John Richards is a Welsh film editor who has worked on a wide range of international projects covering many genres. From low budget horror to Hollywood romantic comedies, period drama through social realism, bio-pic, documentary, stop frame animation, science fiction and fantasy. A film maker with a passion for storytelling. He has vast experience in dealing with visual effects, CGI, digital post production and all formats of film and digital cinematography. As well as making films in the UK, John has lived and worked all around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Cape Town, Ireland, Romania, Hungary and Morocco.
John began his cutting room career in 1982 at the BBC in Wales and also at Ealing Film Studios. He worked on many award winning productions as an assistant editor and also as a sound editor before becoming a staff Film Editor. Working on 16mm film, John edited a variety of network documentaries including Everyman’s “Tibet, The Lost Nation” and Michael Ignatieff’s “Blood and Belonging”, before returning to drama as picture editor. He cut single films in both Welsh and English language. Dafydd for director Ceri Sherlock, S4C’s BAFTA winning adaptation of “William Jones” and several network Screen One projects for writer Lucy Gannon including Tender Loving Care and Trip Trap. While at the BBC, John also worked with one of Britain’s most respected auteur directors, Mike Hodges (Get Carter, Croupier) on G.F Newman’s The Healer. This was a defining moment and with Mike’s encouragement, John left the BBC to pursue a career in feature films.
The 1995 film Stonewall, directed by Nigel Finch, was John’s first 35mm feature film credit. It follows the birth of the gay rights movement in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1969. Centred on the legendary Stonewall Inn and featuring flamboyant New York drag queens, lip-synching to songs of the period, it gives one version of the famous “riot” outside the Stonewall Inn. Nigel tragically died of an Aids related illness during post production but “Stonewall” went on to win a number of awards including the Audience Award at the London Film Festival. The film is a cult hit and still gets regular cinema screenings.
The story of the riot at the Stonewall Inn is currently receiving a Hollywood makeover from action director Roland Emmerich, with principle photography during the summer of 2014.
Following the success of Stonewall, John then began a long-standing collaboration with director Nick Hurran, making the feature films Girls Night and Virtual Sexuality. These were followed by the Canal+ comedy Room to Rent for director Khalid El-Haggar and One of the Hollywood Ten by Welsh auteur Karl Francis. Starring Jeff Goldblum and Greta Scacci, the film follows the black listed director Herbert Biberman on his quest to make the film Salt of the Earth.
Next came the biggest project John has been involved with. “Band of Brother” is one of the biggest TV series of all time. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg produced the international award winning production for HBO. The ten part mini series follows the men of Easy Company from their first training camp to the end of World War Two. John edited episodes five and six, Crossroads and Bastone. Working with directors Tom Hanks and David Leland (Wish You Were Here, The Land Girls). Band of Brothers is the highest grossing DVD of all time and is still being regularly re-run on TV almost 15 years after premiering.
Returning to work with Nick Hurran, John edited the Miramax comedy Undertaking Betty (aka Plots with a View), before they both moved to Hollywood for the Revolution Studios movie “Little Black Book”. Staring Brittany Murphy, Cathy Bates and Holly Hunter, the $40 million film opened in over 2,400 US cinemas and featured in the Top 50 DVD rental chart for over 20 weeks.
The romantic comedy It’s a Boy Girl Thing (Kevin Zegers, Samaire Armstrong, Sharon Osbourne) was the fifth feature film John has edited for Nick Hurran. Shot in Toronto, and produced by Elton John’s Rocket Pictures, it was released late in 2006.
Collaborating again on the AMC and ITV reworking of The Prisoner, John edited the opening episode with additional work on several other episodes. Once again, he directed the second unit, involving work on many scenes with the main cast. John is credited as Second Unit Director on Episodes 5 and 6.
John has also been closely involved in the Russell T Davies re launch of the hit BBC TV series Doctor Who. Editing the scene setting 2004 episodes of the 9th Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston. Following regeneration into David Tenants 10th Doctor, John edited the 2006 Christmas special as well as episodes in Series 3. In 2009, under new show runner Steven Moffat, John cut episodes 2 and 3 which introduced the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith to the old enemy, the Daleks. Jumping to 2014 and John has been back working on the series as it introduces the 12th Doctor in the guise of Peter Capaldi. To date, the ten year association John has had with the hit series, makes him the only editor to has worked with all four of the new Doctors.
Between travels in the Tardis, John Co Edited with Hollywood Editor Eric L Beason ACE on the USA feature, The Glasshouse. Covering the additional photography shoots in Romania, he supervised on set direction and integration of the new footage for this Second World War epic. The fine cut was completed in San Diego but on an unusual production even by Hollywood standards, the film had further scripting, shooting and editing before finally gaining a US release in 2014 as Walking with the Enemy. The film was in production from 2009 until early 2014.
Returning to Cape Town in 2011 Strike Back to work on the re-boot of the Sky1 series for HBO Cinemax, “Strike Back” provided a new partnership with the award winning director Alex Holmes, (House of Saddam). John worked with Alex as a second unit director alongside the regular task of editing. Completing 22 days of second unit, covering major dialogue scenes with all of the main cast and a large number of multi camera stunt sequences. Shooting with 2 and 3 35mm cameras, John aided Alex in delivering an action packed pair of episodes which aired in the autumn of 2011 to excellent reviews.
2011 saw John based in Dublin, editing the Sky Drama series Sinbad. Teaming once again with Doctor Who director Brian Grant, this swashbuckling high gloss series aired in the UK and USA in mid 2012. This was closely followed by the hugely successful Sky comedy Stella. Written by and starring Ruth Jones, a fellow pupil at Porthcawl Comprehensive. Having known each other from school drama productions, John had also edited Ruth’s first BBC TV acting role in Drovers Gold. Stella was a total joy, working with one of the UK’s finest writing and acting talents.
Topping off another very busy year, which unusually was almost all based in Wales, came the David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) fantasy drama, Da Vinci’s Demons. Shot on the partially derelict site of the former Ford Motor Plant in Swansea Bay, this brand new series for the Starz cable channel in the US, features a re-imagining of the life of Leonardo Da Vinci. Working for the first time as editor with Strike Back director Paul Wilmshurst, John edited the court room drama episode, The Tower. The episode was so well receive that John was signed up to work on series two with director Jon Jones. Episodes 5 and 6, The sun and the moon, and Rope of the Dead, were set in the 15th century South American city of Machu Picchu. Once again, John had extensive involvement as 2nd Unit Director with particular involvement in the night time cornfield chase scenes. He was given an additional credited as 2nd Unit Director on The Sun and the Moon for this work. John was also nominated for a BAFTA Cymru Editing award for his work on Rope of the Dead.
Having been born in the Swansea Valley, John was the obvious editor for Marc Evans documentary feature, Jack to a King. The film follows the ten year journey of Swansea City Football Club from near extinction to their arrival in the most followed league in the world, The Premiership. Using 30 years of skills from documentary and drama storytelling, John’s 13 feature film is one he is hugely proud of. A true editors film, digging through archive and interview to tell a tale that is so dramatic, it’s often hard to believe it is a true story. Premiering in the Empire, Leicester Square, London, this indy film has enjoyed an extended release at cinemas followed by a very successful DVD release in December 2014. It has now shown on NBC in the US and achieved exceptional viewing figures, bring many new fans into the Jack Army! Deals with Netflix, BBC and Sky Sport are on the cards for 2015 and with 5 BAFTA Cymru nominations, the film is likely to have a very long life.
Between the two series of Da Vinci’s Demons and then again after finishing Jack to a King, John continued the director/editor relationship with Paul Wilmshurst. Firstly, on a block of Strike Back, Shadow Warfare. The high octane episodes were set in Hungary and include an explosive siege at the Budapest International Airport. Followed by two episodes of Doctor Who, featuring the new 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Kill the Moon has been called one of the best episodes of the series, ever! And the team are back together in 2015 for A.D.
A.D. The Bible Continues, is a twelve part drama series from the producers of The Bible. Beginning in the aftermath of the Crucifixion of Jesus, the series follows the political and religious rivalries of the disciples, Jewish leaders and their Roman rulers. Production began in September 2014 in Ourzazate, Morocco and filming continued into March 2015. John is jointly the series Supervising Film Editor with Rob Hall along with being the editor on the opening block. Episode one of A.D. aired in the US on Easter Sunday 2015 on NBC. It was the number one show on TV in the US that night, receiving many exceptional reviews.
John is currently editing the black comedy “The Hippopotamus”, this is adapted from the novel written by Stephen Fry. With filming ending in September, Post is due to go on until Christmas with a release in 2016.
John is married to Karen and they have two girls, Mirain and Catrin. They currently live in Cardiff, Wales.