Good Morning Arizona
April 29, 2005, 7:25 a.m.
Interview sith David via live feed from Montreal
(Scenes of the movie are playing - then cuts to Tara)
Tara: Actor David Duchovny stars with Robin Williams and directs a new film about an artist whose trying to make sense of his life by recalling his unusual childhood. Its called House of D. He also wrote it and David Duchovny joins us this morning from Montreal. "Good morning."
David: (Single Nod) Good morning.
Tara: This must be an exciting day for you. I know its opened in New York and LA, but we get it here in Phoenix today. Have you been keeping track of the reviews and all of that or do you even get into that?
David: (blinks, pauses and looks to the side -Cute!) Uhhh...no because what's important to me is first of all whether I'm happy with the finished product, which I am and then sitting in screenings; I've been doing a lot of screenings because it's a smaller movie and we have what we call 'word of mouth' screenings where you just try to get people to come in and then tell their friends to go see this movie. And when I sit in the audience with them I see that it works. I see that they laugh and I see that they cry. And I see that they're talking about the movie when they leave it. So, to me that's the great satisfaction. I don't make a movie for myself or for critics. I make it for audiences.
Tara: It's a pretty emotional film. What was it like the first day these actors started speaking the words that you had written?
David: (blinks, looks to the side again, slight smile, nodding) Uh, well you know that was.....it's a good question, because that was, that was a big day. Because you've lived with it on paper for awhile and you think it works. But, until you hear it coming out of people's mouths you don't know. And you know everything could just turn to stone and be deadly awful. (Tara laughs) You know as soon as they start talking and I was pleased that it sounded like dialogue. That first day, it sounded like human beings the way they might talk. But, there always is that fear: 'What have I written? Can anybody actually say this?
Tara: Well, its gotta work when you've got Robin Williams. On days when you're in scenes with him, I read somewhere and this made me smile that you'd get so excited about the job he was doing, but you had to remind yourself: 'Okay, I've gotta stay in the scene, I can't act excited right now because I'm acting with this guy.'
David: (Big Grin) Yeah. Yeah, yeah you know its kind of a split between being a director and being an actor. And if there was a two shot where Robin and I were both in the same frame I'd be just sitting there going: 'Oh, this is going really well. I gotta print this take. Oh boy Robin is doing good.' (Tara laughs) Then I'd be like: 'Wait a minute no, no I can't be thinking like that. What am I...I should be doing something else.'
Tara: (laughing) Where did you find the kid? Where did you find Anton? He plays you as the younger guy?
David: Well, I like to think of it as I play him as an older guy. Because he's really the star of the film. I was looking for an older kid because I could work him harder. (Tara laughs). You know theres child labor laws - "Which are good!" here in America. (Tara laughs) And you can only work...he was only 14. You can only work him so long. And I wanted longer days. So, I was looking for a 16 year old who could work a little longer. Or an 18 year old would've been great. (Tara laughs) Or a 30 year old that looked 12 (Tara laughs) that would've been fantastic! And I coudn't find a....I think thankfully I couldn't find a 30 year old that looked 12.
Tara: (laughing) Yeah, that would've been odd.
David: (continues) So, I started, I started...I'd heard about you know shaving his chest before doing a scene...it was just all wrong. So, I'd heard about Anton from people who know kids. Actors. I'd heard about him as being this amazing kid. And finally...I said I don't want to see him because he's only 14 and he's gonna ham-string me with the hours. And finally, I said: "Bring me the kid." And he walked in and it was like magic immediately with him.
Tara: Yeah, he's great. You found yourself some gems Erykah Badu is in it. She plays the lady in the film who lives in the House of D or Detention. And Robin Williams' daughter is in this.
David: Yeah, Zelda Williams. Its her first movie. Robin Williams came to me fairly late in the process and said: 'My daughter's interested in acting, can she audition? (David leans forward, Dead pan look, smile) No pressure.' (Tara laughs) And I said, yeah of course she can audition. And then we were rehearsing at Robin's house with Anton. And Zelda was there. And I said well we're reading through the script just have Zelda come in and read Anton's love interest, the little girl. And she just came in and she was just very natural and very centered. And she seemed like a real 13 year old girl to me. So I cast her.
Tara: Any pressure from your wife when she says, 'Hey do you mind if I play the mom?'
David: Well, it depends on how you interpret pressure, like if you think pressure is wanting to stay married (Tara laughs) then yeah I guess there was a little pressure when she asked me that. But, no I think that Tea is such an amazing actor that... (Tara: Yeah, she is)... that I was the one .... I didn't ask her to play the role. When she said she wanted to play it, I jumped at that immediately.
Tara: Hey, David real quick I was listening to some of your stuff before we got you live. And I heard you talking about Kevin Garnett. Have you been keeping up with the playoffs? Have you been following our Phoenix Suns?
David: (kind of surprised) Uh, yeah. I do a little bit, because I'm in Montreal shooting a movie. And I seem to get off work at about 8. Which is great for me because I can come home every night and watch a basketball game. Which is fun for me. I haven't... Phoenix is a little late for me
Tara: 2-0. They play the third game today. So, wish 'em luck.
David: Yeah, No, they don't need my luck.
Tara: If you wish us luck. We'll wish you luck.
David: Yeah, I want a little Steve Nash in my film. That's what I need.
Tara: (laughs/Big Smile) Hey David Duchovny best of luck! Its your directorial debut. Congratulations on getting it done. We look forward to an X-Files 2 film. I hear you guys are working on as well.
David: (Nods) Thank you.
(screen cuts fast to Marty - another morning anchor - but Tara doesn't see at first)
Tara: Thanks for your time this morning..Marty...I've always been a fan of his! He's a funny actor, make sure you see the film. See how he does as a director.
Marty: Yeah, he seems like a good guy. (she smiles) Thank you very much, Tara.