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NOCC: J August Richards, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Company: Wizard World
Product: New Orleans Comic Con 2014

How J. August Richards Got a Part on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

J. August Richards recounted how he ended up on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Some time in 2012, he heard about the show and read an article on Deadline Hollywood about Joss Whedon doing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and he remembers having the thought, "I'm going to be on that show."

For New Years 2013, having been out of work for 18 months, by that time, J. August Richards decided to make a fairly extreme New Year's resolution. He decided he was going to try new things - throwing his old playbook out the window and just break out of his comfort zone and make things happen.

What exactly was his "comfort zone"? Well, for one, he would never go on an "on-the-spot" audition. He always read the script and got a sense for the part first, making sure he could wrap his head around the role before he went to the audition. If he doesn't get time to prepare, he gets really nervous. If he couldn't get the script in his hands with a day or two to look over it, he didn't do the audition. This is something of which his manager was well aware.

However, later that January, very early in the year, J's manager called him about an audition at eleven o'clock and said, "Sweetie, I know you're going to say no, but you've got an audition at 3 o'clock for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

As nervous as he was, he had just made the New Year's resolution and he wanted to be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so he decided to go for it. He said, "Okay, send me the material." She replied, "They're not releasing the material. You have to show up at three o'clock, read it, work on it there and then go in and do it."

This was scary to him, but he'd already said he would do it, so he agreed to do the audition. Then, since he'd worked with Joss before, and Joss trusted him, he did get the materials a little earlier. He started working on it and it was the beautiful speech that occurs at the end of the pilot, where his character says, "I could be a hero." There was one day in the year and a half when he was out of work and he was working on material for an audition, really, really hard and he stepped outside of himself and said, "Look at you! You haven't worked for ten months and you're still hittin' this material as if you just got out of theater school," and he saw himself objectively and got a certain self-pride and really "fell in love with himself" that day, as he put it. And looking back at that experience, he felt that he could relate with the character; "...his back was against the wall, he had no money, couldn't take care of his son, everything had fallen apart, he lost his job, at this moment he thinks he's about to die, and he thinks that it's all over, but he still has a belief in himself."

He did the audition, left thinking, "I did it!" and went home and totally forgot about the audition. Around seven o'clock that night, his manager calls him, tells him he's being considered for the role and says not to cut his hair or shave. When he found that he was being considered for the role, he decided to step outside of his comfort zone again. He decided he was going to email Joss. He usually just lets the audition speak for itself, but he wanted this part. In the email, he said, "Joss, if there is anything you saw in my audition today that you think is right for this character, I will give you everything I have. I will kill myself until I make it right. I really want to play this part. I fell in love with the character that day." He sent him this long email, then went to sleep and forgot about it again.

The next morning, his phone starts ringing off the hook and it's his manager telling him he got the part. "Oh my God, I totally forgot about it." That day, at two, he met with Joss Whedon about the project. Joss told him, "Yeah, man - when you said, 'I could be, you know, a hero' - we all cried." J. then said, "Man, thank you so much and I really meant what I said in my email."

And Joss said, "What email?"

Once he had the job, it became more than just having the job; he hopes that his performance inspires someone else in a tough spot to rise above their situation.

When asked about practical jokes or bloopers to expect in special features when the series is available for purchase, J. had this to say:

Well, someone had to do a scene where they had to really be strong and cool and awesome and so someone burst in, pulled this thing off the wall - this huge thing off the wall - and starts marching toward the camera, but the thing off the wall had all of these wires... someone is trying to look super cool and super strong and trips right off the stage. Someone was really embarrassed. ...If they do a blooper reel, I promise you that will be the first thing on it. I promise you. Nothing will drop you down a peg, like tripping in front of the entire crew. For someone. happened to.

From a part in Angel to Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - what's next for J. August Richards?
"If I could play any other character? Well, I really want to be a Jedi in the next Star Wars movie. ...I really do think I am a Jedi."

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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