Hank Moody

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Hank Moody
Hank Moody.jpg
David Duchovny as Hank Moody
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "Grace"
Created by Tom Kapinos
Portrayed by David Duchovny
Information
Occupation
  • Writer
  • Professor
Family Al Moody (Father)
Significant other(s) Karen Van der Beek
Children
  • Rebecca Moody (Daughter)
  • Levon (Son)

Henry James "Hank" Moody, portrayed by David Duchovny, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Showtime television series Californication. Moody is an esteemed but erratic writer who frequently becomes embroiled in bizarre, and in some cases, scandalous situations. Many reviewers liken Moody's character to that of writer Charles Bukowski.

Character biography[edit]

Characteristics[edit]

However shallow Hank may come across as being, most episodes of Californication reveal at least some degree of depth to his persona, in many cases exposing a surprisingly vulnerable Hank, especially in relation to his long-term on-and-off girlfriend Karen and their daughter, Becca. He is shown on more than one occasion to be broken, empty and desolate, seeing himself as beyond saving.

Hank loves rock music and collects classic vinyl records. His favorite artist appears to be Warren Zevon. Along with the consumption of whiskey and weed, Hank listens to Zevon songs, every time he completes a piece of writing. He also mentions Black Sabbath lyrics from time to time.

He owns a classic Gibson Les Paul. In the second season, he reveals to Ashby that the first album he ever bought with his own money was Led Zeppelin II. Interestingly, three of Hank's novels, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss and God Hates Us All are named after the albums by the American thrash metal band, Slayer.

During the first four seasons of the series, Hank is seen driving a 1990 Porsche 964 Cabriolet with one headlight smashed.[1] The car is characterized by its messy and dusty look that Hank maintains with his daughter Becca's support. They both claim that it "has character". Hank buys a new Porsche Cabriolet in the ninth episode of the first season but it's soon carjacked, so Hank goes back to his original Porsche. In the fourth season when the car is crashed by Becca, Hank subsequently buys another of the same model and color. He is seen using a tire iron to break the right headlight of the new car, even before leaving the used car lot on Washington Boulevard in Marina Del Rey, to resemble his old car. This is believed to be an homage to The Wallflowers' song "One Headlight." However in Season 5 Hank is given a new Porsche by Charlie and subsequently drives that for the rest of the series. The series finale ends with a shot of the car. This solidifies that Hank is leaving his lifestyle behind to finally be with Karen, as they fly to New York for Becca's wedding.

Background[edit]

Hank was born in Levittown, New York, on Long Island. In his early pursuit to become a writer, Hank moved to New York City, where he had to work at Blockbuster to support himself. Eventually, Hank's talent and gift as a writer were noticed by the literary community. Hank's early short stories and books were instantly regarded as sharing the same gritty realism of Charles Bukowski and resulted in a cult following; which grew after the publication of God Hates us All.

Hank met Karen Van der Beek at CBGB and soon after, she became pregnant and gave birth to their daughter, Rebecca. After the publication of God Hates Us All, Hank, Karen and Becca moved to Los Angeles so that Hank could work on the screenplay for the movie adaptation.

Publications[edit]

  • South of Heaven – Written before the show.
  • Seasons in the Abyss – Written before the show.
  • God Hates Us All – Written before the show. The movie adaptation has just been finished before the first season begins. In the sixth season Hank writes a musical based on the book with Atticus Fetch.
  • Fucking & Punching – Written during the first season, it was stolen by Mia Lewis, who then got it published as her own work and received critical acclaim. Hank regains attribution for the novel between the third and fourth seasons, and assists in the development of the film adaptation after being hired to rewrite the script.
  • Lew Ashby, A Biography – Written during the second season. It was published posthumously after Lew Ashby mistakenly snorted a fatal heroin overdose.
  • Californication – Written between the fourth and fifth season.

Other works[edit]

Aside from his books, Hank has written the screenplay for the movie adaption of his God Hates Us All, titled A Crazy Little Thing Called Love. He has also written the musical based on the book. In the fourth season, he rewrote the Fucking & Punching screenplay. In season five Hank writes the screenplay for Santa Monica Cop. Season 7 sees Hank becoming a staff writer for the television adaptation of Santa Monica Cop.[2]

Development[edit]

David Duchovny stated that following the The X-Files, he wanted to work on a comedy series. But believes casting directors and audiences did not see him in that way because of the dark tone of his previous work. He also felt that the "underdog comedies" being made at the time would not have suited him.[3]

He was attracted to Californication because the show is a "hyper-articulate comedy" and deals with adults trying to solve their problems.[3][4] Duchovny looked at his character as the emotional anchor of the show, giving "balance to all the other craziness and [keeping] it from floating away into ridiculous escapades."[4] He revealed that creator Tom Kapinos allowed him to improvise his lines, allowing for a natural feel.[4] Hank's iconic saying of the word "motherfucker" in a falsetto voice was one of these instances.[3]

Duchovny said that the show's premise that a writer is interesting to people is Kapinos's fantasy; "To make a show about a writer and to have that writer be attractive to women and powerful in the world and all these things. It’s just complete wish fulfillment for Tom, and for writers in general, he would say."[5] Marilyn Manson, who plays himself in season 6, said Kapinos told him that when creating the character of Hank Moody he wanted him to be a rock star; "He was writing about himself, so he wanted to combine a writer who behaved like a rock star."[6]

Duchovny revealed that he wanted Hank to die at the end of the series; "Everything had to catch up with him. You can't drink and smoke like that and get away with it for too long. I wanted it to be complete. I wanted Hank to get married to Karen right before he died."[3]

Reception[edit]

Duchovny won the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for his performance as Hank Moody. He was nominated for the same award three more times; 2009, 2010, and 2012.[7] In 2008 he was also nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.

References[edit]

External links[edit]