Casting can be a long and difficult process, even for the most talented actors. The cast of Riverdale all had to go through it – from Cole Sprouse, who has graced the screen since he was six months old to Camila Mendes, who began with no previous professional experience. So, what was it like to audition for one of the biggest shows on television? These stories help illuminate the process.
- Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper)
Lili Reinhart’s mom helped her audition for the role.
“I auditioned and self-taped at home in North Carolina with my mom [who] helped me put together a tape and it was one of the hardest self-tapes ever,” Reinhart explained in an interview with Kelly and Ryan. “For some reason I just wasn’t happy with the way I was doing it.”
Reinhart moved to LA while she waited to hear back about the part. During that time, she worked at Pier One imports. Eventually, she was called back in to audition again before being offered her role.
2. Jordan Connor (Sweet Pea)
Jordan Connor originally was signed for only four episodes. This led to a lot of uncertainty about his character’s fate.
“Every day you think it might be your last day,” Connor said in a phone interview with YouTuber Syd Wong. “Because of my character, I was on episode-to-episode and you don’t really know what the writers write and things chance. You don’t know if your character might make it or not. It was cool to see characters like mine and Drew’s (Fangs Fogarty) make it all the way to the end.”
Of course, Connor was the perfect man for the role and is set to be a reoccurring character again next season.
3. KJ Apa (Archie Andrews)
This year at Denver Comic Con, a fan took the opportunity to ask KJ Apa how difficult it was to learn the American accent for the show.
“I always find that it’s easier for an Australian or New Zealander to do the American accent, just because the content that we grew up in New Zealand everything is American,” Apa said. “Like radios, movies, TV, everything’s American. It’s a lot easier for us to do it than it would be for you guys to do an Australian or New Zealand accent because how often do you get to hear it?”
Apa was the last of all major cast members to be selected after a search of “every red headed young guy from LA,” according to an executive producer in an interview with Vulture. Apa was notified that he won the role only three days before the show’s test read in front of the studio. He was then sent immediately to dye his hair red in a long, strenuous process.
4. Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge)
It was an intense casting process for Camila Mendes.
“We had two studio tests,” Mendes explained in an interview with Build Series. The first one was when the pilot got green lit, and at that point it was just me and one other girl. I was like ‘oh my gosh,’ we are close. At the second test – and Lili wasn’t at the first video test – at the second one Lili is there and there were five Veronicas. In the end there ended up being one other girl and the casting director pulled me aside… He’s like ‘can I talk to you for a second?’ and I’m like ‘yeah.’ He’s like ‘well we’re letting the other girl go, but don’t get excited. They want to open up another nationwide search so they can find someone to test against you. You’re still one of our choices, but they want another choice.’”
Of course, it all worked out for Mendes in the end. With no prior acting experience, Riverdale is the perfect start to her career.
5. Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones)
Cole Sprouse originally auditioned to play Archie (can you see it?), but quickly decided that Jughead was the character for him.
“He’s very much an outsider,” he said in an interview with WWD. “He has a pretty unique perspective because he’s seeing the town and the friendship and the friendships that are forming from a more objective point of view. He eavesdrops, he listens, he’s the guy with the camera, snooping, sleuthing, and in that way, he’s distanced himself from a lot of the people in the town, through his own fear of being vulnerable and his inability to cope with people.”
With how long Sprouse has been on television, it’s easy to forget that Riverdale was actually his return to acting after a break to attend New York University. What better way to make a comeback?
However the young stars made it to their roles, we’re sure happy they did. You can catch your favorite stars in Season three of Riverdale, premiering October 10 at 8 PM PST.