Even though it’s not even March yet, fans are already looking forward to one particular show due this fall, The CW’s ‘Riverdale’ based on the eternal teenage gang from Archie Comics. Things have progressed steadily with casting a modern and more multicultural clique. But now comes word that the most pivotal role has been cast, that of red-headed goofball/chick magnet Archie Andrews. Not only that, but two of his fellow classmates have also been chosen, Josie McCoy, frontwoman for Josie & The Pussycats and Cheryl Blossom. But one other casting is sure to put a smile on the faces of kids of the ’90s– Luke Perry will play Archie’s father!
Executive producer Greg Berlanti is clearly a fan of meta casting and he has become a master of it. On his hit ‘The Flash’, the title character’s father is played by John Wesley Shipp, who played ‘The Flash’ on the early 90s series. Meanwhile on his other hit ‘Supergirl’, that title character’s adopted Earth mother is played by Helen Slater, the original movie ‘Supergirl’ and her father is played by Dean Can, who played Superman on the ’90s series, ‘Lois & Clark: The New adventures of Superman’.
This one isn’t quite as direct a connection, but it’s still pretty cool. THE teen heartthrob of the early ’90s, ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ star Luke Perry will be playing the father of Archie Andrews, and who knows? Maybe the actor playing him will become the next big heartthrob.
Perry’s character is described as:
Usually easygoing, Fred Andrews is the owner of a construction firm who is hoping his son, who worked for him all summer, will someday take over the family business.
As for Archie himself? Ironically, the all-American teenager, Archie won’t be played by an American at all! Nor by a ginger! (Although he is expected to be a redhead on the show.)
New Zealand import K.J. Apa will be playing the lead on ‘Riverdale’. The actor is an unknown in the U.S., but his name surfaced several months back as one of the candidates to play the new Red Ranger in Lionsgate’s upcoming ‘Saban’s Power Rangers’ feature film. (The role eventually went to another newcomer, Dacre Montgomery.)
Apa gained notice playing Kane Jenkins on the long-running New Zealand soap opera ‘Shortland Street’. He has a small part in the upcoming ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ which features the voice of Bradley Cooper as the titular dog, due in January.
The TV Archie is described as “an intense, conflicted teen, a boyish high school sophomore who got pumped up over the summer working construction and is now juggling the interest of several girls, as well as trying to balance his passion for writing and performing music — against the wishes of his father and his football coach.”
The second casting is a bit interesting. It’s for the role of Josie McCoy, lead singer of Josie and the Pussycats. This girl group has long had its own series published by Archie Comics, but rarely are they shown interacting with the ‘Riverdale’ gang. How will Josie shake things up? Time will tell.
But for now, meet Ashleigh Murray. Murray is a true newcomer, having only appeared in a few shorts and in a bit part on ‘The Following’.
Murray, like Apa, is also not a redhead like her comic book counterpart.
It sounds like their musical interest will bring them together, but may also cause some friction. She is described as “a gorgeous, snooty and ambitious girl who is the lead singer for popular band Josie and the Pussycats. She has zero interest in recording any songs written by fellow teen Archie.”
Madelaine Petsch is also a true newcomer with only two bit-parts to her credit, but she will be appearing in the upcoming film, ‘The Curse of Sleeping Beauty’.
On ‘Riverdale’ she will be playing yet another redhead, although this time she really is one. Her role, Cheryl Blossom is described as “as rich, entitled and never accountable; a manipulative mean girl who kills with kindness, she recently lost her twin brother in a mysterious accident.”
Cheryl Blossom has always been a vixen and whatever the Archie Comics equivalent is to a slut. But this description is far harsher than what readers may be used to. It sounds like Veronica better watch her back!
Perry, Apa, Murray and Petsch join Cole Sprouse as Jughead and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper. Yet to be announced are the choices to play Veronica, who is expected to be a Latina, conniving Reggie Mantle and gay student Kevin Keller.
‘Riverdale’ will examine the “darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.” The pilot was written by Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who also serves as executive-producer.
Expect the final casting announcements to be made within days. (Is it too much to pray for Jennie Garth for Archie’s mom?)
Sources: Comic Book Resources, Deadline