EXCLUSIVE | Council of Dads's J August Richards says Oliver inspires people of color, teases crisis in his arc

In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide, the actor talks about his role and explains how the show's concept explores love and responsibilities in times of crisis


                            EXCLUSIVE | Council of Dads's J August Richards says Oliver inspires people of color, teases crisis in his arc
J August Richards (Getty Images)
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You might know him as Mike Peterson/Deathlok, one of the agents on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’.  But there’s more to J August Richards than the cyborg superhero. He has been the face of many crime procedurals, dramas and thrillers on television. And now, we find him in a completely different role. Richards is currently playing the character of Dr Oliver Post on NBC's latest family drama 'Council of Dads', where his role is instrumental in driving the story forward.

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MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) had a candid conversation with the star and learned about his experience on the show, his take on its concept and much more.

How was your transition from shows like 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D' to 'Council of Dads', which is a completely different story?

It was wonderful. Actually, I had been looking forward to something where I could do the kind of work I wanted to do in the full caliber and depth of an actor. I love the show and how it is really about relationships between people. There are a lot of opportunities to explore in this show; as a counselor, as a dad, as a friend. So, in short, there is a lot of windows here to go really deep with my acting work and that’s what I love about it.

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The concept of ‘Council of Dads’ is unique and sentimental. What do you think is the underlying message?

I am glad you asked this question. I believe that the show is about how we show up for people in times of crisis, in everyday life, its importance and its value to others, and the challenges that come with it. Whether they are your own shortcomings or something external, it is about getting through the obstacles of life.

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Would you say a council like this could make for a viable, practical approach to many families who have lost their father figures?

Absolutely, it does! I think people already do it, just that they don’t have a name for it, I think. As a godfather to three kids and an uncle to five nieces and nephews, I take my role very seriously. They all have their own parents and yet, I stand as a stable male figure, hovering around, and simply my presence in their lives is enough to make them feel safe and secure. So, I think, a lot of people have similar scenarios, although they might not name it a “council”.
 
What attracted you to the role of Dr Oliver Post in 'Council of Dads'?

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The diversity of the cast and the message that the show delivers is what stole my attention for this role. It inspires equality in the world. One of the reasons why I became an actor was because, one, I love acting and it’s my gift. But it was also because I found the opportunity to inspire people of color through my visibility as an actor of color. To be simply present for the world as a black man was so instrumental in shaping my vision of the world and my views about myself, that I I could contribute to the conversation on equality through my work. So, when I looked at the script and the world that they have laid out, I felt that this show can continue that conversation.

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Without giving us any spoilers, please tell us what to look forward in Oliver’s story?

Oliver, as you know it, was Scott’s doctor. When Scott dies, he had to deal with a tremendous sense of guilt. Although he understands the specifics and the science, he is also Scott’s friend. So, the first thing that he does is to try and compensate for the guilt by being the “perfect” member of the council, but that causes his own family to suffer a little bit and does cause a crisis for them. They miss Oliver, so he really has to learn that balance. In a way, Oliver is juggling to show up as a member of the council, be there for Scott’s family, but also has to be the dad and a husband to his own family.

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As the show returns for its regular run on NBC, you can catch Richards as Dr Oliver Post, one of the trios of the "council" and how he fulfills his role as a friend, father, husband and a doctor.

‘Council of Dads’ airs every Thursday, 8pm/7c, only on NBC.