David Duchovny returned to the director’s chair for the first time since 2004 at the Tribeca Festival on Saturday with ‘Bucky F*cking Dent,’ a film for which he not only wrote the screenplay for, but also a book of the same name.
Celebrities line the red carpet of the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on Chambers Street on the fourth day of the Tribeca Festival, beneath the bright lights of a marquee promoting ‘Bucky F*cking Dent.’ The likes of Duchovny, Stephanie Beatriz, Logan Marshall-Green and the rest of the film’s cast attended its world premiere alongside celebrity guests such as Red Sox Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, Matthew Broderick and Anthony Hill.
‘Bucky F*cking Dent’ is a heartbreaking drama focusing on a dying father and his son who attempted to rekindle their strained relationship, but talking about their feelings outright seems to be too difficult. Instead, the pair communicate through the language of baseball. It is through this lens Duchovny unearths a hidden language between the two men, their love of baseball and, deep down, each other.
Duchovny said he’d been tinkering away at the story for the last 15 years — from the original screenplay to the novel released in 2016, and now the world premiere of the film at the Tribeca Festival. It is a tale that intertwines the age-old rivalry of the Yankees and Red Sox and the Curse of the Bambino — a superstition that began after Babe Ruth was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees for the total sum of $100,000 in 1919 and, since then, they never won a world series (until 2004, when Duchovny last sat in the director’s chair) — with a father and son’s complicated relationship.
“I wrote it as a screenplay probably 15 years ago, I had trouble getting it made,” Duchovny said. “I turned it into a novel because I still wanted to tell the story, and that was fine. Then I turned that novel into a screenplay, and I was able to make that and I guess that’s how it happens in a way.”
“They say that you’re not done with the film until they tear it out of your hands,” he went on. “It’s not true that the film is not done until it’s out of your hands. The film’s not done until it shows in front of people — and so tonight, the film will finally be done, and I couldn’t be happier to show it to you all.”
‘Bucky F*cking Dent’ is not a baseball film in and of itself — the sport is just one thread in a beautifully woven story of a son trying to find forgiveness and understand his dying father’s aloof demeanor. Lead actress Beatriz shared that when she was presented with the script, it held a personal connection since at the time her father was battling cancer. She began to read the book out loud to her father, and it provided him with comfort — the same way she believes that men find comfort and ease with discussing sports rather than feelings.
“The amazing thing about sports and its connection to masculinity and men….it is this connective tissue in relationships with men that they’re able to bridge these giant chasms… like spaces between them over a shared love of the game,” Beatriz said.
“It’s just about baseball until it’s not and it’s never really about baseball,” she added. “And I just think that the whole movie is wrapped up in that it’s never about just that, right? It’s about these two men trying to love each other and they don’t know how. They know how to love a game, that they can love with their whole soul every part of their being but like, how to learn to love each other has to come through that has to be pushed through that sieve of sports.”