A sweet film about a boy coming of age too quickly in 1970s New York City? Not necessarily what you'd expect from the guy who was Fox Mulder, but with David Duchovny's big-screen directorial debut, House of D (costarring the former X-Filer and his wife Téa Leoni), the native New Yorker shows a more sentimental side and even speaks in French! (Tragically, still no word on the current whereabouts of the Truth.)
Which was easier, shooting in New York or Paris? Paris was just me on a bike, riding through the streets. . .guerrilla filmmaking. We didn't have permits. We just had a Steadicam off the back of a truck, trying to weave in and out of traffic, which I thought would look cool.
But most of the film takes place around your old NYC stomping ground. Is it at all autobiographical? Certain images are. Every boy, to become a man, has to like the Bible says leave childish things behind. There's a lot of heartbreak in that. Then for a man really to become a man, he has to rejoin a family. That's the two moves of the movie. Although that makes it sound kind of like medicine. It's a very funny movie on top of that.
You do enjoy the mystical romantic stuff. I don't know. I guess I'm a mystical romantic. But that's true. I like the poetic gesture. I like bittersweet things.
And you cast Robin Williams as a mentally challenged janitor. He has that childlike quality, and Robin's very powerful physically. I liked the disconnect between his physical strength and his mental weakness.
I kind of kept waiting for him to snap. Which is good. I wanted you to wait for that.
But then it's a nice snap, in a weird way. That's my mystic romanticism again.
Speaking of, I have to ask: X-Files movie? Supposedly sometime early next year, but there's no script that I've seen. But it seems like all parties are willing.
Was this film a conscious move to change how people think of you? No. Well, it's conscious because I'm aware that I'm doing it, but it's a compulsion. I like doing all these things writing, directing, and acting. I'm not trying to define myself in any way. But it seems that people like to put other people in boxes. If somebody does something different, I would hope I'd go, ''Hey, great! Let's see if they can do that.'' But maybe I wouldn't. Maybe I'd go, ''Stay in your box! For chrissakes! Don't make me rethink you!''