David Duchovny explains why being turned down for ‘Reservoir Dogs’ was the best rejection of his life

David Duchovny attends the Los Angeles Premiere of Netflix's "You People" at Regency Village Theatre on January 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

In 1992, David Duchovny was an up-and-coming character actor, having appeared in Twin Peaks, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Chaplin, and Beethoven. The following year, he exploded onto the A-list thanks to The X-Files, with his laconic FBI Agent Fox Mulder instantly becoming a television icon.

If one audition had gone differently, though, things could have been very different. In an interview with Collider, Duchovny revealed that he’d auditioned for a role in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, the filmmaker’s breakout movie about a heist gone wrong and the criminals slowly turning on one another as they try to figure out who betrayed them.

Duchovny’s laidback style doesn’t seem like a great fit for Tarantino’s writing, but he still says the unsuccessful audition was worthwhile:

“So I auditioned for Quentin Tarantino, and this is not an imitation of Quentin, but he’s a high-energy guy, and he goes, ‘I really like what you do. I just don’t know if I want you to do it in my movie.’ It was the best rejection I ever got in my life.”

Earlier in the interview, Duchovny hints that the role he auditioned for was Mr. Orange, the undercover cop who spends much of the movie bleeding out from a bullet wound. This role went on to make a star out of Tim Roth, and at this point we can’t imagine anyone else in the role.

Duchovny will next appear in Netflix’s You People from Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. He’s part of an impressive cast including Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with the show said to be about a “forbidden romance” that brings a Black Islamic and White Jewish family into conflict. Duchovny and Louis-Dreyfus will play the Jewish parents, and with that cast it sounds like a must-watch.

Beyond that, Duchovny hasn’t ruled out returning to The X-Files, though would only do it if Gillian Anderson were also on board. We want to believe!

You People premieres on Netflix on Jan. 27.