There is a beer commercial that is famous among fans of David Duchovny: His first acting role was a now-elusive 1987 Lowenbrau ad where the actor played a bar patron. It was, we assume, heartwarming and perfect.
Today, we are here to talk about a David Duchovny beer commercial. But not the one that launched his career. Instead, we are here to discuss this:
Yes, David Duchovny is the star of a just-released, two-minute trailer for a Siberian beer. The commercial is also a two-minute trailer for Russian nationalism.
“There is another country, where I got my family name from,” Duchovny says after briefly stating that he is American. “Sometimes I wonder: What if things had turned out differently. What if I were Russian?”
According to the commercial, Duchovny’s life would be pretty great as a Russian. His career options rival the number of Vladimir Putin’s hobbies:
Given the current state of affairs in the region, the ad has become a little problematic for the actor.
A lot of that has to do with its timing: the Siberian Crown beer company released the ad on YouTube on Friday. On Sunday, the United States released what it says are photos documenting Russian artillery fire over the border into Ukraine. And investigators trying to reach the site of the deadly Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Ukraine were once again unable to access the site thanks to fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government forces.
GlobalPost’s critical take on the ad’s timing detailed yet another problem: Although Duchovny says in the ad that he takes his last name from his Russian-Jewish ancestry, he might actually be Ukrainian — something the actor found out this past April.
Duchovny acknowledged as much on Twitter in the midst of the Crimea crisis:
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
The chronology here isn’t clear: Did Duchovny shoot the ad before discovering that his Russian roots might come from different soil?
That question prompted some criticism from Russian media, as AFP detailed. The state-run Rossiya-24 television station said Duchovny’s newly discovered ancestry “didn’t stop the actor from appearing in an ad with a huge budget about pride in the Russian motherland.” However, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin praised the ad on Twitter, saying it was “made with love.”
In any case, there’s one thing Duchovny probably won’t be able to carry over with him if somehow — defying Scully and science — the actor is sucked into the alternate universe of his new ad: Much of his filmography. In addition to making his name playing Agent Mulder, an employee of an American government agency, the actor also played a transgender woman (who, by the way, also worked for a federal agency) in Twin Peaks.