Area 51's human protagonist, Ethan Cole, and alien antagonist, Edgar, are tied inextricably together for significant portions of the game. But David Duchovny, the voice of Ethan, and Marilyn Manson, the voice of Edgar, had never met -- until we decided to lock them in a room together and force them to interview each other about the game. You might think the two couldn't possibly be more different. Turns out they have a lot more in coMMon than anyone expected, like a deadpan sense of humor, a love of complete non sequiturs, and an appreciation for raunchy and provocative conversation (don't say we didn't warn you). In the end, they left the interview room as fast friends and, possibly, future collaborators. And we got every minute on tape.
Well, I'm Edgar; which character are you?
DAVID DUCHOVNY Ethan Cole.
MM Oh, you're the guy I fuck with.
DD I'm glad you know. I played Asteroids; that was my involvement in videogames. Do you remember that game?
MM Yeah. I remember having a ColecoVision because we weren't rich enough to afford the better game.
DD That's a videogame, ColecoVision?
MM See, that's how bad it was. It was like the Sears videogame. Donkey Kong, Jr. was [their] apex of technology. So, you got out early.
DD Yeah. But it's made a comeback. I saw it in a Hummer commercial. It's now nostalgic to have played Asteroids.
MM Hummers and Asteroids. It's in the new issue of Honcho. I ended up in an issue of Honcho against my will. Some photographer sold pictures of me.
DD In what state of...
MM Pretend like you don't know what Honcho is; it's a gay magazine.
DD It's too late.
MM My rear was showing, so that's the Asteroids analogy. No, from what I've played of the game, my [character's] whole thing is to torture [your character].
DD I was doing some of the voice today, and I saw a bit where you rose up and mocked me. And I recognized your voice, and I said, "Oh, there he is," because I knew that you were going to be doing it. I didn't know that you were going to be mocking me.
MM I didn't either, but I liked it.
DD No, I enjoyed being mocked. I would like some more, please, if you can.
MM The woman who was directing me, she looked very conservative, like a PTA meeting type, and she started to get really violent, like a soccer mom. "Kill him! Let's get that guy!"
DD How did you find doing the voice? Did you like taking that direction? Or did you want to attack her?
MM Well, I think they had me in mind a little bit when they designed it. The character, aside from its looks, is not that dissimilar. He just kind of mocks people, has a distaste for mankind. That's what I identify with; I didn't have a great knowledge of Area 51 and the alien aspect of it. But you believe in the unknown, obviously.
DD Well, I believe in the unknown, yeah, but not necessarily in the form that it took in the show that I did. I tend to believe that a conspiracy that big is impossible. I know people that can't keep any kind of silly secret.
MM I'll tell you a conspiracy -- I won't go into it because it'll take hours -- but if you're lucky enough to find a book called Sex and Rockets --
DD I have that book. I wanted to make that book into a movie.
MM So did I.
DD It's a great story.
MM If you guys don't know, the person who created atomic fuel -- who, for the most part, was responsible for the atomic bomb -- did it because he wanted to destroy the world. He wrote The Antichrist Manifesto a week before he mysteriously died in his garage.
DD Yeah, he blew himself up.
MM Allegedly. He knew how to build a bomb, but he blew up from an aerosol can in his garage or something? But it's a scary, scary story. It would make a good movie.
DD I think so.
MM But it would cause a lot of problems, I think. Because the world doesn't know that. For the world to think that someone in the government was associated with the occult in such a way --
DD He was a disciple of Aleister Crowley, right?
MM He was very good friends with Aleister Crowley, and he went out in the desert to create this "Babalon Working," which was to bring about the end of the world. Which, when you think about it, why else would you create the atom bomb? It's strange, it's scary, and maybe it shouldn't be a movie because then they'll make it into action figures or something. But...obviously there's something greater than us.
MM I like to paint and represent myself as an artist; I don't think you can be an artist and put things into the world unless you believe there's something worthwhile in the world. And I think my house is haunted.
DD You do? By a specific something?
MM The house that I just moved out of, it belonged to Mary Astor, and the Rolling Stones lived there when they wrote Let It Bleed. And I lived there, and I stayed in isolation in the attic during the period when I was blamed for Columbine and got wrapped up in that. So I think that house was haunted by me. It had too many bad memories. So I moved into this house in Chatsworth, which is the porn capital of the world, I guess.
DD So it's haunted by porn. That's a better haunting, I think. There are ghosts f***ing in my closet.
MM That reminds me of a strange story my friend told me: He was having sex with this woman, and she said, "Someone's in here." But he didn't understand what she meant; he thought she meant in the room, but she said, "No, someone's in here," like there was another person involved in this whole...coitus.
DD Wow, D.P.! I like that. On The X-Files we never investigated extraterrestrial D.P. It's too bad.
MM I think I was on The X-Files, wasn't I? Wasn't there a crime scene where my record was -- like a cult?
DD Possibly. I know that there was an episode that I directed that was kind of a Jacob's LaDDer-type...uh, rip-off...and I looked at your videos because I think some of your videos have the effect from Jacob's LaDDer, with the head going back and forth?
MM The 12-frames-per-second thing.
DD Yeah, that kind of stuff. And I got the whole box set of your videos and I watched them, and I just thought they were fantastic videos. The imagery was -- I still have it in my head. And I'm sure that came from you.
MM Thanks, it did. I tend to direct everything, but I like to collaborate with people because you can't do everything.
DD But I think it's been really influential. You look at something like--I haven't seen it, but there's a movie coming out called Saw that looks like a bunch of your videos.
MM I watched that this morning -- a bootleg version.
DD Oh, you wanted to see it! How was it?
MM I liked the website; it drew me in with its narrative. And that's what I like about videogames. I was reading a book called Pause and Effect, about the importance of narrative in culture. And that's the one thing that will sustain, when people are worried about movies or music being downloaded, because the narratives are very important. I've got to say I'm a little jaded, though, because when they threw the
12-frames Jacob's LaDDer head shake, I had to say, "Come on, guys." But I didn't say it for me; I said it for Jacob's LaDDer. I'm more like Jacob's Footstool.
DD I think you're right about narrative, though. I've got a 5-year-old daughter, and she watches videos and always wants to know what happens next. That's just human instinct. What's the story? How does the story go? What's next?
MM It's also that we get conditioned to sum things up for ourselves, and kids just have that beautiful, endless imagination that I'm always trying to regain and hold on to. I look at it this way: Kids don't fall down until they learn about gravity. If I decide to have kids--I'm getting married at the beginning of next year--I would wait until I'm done doing my decadent behavior, to be a proper father.
DD I don't think you have to stop with the decadent behavior before you have kids. I think that if you do what you want to do, that kids appreciate that.
MM I would just want to be around.
DD So you don't want to tour.
MM The touring, and the, you know, being accused of rubbing my genitals on security guards and things like that.
DD Which part of the security guard?
MM They're facing [away from the stage], so I suppose the back of his neck. Which, I suppose, in some parts of the world is --
DD A compliment.
MM -- an erogenous zone.
DD And a compliment. I grew up thinking it was a compliment.
MM Well, if you're going to get in trouble for things like that, I think you should at least have a happy ending.