Quentin Tarantino Rejected David Duchovny For A Hilarious Reason

Quentin Tarantino said no to David Duchovny for a role in Reservoir Dogs, by delivering one of the nicest rejections.

By Jessica Scott | Updated

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Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs could have been a whole other film if David Duchovny would have made it past the audition stage. Instead, though, Tarantino gave Duchovny the “best rejection I ever got in my life,” according to Collider. After seeing his audition, Duchovny said that Tarantino told him “I really like what you do. I just don’t know if I want you to do it in my movie.”

As any of his fans will tell you, this line is classic Quentin Tarantino. He rejected David Duchovny, but he did it in such a way that it sounded cool and funny, instead of crushingly mean. This made it easier for Duchovny to take the hit and keep going, looking back on the incident with fond memories instead of sad or regretful ones. 

The 1992 film was Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut and starred Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Edward Bunker, and Tarantino as thieves who turn on each other as they try to figure out which one of them betrayed the group. The film is now quite famous, so it’s no wonder David Duchovny was interested in it even then.

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Based on a joke he told Julia Louis-Dreyfus about having really starred in the Quentin Tarantino film after all and just having had his head replaced by Tim Roth’s, we can assume David Duchovny auditioned to play Mr. Orange. It’s not too tough to imagine an earlier version of Agent Mulder playing the undercover cop in this film, as he has often played characters with a law enforcement background.

Quentin Tarantino wasn’t the first director to reject the talented David Duchovny, however. According to an interview he had with Ellen Degeneres on her talk show in 2021, he also tried out to play a part on Full House. He tried out for all three of the male lead roles: Danny Tanner, Uncle Jesse, and Uncle Joey… none of which he was right for. 

But he didn’t need wholesome family sitcoms or Quentin Tarantino to validate him in the end. David Duchovny finally found the right fit in The X-Files in 1993, the show that made him a star. The show ran for 11 seasons, ending in 2002 only to start back up again for two more years in 2016. The chilling sci-fi drama is a favorite among fans and is still referenced in daily conversation by devotees and laymen alike.

This month, David Duchovny stars with Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Netflix’s You People, a comedy by Kenya Barris, creator of Black-ish. In it, he and Louis-Dreyfus play the parents of Jonah Hill’s character, who pits his white and Jewish family against his girlfriend’s (Lauren London) Black and Islamic one as they are all forced to take a look at their own ideas about race and identity.

Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, might be working on his final film. According to CinemaBlend, the director only ever wanted to make 10 films during his career, and he’s coming up on his last one. Could there be room for David Duchovny to star in this final Tarantino film? Possibly… if he’s able to make it past the audition stage this time.