Well, am I dedicated or not? I bought the electronic issue.
Q&A: Local guy Nick Lea on X-Files, Whistler and . . . yellow snow?
— Dana Gee
When CTV’s new series Whistler hits the air tonight, many people will recognize hard-working local actor Nick Lea. A regular on The X-Files and a guest star on big-budget U.S. dramas like CSI and NYPD Blue, Lea returns to TV as Ethan MacKaye, a hard-working and hard-headed Whistler local who just happens to be the father of the Olympic gold-medal snowboarder who turns up dead. With all 13-episodes of Whistler’s first season in the can, Lea is busy on other career opportunities. The Province caught up with him as he was heading to L.A. to shoot a pilot.
Q. Did you give any of the younger Whistler cast members any general, sort of, fatherly advice?
A. It was kind of tough being the oldest person on set! I’m sure there was some crew members that had a few years on me, but . . .
Q. What about advice about the tough business you are in?
A. This cast is so good and so smart that they didn’t need me going on about the old days!
Q. What’s the best advice you have received?
A. Never eat yellow snow.
Q. What was your first professional job and what about that job is the most memorable for you?
A. Secret Lives with Dr. Don Dutton. Actors play out their “issues” with a real therapist. I’ll never forget that one of the lighting guys said to me after, “Hey, you know what? You’re pretty good.” That made my year!
Q. When you are not working what do you do to keep yourself busy?
A. Family and friends, Gulf Islands property, golf.
Q. Your Whistler character, Ethan MacKaye, is a former hot-shot skier? Do you ski or snowboard and if so which runs would we find you on the green, blues or double black diamonds?
A. Before I blew out my knees (hey! just like my character) I skied a lot, downhill and cross-country. I liked to cruise on green and blue runs.
Q. Did you have any sports heroes growing up?
Q. Your character is the kind of guy who carries a grudge. Have you ever been known to carry a grudge?
A. I don’t carry a grudge very often. Usually I let it go in a day or so. But on the occasion that I’ve held one, I hold on pretty tight because trust is a big issue for me.
Q. How do you split your time up (Vancouver, Gulf Islands, L.A.)?
A. I split my time between all three.
Q. What are three things you really miss about B.C. when you go south to work?
A. I miss the seasons, the rain, the air, my girlfriend. You know, the simple stuff.
Q. Prior to Whistler, what has been your most memorable working experience and why? A. Working on X-Files for the first five years was a blast! Vertical Limit in New Zealand for six months wasn’t too shabby either!
Q. The first Whistler episode comes out swinging and cracks open more than a few interesting doors, can you dish on any of the storylines?
A. In terms of me getting killed off, you’ll have to tune in to find out, huh?
Q. If you were not an actor, what would you like to do for a living and why?
A. If I wasn’t an actor, I’d like to be a zoo curator or an archeologist or a beachcomber.
Q. What is on your work plate right now? A. It’s the busiest I’ve been in a while. Whistler, Butterfly on a Wheel, Bruce Sweeney’s American Venus, Vice, Kyle XY and Fox pilot Drive. This has all happened since April.
[picture is one we already know from the promo]