He’s probably one of the most high-brow actors of the star system. Before he returns to our screens in a revival of the X Files as Fox Mulder in Season 9, he proves it in the following interview…
How do you enjoy a good wine – does the setting play an important part?
Absolutely! As do the people I share it with. They are inseparable. I have absolutely no inclination to drink wine on a plane for example. Firstly because it doesn’t agree with me but, more importantly, it doesn’t taste the same. I don’t like drinking good wine in Las Vegas either. In fact, I think Las Vegas is an absurdity – a huge conurbation built in the middle of the desert that has already dried up a large part of Colorado. And the worst is yet to come because its water requirements continue to spiral. Las Vegas is like a Yankee version of Sodom and Gomorrah. Conversely, I have always had a soft spot for France and its wine. My father, who studied in Paris, introduced me to French culture at a very early age. What I like about the French is their anti-materialism, their sense of repartee and derision. At the same time, their anti-Americanism sometimes borders on the ridiculous. Not all my fellow Americans are uncultivated cowboys! We don’t all drink Coke and fluorescent drinks!
Do you like Champagne?
I love bubbly! There is no better way of getting the conversation flowing and lifting your spirits than with a good vintage Champagne. I don’t know if it’s the bubbles, but when I drink this kind of drink, I can feel my brain teeming with ideas. Champagne is the best anti-depressant I know. It should be on every prescription!
Do you remember the first time you tasted an exceptional wine?
At Princeton University I took a diploma in English literature, not because I wanted a career in writing but so that I could teach. Some of my pupils were successful and I’m proud of them. Others were idiots who listened to my lessons with a walkman on. How could they possibly concentrate on analysing the works of Saint-John Perse! Anyway, at a party held at the university, a friend got out a bottle of Romanée-Conti. It was delicious but also torture – it’s not the kind of drink you can enjoy every day!
48% of Americans reportedly believe in extraterrestrials and 29% think we have already established contact with little green men. As the actor who plays agent Mulder in the X Files, do you think it’s because they’ve overindulged in too many good wines?
(bursts out laughing). I daren’t ask if my fellow Americans have also established an identikit of E.T. – that would be funny! Imagine if some of them recognise the alien who tormented them in his spaceship from my description. Just between the two of us, I wouldn’t like to remind them of too many painful memories! (laughs)
Which now-deceased author would you like to have shared a toast with?
Richard Yates, the author of ‘Revolutionary Road’, one of the books that I have been most moved by over the past few years. What was fascinating in Yates’ works is how cleverly he developed his characters. Yates was a manic depressive hedonist capable of taking you inside his characters. His life was in some ways fictional itself. He was a disconcerting genius who at the end of his life was a professor at the university of Alabama and died a tramp. He had been announcing to his fans for a long time that he had written his last book. People searched for the manuscript in his humble home for days and one of his students found it, stored away in...a wine cellar I think!