Bernard saliva is sticky and nasty. If you can imagine bad-smelling maple sap, that's what it's like to work with that dog."
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