David Duchovny dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss his life and career – both as an actor and author. Duchovny, perhaps best known for playing FBI agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files, has written several books, including “Bucky F*cking Dent: A Novel.”
“I lived through he ’78 Sox-Yankee thing,” Duchovny said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “It was always in my mind that Bucky Dent, who had hit three or four home runs all season long was the guy that hit the home run to beat the Sox and how unlikely that was. That’s actually his full name – if you go up into Red Sox Nation, you learn it. I had never heard that as a Yankee fan.”
Duchovny’s book is about an aspiring novelist, Ted, who learns that his estranged father, Marty, is dying of lung cancer. They bond over the Boston Red Sox, with Marty’s health dipping with every Sox loss. Thus, Ted orchestrates the illusion of a Boston winning streak leading up to Dent’s infamous 1978 homer.
Duchovny, a New York native, grew up a Yankees fan but did not find it difficult to write sympathetically about the Red Sox.
“No, I never had that,” Duchovny said. “The Yankees that I grew up rooting for and had my heart were pretty bad teams, below .500 teams. I was born in ’60, so I really become a fan when I’m 7, 8, 9. This is when Mickey Mantle retires and the Yankees enter into this decades-long pretty mediocre spiral.”
Duchovny said that his acting roles have not impacted his writing to a significant degree.
“Not very much at all,” he said. “I probably identified myself as a writer way back when before I would have even ever thought about acting – or any other career, really. I always thought that I would somehow write for a living. My dad was a writer, his father was a journalist – it seemed like that’s what the men in my dad’s family did, so that’s kind of what I thought I would do. So I kind of come from that place as a writer.”
Interesting, Duchovny played a writer, Hank Moody, on “Californication,” which aired from 2007-14.
“Portraying a writer is probably one of the most boring things you could imagine in the world, which is why that show was always so funny to its writer, a guy named Tom Kapinos,” Duchovny said, laughing. “He was like, ‘I cant’ believe I’m getting to sell this idea that being a writer is exciting.’”
While Duchovny’s career isn’t in the book, his life is.
“Honestly, the most personal thing is the situation between the father and the infant son,” Duchovny said. “My daughter, who just turned 18 yesterday and is healthy and wonderful, got very ill when she was nine months old mysteriously. She was in the hospital for a bit, and it felt like it was touch and go to her mom and I. Aside from being scary, it was a devastating prospect to think about losing her. I grappled with this idea of how do you go on after that? You kind of have to at least start to ask that question: How do we move on from here if that terrible thing happens?
“That’s really the heart of the book,” Duchovny continued. “The same thing happens between Marty and Ted. Ted as an infant gets very sick, and Marty as a father has to grapple with the feelings of loss that he realizes he might not have been able to handle had Ted died. He kind of confronts his own limitation of feeling, that he doesn’t think he would have lived had the boy died. That becomes, somehow, a source of darkness between them. That all came from there.”