'Yellowstone' Actor Denim Richards Teases Upcoming WWII Thriller 'The Zoo' Amid 'Productive' Quarantine (Exclusive)

Actor Denim Richards currently plays Colby on the Paramount Network's Yellowstone, but the Montana-based show is currently between production amid the ongoing pandemic. During quarantine, Richards has used his time away from the set by remaining very productive. The actor most recently released an e-book with the intention of helping others through their mental and emotional health. Additionally, he finished production on a thriller about Nazi doctors doing gruesome experiments on Black prisoners of war.

Speaking exclusively with PopCulture.com, Richards provided an update to his upcoming thriller, The Zoo, as well as the e-book, Mastering Your Mind. He explained that the initial idea for the film originally came to him back in 2012, where he then continued to work on the scripts. He had a considerable amount of work completed, but the project reached a new level when Richards linked up with Ryan Gibson. His new co-writer joined and "ignited a whole other kind of blessing" into The Zoo.

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"This was a part of history that I notice that several, I guess, people have never really discussed," Richards explained to PopCulture. "It's something that in our education system, it was always something that was never discussed. I think that it was always interesting to me because we always learned about World War II and the things that were going on, but we never had any kind of proximity to there being people of color that were a part of it. And so when I had kind of garnered this rabbit hole of research, it was really something I was like, 'Well, I feel like these are stories that need to be told.'"

Richards said that production on the film is complete, but they cut it close. The crew's last day of filming actually took place as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the film industry. They were able to complete production on the final day before everything got shut down. Richards and Truth Be Told Productions then spent their time in quarantine editing The Zoo and have it ready to distribute.

"It's all about the timing, so it's really nice," Richards continued. "This is also just a time where I think that America is much more apt to want to receive this type of film in general because this really is an educational piece as well. It is very, very intense and it is kind of high... As far as it being very impactful, but it's really there to be entertainment, but also to be a form of education. I think that being able to have a conversation outside of that is kind of the bigger goal of it, but we're really, really lucky to have been able to actually have a completed project."

When he wasn't working on The Zoo, Richards focused on providing positive energy, information and light for others amid the coronavirus pandemic. He continued releasing short videos on his Instagram page, Mission Mondays, as a way to provide helpful challenges at the start of every week and shift focus away from the constant barrage of negative news.


Once the coronavirus pandemic began, Richards said that he wanted to create something to help others affected by uncertain situations. He knew that the job loss and other outside influences could negatively alter their emotional states, but Mastering Your Mind was his way to potentially change outlooks. He said that helping even one person would make the project a tremendous success.

"I was sitting in my office and the spirit just came on me in this way where I was like, 'Well, why not kind of create a motivational book, Mastering Your Mind, an opportunity for people to kind of look introspectively on some things and really kind of take this opportunity to not look at it of what you're losing, but what you could possibly be gaining mentally, spiritually and emotionally,'" Richards said. He further explained that the quarantine removed a large number of distractions. He used the time to think about his darkest hours and how he made it through using prayer and meditation, using those situations as an inspiration.