The Joneses - Ben Hollingsworth, Amber Heard, Demi Moore and David Duchovny
The Joneses - Ben Hollingsworth, Amber Heard, Demi Moore and David Duchovny © Roadside Attractions

David Duchovny is a busy actor. His new movie The Joneses, from first time director Derrick Borte, opens this week, and he’s about to start the fourth season of his popular controversial Showtime series Californication . In the series he plays novelist Hank Moody, who is struggling to raise his teenage daughter, while still in love with his ex-girlfriend.

In The Joneses he portrays Steve Jones who, along with his beautiful wife Kate (Demi Moore) and his handsome children, moves into an upscale gated community. The Joneses have better goods than any other family in town, and they make sure all their neighbors know it. That’s because the Joneses aren’t really a family, they are employees of a stealth marketing firm, paid to make everyone want what they have.

I spoke with David yesterday about The Joneses and season four of Californication.

What is the reality of the Joneses lifestyle?

David Duchovny and Demi Moore © Roadside Attractions

I think it’s very similar to anybody else’s. Maybe there are more things, maybe there are more clothes, maybe they have nicer cars but the life is the same, the problems are the same.

Steve is a guy that discovers his humanity over the course of the film…by the end of the movie he discovers there is more to life than things.

What did you do to help make the character more believable?

I think what Demi and I did with Derrick when we first sat down was we realized that the ‘love story’ in the center of this very complicated movie, that has a lot of different strands of reality floating through it, was important to pull off. And yet we didn’t have much in terms of screen time together to do that. So I think the preparation for me was very much in tandem with Demi.

David Duchovny and Demi Moore © Roadside Attractions

I remember when we separated it out it was maybe 18 pages (that Steve and Kate had together), yet this was a love story, how are we going to do that in 18 pages? So that was really our focus.

I liked the idea of him being a golf pro.

I’m a (lousy) golfer. It wasn’t important that I got good; I just had to look good. I just hone the swing and Derrick put the ball where it needed to go. Except for one shot (that I hit) that landed from forty feet out. It’s maybe my proudest moment as an actor! It was freezing and windy that morning and the second take it was a forty yard chip right in the hole. And people were like, ‘Yeah, do it again.’ I’m like, ‘What?’

What influences what you buy?

I like to see what Demi is wearing! (he laughs) I think we’re all affected and influenced by what we see. For me probably growing up it was I wanted to look like a Knick basketball player, (I wanted) whatever Walt Frazier was wearing. And that’s back in style now, which is good. I think we all choose our style from the ether, whatever’s out there

What was it like working with Derrick as he was a first time director?

David Duchovny © Roadside Attractions

Derrick is eager to learn and eager for this to make an impression, so he is trying to get everything in can out of each scene and make it all work. He knows he only gets to make his first film one time.

When do you go back to work on Californication and what’s up for Hank?

We left Hank last year going to jail. It is a comedy, so we went about as far down as we could in terms of keeping this a comedic show. We’re not trying to be a drama. So now I think this year is going to be about rising up and using that as the low point.

How many more seasons do you see yourself doing that show?

I don’t know. It’s such a pleasure to do because it’s almost like a vacation, especially now that I’m living in New York, I get to come out here and shoot it for three months. Unlike The X-Files it’s not a ten-and-a-half month schedule, so I really like doing it. I think it will get cancelled before I get tired of it.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter. More by Judy Sloane