I met Richard Lee Warren through his work on NOIR (He plays Barnaby Hersh in this movie which is currently in post-production) and we will see him soon in Clint Eastwood’s “The ballad of Richard Jewell” which is about the Olympic bombing in Atlanta in ‘96.
Every so often his Facebook friends are rewarded with his brilliant Robert De Niro impressions ..
I just had to find out more about Richards story as an actor, writer, stunt coordinator and director!
Vikki: I loved reading your IMDb bio, do you have any other resemblances to Jesus Christ outside of being born in a stable?
Richard: Like Jesus, my mother was a pregnant teenager and I never knew my real dad. …And I like wine 🙂
Vikki: All the best people were educated by Sesame Street it appears! It seems at a very young age to have influenced you to become a performer! How did you make your first steps?
Richard: My stepdad was a musician and sometimes played coffee shops. On occasion I’d get behind the microphone and do my impressions and jokes. Yogi bear, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood. Sylvester Stallone, Randy Savage. Never took to music though. Probably because he wasn’t my actual dad, hence it wasn’t in my DNA. My brother and sister are incredible musicians. I took to drawing, painting and acting.
Vikki: You have directed a couple of short films, could you tell us more about those and if you will be directing any more in the future?
Richard: I still direct. I most recently directed a comedy music video for the multi-talented actor and singer Fredericka Meek. The video is called ‘‘MOMMIES: An American Parody.” It’s a spoof of the musical ‘Hamilton.’
I’ve done several shorts. Probably my greatest accomplishment was directing a short film called “Tahoe plus 2.” That short got developed into a feature film starring Cuba Gooding Jr. called “Wrong Turn at Tahoe.” Although I did not direct the feature, I did get choked out by Cuba.
Vikki: Your latest piece of work was in NOIR, what attracted you to this script?
Richard: For several years I performed in an annual play called pLAy Noir (with the emphasis on LA in play). Cheeky. Anyway, each year we performed different one-acts in the noir genre. Greg Bradley and Lee Smith saw me in the show & invited me to audition for their film. I didn’t know them and I have no idea how many actors auditioned for my role but I landed it. Here’s the interesting thing. I didn’t know this at the time, but Gregory, the director/writer, wasn’t sold on me. On my third shoot day, Gregory shared his thoughts with me. He had written Barnaby a certain way and saw the character differently. What he told me was probably the greatest compliment I’ve ever received as an actor. He said- ‘I wasn’t sure about you playing this part but after watching your work today, I can’t imagine anyone else doing it.” That’s the best feeling in the world. Not to brag too much but I’m very proud of the work in NOIR. I usually play baddies 🙂
To back up a little, when an actor auditions he or she only gets a few pages. I was very excited to get the part and once we/the cast did a table read of the entire piece…Holy shit! I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.
Vikki: You moved from Tennessee to Los Angeles to pursue your dreams, do you think that location change is still vital for actors/filmmakers?
Richard: Yes, I think one needs to be in either New York, Chicago, L.A. or Atlanta. At least a major hub. I recently heard Denzel Washington say that if you hang around a barber shop long enough, sooner or later you’re going to get a haircut. That’s true in this business.
I lived in Tennessee, then Arkansas, then went to college at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah Georgia. I came straight to L.A. after graduation and now Georgia is just as hot as L.A. As a matter of fact I was back in my old stomping ground a couple of weeks ago, acting in a Clint Eastwood film called “The ballad of Richard Jewell” about the Olympic bombing in Atlanta in ‘96.
I’m playing a cop, and I got to meet and work with Mr. Eastwood, Kathy Bates, John Hamm and Sam Rockwell. It was an amazing experience. I would have done it for free, but I didn’t 🙂
Vikki: What are your strengths as an actor?
Richard: Great question. I’d say my ability to take direction. I arrive on set with my idea of my character but actors need to be malleable. The director may want a different take on my character, and I need to be able to give the director what they want. If you can’t take direction, it becomes a painstaking task for the filmmakers. I also take pride in my subtle on-camera expressions.
Vikki: You have 4 credits for stunt work – is this something you still do?
Richard: I have done damn near everything in the biz. From P.A. to grip…you name it. I don’t really do stunts much anymore. I’ve had two knee surgeries over the years that have slowed me down. Thanks to 80’s shows like The A-Team and Fall Guy, I always wanted to be a stuntman, so when I moved to LA, I took a stunt class. From there I started performing in live action theme park shows. I’ve done just about every show in So. Cal. I’ve narrowed it down to just one-The Waterworld Show at Universal Studios. I just auditioned for a show called ‘UTOPIA’ I believe it’s a reboot from your British version. They needed an actor who could get beat up. I’ll let you know if I get it 🙂
Vikki: Do you still find time to write – if so what genre is your preference?
Richard: I love to write but finding the time to write now as a new dad is very challenging. My god, it’s hard but it’s extremely rewarding. Most of my writing has been short form comedy. My genre of choice, as a viewer, is thrillers and I go into writing a new project with the intention of it being a thriller, but I tend to write closer to the horror genre. I can’t explain it 🙂 As a feature writer, I just lean in that direction for some reason. I’ve taken so many classes and I’m blessed to be friends with amazing writers.
My first attempt at a feature was absolute rubbish – and absolutely necessary to learn from my mistakes.
My latest feature is a horror called “Shadow Pines.” I literally got the title from a sign on a bus going the opposite direction from me in an old country town. Next stop ‘Shadow Pines’. I registered it through the W.G.A and I recently submitted it to the SLAMDANCE screenwriting competition. I got accepted but I won’t know if I win anything until November.
Vikki: Do you prefer stage work over screen, or vice versa?
Richard: Another great question. I’ll always be a film buff. I love cinema. So, everything about the filmic process thrills me. Stage is the bedrock for all acting and that work gives me instant gratification. When I’m jonesing to perform it’s a welcome medium, but the screen has my heart. My ultimate goal in life is to Write, Direct and Act in my own films.
Vikki: What piece of advice would you give anyone entering this industry.
Richard: There is room for you. Your piece of the pie is waiting for you but you have to train and stay grounded. It’s a roller-coaster ride, but truly do it because you love it. Don’t come into this biz with delusions of grandeur. Confidence is great but not a false sense of confidence. We all have to have flexible jobs that keep us open and ready for the next job. That’s not for everybody because it’s unstable but if it’s what you want, NEVER GIVE UP! I have a two year old daughter and work was slow last month. I had to borrow money from a friend and the next thing I know I’m sitting on set, in Atlanta, in a room with Clint Eastwood. You never know what’s around the corner. It’s going to pay off as long as you keep going and stay strong.
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