There’s something charming to hearing someone asked if they researched their character in a superhero show and getting the response, “I dug out my childhood comic collection.” We’ve recently seen a picture of Iman Vellani dressed as Ms. Marvel for Halloween as a child and now of course she’s in a slightly more expensive version of the costume. Brie Larson was reading comics on the set of Captain Marvel. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with an actor’s taking a job because it’s a job, but “I love this character and now I get to play them” feels a whole lot better than “I don’t understand why we can’t make this enormous change to the very essence of the character.”
Jaime Augusto Richards III is in a lot of genre stuff because he likes genre stuff. He was in Angel and Agents of SHIELD and has done single episodes of assorted other shows of that ilk because he wants to. He likes doing conventions. I’m quite sure, though I didn’t find a quote about it, that he finds certain aspects of the fandom exhausting, because he is a gay black man, but in general, he enjoys what he’s doing and wants to keep at it.
Meanwhile, his parents apparently wished he’d be a priest or a lawyer or something normal like that. That he played a lawyer on his first long-running series probably didn’t help, especially inasmuch as he played a lawyer who, you know, also fought vampires. On the other hand, it’s clear that this is a passion of his and has been since grade school, and his parents must have supported him enough to let him enroll in a performing arts program in high school. Maybe they thought he’d grow out of it or something.
He also says it’s his understanding that the role of Charles Gunn was colorblind casting. He says he was told that there weren’t just black men in the running but white men, Asian men, and so forth. Now, I’ve never watched the show, since I didn’t actually like Buffy all that much. From what I understand, though, there’s not a lot to his character on paper in the first place, and most of what makes him worthwhile is what Richards brought to the role. He’s memorable because of the acting, not because of the writing.
It’s not his fault that I haven’t finished Agents of SHIELD. The timing just hasn’t been there. I watched the entire Hydra arc of season one while very slightly delirious from fever, just after the CIA report on torture had come out. I cannot recommend this, though I’ll also admit it gave the show more immediacy than it otherwise would have, when you know you can separate fantasy from reality but the veil is a bit thin, if you get what I’m saying. Still, I really did find what they did with his character interesting, and I’m going to go back someday, in the After Time, and watch the whole thing.