J. August Richards is an actor, writer, and director widely known for his appearances in the hit shows Angel and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He was kind enough to share his inspiring story as a film artisan with The Quintessential Gentleman.
At an early age, Richards discovered that he wanted to become an actor. He was captivated by characters like firemen that he watched on television and imagined becoming like them. Although unable to decipher the meaning behind his fascination, his desire to be in the film industry was deeply rooted and would shape the course of Richards’ life. Despite having equal enthusiasm for acting and directing, he chose to study theater because there was a stronger focus on the artistry of acting. He was also greatly inspired by John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood and attended USC to follow in his footsteps. He planned to devote the first half of his career to acting, and the second half to directing. Presently, he’s reached the second juncture in his career as a writer and director.
Richards was introduced to the TV show Giants through his longtime friend and actor, James Bland. Giants is a drama about three friends struggling to navigate adulthood and find enlightenment on the path to self-discovery. In preparation for season two, he was asked to become a writer on the show and later directed the season’s first two episodes. What started as an endeavor to support a friend’s creative vision became an investment in an awarding-winning show. Giants is a prime example of a creative community coming together to produce excellence. Richards feels that African Americans’ success transcends the film creatives’ current triumph in Hollywood and expands in other fields. He believes “that the internet and social media have helped change the industry because creatives have direct access to their target audience and more artistic freedom through these platforms.” According to Richards, the core of niche filmmaking is “remaining true to a creative vision and developing content inspired by personal interests that appeals to those who share the same interest.”
When selecting industry partners, workflow and taste level are important to Richards. Being on the same creative wavelength is vital. In regards to accepting film projects, Richards always favors quality over quantity. There have been moments when he has turned down opportunities to sustain a personal standard of work. He wants to play black men who are relatable and believable to viewers. He has played characters who strongly value family, which reflects his values.
NBC’s Council of Dads is a heartfelt drama about a terminally ill family man who entrusts positive male figures to instill moral principles in the lives of his children should he die. Richards plays an oncologist, and his character is one of the many men selected as a role model for the children. Alongside Richards, Council of Dads stars Jose Prunet, Greg Ainsworth and Emjay Anthony. The pilot episode is directed by James Strong and is expected to air this fall.
Richards has quite a few projects on the horizon. Richards is currently pitching a web series that he and Bland wrote and produced, respectively. The Hypnotist is a series about African hypnosis. He also recently directed a music video for Tweez da Swaggy God’s song Take Care. There is much to look forward to, and fans won’t be disappointed!
Make sure to follow J. August Richards on his Instagram.
Photo Credit: J. August Richards in GIANTS |Courtesy J. August Richards (Assignment X.com)