Why the cast of Riverdale looks so familiar
As one of The CW’s most popular dramas, Riverdale has launched a new generation of stars while providing a new home for some former big-name talent. From the show’s new talent to its supporting cast of teen angst drama pros, this group of actors has been racking up credits for a while now. Here’s why they look so familiar.
K.J. Apa (Archie)
Riverdale’s resident teen heartthrob/football star/occasional amateur detective, Archie Andrews, is not actually a real-life redhead. Star K.J. Apa bleaches and dyes his naturally dark brown hair, which might be why you’re not able to place the New Zealand-born actor, who stuck with his brunette locks in most of his past roles.
Apa got his start in his home country on the soap opera Shortland Street, appearing in 46 of the show’s thousands of episodes, as the angsty teen Kane Jenkins. Fun fact: on the show, Apa got the chance to act opposite pop star Ed Sheeran, who made a cameo on the series in 2014. Apa’s Riverdale co-star Cole Sprouse called attention to their scene once again a few years after the fact by sharing it on social media, much to the delight of their fans.
Apa then briefly appeared in the New Zealand sci-fi series The Cul De Sac before landing a part as a young Dennis Quaid in A Dog’s Purpose. The film was in the news quite a bit for a controversy over possible animal rights violations, but Apa said that during his time on set he saw everyone going to “amazing lengths to ensure that the dogs were treated with the utmost respect and love.”
Lili Reinhart (Betty)
Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty, Riverdale‘s ponytailed blonde, got her start in acting at a young age, first appearing in the drama short For Today in 2010. The next year, Reinhart booked an appearance on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (a must for all rising TV stars) and appeared as the title character in the horror film Lilith.
In 2012, Reinhart acted opposite future Star Wars villain Adam Driver in the drama Not Waving But Drowning. The next year saw her appearing in the coming-of-age dramedy The Kings of Summer, the baseball mystery Gibsonburg, and the thriller Forever’s End. In 2014, Reinhart had a recurring role on the Fox mid-season comedy Surviving Jack, which was canceled after one season.
The next year, Reinhart took the leap and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Although she made appearances in the dramedies Cocked and Miss Stevens and the thriller The Good Neighbor, Reinhart has said she was struggling with doubt, uncertain about life as an actress.
Reinhart, who has been open about her mental health struggles, says she was in the worst period of her life at the time Riverdale came around. She wound up taping her first audition for the show and sending it in, but she didn’t make it through on the first try. Luckily, though, she wound up getting another audition, and the rest is history.
Cole Sprouse (Jughead)
Cole Sprouse was probably the most famous of Riverdale‘s child actors when he was cast as Archie’s BFF Jughead, which might be why producers first wanted him to audition for their leading man. However, Sprouse said he was drawn to Jughead because he was so different from his most well-known character, Cody Martin from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Sprouse played Cody opposite his twin Dylan’s Zach for four years on the Disney Channel series, and later reprised the role for another four years on the spinoff The Suite Life on Deck. During this time, he also appeared in the TV movies The Suite Life Movie and Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana.
Sprouse already had a lot of acting experience when he signed on to the Suite Life universe. The Sprouse twins started acting in 1993 when they were just 1-year-olds in Chuck Lorre’s Grace Under Fire and later made appearances in MADtv and the film Big Daddy. Sprouse also appeared as Ross’ son Ben on Friends and popped up in the family comedy films I Just Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Just for Kicks.
Sprouse took some time off from acting after Suite Life ended to attend New York University, graduating with a degree in archaeology in 2015. (He actually attended school with his Riverdale co-star Camila Mendes, although she says he doesn’t remember meeting her.) Outside of acting, he is also a talented photographer who has shot for L’Uomo Vogue, W Magazine, and more.
Camila Mendes (Veronica)
Camila Mendes was the least experienced of Riverdale‘s teens when she signed on to play the socialite Veronica Lodge, but she’s quickly proven her acting prowess. Mendes graduated from New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts in May of 2016, just a few months after she landed the part of Veronica. Her only other previous acting credit was in a commercial for IKEA.
Although Mendes might not be recognizable from her time before the show, she’s blown up since season one kicked off. Mendes has become hugely popular on social media, with more than 900,000 followers on Twitter and 4.6 million followers on Instagram. She has also become a fixture at awards shows, winning a Teen Choice Award for Choice Scene Stealer and presenting an award along with her Riverdale castmates at the American Music Awards.
Casey Cott (Kevin)
Casey Cott plays Betty’s BFF Kevin on Riverdale, and he and Reinhart actually have something in common: they are both from the Cleveland area. Most of Cott’s pre-Riverdale experience came in local theater, with the actor booking roles in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Romeo and Juliet.
Cott’s onscreen acting experience was pretty limited before Riverdale—he appeared in an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and starred in the music video for Sabrina Carpenter’s “Why.” Cott really wanted a part on Riverdale when the show came around, auditioning for Archie and Jughead before landing the role of Kevin.
Cott may also look familiar thanks to his lookalike brother Corey Cott, a successful Broadway star who has appeared as leads in Newsies and Bandstand. Casey’s Riverdale castmates are super supportive of him and his brother, even attending a performance of Corey’s show Bandstand in May of 2017.
Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl)
Madelaine Petsch was actually auditioning for a role on an entirely different series when she landed the now iconic part of Cheryl Blossom on Riverdale. Petsch, who says she caught the performing bug at the age of three, was meeting with casting director David Rappaport for The CW series Legends of Tomorrow when he pinned her for Cheryl, although things were hush-hush at the time, and he couldn’t say what part he wanted her for.
Although she was still fairly new to acting at the time, Petsch had already done a lot of work setting up the confidence needed to play a character as daring as Cheryl. This included appearances in the horror film The Hive, the Nickelodeon series Instant Mom, and the fantasy flick The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, as well as a key role in a national Coca-Cola billboard advertising campaign in the summer of 2014. Although she spent some time developing Chery’ls attitude, Petsch says the last requirement for playing Cheryl Blossom, the vibrant red hair, is something she was just born with.
Ashleigh Murray (Josie)
Ashleigh Murray is a scene stealer in her way too infrequent appearances as Pussycats bandleader Josie on Riverdale, so it’s shocking to hear how little experience the talented actress had before landing the part. Murray’s few credits before Riverdale include small roles in episodes of The Following and Younger as well as parts in the shorts Finding Harmony, Welcome to Npoew York, and Grind.
Like many of her co-stars, Murray was struggling with her acting career, but then she landed an audition for Riverdale. She was thousands of dollars behind in rent and planning on taking a six-month break from acting just before the character of Josie came along. Murray was at the supermarket with just $12 in her bank account when she got the call saying she was being flown to Los Angeles to screen test.
Success came quickly for Murray after she landed her role on Riverdale with a leading role in the Sundance Film Festival breakoutDeidra and Laney Rob a Train in early 2017. The movie is currently available on Netflix. Murray has also already signed on to appear in MGM’s musical remake of the 1983 romcom Valley Girl.
Luke Perry (Fred Andrews)
Luke Perry already had a lot of experience on teen shows when he signed on to appear as Archie’s dad Fred on Riverdale, starring for nine years on the wildly popular Beverly Hills, 90210. Perry says that he does see some similarities between the shows, although he says that Riverdale is able to get away with much crazier things than 90210 ever could.
During his time on 90210, Perry also made the rounds in film and television, appearing in the movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and starring in other movies like The Fifth Element and 8 Seconds.
After 90210 ended, Perry spent some brief time appearing on the HBO series Oz and later starred in Showtime’s post-apocalyptic drama Jeremiah. He went on to star in the one-season NBC drama Windfall and later in the one-season HBO surfing drama John from Cincinnati. During that time, he also made guest appearances on shows like Will and Grace, What I Like About You, Leverage, Community, Body of Proof, Raising Hope, Major Crimes, and Criminal Minds.
Perry’s most recent credits before Riverdale included the TV movies Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise and Love in Paradise as well as the drama Race to Win and the dramedy It’s Gawd! The actor has said he was “skeptical” about making his return to television when Riverdale came along, but, luckily, his agent pushed him to read the script, and he was ready to sign up.
Molly Ringwald (Mary Andrews)
After landing a teen heartthrob to play Archie’s father, it makes sense that Riverdale‘s producers would go after another huge star to play his mother. They wound up landing the queen of all redheaded actresses everywhere, Molly Ringwald, who has been a venerable icon since the 1980s.
Ringwald’s many, many starring film roles during her “Brat Pack” teen-star days include Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, The Pick-Up Artist, and King Lear. Early on in her career, she also appeared in various TV series like Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, and the TV movie Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story.
Ringwald’s profile has lowered slightly since the ’80s, but she’s still been very busy, appearing in movies like Not Another Teen Movie, Jem and the Holograms, King Cobra, and Siberia. She was also a series regular on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, playing the mother of Shailene Woodley’s Anne Juergens. Ringwald also booked guest appearances on Medium, Psych, and RuPaul’s Drag U and had a lead role on the one-season Canadian series Raising Expectations.
Mädchen Amick (Alice Cooper)
Mädchen Amick is another one of Riverdale‘s resident creepy parents who has a pretty impressive acting past. Most notable is her role as the waitress Shelley Johnson on the cult hit Twin Peaks, as well as its 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and its 2017 reboot Twin Peaks: The Return.
Riverdale has earned a lot of comparisons to Twin Peaks throughout its run, although Amick says she didn’t notice the similarities until critics started pointing them out online. “[Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa] wasn’t trying to copy Twin Peaks, but he was organically inspired by Twin Peaks, and it came through in the project itself,” she said.
Amick, who got her start guest-starring on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, has held recurring guest roles on Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, ER, Joey, Gossip Girl, Californication, My Own Worst Enemy, Damages, CSI: NY, Ringer, Drop Dead Diva, Longmire, American Horror Story, and Love. She has also had regular roles on shows like Central Park West, Freddie, and Witches of East End. Amick has had roles in such films as The Borrower, Sleepwalkers, Dream Lover, and Priest.
Lochlyn Munro (Hal Cooper)
Something may be up with Betty’s dad Hal Cooper on Riverdale, but his portrayer, Lochlyn Munro, seems like a perfectly nice guy. Munro has over 200 credits to his name, ranging all the way back to shows like 21 Jump Street.
Munro hasn’t had many parts that stuck around for long, but he has been a prolific guest star, appearing on shows like Charmed, Monk, Smallville, Castle, True Justice, Psych, Hawaii Five-0, Longmire, Beauty and the Beast, Bones, Lucifer, Andromeda, and Supernatural.
He is probably best known for his film roles, which include Scary Movie, A Night at the Roxbury, Freddy vs. Jason, White Chicks, The Benchwarmers, Daddy Day Camp, The Penthouse, The Terror Experiment, Capital Punishment, Poker Night, Tomorrowland, and Final Vision.
Marisol Nichols (Hermione Lodge)
Marisol Nichols has been conniving and cutthroat in her role as Veronica’s mother Hermione Lodge, but she’s also brought a lot of sensitivity to the serious part. This is thanks to Nichols’ long-time experience in the acting business, which kicked off in 1996 with a guest appearance on the little-known TV series My Guys. Later that year, she would guest star on Beverly Hills, 90210, although not with her future Riverdale co-star Luke Perry, who left the show from 1995 to 1998.
Like many of her adult Riverdale co-stars, Nichols was once a teen fixture in well-known movies like Can’t Hardly Wait, Scream 2, and Vegas Vacation. She’s also held TV roles on Charmed, Cold Case, Friends, The Twilight Zone, Alias, Boy Meets World,Resurrection Blvd., and Blind Justice.
In 2007, Nichols landed her breakout role on Fox’s hit 24, playing Special Agent Nadia Yassir. The part earned her an ALMA Award nomination and propelled her to a series regular role on the short-lived ABC supernatural series The Gates. After the show concluded, Nichols made recurring guest appearances on GCB, NCIS, Criminal Minds, and Teen Wolf before signing on to Riverdale.
Mark Consuelos (Hiram Lodge)
Mark Consuelos joined Riverdale in its second season as Veronica’s intense father Hiram Lodge, who was oft discussed as he sat in jail during the show’s freshman outing. Consuelos’ casting came at the expense of one of another role; the star signed on after his Fox baseball drama Pitch was canceled after its first season.
Consuelos started acting in 1995 when he joined the soap opera All My Children as the heartthrob Mateo Santos. He continued appearing in the role on and off until 2010, although during that time he booked dozens of other acting appearances, including guest-starring roles on shows like Friends, American Family, Third Watch, and Hope and Faith.
Consuelos also held a series regular role on the Canadian crime drama 1-800-Missing, and popped up in Ugly Betty, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, American Horror Story: Asylum, and Alpha House. His film roles include My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Wedding Daze, Cop Out, and Nine Lives.
Consuelos has been married to TV host Kelly Ripa since 1996, a few years after they met on the set of All My Children. Consuelos has occasionally joined his wife as a guest host on her show Live!with Kelly and has joined her in appearances on Watch What Happens: Live, 20/20, and other talk shows.
Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones)
Another former teen star recruited to play a Riverdale parent, Skeet Ulrich was so impressive as Jughead’s criminal father in season one that he was bumped up to a series regular for season two, despite his character’s incarceration. He started off acting with small roles in Weekend at Bernie’s and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before breaking out with a performance in the horror movie The Craft.
His other most notable role was also in horror, playing the villain Billy Loomis in 1996’s Scream. During the 1990s, he also had roles in Boys, Touch, Chill Factor, Ride with the Devil, and As Good as it Gets. Ulrich stayed in the spotlight in the next decade as well, appearing on the TV series Into the West,Miracles, and Jericho and later starred in CSI: NY, Law and Order: LA, and Unforgettable. Shortly after starting his run on Riverdale, Ulrich played Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper Brian David Mitchell in the Lifetime movie I Am Elizabeth Smart.
Martin Cummins (Sheriff Keller)
Martin Cummins may be one of the least sketchy Riverdale parents as Sheriff Keller, although, in this town, everyone is a suspect. Luckily, Cummins has the experience necessary to play into the nuances of the tough show, holding more than 75 credits stretching back to a 1987 appearance on Canadian TV show Danger Bay.
Although Cummins didn’t achieve the same kind of 1990s relevance as some of his co-stars, he was a utility player in a lot of different TV shows and movies, ranging from 21 Jump Street to Highlander to Born to Run. In 1996, he landed more regular employment, starring in the Showtime horror series Poltergeist: The Legacy.
After the show wrapped in 1999, Cummins quickly signed on to appear in the sci-fi series Dark Angel, a role which gave him the geek cred to book appearances on Stargate SG-1, Smallville, and Kyle XY. His other parts pre-Riverdale include roles in Painkiller Jane, Life As We Know It, Shattered, V, True Justice, Eureka, Bates Motel, The Whispers, and UnREAL. Before signing on to The CW series, he held a regular role on the Canadian drama When Calls the Heart.