A special message from Nick, about this poll:

         Hey everyone! I'm really sorry it took me sooo long to get back to you. I've been very busy. I wanted to thank (from the bottom of my heart) all those who contributed to the USA Poll. You're awesome! I am so lucky to have support from ALL of you like that. Even though I don't see myself as the next Stallone, your support of my work only makes me want to try harder to be a better actor - to live up to your sustained kindness and faith. Thank you all.   - Nick

USA TODAY, May 11, 2000

An 'X' factor tops next action hero list

By Susan Wloszczyna

We asked. And you took action. About 200 readers wrote in to tell us who should be the next big action hero in the movies.

No. 3 Jet Li almost kicked the competition. Exclaims Wilson Lee, 34, of Springfield, Mo., about the Romeo Must Die star: "No amount of effects can hide the legitimate skills of this champion martial artist."

No. 2 Brendan Fraser nearly had 'em crying for their Mummy. Enthuses Susan Barton, 43, of Huntingtown, Md. : "I'd give Brendan Fraser a standing ovation for brushing his teeth. "

But the actor with the most nominations: Nicholas Lea.

"Who?" may be the response of everyone but fanatics of TV's The X-Files. Lea pops up fairly often on the series as the enigmatic Krycek.

And what's Lea's reaction? "I am surprised. It's a wonderful thing. That support is priceless."

Yes, there was some ballot stuffing: Web sites devoted to the Canadian actor, who prefers to keep his age as mysterious as his character, promoted the write-in with gusto. But there is no question that this cult figure has a loyal following that would love to see him on the big screen. What the Krycek klique had to say about the idol:

" Lea's work on The X-Files has been quite action-oriented - escaping burning cars, hanging off balconies, racing from whip-wielding Russians on horses. . . . The screen comes alive when he appears. " - Alexander Potter, 29, of Brattleboro, Vt.

"With the face of an angel, the body and muscles to tempt a saint, a gravelly smoky voice and eyes more beautiful than the brightest emeralds, Nicholas Lea warms more than my heart. " - DeAnna Hughes, 28, of Midwest City, Okla.

Lea, who once considered becoming a professional soccer player, wouldn't mind being an action hero "if it means having a career that resembles Harrison Ford's. I hope to be in smart projects. "

That presumably includes Vertical Limit, opening Dec. 8. "Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney and I climb K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, and need to be rescued by Chris O'Donnell . It's an action film with a lot of heart."

Lea remains tied to The X-Files, appearing in the show's May 21 season-ender "quite a bit." And in a couple of weeks, he starts a film in Vancouver, British Columbia, involving more talk than action, a romantic comedy called Lunch With Charles. "No fighting required."

And here's a scan of the actual article.

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