Very busy actor J. August Richards joined CBR’s Jonah Weiland on the world famous CBR Yacht to discuss the numerous projects he’s currently involved with during Comic-Con International in San Diego. First he discusses his role on Lifetime’s “The Lottery,” which takes place in a world where women have stopped having babies. Then he talks about playing Deathlok on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, the importance of being a role model and his secret life as a geek. Things finish up with a tease of his involvement in “Angel” writer Marti Noxon’s “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce” and another project he hopes will allow him to write his first comic book.
On his role as the Deputy Secretary of State on Lifetime’s “The Lottery”: The man who wrote it, his name is Tim Sexton, he also wrote the movie “Children of Men” that came out a few years ago — this series is very similar to it. The main conceit is the same, there’s a global fertility crisis and no one’s been able to have a baby for the last six years. A scientist, played by Marley Shelton, miraculously fertilizes a hundred eggs. The White House Chief of Staff, who’s also my girlfriend which you’ll find out … she decides that we should have a lottery and allow average women all over the world, or all over the country, to apply to be a surrogate for these fertilized eggs. So pandemonium ensues, of course, and again I play the Deputy Secretary of State, so I have to handle the crisis internationally.
On being a role model to younger generations via his roles on “The Lottery” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”: Personally, it’s a really big opportunity to play a Marvel super hero because when I was a kid, I think about when we’d play Star Wars. I always had to play Lando Calrissian because I was the only Black kid in the neighborhood. It’s a great thing, it’s really wonderful, but there weren’t many options. To the other kids, the idea of me being Luke to the other kids was kind of like, “How could you be Luke?” I think, I hope, that me playing this character opens up and broadens the horizons of kids of all colors all over the world. I feel, personally, I notice that my work and my life seems to — I get people of all colors, of all genders, of both genders, of all socioeconomic classes coming to me and telling me how much the character moved them or how much my story moved them. I kind of feel like I’m here for everybody. I think that that is the next phase of where we are going as a people, as a country, as a community. I really feel that and I really see that. I see white kids coming up to me here at Comic-Con or other conventions with just the most wonderful things to say about what it means for them as a human being. I think that that’s amazing and I see some progress in that.
On the new Marvel Comics Deathlok bearing a resemblance to him: I have seen it, my friend Nathan Edmondson is writing it, he’s writing the comic at least, and then there’s also the new “Avengers [NOW!]” poster that was just released, and I think eight pages of the comic that we were talking about earlier. You know, Deathlok was here before me, he’s 40 years-old, just like me — I’m just happy that the character is getting the attention he deserves. He was before a lot that are similar to him and a lot of people don’t know that so it’s really nice to see the character getting so much love and attention these days.
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