As the leaves begin to change and the mornings and nights begin to get a little bit cooler, the world begins to prepare for the changing of the seasons. Fall (or Autumn) brings to mind scarves, pumpkin spice, and of course “Spooky Season”. Well for those of you who love ghosts and creatures that run amuck in the night, you’re in for a scrumptious surprise that you’ll want to sink your teeth into.
Streaming service Peacock is set to release a new series Vampire Academy on Thursday, September 15, 2022. The series will be based on the popular book series by the same name written by Richelle Mead.
The Peacock series will be the second live-action adaptation of the books, following the movie that was released in 2014. While this may sound like another spooky season series, the cast of the series promises that one should be prepared to expect the unexpected. The series is in good hands as it was adapted by the phenomenal Julie Plec. Plec is also responsible for the adaptations of The Vampire Diaries along with its spin-off series, The Originals and Legacies.
Needless to say, Plec is well versed in all things related to these creatures of the night.
The series is said to follow the friendship of two young women “as they prepare to complete their education and enter vampire society. One as a powerful Royal, the other a half-vampire Guardian trained to protect against the savage 'Strigoi' who threaten to tear their society apart. That is, if Royal infighting doesn't do the job first."
There will be a host of very talented actors encompassing the cast for this series, including well-known star J. August Richards. Richards will be playing the role of vampire Victor Dashkov and recently gave us some exclusive “deets” on his new role.
Richards’s acting career spans as far back as 1988-89 when he made a guest appearance on season 5 of the Cosby Show as Vanessa’s boyfriend Roy. Richards also appeared in films like Why Do Fools Fall In Love and also the NBC miniseries The Temptations.
Richards is no stranger to the world of nocturnal creatures, however, as he starred in Charles Gunn, a street-wise vampire in the series Angel. His new role as Victor Dashkov differs slightly from previous roles as he identifies as a gay, married vampire.
Richards tells us that he describes Victor Dashkov as “cunning, bold, a devoted and loving husband and father".
"He is passionate, a political activist and usually the smartest and most powerful man in the room. He wears tuxedos and three-quarter-length Persian wool jackets with a top hat and gloves. He rocks a low fade, lives in a 500-year-old palace (which is actually located in Spain) and gets chauffeured in a Tesla.”
Not your typical vampire huh?
Richards publicly came out about his sexuality in 2020 on an Instagram live while discussing his role on Council of Dads. He described the moment as “one of the best days” of his life.
Richards speaks of the resounding love and support he received, and also that he was grateful to Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre for specifically highlighting a preference for openly gay actors when casting the role of Victor Dashkov in their adaptation of Vampire Academy.
In speaking of his new role Richards hopes to highlight the variation between straight roles and openly queer roles.
“In art, there are no absolutes. So I will never say that only gay actors should play gay roles. In fact, there are queer roles that might be equally served by straight actors (i.e., Lil’ Murda on P-VALLEY — closeted or “DL” characters, where it’s necessary to the story that they don’t present queer). However, I do believe that LGBTQ actors should be given preference when it comes to LGBTQ roles. Not only because our lived experiences lend themselves invaluably to the actualization of said characters, but, more importantly, economically! If LGBTQ+ actors, have been and are shunned from playing straight roles, then how will queer actors not only make a living but also build careers when straight actors populate queer roles?”
Richards lets us know that he is indeed excited to take on his role as Victor Dashkov and is even more thrilled by the fact that he gets to put his spin on this new character.
“With this character, I got to explore what it means to be a strong, black, gay leading man, and I got to look damn good while doing it.”
Gayes, you know what we have to do. Be sure to stream Vampire Academy on Peacock starring J. August Richards. Be sure to show him just how much support he has here within our community!
Watch an Exclusive Sneak Peak of J. August Richards in Action Below: