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’Angel’ star Richards sees no bar to playing Bond one day

By Kate O’Hare

Saturday 23 August 2003, by Webmaster

In 10 years, "Angel" star J. August Richards would like to be wearing a tux, driving an Aston-Martin and drinking a martini (shaken, not stirred). The same goes for his character, vampire hunter Charles Gunn. "Gunn, like me, has a James Bond obsession," Richards said. "He would love to be James Bond, and it’s a great role that I would love to be, someday."

While Richards acknowledges it may take a decade for him to grow into the part, he doesn’t let the fact that an American - especially an African-American - never has played the quintessential British spy.

"My cousin, who’s visiting, he’s 15, and he was the first one who pointed out to me that being black might be an obstacle to getting it," Richards said. "I never really thought that way. I never really thought that would be an issue, but I guess that’s just the way I think."

Richards can affect a British accent and ride a horse (three times, on-screen), but he might need to work on his motorboat and motorcycle skills.

"But, I definitely believe that I can learn to do anything in a short period of time," he said. " I’m very adaptable."

Some of Richards’ adaptability was on display earlier this year on "Angel," which returns to Wednesdays this fall for a fifth season on The WB. In an episode called "Players," Gunn took a break from his duties with the evil-fighting crew at Angel Investigations in Los Angeles to team up on a mission with electrically charged thief Gwen Raiden (Alexa Davalos).

Along with donning stylish threads to infiltrate a high-society party (and romancing the heck out of Gwen at the end), Gunn showed off his fighting skills, especially in a sequence where he used a long pole to vanquish several assailants.

"It’s probably 95 percent me," Richards said. "That was probably my highlight of the year, even though I tend to hold the acting more important than the action."

Added to "Angel" at the end of its first season, Gunn was the leader of his own vamp-killing squad on L.A’s mean streets. After being recruited by Angel (David Boreanaz), a vampire with a soul, into his team, Gunn has had trouble fitting in.

Gunn’s struggle came to a head this past season, as his romance with co-worker Fred (Amy Acker) fell apart, and he began to wonder if there was a future for him with Angel Investigations.

Richards says to expect a new and improved Gunn this season.

"What they did tell me is that, in some ways, the only thing that’s going to be the same about my character is the name. In a lot of ways, I’m going to be playing a brand-new character."