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Feature: Angel

Gunn But Not Forgotten

Gunn love

If anything, J August Richards is busier than ever for Season Five, but will the evil within Wolfram & Hart corrupt Charles Gunn?

In the season finale of Angel, the Fang Gang was made an offer they couldn’t refuse: take over Wolfram & Hart and use the company’s vast resources to help them fight the good fight. Understandably, they needed some enticing. For Fred (Amy Acker), that meant appealing to her inner science geek, while Angel (David Boreanaz) was given the whereabouts of the comatose Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and his renegade son Connor (Vincent Kartheiser). But for Charles Gunn, his incentive was an unexpected trip to the mysterious White Room and what appeared to be a telepathic connection with a black panther. Since nothing on Angel is ever easy, how did that little tour affect him?

”In ways that cannot be described with words,” replies J August Richards, who’s played Gunn since War Zone way back in Season One. “There’s one very tangible thing I’m given, and not even from that experience, and another tangible thing I take away. But everything else is mental.”

In actuality, Gunn has been corrupted by the dark side and transformed into something insidiously evil... a lawyer. “I’m told if I join Wolfram & Hart, I will be given the complete knowledge of the laws of this universe and every other universe that exists,” explains Richards. “Basically I become an über-lawyer, which is funny, because in college I took Law 101 as an elective and the professor was a renowned lawyer. We were constantly going back and forth about everything and finally at the end of the term he said, ‘Richards, when you’re done with this acting crap, give me a call’ because he wanted me to be a lawyer. He thought I missed my calling. Ironically, now I get to play one. I’m so artsy I just can’t stand it.”

Looking back, Gunn’s brainy evolution seems to make sense. Originally, the street-tough rebel led a group of demon slayers who protected the neighbourhood. Ultimately, his world shattered when he was forced to stake his little sister Michelle after she had been turned into a vampire. Shortly after, Gunn joined Angel Investigations, but dealing with his grief and handling his prejudices against vampires were only two of the hurdles he had to overcome.

”I think the biggest change in Gunn was that he had to become a team player as opposed to the leader of his own squad,” offers Richards. “He was such an outsider, not quite fitting in. Also, I think when you’re fighting for your life all the time it tends to make you very intense, and he’s learned to chill a little bit, let things happen, and not feel he has to save everybody. He does have a huge saviour complex, which I really like about Gunn.”

by Bryan Cairns

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Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #97
October 2003
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