Michael Davis: Enter– Deathlok! with J. August Richards
Today is my birthday.
As is my custom, as Master of The Universe, on my birthday, I like to give gifts on the very day I receive such. I like to show those who appreciate me I’m appreciating them right back.
I’ve been writing for ComicMix a long time yet I’ve never given you guys a present on my birthday. Many see my weekly words of enlightenment as gifts but they should not be called such.
The correct word is blessings.
I’m happy to correct my oversight with what I’m sure you will agree is an wonderful gift, my exclusive conversation with J. August Richards, better known to ComicMix readers as Mike Peterson from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
ComicMix readers indeed know but I must admit I didn’t. I also must admit I hated the only two episodes I had ever seen and when asked if I wanted to meet Richards, I said nope.
If you listen closely you will hear screaming. That is the shrieking of someone on Mr. Richard’s team . Team is the Hollywood “it” word for agents, managers, lawyers, drug dealers, publicists or any combination of.
Before I give anyone a heart attack, I was not being serious about the drug stuff. So calm down people, I was just having a bit of fun. Oh and that stuff I said about hating Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and not wanting to meet Mr. Richards?
That, now that, was absolutely true.
As such, when I sat down with him last Friday at the Cheesecake Factory BEFORE I said anything else, I told him right off the bat how I felt.
I also told him I don’t write interviews because I don’t do “fluff” pieces. I explained the only reason he and I were sitting there is because Lana Walker suggested I meet him. If Lana said I should meet with The Grand Wizard of The KKK during their annual convention in Mississippi, which fell on the day after Obama was elected, meet with them I would.
I love Lana, I’d take a bullet for Lana and she knows that, She also knows when it comes to my work, I’m the way Frank Sinatra ordered his drinks, straight no chaser. So, I told Richards all this up front the only thing I did not tell this guy was how much I hate the Cheesecake Factory, which was his idea BTW.
His reaction? His reaction and responses to my declarations come later.
My goal here is the same as it was with Richards. Give any new readers and fans of his and the show fair warning this would not be a fan boy interview but a real conversation which at times may get a bit ugly.
Our meeting was this past Friday at 4pm. We were both late, traffic on a Friday in Los Angeles is murder any time after 3pm.
Also, both of us are Black, give that a second…
“You’re not from the west coast.” I said, when it was clear he was not leaving after saying what I did.
“What makes you say that?” He asked. “You have a east coast quality about you.” I replied and damn if he didn’t. I’m a New Yorker and real recognizes real. “I’m from DC.” He answered just as the waitress arrived.
That’s Washington, D.C. and that answer was the first thing I liked about this guy. That simple answer spoke volumes. He said, DC, not Washington D.C. There was pride in that statement as he claimed D.C. like I claim N.Y.
He moved from the city at an early age to a Maryland suburb. I could see that side of him and despite moving to Mayberry he maintains an air of coolness. Suburbia, gives you many things but rarely is cool on of them.
Hey! Long Island, don’t kill the messenger!
Levitz Town, Scarsdale, Tom’s River or whatever name you call your ‘town’ is not and has never been cool, Look, John Hughes made some great movies but Krypton isn’t a real place either.
This guy’s answers were cool, his demeanor was cool. I got the feeling fairly quickly he was no suburban or Hollywood punk. I was glad the waitress showed up when she did, if not he may mistaken the look of respect my face may have shown as something other than surprise.
“When did you get into acting?” I asked right after ordering my usual, whatever on the menu had bacon, meal. “I was young, really young.” He said before he paused to place his order. Don’t recall what he ordered, I do recall the way he ordered it. If Sally, from the film, When Harry Met Sally, had heard him, she would have said, “Make up your mind mother*****!”
After an hour or so (it certainly seemed that way) he finished ordering and continued his answer; “ I went to an performing arts high school.” He told me the name but there are times when my notes are written so badly Stevie Wonder could decipher them before I could.
He and I talked a bit about high schools as it turned out I also went to an arts high school, like the unspoken respect I had for his pride in D.C. I had to give it up for his clear appreciation of his middle school and his craft.
This guy is serious about that craft and loves working as an actor. He talks about what he’s done but only after I ask him to list some of his credits.
I’ll admit his body of work is captivating and frankly so is he, especially for a guy so young but it didn’t impress me. I hang out and do business with A-list Hollywood people all the time, so no, his resume did not impress me but something else did.
He talked only about what he was trying to achieve in his roles.
This guy has worked with Steven Bochco, Dick Wolf, and Joss Whedon, to name a few and anyone else would have dropped those names with a quickness to try and boost their pedigree. That’s frankly what he should have done and its what I would have done.
He didn’t do that, and that also was impressive.
Then my phone, which was sitting on the table, rang. The caller ID said, Denys Cowan. “That’s Denys Cowan? The Denys Cowan, Denys Cowan?” he said clearly forgetting the east coast rule to not to be up in someone else’s business. The last two people to forget that rule were Tupac and Biggie and stuff like that really vexes me. But, I let it go. Then he said something I could not let go. What he said and how he said it, next week.
I will tell you this, he went somewhere on me people rarely do and he went there like a boss.
So, I went here, “Charlie Gunn was cool as shit, but he was no Deathlok, what makes you think you are?”
End Of Part 1.