Richard "Rich" Wilkes (born 1966 in Princeton, New Jersey), attended El Camino High School in Oceanside, California, and is an American filmmaker. His work to date is generally noted for its rooting in contemporary music and youth culture.
Wilkes' major-studio debut was as screenwriter of the 1994 film Airheads, starring Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler. The story revolves around a group of loser musicians called The Lone Rangers, who take a radio station hostage in order to get their song played on the radio. Airheads was directed by Michael Lehmann of Heathers fame, and distributed by 20th Century Fox.
This was followed by a co-writer credit (alongside director James Melkonian) for the 1994 comedy The Stoned Age, set in the stoner subculture of Southern California during the 1970s, starring Michael Kopelow and Bradford Tatum.
The same writing/ directing team then collaborated with The Jerky Boys to create the 1995 production The Jerky Boys: The Movie, featuring the eponymous comedians (self-described as "low-lifes from Queens") as New York City youths who get into trouble with the Mafia when one of their prank calls leads them into a money laundering business.
Wilkes is credited as the sole screenwriter for the 2002 action-adventure film xXx, starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento and Samuel L. Jackson, and a "based on characters created by" credit for the 2005 sequel, xXx: State of the Union, starring Ice Cube and Willem Dafoe.
In 1996, WIlkes debuted as a director with Glory Daze, a semi-autobiographical tale based on his experiences as a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The film was notable for a cast comprising several actors on the verge of achieving considerable fame, including Ben Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Matthew McConaughey, Alyssa Milano, Brendan Fraser and Matt Damon. Despite this, Glory Daze was given only a limited theatrical distribution.
Other film work
Wilkes has also appeared as an actor in the majority of his productions, primarily in minor roles. He has also appeared as himself in several documentaries, including the 1998 production Independent's Day, 2003's The Blockbuster Imperative and 2006's Punk Like Me.