Catch up with Nicholas Lea of ‘The X-Files’ and ‘Supernatural’

Nicholas Lea squeezed an interview in between feedings of adorable new twin baby girls. Best known for his role as Alex Krycek on “The X-Files” and Eliot Ness from “Supernatural,” Lea can be spotted on Jordan Peele’s new “The Twilight Zone.” The Vancouver actor and singer chatted about how his episode ‘Nightmare of 30,000 Feet’ was not only scary and freaky, it was socially relevant.

Colleen Bement: Let’s start out with your role as Captain Donner in Jordan Peele’s new “The Twilight Zone.” I won’t ask for spoilers, but what are you allowed to share about the whole experience?

Nicholas Lea: I would say first and foremost are the people attached to the project. Of course Jordan, everyone knows who he is now and is a fan of what he’s doing. Als the writer of that particular episode, Glen Morgan, was one-half of Morgan and Wong who were two of the key writers on “The X-Files” so I knew that the dialog was going to be snappy and smart and clever. The director Greg Yaitanes, who I worked with a number a years ago is a super talented guy who’s got a bit of a golden touch in producing really good one-hour television.

We happened to be up in Toronto seeing some specialists for our pregnancy and I got the job. I sort of had to reconcile with that because I had to come back early to start. Normally I would have stayed where I was but this project was something I couldn’t say no to.

The thing was that they showed a reverence for the original show in the source material. They weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but they were trying to bring a modern sensibility to the show. If you look at the subject matter of these episodes, like the original, they’re all very socially minded. They’re about the human condition and about the unusual lengths people will go to be successful or to be loved to be appreciated. Not just are they scary and freaky, they’re socially relevant as well.

When you look at Jordan’s material like “Get Out,” it’s really about modern-day racism or a perceived sense of racism. It’s a lofty aspiration for a horror movie, right? That’s what he’s brought is social awareness. In this episode, without giving much away, it’s about Adam Scott he gets on a plan and he’s “Mr. Liberal” that loves everybody and as he gets more and more terrified, we watch those values change in him. That’s what good television is. CBS didn’t just bring in a guy who wants to scare people, they gave the project to a guy who not only wants to scare people but also teach people: Reveal things about the human condition.

CB: Are you a fan of the original Twilight Zone?

Nicholas Lea. Google photo used with permission from Dominic Mancini of Full Empire Productions

NL: I remember pretty clearly the episode with Burgess Meredith where all he wanted was to be alone so he could read his books. Then there’s armageddon, and he’s the last man on Earth. He breaks his glasses at the end of the episode and he’s unable to read. He’s left entirely alone. Again, not only were they scary; they were relevant.

CB: Your filmography is just off the hook! You’ve been in some amazing shows. One in particular that I want to chat about is your role as Eliot Ness in “Supernatural” season 7 episode ‘Time After Time.’ What can you tell “Supernatural” fans about that experience?

NL: What I really am hoping for is for them to do a follow up episode and bring Eliot Ness to 2019. In the one that we shot, of course, they come back to the ’30s and I’d like to do it again to revisit that character and have him to come to 2019.

CB: Tell us about your spot on that cool new show “The InBetween.”

NL: It’s about a young woman is able to communicate with the dead. It’s a one-hour NBC show. I think it starts airing in toward the end of June. Harriet Dyer is the lead in the show and she’s really talented, and it was a really wonderful episode for me. I am a dead rockstar: Sort of a grunge rockstar from the ’90s. He died and came to Harriet’s character, Cassie, for help finding his son.

I got to do a bunch of photo shoots for the posters for the band, and they put a wig on me and scruffed it up a bit. Most importantly I got to sing in the episode. It’s a really sweet show and it’s super heartfelt and I’m kinda proud of my work in it. I think it’s going to be good.

I sang for a long time in a band, and my girlfriend and I, and a few other actors have a band going in Vancouver. We’re very slowly getting it together.

CB: Thanks for leading us into my next question! I read that you were the lead singer in an alternative rock band. Was there ever a time when you chose between a music career and acting?

NL: We were working, we were gigging, we were doing lots of stuff around Vancouver, and then I had to get an actual job; so I did that and wasn’t completely enthralled with that. A guy came in to where I was working and said that he had just met this acting coach and you should go meet her. It’s something I had wanted to do since I was a kid. So I went in to meet this acting coach and quit my job the next day!

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