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J. August Richards Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (12)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 28 August 1973Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Birth NameJaime Augusto Richards III
Nickname Jay
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in the Maryland suburb of Bladensburg, Richards discovered his love for acting at an early age and enrolled in a performing arts high school where he appeared in several plays a year. Academically confident and determined to move out to Los Angeles to pursue his acting aspirations, Richards applied to only one college - the University of Southern California (USC). Not only was he accepted, he also won numerous scholarships and grants to study theater. Upon graduation from USC, Richards began working steadily in film, television and theater. Playing a rapping bike messenger who believes he is an alien abductee in the Mark Taper Forum's (Los Angeles) production of "Space," he began to earn recognition and rave reviews.

Richards was introduced to fans of "Angel" during the series' first season the rogue, street-savvy vampire hunter Charles Gunn. In season five, his character was transformed into a "take-no-prisoners" lawyer at the evil law firm Wolfram and Hart. In "Conviction," Richards returns to the "letter of the law" in his role as Billy Desmond, an ambitious and brilliant assistant district attorney who does not lose.

On the big screen, Richards has appeared in the feature films "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" and "Good Burger." He also starred in the television movies "Critical Assembly," "The Temptations" and "Mutiny." Richards also guest-starred on "The Practice," "Chicago Hope," "The Cosby Show" and "Any Day Now." Last summer, Richards won critical notices in Kenneth Lonergan's "Lobby Hero" at the prestigious Old Globe Theatre.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kyle Avery Public Relations

Trivia (5)

Says that his mother didn't want him to become an actor; instead, she had hopes of him becoming a lawyer or a priest. In the final season of Angel (1999), Gunn got a special brain spell and became a top Wolfram & Hart lawyer. In Conviction (2006) he played a lawyer again, this time at the DA's Office. He then played a prosecutor again on Raising the Bar (2008).
Named #10 of the Top Ten Sexiest Men of the Buffy / Angel universe in a fan poll by Bufy the Vampire Slayer fanzine (2004).
He is of Panamanian descent.
Thinks the best TV series is "The Wire," but his personal favorite TV series is "Three's Company.".
In the play "Lobby Hero" at San Diego's Old Globe, May 21 - June 26, 2005. [June 2005]

Personal Quotes (12)

"It is kind of grandiose, isn't it? I changed my name at 14 because no one outside of my family could pronounce my first name correctly. My parents are from Panama, and so there's a primary AND a secondary stress on my first name, Jaime, so it sounds like HIGH-MAY. And my middle name is actually Augusto [Ah-GOOS-toe], so that's tough too. The funny thing is, I have so many nicknames that no one calls me by my given name anyway. Still, I have thought about changing it just to Jay Richards." - Jay in an interview with EW. (regarding his given name)
[on his role as Charles Gunn on "Angel":] "What's ironic is that I don't think race ultimately had anything to do with me getting the part. When I auditioned, I heard that they were looking at white guys, Latino guys, Asian guys, so they didn't know where they were going with it."
[on his role as Charles Gunn on "Angel":] I don't think my parents were too happy when I announced that I wanted to be an actor. And then when I told them I was starring in a show about vampires, they were like, 'Couldn't you at least get a role as a nice lawyer or something.' My Mom always wanted me to be a lawyer or a priest. I think they were a little bit surprised by my career choice. [March 18, 2003]
[on his role as Charles Gunn on "Angel":] When I change my lines, I just deliver them and wait for their reaction. I just kind of ad-lib sometimes and they'll pull me back or they'll just let it go. When they have a problem with it, they tell me. It's not that I have to change much, because they usually get it right. I'm glad they don't dumb him down and make him say stupid things. [March 18, 2003]
[on his role as Charles Gunn on "Angel":] Gunn is an activist, a renegade vampire hunter who leads his motley crew of fellow hunters on a personal crusade of execution for reasons that the audience is not yet aware of. He is a tormented soul and a lone ranger, much like Angel, but he has adopted a family of lost and disenfranchised who he will protect at any cost. It's almost like he's two people in one, a violent and aggressive warrior, but also someone who desires family and people close to him. [March 18, 2003]
[on his role as Charles Gunn on "Angel":] Everybody on the set is fantastic and there are so many interesting people. I absolutely love working with David Boreanaz, and Charisma Carpenter I completely adore -- she teaches me to dance. She's definitely one of my favorite people on the set. And Alexis Denisof is such a dynamic actor. He's phenomenal. There is so much I can see happening to this character [Gunn], it makes me excited to think about all the ways he can branch out. Charles is a fantastic character. I really love his spirit. He's so pure and clean and unaffected. I love the extent to which he goes to protect the people he loves. I find that fascinating and admirable. [March 18, 2003]
Gunn, like me, has a James Bond obsession. He would love to be James Bond, and it's a great role that I would love to be, someday.
You have one goal in mind for your career, and then they [the directors] have to want you, too, for that thing. The plan is just to hopefully find a job that will be in line with what I want to do in terms of playing dynamic African-American male characters. It's so difficult to find that dynamic African-American male character anywhere, and that's what I really, really want to continue to do. The dynamic is the key word. There are a lot of opportunities out there that are a lot less than dynamic. It's even more frustrating when the script is great but the only black character in it is just not even there. But then you find one that is great or they might have somebody else in mind, a somebody that is a big star, and that's the juggling act. I don't concern myself with any of that. I'll keep auditioning and doing my plays. I'm happy with the work that I am doing. [2006]
[on the many iterations of Deathlok in comics, and where he would place his portrayal in "Agents of Shield" in that lineup] - Definitely, in my reading, I was drawn more to the Michael Collins version because this character is such a good man, such a good moral, decent person. For [Peterson] to do the things he's asked to do as Deathlok are very difficult for him. When I showed up to play the character for the first couple of days, I was still trying to find it. Obviously these are circumstances that I can't relate to, but I had to really use my imagination to get at what it would be like for Mike Peterson to be turned into Deathlok. Once I figured it out, it was like night and day, just a huge epiphany on what was going on internally for this character. I feel blessed that I've been asked to play this character because I always want to play the person behind the superhero. Even when I'm playing a lawyer or a doctor, I want to play a person. A human being. It's challenging physically, mentally, emotionally and even in the circumstances of the production. The makeup and the costumes. It's a huge challenge, but it's something that I love so much.
[on being no stranger to genre shows and its devoted fans, does he consciously choose roles in that genre] - JR: It very much is a conscious choice! I feel very, very connected to the science-fiction community worldwide. I do conventions, and I love doing them. What I love about the sci-fi community is that it's the most nonjudgmental, inclusive, diverse environment in the country. There's no group of people that is more diverse and inclusive. I thought about this a long time ago, and I feel like the work that I do, for me, incorporates the concepts of diversity and inclusion, and it's something that I'm connected to. I just feel like I've been chosen to do this work because I love the community so much. So whenever I get an audition to do something that is sci-fi-related, it makes me really happy because I realize that I can continue doing the work that I'm doing and continue meeting people all over the world. It does baffle my management team sometimes, though!

It's also really very demanding on your chops as an actor. It's not easy to personalize the struggle that Michael Peterson [on "Agents of "Shield"] is going through. It's just such a challenge to say, 'What would it be like if you were being controlled by this entity and you lost your freedom?' Personalizing that is not easy and it's a challenge, but I love challenges. I love roles that don't really have a template or a paradigm and force me to create using my own imagination... that really, really turns me on. When I read Deathlok's first appearance [in comics], the cover said "the world's most offbeat superhero," and I just love that so much. I can't entirely explain why.
[on working with Jed and Maurissa Whedon, and Clark Gregg on "Agents of "Shield"] - You know, working with Jed and Maurissa is just easy. Everything is easy. There's no drama. There's no ego. It's very comfortable. Obviously I've known them a long time, but you don't always get that as an actor in this business - working with people who are just easy and comfortable. I want to throw Jeff Bell in there as well. We've had a relationship for such a long time that it makes everything easier.

Also, working with Clark Gregg makes it easy. I often find that the No. 1 person on the call sheet sets the tone for what the set is going to be like, and because he is all about the work, everyone else is all about the work too.
[on if he did much research into the character of Deathlok for "Agents of Shield"] - I did, but honestly, I feel like I've researched this role my whole life because I was a comic book collector as a kid. Once I found out that I was playing Deathlok, I unearthed my old comic book collection. I was going home for Christmas and I have a collection of thousands of comics. I was surprised to see that 90% of them were Marvel. So, I wanted to go through my collection and start there. Fortunately I had the "Guide to the Marvel Universe," all of them, and I looked up Deathlok and read a little about him there. I started doing research on the Internet, and then Marvel was kind enough to give me access to some of the older comics. I read some of the Michael Collins versions of Deathlok and got what I needed from that, but I also wanted to make sure that my research and my information were based on what I was doing on the show.

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