We are now eight days away from the series premiere of the Archie Comics-inspired Riverdale on The CW, and continuing our string of interviews from the show’s set in Vancouver, today the spotlight falls on “Archie Andrews” himself: New Zealander KJ Apa, whose Archie Andrews will continue to be clueless on whether or not he prefers Betty or Veronica — or the sexy older woman, Miss Grundy.
You can see video of the interview below, but if you’re the reading type, you’re in luck, because we’ve got a text article here too.
“My first encounter would have been receiving the audition sides and the script,” Apa recalls of his first encounter with the world of Archie and Riverdale. “I read the script before I went into the audition. I didn’t know anything about it, so I researched it. I called my dad and asked him, because I knew he had read [the comics] and he told me about them and he filled me in, so then I went in there knowing a bit more.”
Of course, KJ also did his own research into the 75-year-long history of the Archie characters and made his own comparisons. “I think our show is most similar to the recent adaptation by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples,” Apa says. “It’s still similar in terms of characters and the classic iconic love triangle between Archie, Veronica and Betty, but it’s more similar to the most recent adaptations than to the ones that were like 50 years ago.”
One aspect of the Archie comic books that is significantly changed, at least at the show’s start, is the friendship between Archie and Jughead. As the series begins, Jughead isn’t Archie’s pal. “It’s funny, actually. Me and Cole [Sprouse] have been talking about when are we gonna be mates and start having scenes where we can laugh together,” Apa hopes. “We’re on Episode 7 now, and they still haven’t gotten over whatever happened. I don’t even know what happened between them, but it’s obviously something really, really bad; that I had obviously done something to him and that’s made him feel that way. I’m still trying to be friends with him again, but we still haven’t quite gotten to that point yet, but we’ll see where that goes,” he says.
In more predictable Archie fashion, though, he still can’t decide between Betty and Veronica. “In our series as well, he’s still battling between the two of them,” Apa says. “If you’re a fan of the comics, it’s always gonna be something that’s gonna attract all those Archie fans, but it’s also just one of those classic things that’s never boring to see; to see a love triangle, it’s something that’s ongoing, and it’ll never get boring.” Also in relation to the comics, Afterlife with Archie is indeed a possibility for the show’s future. “There has been a little bit of talk about some of that stuff for Halloween episodes, with the Afterlife with Archie. I’m not sure how that’s gonna pan out; we haven’t really given it too much thought, but I think it’s a really good idea. That’s gonna be awesome,” Apa says.
Is Apa ready for the fame associated with being the star of a popular TV show on The CW? “It hasn’t quite happened like that yet,” Apa admits. “No one knows who I am! I’m just a kid from New Zealand, I guess, but people have warned me that it’s gonna happen, but you can’t imagine it until it happens. I’ve been watching Cole – it happens to him a lot. I don’t quite know I’m gonna deal with it. I’ve gotta figure something out, I guess.” One thing Apa has already had to learn to get used to is the red hair. “I’m still getting used to it,” the actor says. “I’m used to it now, but when I first got it dyed and I looked in the mirror, I didn’t want to look in the mirror anymore. It was hard, but it’s good now. I like it.”
And finally, we have to know… did KJ Apa’s father prefer Betty or Veronica? “I still haven’t asked him yet! That’s a good question. I’d better call him,” he says.
You can watch video of the interview below. Keep coming back to KSiteTV for more Riverdale interviews as the January 26 premiere gets closer! Updates when they are up can be found on our @RiverdaleTV Twitter feed.