It was an appropriate morning for the counting of blessings, mixed though they may be.
The scene was Thanksgiving Sunday at an airport hotel, the site of Metro's first X-Files convention. The action, for actor Nick Lea, was unexpected and unsettling.
Two hours before he was to address the crowd of 3,000 as the event's star attraction, Lea was delivered to an interview pale and shaky. Instead of whisking him in discreetly, a representative of convention organizer Creation Entertainment had led him through the jammed hotel and a gauntlet of excited fans.
"Which is great, but it's frightening at the same time," said Lea, his pulse rate in no hurry to return to normal.
"I don't need that when, on the Internet, there's people saying, `Isn't he worried that somebody's going to wait outside the studio with a gun?' "I mean, I don't really take that fully seriously but when you walk through that ..."
All of this illustrates the delight/dilemma actors experience when they sign up with a cult series like The X-Files or its occult and sci-fi brethren. After playing a barhopper who picked up a sex-switching succubus in the January 1994 episode Genderbender, Lea was reintroduced 10 months later as duplicitous FBI Agent Alex Krycek.
Although Krycek has lasted longer than the three episodes originally planned, the 33-year-old actor has seen considerably less screen time on The X-Files than during his three seasons as The Commish's officer Nicky Caruso. But The Commish didn't get him on a trading card.
Or attract the kind of following that has fans phoning his hotel room in the middle of the night. Or makes them as determined as one man who had his two daughters, both under 10, in tow when he staked out the lobby until 2 a.m. "It's great to meet the people and to be involved in it. It's great, but you just have to kind of organize it properly. In Reno, they took me in a kind of back way with security guards. Which was cool because you never know. You just never know," Lea said.
Krycek was last seen after surviving a hit ordered by his mysterious superior Cancer Man. Executive producer Chris Carter has asked Lea to be available for more episodes and Krycek's betrayal is making many watchers wonder whether he won't reappear on the side of the good guys, Agents Mulder and Scully.
"I'd like to see him save Mulder's life, actually," says Lea, who views Krycek as "a little morally misguided but not bad."
"There is no such thing as just good and just bad. In between that, that's where everybody sits. Except maybe the Pope and a few other people. Maybe the guy will go back and forth a little bit. That's what people are speculating a lot - Am I going to be a good guy now? Am I going to go over to their side? I don't think that's going to happen. I think that the day that I become a good guy is the day that I die on that show."
In the meantime, Lea will shoot a guest star role for an episode of the Fox series Sliders in November. And in spite of his experience here, he'll appear at X-Files conventions in New Orleans and Austin.
What happens after that is classified. Sort of.
"Not only am I sworn to secrecy, I don't know."
PHOTO: Nick Lea is Krycek on The X-Files; photo by Thomas Aoyagi, SUN.
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