David Duchovny on ‘Aquarius’ and his many talents: ‘I annoy myself’
Golden Globe-winning actor David Duchovny discusses playing Detective Sam Hodiak in the television series “Aquarius,” and says the historical fiction in the show fascinates him. He also talks about touring for his 2015 album and musical debut “Hell or Highwater,” and he jokes with the TODAY anchors that, thanks to his many talents, he even annoys himself.
From TV6 & FOX UP:
Published on Jun 16, 2016
The NBC Drama returns to TV 6 tonight. Vicky Crystal spoke with star David Duchovny about what we can expect.
Get ready David Duchovny fans, NBC’s Aquarius is back with a bang – or a slash – in season 2. While Season 1 seemed more of a hippie parade down 1967 memory lane, Season 2 becomes the horror story you expect from a show about “Helter Skelter” and the Manson family.
You can also follow @duchovniacs on twitter as we will be live tweeting tonight. Tag us and we will retweet you (only positive, constructive or funny comments retweeted) Let’s try to get it trending!
POSTING EPISODE RECAPS TONIGHT
Don’t read any further till you have seen episodes 1-2
At first glance you get the sense NBC needed to create some urgency behind this project. While many of us loved Season 1, many wanted more of the actual Manson story. The cop procedural that just happened to have the Manson Family origin story on the side did not capture all.
So Season 2 jumps right into Helter Skelter itself, and around in time. Before even getting to the opening slate, (DAVID DUCHOVNY in….) we are thrown into a whole new tone – More intense, a little darker, a lot bloodier.
It’s 4:22am on August 9, 1969 on Cielo Drive. A pregnant Sharon Tate is dead on the floor. Throughout the episode we bounce back to that night and events leading up to the most famous of the Manson Family endeavors.
Immediately we jump back to Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) contemplating who the witness could have been ratting him out to IA while – to the jubilee of the female fans – in the shower. While toweling off he gets a photo of a girl. Shafe reports in on progress finding Charmain.
And then we get some resolution – in a quite intense dramatic moment (love Brian) – from Ken and Hal’s cliffhanger.
And this is all before the first…
Pay attention. The show skips around in time a lot. There are some clever tone shifts in the cinematography. 1969 looks like a nightmarish dream sequence, as the actual historical events seem now.
We are introduced to some new historical characters. There are a few fan faves noticeably missing in the first few episodes. But over all, I like it. Nay, love it…
There is a faster pace, with b-roll flashes of past dramas, until the show very deliberately slows to stretch out a moment to reveal a characters inner workings.
And, like season 1, the real star of the show might be the 1960s sound track. And with introduction of a certain new character, we are getting even more civil right rebellious rock.
If you have not seen Season 1, you can jump in tonight fresh, however I would binge this weekend on Netflix. I have seen Season 1 three times now. My wife and I binged when NBC released the full season last year. We live tweeted when the show aired, and once again on the #aquariusrewatch the past two months Saturdays 8pm. I love this show. The writing, direction and acting all capture the times, the history and the original material with artistic flair.
And with recent events – Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, Donald Trump etc – the race and culture clashes of today make this exploration of 1967 relevant now. There are a many splashes of controversy – racism, corrupt cops and bad politicians/political hacks. What was old is definitely feeling new again.
So far in Season 2 (watched first three episodes twice now), the story focuses more on the Manson Family Murders and our journey to Helter Skelter. Before that was an excuse for a period cop drama. Now the police procedural – and Nixon campaign – are even more secondary plots.
This is the dawning of a new age of Aquarius. As the cat-and-mouse chase between Los Angeles detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) and eccentric commune leader Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) draws to its intense conclusion, Hodiak finds himself thrown headfirst into the volatile 1960s world of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Duchovny previews the far-out action while also filling us in on the future of The X-Files and his plans for the summer.
What is your process for getting into the groovy 1960s mind-set? The first season, I was watching movies like Point Blank. [Creator John] McNamara loves this movie called Petulia from the guy who directed the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, but it’s a little too ’60s for my tastes. I did watch a bunch of other movies and I listened to music from that time, but as superficial as this is going to sound, it’s putting on the clothes and the hairdo that really takes me back there.
What’s the secret to that ’60s hair? [Laughs] Well, it’s more like ’50s hair. I wanted it to be more of a crew cut, but a little blown out and severe. As soon as I look in the mirror and that’s looking back at me, I go, “OK, now we’re Hodiak again.”
How has Hodiak changed in Season 2? He’s definitely more under the gun. He’s being taunted by an anonymous dude who is sending him photographs of women in various states of distress, tied up and tortured. His son (Chris Sheffield) is still in military prison and won’t talk to him. His ex-wife (Jodi Harris) is spiraling out of control. So his life is falling apart. It’s not like he had all his s–t together last season, but he had more of his s–t together last year than this year, for sure.
Will there be a time-jump? We’ve sped up from the original concept. It was enough to have one season of an entire show that was supposed to lead up to the Manson murders where Hodiak killed more people than Manson! [Laughs] We didn’t want to try viewers’ patience anymore. This is the year the famous Manson murders actually happen. This season leads up to those murders, and then we cover the cultural and social aftermath of what it all meant to the country and to the characters who are dealing with it on the show.
Even though they only had a few run-ins last season, Hodiak was still obsessed with Charles Manson. Are they physically getting closer to each other this year? When we return, they are actually further apart. The truth of the matter is that Manson was not on anybody’s radar. He was a grifter and a con man, but he wasn’t Public Enemy No. 1. The characters came together last year only because Hodiak was looking for Emma (Emma Dumont) and he just dislikes Manson as a person. It’s not really an obsession. The obsession is more about Hodiak’s own second-guessing. Every homicide detective’s nightmare is to be in touch with a killer who then continues to kill. That’s really going to eat at him for the rest of his life—if we get to continue to do the show.
What cultural and social issues of the ’60s are touched on this season? War, civil unrest, civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights. These issues are ongoing, and that’s what makes the show work not just as a period piece, because you like bell-bottoms, but the cases are as current and ripped from the headlines as Law & Order.
NBC is airing the season opener as a two-hour, commercial-free event. Last year, the network put the whole season online just after the TV premiere. What do you make of these unconventional methods NBC is using for the show? [Laughs] I really don’t know what’s going on! I love the idea of a two-hour movie uninterrupted on television, and I’m proud to be a part of that. But everybody’s flailing around looking for ways to attract viewers in this very saturated marketplace. I was a little disappointed last season because I thought we did well, but then you look at the ratings and of course the ratings would sink after you give the entire series away for free. So I felt like the show got a little tarnished in a way that it didn’t deserve. It had a lot of viewers, but they just weren’t Nielsen viewers.
You had great ratings success last winter with Fox’s X-Files reboot. Any plans to get back together with creator Chris Carter and costar Gillian Anderson for more? We are talking about it, and like before, it’s a matter of getting the three principal people in the same room for a significant amount of time to shoot it. Last time, it obviously took nearly 10 years [to get us all together again], so hopefully it won’t take that long. And I think there were too few episodes. Twenty-two is far too many, but six is too few, so we’ve got to figure out something right in between.
Do you have any big summer plans? I’ve got some new music that I’d love to try to record, but other than that, I plan to just sit on my rear end a little bit and shuttle my two kids to wherever they need to be.
How are fans reacting to you as a musician? I think people might come to me as a novelty, but the good thing about music is ultimately, you don’t care who makes it if you like it. So if fans of my acting come to a concert, that’s fantastic—and I don’t think they’re going to keep coming if they hate the music. I just hope other people can get a chance to hear it.
You also wrote a children’s book last year called Holy Cow.What’s next for you to try? Nothing. I’m done. [Laughs]
Aquarius, Season Premiere, Thursday, June 16, 9/8c, NBC.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT LAPD Det. Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) has been receiving envelopes with pictures of missing women in 1967. Why? That’s what he wants to know. Meanwhile, Charmain (Claire Holt) and Brian (Grey Damon) continue the undercover operation into Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony) and his growing family. They also have a new benefactor, Beach Boy founder Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau). Thursday’s second-season opener is commercial-free.
MY SAY “Aquarius” fans — and there are more than enough of those (you) to ensure Thursday’s return engagement — got an important reveal at the end of the first season.
As Sam was receiving that highly dubious LAPD Medal of Valor, viewers finally learned his full name: Samson Benedictus Hodiak.
With a name like that, you better have a back story, have parents with a puckish sense of humor, and have fists of fury.
But above all, youhave to be cool.
In Thursday’s opener, cool-talking to his on-again, off-again (now on-again) flame Grace (Michaela McManus), Sam explains his typical day: “Usually I’m just driving around listening to Django Reinhardt, and looking to eat someplace off the cuff.” Who drives around L.A. looking for handouts while listening to Django Reinhardt? Well, obviously a guy named Samson Benedictus Hodiak.
He’s also why “Aquarius” is back. Duchovny channels just enough of Mulder from “The X-Files” to establish a character who can carry a whole series. Sam is hardly lovable, and, in fact, essentially hateable. But he is compelling and he is the best reason to give “Aquarius” another look.
Maybe it’s that ambient cool or maybe it just took a season to work out pace, logic and character, but “Aquarius” is a better show. This two-hour opener is also without commercials, which is another gamble by NBC to get more traction for this summer not-quite-franchise. Last year, all 13 episodes were dumped online immediately after the premiere so the network could figure out if viewers binged and what they liked.
What they liked above all else is Samson Benedictus Hodiak, along with his malleable ethics, smooth patter, buck-the-system style and mysterious past. He’s an interesting guy. With a name like that, he’d better be.
BOTTOM LINE A far-improved start to the second season.
The first season of Aquarius ended with David Duchovny’s Sam Hodiak receiving a medal for his outstanding detective work. But as we learned in thefinal moments of the finale episode , there’s one man who can’t be fooled by Hodiak’s poised, cool demeanour and knack for getting away with dirty cop shenanigans: Agent Ron Kellaher of Internal Affairs. He’s apparently gotten wind of Kodiak’s above-the-law policing tactics and has a murder witness.
“I jump on that stage, say I have a witness, and “I’ll see you in my office tomorrow. That’s where Season 2 kicks off,” Tim Griffin, who plays Kellaher, told iDigitalTimes. Though don’t expect this to be a one-and-done confrontation. Griffin will be playing Duchovny’s foil all season long. All the Charles Mason business isn’t even at the forefront of Kelleher’s investigation.
“I am out to get him. I dont give a crap about any of his cases. I want to show this guy has risen in the ranks by cheating, by falsifying evidence– I have a whole litany of reasons. My sole task is to bring him down,” Griffin said. “The really cool thing is the way these two guys spar with each other. It’s that same David Duchovny intelligence where we’re blistering attacks against each other but always with a cool demeanor and a smile.”
Come to find out there’s more to this story. Kellaher has a personal vendetta against Hodiak that will be revealed later on. “I don’t only want to take him down because he represents the old way of doing things. He’s a cop who operates above the law by any means necessary and I’m saying this is the new order– you can’t pull that shit anymore. But then you come to realize I also have a personal reason for disliking him. It’s hilarious. It’s a great reveal and we go to war with each other.”
Showrunner John McNamara wrote the role of Ron Kellaher specifically for Griffin, whom he worked with years prior on Prime Suspect. In fact last August, McNamara toldEntertainment Weekly he had two goals for the finale episode: Make Sam Hodiak unhappy and work with Tim Griffin. McNamara also teased that Hodiak and Manson will be spending some quality time together, which may be where Griffin comes in.
Kellaher’s presence is going to force everyone to choose a side, Hodiak’s strong-willed protege Detective Brian Shafe included.
“There’s a master plan at work and it forces people to choose sides. Get on board or you’re going to get thrown under the bus,”said McNamara.
Watch the two-hour, commercial free premiere of Aquarius Season 2 June 16 on NBC at 9 p.m. Will Kellaher put a wrench in Hodiak’s Charles Mason investigation? Let us know in the comments below.
A medal of valor hasn’t made life any easier for David Duchovny’s Sam Hodiak.
In this exclusive clip from the two-hour season premiere of Aquarius, Hodiak showers as he flashes back to the events of last season’s finale, including his confession that he wanted one of the Theriot brothers to die. Now that Internal Affairs has a witness to the way their deaths really went down, he could be in trouble.
But at least one person in the city doesn’t share the I.A. officer’s sentiments: Hodiak finds an envelope above his locker addressed to the “#1 detective in LA!”
“Everybody’s doing the funny,” he groans.
Cutler (Chance Kelly) chalks up the unmarked photo inside to fan mail, but could it mean something more? Check out the clip below.
Aquarius returns Thursday, June 16 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC
Many a thespian has turned to waiting tables or tending bar to support themselves between acting gigs. David Duchovny became an actor to pay the bills while writing poetry and fiction.
It was the mid-1980s and Duchovny was pursuing a Ph.D in English literature at Yale with the idea of becoming a writer and eventually a teacher.
“It seemed to be the most logical way to make a living while having enough time off to write,” explains the 55-year-old New Yorker, who returns as LAPD detective Sam Hodiak when Season 2 of the dark 1960s crime thriller “Aquarius” begins Thursday, June 16, with a two-hour, commercial free episode on NBC.
“And then I was at Yale getting a Ph.D and I just kind of fell into the drama department there because I started to think about writing plays and then I met actors. And there’s so many productions always going on around Yale that they never have enough actors, so they kind of recruited me to do a couple of small parts. And I started just looking into what it was to write a play and therefore I started looking into what it was to put on a play to act in a play and just life kind of took its own course.”
As the new season of “Aquarius” opens, it’s 1969 and Hodiak is under investigation for killing a suspect at a crime scene while still on the hunt for Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony, “Game of Thrones”), whose followers would soon commit the Tate/LaBianca murders.
Duchovny loves playing in the 1960s and a character seemingly at odds with the many social issues of the time that are still relevant today.
“I’m playing a guy who is really not part of that world,” he says. “I’m playing a guy who’s the white establishment that all these movements are taking place against. So what I found interesting was to be a man not of the ’60s in this show about the ’60s but a guy who’s going to keep his eyes open and, if not change, then at least recognize that the change is coming.”
Looking forward to NBC’s premiere of Aquarius on June 16th!
Published on Jun 4, 2016
America in the 1960s was a land of tumult and transformation. Across the country institutions were rocked by protests both violent and peaceful, assassinations became an all-too common occurrence and each day brought a new headline that spoke to the painful process that the country was going through: revolution. No city felt this pain more than Los Angeles. Los Angeles Police Department Det. Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny, “Californication,” “The X-Files”) the served his country in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and now protects his city in the late ’60s. When an old flame tells him that her daughter Emma Karn (Emma Dumont, “Salvation,” “Bunheads”) has gone missing, he jumps to action. His search leads him to find Emma living with a group of hippies led by a dirty, slight but violent figure named Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony, “Game of Thrones”). As he digs deeper to try and pull her out, Hodiak’s suit-and-tie worldview is attacked by the same peace-and-love mantra that is challenging institutions across America. Hodiak enlists the help of undercover vice Officer Brian Shafe (Grey Damon, “True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”). A Vietnam veteran, Shafe has seen war in a much different light than Hodiak. Even though Shafe is a rookie, he has things to teach Hodiak — such as the brand-new Miranda Rights — that are indicative of an emerging style of policing that doesn’t turn a blind eye to abuses of power. As Hodiak and Shafe become further entwined with Manson, and as the country slides deeper into its metamorphosis, the world Hodiak knows begins to disappear before his eyes. This same shifting landscape emboldens Manson to thrust his perverted philosophies upon the world. When the doors of the music industry are closed to him, however, Manson seeks a different way to broadcast his apocalyptic message that will end with one of the most infamous homicides in American history — the Tate-LaBianca murders. The two men are on a crash course that will ultimately lead to the gruesome, bloody end of the hippie era and leave America shaken, and once again, changed. Ringing with the unparalleled music of the era, “Aquarius” is a sprawling work of historical fiction with nuanced characters whose actions in a time of national transformation enlighten how we became who we are today. Writer John McNamara (“Trumbo,” “The Magicians”) serves as executive producer with Marty Adelstein (“Prison Break”), Becky Clements (“Last Man Standing”), David Duchovny and Melanie Greene. “Aquarius” is a production of Tomorrow Studios.
AQUARIUS SEASON 2 STREAMS EXPRESS FROM THE U.S. EXCLUSIVE TO PRESTO LAUNCHING WITH EPIC THREE EPISODE PREMIERE FRIDAY, 17 JUNE DAVID DUCHOVNY RETURNS AS SAM HODIAK, INVESTIGATING NOTORIOUS CHARLES MANSON MURDERS
CALLING ALL DUCHOVNIACS DOWN UNDER!!!
CLICK HERE to watch Aquarius and X-Files in Australia
Just got an email from PRESTO directly…
“We stumbled across your Duchovaniacs fan page and love what you’re doing! We are big David Duchovny fans also and currently have seasons 1-9 of The X-Files and season 1 of Aquarius on our service –https://www.presto.com.au/tv/aquarius.
As we know you must be, we are SUPER excited about the release of season 2 and we thought it may interest your Australian fans to know that Presto is lucky enough to have season 2 arriving on the service on June 17th (expressed from the U.S!)”
LAPD Detective Sam Hodiak begins the search for a missing girl who has fallen under the spell of infamous cult leader Charles Manson.
“Duchovny delivers! This is a gritty, hard-edged return to TV for an actor we cannot get enough of.”
AQUARIUS Season 2 on PRESTO June 17 in AUSTRALIA
Media Release: Thursday, 25 May, 2016
Presto has today announced that the edgy, visually-stunning, psychedelic 60s themed drama, AQUARIUS will return for its second season in a special three episode premiere. Episodes one to three will stream express from the U.S. on Friday, 17 June exclusively on Presto. Following the three episode drop, new episodes will continue to stream express from the U.S. every Friday.
In AQUARIUS season two, David Duchovny (The X Files, Californication) returns as Sam Hodiak, the seasoned homicide detective whose investigations dovetail with the activities of real-life cult leader Charles Manson. It’s 1968, one year before the most notorious killings of a generation. Against a backdrop of cultural and social revolution, Hodiak delves deeper into a sinister web of murder and corruption, but his provocative style finds him under investigation by Internal Affairs, while an important new friend sees Manson and his growing family on the brink of a psychedelically glamorous future. But, as the future unfolds – knowingly or not – everyone is playing their part in blindly weaving a tapestry of tragedy…
The cult drama also stars Australian beauty Claire Holt (The Vampire Diaries) and Game Of Thrones star,Gethin Anthony.
Every episode of AQUARIUS season one is streaming now on Presto
Presto Rating 4.5
THE X-FILES is a drama about an unconventional FBI agent, Fox Mulder. Mulder takes it upon himself to investigate a group of unsolved cases, known as the “X-Files,” that he believes involve paranormal phenomena. To keep tabs on his work–and in the hopes of debunking his theories–the FBI teams him up with Dana Scully, a young, skeptical agent who has a degree in medicine and a strong bias toward the scientific. As the pair works to solve these unexplained cases, Mulder’s strong belief in the forces of the unknown continues to challenge Scully’s rational mind. Their relationship grows more complex with each case, slowly emerging as a heady mix of professional competitiveness, witty repartee, and a mutual attraction that is heightened by the intensity of their tasks and the close proximity in which they work.
“In many ways, The X-Files was a show before its time and seems to fit perfectly into the modern television landscape where binging is big and dark, absorbing storylines have never been so sought after.”
In what’s believed to be an unprecedented launch strategy for broadcast television, NBC will premiere the second season season of its Charles Manson-themed drama “Aquarius” with a two-hour, commercial-free episode.
NBC said Tuesday that the Thursday, June 16 premiere of “Aquarius” will air from 9 to 11 p.m. with no breaks for commercials or network promos. The only stoppage will be a one-minute local news break during the show’s second hour.
The NBC telecast on June 16 will be the only chance to watch the episodes completely commercial-free. When those episodes move to their online and digital platforms following the NBC telecast, a normal commercial load will ensue.
Starting the following week, June 23, the series will shift to its normal 10 p.m. timeslot.
“Aquarius” last year became the first broadcast series to be streamed in its entirety following its debut, with NBC making all 13 episodes available online for the four weeks following its initial telecast on the network. The surge of online viewers for the series are credited for NBC’s decision to renew it for a second season.
In its first season, the drama averaged 3.88 million viewers and a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates.
“Aquarius” stars David Duchovny, Grey Damon, Gethin Anthony, Emma Dumont, Claire Holt, Michael McManus, Brian F. O’Byrne, Chance Kelly, Ambyr Childers, Madisen Beaty and Cameron Deane Stewart.
Writer John McNamara (“Trumbo, “The Magicians”) serves as executive producer with Marty Adelstein (“Teen Wolf,” “Prison Break”), Becky Clements (“Last Man Standing”), David Duchovny and Melanie Greene. “Aquarius” is a production of Tomorrow Studios, a partnership between Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios.