David Duchovny is making headlines again, but this time it isn’t for headlining a TV drama. The former star of The X-Files and Californication, now has a starring role in a beer commercial airing in Russia.
In the ad, Duchovny muses about how his life would be different if he had been born and raised in Russian. Among the possible careers Duchovny choices are cosmonaut, ballet choreographer, hockey player, and actor. The overall feeling is that if Duchovny had been born and raised in Russia, he would be proud.
Ground control to Major Ivan pic.twitter.com/glZ5L9YiMD
— David Duchovny (@davidduchovny) May 30, 2014
While the commercial isn’t offensive, the nationalist air comes at an awkward time because of the current geopolitical climate. On July 17, a Malaysian Airlines flight from the Netherlands was shot down in eastern Ukraine, an area the country’s near the Russian border. The area had become a war zone, with rebels demanding annexation to Russia after months of tensions with the new Ukrainian government. The crisis in Ukraine has stressed relations between the United States and Russia to near Cold War levels.
Duchovny has spoken in interviews about his Ukrainian grandfather, but the actor has never directly addressed whether or not he considers his family culturally Russian, culturally Ukrainian, or neither. The closest Duchovny has come to choosing a side is a tweet he posted after Crimea was annexed to Russia.
I grew up thinking I was Russian only to find recently that I’ve been Ukrainian all along. Never too late to change.
— David Duchovny (@davidduchovny) April 4, 2014
In Duchovny’s defense, the commercial was shot sometime in May, long before relations between the United States and Russia became as chilled as they are now.
The minor political scandal is a departure from Duchovny’s normal celebrity news file. In 2008, Duchovny and his then wife of 10 years, Tea Leoni, separated. The two had a failed attempt at reconciliation, but divorce papers have never been filed.
Since the separation from Leoni, Duchovny has fielded rumors that he and former The X-Files co-star Gillian Anderson are dating. The rumors began at an event in October 2013 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the show’s premier. An attendee asked Duchovny if he thought Anderson is still attractive, to which the actor replied, “Yes. Gillian is every bit as hot, and hotter. It’s somewhat shocking.”
Unfortunately for fans of The X-Files, Gillian Anderson has called any notion of their dating “wishful thinking”.