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The X-Files Official Magazine #1: The Rat’s Back

Spring 1997
The X-Files Official Magazine #1
The Rat’s Back

On the Internet, he’s Ratboy. But actor Nicholas Lea, who plays THE X-FILES’ Alex Krycek, has another nickname for himself: the Everlast bag.

He has a point — the double-crossing Krycek seemed to get a serious body blow every few minutes during “Tunguska.” “I’ve never finished a job and felt like I needed a holiday, but I did on this one,” says Lea.

And the physical challenges didn’t stop there. At one point during the filming of “Tunguska,” the actor hung suspended by a cable from the top of a 16-story building. “I won’t try to kid you, it was pretty frightening,” he recalls. “When I got there, they had a platform for me to stand on. They were going to shoot me down to the knees, so it would look like I was hanging there, but you wouldn’t be able to see my feet. I said, ‘You should be able to see my feet there so people know I’m really hanging.’ So they took the platform away, and we did it that way.”

Soon after that stunt, the actor met John Neville (The Well-Manicured Man) for the first time; according to Lea, Neville said, “‘Oh, you’re Nick Lea. I’ve heard you’ll do anything.'”

Whether or not Lea will do anything is open to question, but it certainly seems that his alter ego Krycek will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Yet even Lea isn’t certain what motivates the character. “I think that he’s driven by a certain degree of vengeance,” he offers. “There’s a speech I had in ‘Tunguska’ where I said, ‘All I want is to find the man who tried to kill me,’ and I think he really believes that.”

Whatever Krycek’s motivations are these days, he’s no longer the fresh-faced agent recruited by the Cigarette-Smoking Man to spy on Mulder and Scully. “He started out as a covert agent,” Lea notes, “and then became more or less a free agent just trying to keep himself alive. And now it seems that he’s possibly working for the Russians. Physically and mentally, he’s undergone some big changes.

“When I did my first three [episodes], ‘Sleepless,’ ‘Duane Barry,’ and ‘Ascension,'” the actor continues, “I pretty much went with the story that was available: He was a young guy, fresh out of the [FBI] Academy, who was chosen to infiltrate [the X-Files]. But the story tends to change, so I kind of go with what I have at the time.”

Despite his character’s duplicitous ways, Lea doesn’t think that Krycek is “as cold-hearted as he appears to be. But I do think that he’ll do whatever it takes to stay alive and to get done what he has to do.”

One of the things that Lea had to do during the making of “Tunguska” was learn a lot of Russian dialog, a chore he doesn’t recall with much pleasure. “It was brutal to learn — it’s a language with no connection to English at all. And it takes three or four Russian sentences to say one short English sentence.” In the end, he adds ruefully, a lot of that dialogue eventually got axed.

Yet Lea, who will be seen next fall in several countries (but not in the U.S.) on the syndicated TV series ONCE A THIEF, enjoyed making “Tunguska” — even when things got a little ugly. “I have a great time [on the X-FILES set],” he enthuses. “Whenever I hear I’m going to be in an episode, I can’t wait to get there. Those people are all my friends, and David [Duchovny] is a very good friend of mine, and Mitch [Pileggi] as well. It’s really [a case of] getting beaten up by your friends.” — MR

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