As well as being a successful businessman, Richard is a former Formula 2000 national champion race car driver, a professional stunt driver and stunt driving trainer in the film and television industry, and an actor and producer in both film and television who is a member of SAG-AFTRA. We spoke to Richard about how he got his start in the business, some of his best performances, and his impending appearance in the new Christopher Nolan picture, Oppenheimer.
The very first thing we’re curious in is how you became interested in aviation. Is it true that
you began flying at the tender age of seven and earned your license during your high school
Yes, that’s true. My uncle was an airline pilot and my father had developed an interest in aviation from working on P-38s during WWII, and managing radio communications for the Cleveland Air Races. He bought an airplane, a Luscombe 8E, when I was 7 and we flew together every Sunday. I also flew with my uncle in his Cessna T-50 “Bamboo Bomber.” My dad later upgraded to a Cessna 182 and then a Rockwell Commander 112. I took lessons as soon as I could and proceeded to get my commercial, multi-engine and instrument ratings. I later served in fighter and attack squadrons in the Navy.
Why did you choose to pursue a profession in show business?
I was living in LA where one is, of course, surrounded by the industry, and several my customers were in the business. Most significantly, one of my neighbors, and good friend, was Academy Award winner Ronald Schwary who at that time an AD. We spent a lot of time talking about the industry, projects we could do together, etc. Unfortunately, my regular job transferred me out of state and life intervened. Interestingly though, Ron ended up doing a film in the state where I was living, and he got me my first, very small acting gig on that film. Decades later I became a Formula 2000 race car driver and national champion. Looking for a new activity after “retiring” from that led me to stunt driving school and ultimately being a stunt driving instructor in LA with Taurus Award winner, Jim Wilkey. This of course put me right back into the middle of the industry. Web series and Indie films would come to the school asking us to provide stunt services for their productions. Being the only non-union member of the teaching staff, these gigs fell to me and increasingly had me doing something on camera. One day I realized that I was not as comfortable in front of the camera as I would like to be, so I went home and asked my wife, “What do you think about taking some acting classes?” The rest is history, and I now do far more work as an actor. Hardest yet most rewarding job I’ve ever had.
Can you give us a sneak peek at some of the amazing stunts you performed in the upcoming
Everything on that film is rightfully being kept under wraps. Suffice it to say that it is a Chris Nolan film with an amazing cast.
Which of your roles in the entertainment industry so far has been your favorite, and why?
That’s really hard as there are parts of everything I’ve done that have been really fun. I guess one of my favorites is a small film called Mr. Memento, where I worked opposite Gabrielle Stone. It was written and directed by Chris Heck and shot by Jacen Sievers. Gabrielle was wonderful and Chris and Jacen are incredibly talented, industry up-and-comers. The picture was beautifully filmed, Chris is a total actor’s director and Jacen is a pure cinematic artist. I would crawl through glass to work with that team again.
What other filmmakers or films serve as examples for you to follow?
I like so many filmmakers, films and actors for so many different reasons that it’s hard to pick There’s Tarantino of course, the Coen brothers and Scorsese high on the list. Among actors, Mark Rylance, Leo, Anthony Hopkins, Margo Robbie, Jessica Chastain and Meryl. I could go on.
© 2020 The Macoproject Film Festival All Rights Reserved.
Macoproject FF 2021MD9145