X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

The X-Files Expo: Atlanta: Nick Lea

The X-Files Expo: Atlanta
Nick Lea Q&A

[Transcript of event. Original article here]

note: As I mentioned before, I missed some of the action on Saturday, but got all of it on Sunday. Still, in an attempt to give some semblance of order to this page, I list Saturday first. My own comments are usually in parenthesis, and direct quotes from Nick are in quotation marks.

Saturday’s Questions:

I missed some of Nick Lea’s session on Saturday (sorry — that was when I lost track of my husband and went on a search for him). I also had a harder time hearing some of the questions on both days, and I couldn’t write down the dialogue that took place when I was getting people to take the pictures for me. Here are some assorted questions (that I managed to jot down) from Saturday.

After Nick came out on stage, he sat and talked about getting his part for a while. Basically, he got the small part in “Genderbender” and became friends with Producer/Director Rob Bowman. Later, when the part of Krycek was being cast, Rob Bowman kept pushing for Nick. The powers-that-be auditioned about 30 guys in LA, then came out to Vancouver and ended up giving Nick the part. Rob Bowman takes credit for Nick’s current career, and Nick gives him a dollar every time he sees him. Lea says that the day he got the part of Krycek was the most exciting day of his life. His girlfriend at the time (Melinda McGraw – who plays Melissa Scully) was working out at a gym. Lea got the news, ran down the street, and burst into the gym shouting “I got it! I got it!”. He went on to heavily compliment the show, explaining how grateful he is to get to work with people with integrity, brains, and talent. He talked about how this show has sent him around the globe. He talked about getting beat up almost weekly (big audience cheer here). He says that opening a script is like opening a Christmas present, because you never know what is going to be in it. He said that the role of Krycek has been a dream come true!

(note: I missed some stuff here)

Well, the first questions I heard were rather lame (I’m sure they were great for the people asking them, but they were lame for the rest of us). One girl wanted Lea’s water bottle, another one propositioned him, claiming she wanted to go out with him. I do believe he gave the first girl the water bottle, and politely told the second one that he had a girlfriend. NEXT!

What was it like to kiss David Duchovny?
“Excellent” (big pause, big grin, lots of whoops from the audience). He goes on to explain that in the original script the kiss was there and that both David D. and Nick thought it was hilarious and a great idea! He said that he and David are very close and hang out a lot (the audience broke in here shouting “woooooooo”, to which Nick replies “we’re closer now — the kiss was a big ice breaker for us” (another big audience reaction). He went on to say that he and David D. love working together and that they are usually fighting, which is a lot of fun. Then the scene was almost cut due to the difficulty in holding a gun on Mulder with Krycek’s one good arm and whatnot. Because they liked the idea of the kiss so much, they expressly rearranged the scene to leave the kiss in. Nick says that they were laughing so hard throughout the whole thing they almost couldn’t do the scene. Nick said he would just look at David, and David would start snickering. Chris Carter was off camera trying hard not to laugh as well. They also kept reshooting the scene because Nick was kissing David on the cheek, but for the kiss to be on camera the kiss had to be closer to the front of David’s face, so Chris kept yelling “Kiss him closer to the mouth!”

Someone asked Nick who his favorite musician/band was (I didn’t really hear the question). Nick replied “Probably James Taylor”, then added that his tastes run across the board. He said that he has seen Ray Charles 3 times, he’s a Tony Bennett fan, James Taylor, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, and on and on. The person who asked the questions then began singing for Nick (she had a good voice too). Nick complimented her and told her that he would add her to his list.

Someone asked him how he got out of the missile silo (I was really having a hard time hearing at this point). Nick said that a scene that was cut from one of the episodes showed where the militia guys found and rescued him. The cut scene was later explained in the episode “Tunguska”. Nick went on to explain that one of the main things he likes about his character is the fact that he’s not totally good and he not totally bad, and Nick hopes that the character never becomes totally clear — he likes him jumping between both sides.

Exactly why did Krycek kiss Mulder? (slightly different than the earlier question)
“It’s a Russian thing”, Lea replied. It is also kinda like a ** you (I was looking at my notes, so I don’t know whether he really made a hand gesture or not). He also thinks that it was a good luck thing — something like I wish you good luck, I don’t trust you, I have some respect for you, I wish you luck, and I’ll be behind you so watch your back. “I’ll be there making your life hell, so don’t forget about me”. Nick also said he wanted to keep the kiss in the scene because he knew that it would cause a huge fan reaction (he’s a little devil, isn’t he?).

Do you like David or Gillian better?
Nick replied that he has really only worked with Gillian twice, although he sees her all the time. (A baby let out a wail somewhere in here — to which Nick replied that obviously the baby doesn’t like Krycek). He and David usually work together and that’s how they forged their friendship together. He went on about how he is much closer to David (with a few “woooo”‘s from the audience). At the end, Nick said that he doesn’t like either one of them, he just knows David better (then did add that David was a very good friend of his).

What was it like hanging from Skinner’s balcony?
“Scary. Really, really scary”. They called him and asked if he would be willing to do the stunt, and Nick said “Sure!”. Nick said that he totally trusted the special effects people and that they are complete professionals, so he didn’t think he would be afraid. He explained that the original idea was to have him standing on a platform and they would shoot at an angle to hide it, but Nick suggested to actually hang him there so the scene would be more exciting. He went on to say he was somewhat disappointed in the final scene because it didn’t show his true height well enough. He said that doing the scene was “absolutely terrifying”. The day was windy and raining and he really was hanging by one arm. All together, he said that filming it was fun but scary. Nick also said that when he first met John Neville (who plays the Well-Manicured Man), Neville said that he had heard that Nick Lea would do anything.

At this point, another audience member said that she would be willing to pose some competition for Nick’s girlfriend. She gave out her name and telephone number (no I didn’t write it down), to which Nick replied “All right! Atlanta’s been very good to me”.

The next girl asked for a hug, and Nick politely told her that he wasn’t supposed to do that because it disrupts the question & answer process, but he did hug her anyway. He then joked around, asking what would have happened if she tripped and fell on the way to the stage. Would she sue him? Would the media turn it into a “X-Files actor beats up fan” type headline?

Were you really speaking Russian? Was it hard to learn?
Nick replied that he doesn’t speak Russian and that learning the lines was a really hard thing to do. He said that speaking the language and getting the accent was not really that hard for him, but attempting to act at the same time made it difficult because you are using the creative side to act and the logical side to recite lines that really don’t mean anything to you. He also said that it is easy to get lost when carrying on a conversation with a person who is speaking Russian back to you. Apparently a person who taught Russian studies had told Lea that he had done a really great job, and that boosted his confidence a bit.

A person got up and stated something like “we hate to love and we love to hate you”. She then asked what is next for Krycek, a lobotomy?
Nick replied that he wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. He said that when they called and asked him what he thought about them cutting Krycek’s arm off, he was absolutely for it. “The more that happens to this character, the better”. He said that when he started on as Krycek in “Sleepless”, he had really short hair and a really bad suit, and that he was very straight — then as the character progressed we saw big changes in the role, both physically and mentally. Now that he has lost an arm, the world is a different place for him. He said something about not trusting anyone anymore, then about how he tried to trust Covarrubias, but she “screwed” him (big audience reaction). He said “My choice of words is awful today!”.

A small child asked Why did they cut Krycek’s arm off
Nick explained the episode to her, going into detail about how the Russian government was using the smallpox vaccination scars to tag people, and how the Russian people had figured out that if they didn’t have their arms they weren’t used in the tests. He told her that the men were just trying to help him by cutting his arm off. Lea then went on to tell us about how they filmed the scene in a park called Stanley Park in Vancouver on a miserably rainy night. He was lying on his back with 6 guys on top of him, screaming his head off. He then commented about how the X-Files causes him to do wildly different things each time he appears.

Do you think anything about Krycek should change?
Nick responded that he would like to see more of why Krycek does what he does. He would like to do a “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man” type episode.

(I missed some questions through here in an attempt to get some pictures)

Who is the toughest?
Nick replied that he wouldn’t want to get on Skinner’s bad side, but then Nick added that Skinner likes his sucker punches too — at least Krycek comes straight at you! (note: Pileggi responds to this question during his Q&A; session).

The next audience member commented that she thought the X-Files actors were probably the smartest batch of actors on television, then asked Who choreographed the Covarrubias/Krycek hook-up, and did he have any input?
Nick replied “I did!”. He then went on to say that he was proud to tell us that he suggested the scene as it was shot. The script was written with Covarrubias saying her line about Krycek thinking he could get away with it, but then she breaks into a big smile, followed by a hug. Lea thought it would be better to string the audience along for a bit longer and make them wonder exactly what he was going to do to her. He commented that this was a big moment, since no two supporting characters had ever “made-out”, so they liked drawing the scene out and adding the suspense to it. Later, Nick addressed the “smart” comment — adding that part of what makes Mulder & Scully so good is that they are played by two such highly intelligent actors. He claimed that David is misunderstood, that he has a huge heart, that he is a poet at heart, that he writes very good poetry, and that David is trying very hard to maintain a semi-normal life in the midst of the X-Files popularity. He went on further about how both David and Gillian are very, very, very smart actors.

Is it true that your girlfriend was Melinda McGraw?
How did it feel to shoot her?
“Well secretly it was excellent”. Nick went on to explain that he is not seeing Melinda anymore, but she is really smart and a really great actress. He said that she had no problems doing the stunt, but it was uncomfortable for Nick. He kept asking her if she needed a pillow to fall on. He then made the comment “Who else gets to kill their girlfriend on national television — not that killing your girlfriend is a good thing”.

Will we be seeing any Nick Lea nude scenes in the upcoming movie?
“Not with me”. Nick then attempted to change the subject about how smart David and Gillian are (see question above). I believe a member of the audience prodded him to answer the question. Nick admitted that he is actually not in the movie. Early on there were different drafts of the script floating around, and he was in some, not in others, etc. When they finally selected the script they told Nick that his part in the movie was more of a token part, and that maybe it would be better to save him for the next movie.

The next person asked what Lea had meant when he said “next movie”. Lea said that he had been talking to Chris the other day, and Chris had said that if the current movie did even marginally well they would do another one.

At what point did you decide to become an actor, and what was your first big break?
He had always wanted to be an actor, but there was no film business in Vancouver when he was young. He went to art school for 2 years to become an illustrator. Then he played in a band.

Sorry guys — I quit writing stuff for some reason here!

Sunday’s Questions:

The first person who made it to the microphone began by stating that he loved Nick — hated the character but liked Nick, to which Nick replied “Why do you hate the character?” The guy answered “He’s a creep”, to which Nick replied “Why is he a creep?” “He kills people”. “Who?” Lea asked. The guy responded that Krycek lies and he killed Mulder’s dad. “How do you know?” Lea asked, prompting the crowd to cheer madly. Lea went on to ask how did we know Krycek wasn’t there to save him. This went on for a while and was rather cute, with the audience guy trying to get Nick to admit that he something bad to Mulder’s dad, but Nick never would. Nick reminded everyone that he was there when Melissa Scully was shot, but he didn’t pull the trigger, and finished up by declaring that he will defend the Krycek character to the end.

Next a question was asked about Nick’s character on the first season finale of Sliders and whether or not it was to be a recurring role. Nick responded that there was some thought of adding his character to the case of Sliders, but when the second season started the powers-that-be decided that they wanted to start fresh and not continue some of the story-lines introduced in the previous season, including Lea’s character.

Will the move to LA affect the screen-time Krycek gets next season?
Lea announced that Krycek’s screen-time will actually increase. The audience member asked “How so?”, and Lea responded that he had just signed a contract with them guaranteeing that the character would appear in a certain number of episodes each year (big cheer from the audience). Lea says that he feels that he has been rewarded for his loyalty to the show.

How good a kisser is Marita Covarrubias and how many retakes did he make them do?
Lea responded that she is actually a very good kisser. He then told the story about them knocking teeth at the rehearsal (he says because they were so ready to “go at it”). He said he opened the script, read it, and said “I’ve gotta do what?” He said one rehearsal meeting with her was awkward because they were wondering whether they should attempt to kiss then just to get it behind them. They decided to save it until they were in front of the cameras. The rest of what he said is pretty much the same as yesterday’s similar question, except when he mentioned that he can’t think of any other jobs where you are required to kiss people that you don’t know very well — except maybe prostitution.

I couldn’t hear the questions very well, but it had something to do with working on John Woo’s series “Once a Thief”. Lea replied that he took the job because he wanted to increase his responsibility on a show and see what it was like to be a leading man. He told a story about when he was doing the final audition for the network executives, and he very nervous about the audition. Lea saw Woo walk by with a large group of people, but then Woo stopped, waved the rest of the people on, walked back to Nick, put his arm around him, and said told him that he was a good actor, and that the show would be fine. Nick said that took a lot of the pressure off of him and made him feel better. Nick also said that the show would have done better if the network hadn’t put so many restrictions on Woo.

Another questions I couldn’t hear very well had to do with Nick’s character on the Highlander series. Nick said that he loved working on that show because his character was funny, and he doesn’t get to play many comedic roles. He said that the Highlander series is a fun show to work on, and that it takes a lot of imagination to play the roles.

Is Krycek going to lose any more body parts?
Not to his knowledge, but you never know. He started to say something, then stopped himself, saying that there were just too many joke opportunities there but he wasn’t going to go for it.

Someone asked if he thinks Krycek has had his own agenda. Lea says that in the beginning he was fresh out of the academy and was just following orders. Lea figures that Krycek was probably a very smart guy who graduated at the top of his class and was hand-picked by Cancerman to do his bidding. Lea also thinks that so many people have done so many bad things to Krycek, that now one of his motivations is revenge, as well as a quest for power. He may also honestly want to stop the alien invasion as presented in “The Red and the Black”. Lea thinks that a lot more will be revealed about Krycek as the series progresses, but he admits that he doesn’t know what is in the future, and that nobody really knows yet.

A girl then asked a rather silly question concerning a rumor that Lea had played a character other than Krycek earlier in the series. Lea said that that was what he had been talking about earlier when he first appeared on stage (this was probably the only really bad question asked on Sunday).

Another girl asked a question about the X-Files-ish episode of “Once a Thief” that aired last month. Unfortunately, Lea wasn’t able to hear her question, and didn’t understand what she was asking (he thought she was asking about an X-Files parody episode, and he said he was always in the serious X-Files episodes, not the funny ones).

What was the meaning behind the episode title “The Red and the Black”?
Lea admitted that he had no idea. He says that he doesn’t understand half of the titles, and that so many of them are in different languages he doesn’t try to figure them out anymore.

The next person up requested that Lea speak some Russian for us, and Nick kindly obliged. Nick went on to explain how he approached learning his lines in Russian (a bit of rehashing from Saturday’s similar question). He says it is odd to be speaking his lines and not really understand what you are saying.

How did you get out of the missile silo.
Same response as yesterday — just scroll back up and re-read it.:) The kid also asked a question about Krycek puking up the black oil-alien, so Lea explained a bit about how the oilien works (nothing you couldn’t get from the episode).

With Krycek’s character being “radiated & mutilated” so often, does Nick find it affecting him when he’s not working? Does he have dreams about the abuse? How does his brain let go of the violence?
Nick responded that he is usually exhausted after a day of shooting because it is so physical. If he is not physically tired, he is mentally tired because the X-Files is a show where you must give your all (because everyone else is too). He talked about the fight scene he and David choreographed together in “Anasazi”.

What is the strangest thing you ever autographed?
He autographed a box of Cheesitz yesterday, as well as a fake hand. He said that he has autographed a few breasts (then he explained that it was innocent enough). Then he decided that the chair he autographed yesterday was probably the strangest thing (personally, my vote is for the fake hand — that was a cool idea).

Who’s idea was the kiss between Mulder & Krycek
Nick said that it was Chris’s idea, and said many of the things he said after yesterday’s similar question, reiterating that he thinks it took 17 takes because they were all laughing so hard. He said that he thinks a Judas kiss is probably a good way to describe it, although he does think that Krycek has respect for Mulder. He says that the kiss was “cheeky”, with no pun intended.

Is it hard to act like you are missing an arm
Nick explained that he came up with the idea of the surgeon’s glove, painted with makeup, that he wears on his hand. He also said that they put a cast on his arm each day to keep him from attempting to move it. He did say that it is hard to act with one arm frozen — you want to express yourself with your hands while you speak but you can’t.

A fan got up and said that she collects trivia that no one else reports on, and asked if anyone on the cast smokes. Lea offered that the Cigarette Smoking Man actually does not smoke, then said that yes, some cast members do smoke, but that he wasn’t going to tell us which ones.

Where was the party last night?
They went to dinner, and then they went to the “Leopard Lounge”. He also said that one of the backstage assistants was feeding them tequila, which is why he and Mitch were not feeling good today.

That concluded Nick’s Q&A; session. He did say that they all had a wonderful time in Atlanta, and he apologized that they couldn’t spend more time with us as we were going through the autograph line.

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