‘Riverdale’: Luke Perry Interview on ‘Archie’ Comics and Playing Archie’s Dad

Riverdale stars KJ Apa as Archie
KJ Apa as Archie and Luke Perry as Fred in ‘Riverdale’ (Photo by Diyah Pera © 2016 The CW Network)
The CW’s Riverdale, based on the popular Archie comic book series, will premiere on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 9pm ET/PT. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the Chief Creative Officer at Archie Comics, developed Riverdale and serves as writer and executive producer of the dramatic series that’s a different take on the popular characters than fans of the comics might expect. Season one stars KJ Apa as Archie Andrews with Luke Perry playing his father, Fred. Cole Sprouse plays Jughead, Camila Mendes is Veronica, Lili Reinhart is Betty, Ashleigh Murray is Josie, and Madelaine Petsch plays Cheryl Blossom in the show’s first season which centers around the investigation of the death of popular high school student Jason Blossom.

During the 2016 San Diego Comic Con, Perry sat down for roundtable interviews to talk about his involvement in Riverdale and his character, Fred Andrews.

Luke Perry Interview:

What was your familiarity with Archie before Riverdale?

Luke Perry: “I’m 50 years old and so I’ve been around a long time. I read these books when I was younger. When you would go to buy superhero comics, a lot of times they would have them packed in threes. They would stick an Archie in the middle. You didn’t know you were getting an Archie, but you got Archie. And then you get home and you started reading it. You know, I liked it. It was good. That’s when I got exposed to the characters.

I lived in a trailer park and had a small bedroom because it was a trailer. I would just sit there in the closet, stack of comic books on either side of me and just take one off of this stack, read it, put it on that stack. I did that for years back before there was VCRs and you could watch movies in your house and stuff. I had to have the pictures in my head. I had to have them somehow, and that’s how I got them.”

What was the appeal of playing Fred?

Luke Perry: “I was pretty clear coming in that it’s Archie and the show is going to primarily going to be about that. I’m fine with that. I’m never like, ‘Give me more lines. Give me more stuff to do.’ I’m confident that when I do have stuff to do, it’s going to be good stuff. It’s going to be the right stuff. I wasn’t in a lot of the pilot but I really felt like the character had an impact and has a lot to say. But (Roberto) did say going forward he’s going to cultivate the adult storylines as well as the kids because that’s what helps take the younger characters into more sophisticated problems is when the adults also get into more sophisticated problems. As these teenage characters become young adults, they’re going to get hit with adult stuff. He’s really got a great plan.”

In the pilot, Archie and his father had some tension-filled scenes. Is that going to be the tone of their relationship?

Luke Perry: “I hope not. I hope with every father-son relationship that you have your good days, that you have your days where you laugh and you get crazy. It can’t always be (tense) – at least I hope it’s not. I don’t think that Roberto is up for writing the same thing over and over and having it be that. But, there’s something definitely to be learned and gained from seeing the father and the son and the difficulties that they have, and how they get through them. I’m looking forward to that. I think those are going to be good scenes.”

Why is Fred afraid to tell Archie about his past with Mrs. Lodge?

Luke Perry: “Because it wasn’t a very wholesome past with Mrs. Lodge. I think anytime you’re going to be telling your kids about something and it involves someone else’s missus, you’ve got to be very careful about what you tell them.”

What other characters besides Archie are you hoping Fred gets to interact with?

Luke Perry: “Oh, man, let me tell you. Alice Cooper, Betty’s mother, she looks good to me. (Laughing) I’m not going to lie to you.”

Have they cast your wife yet?

Luke Perry: “No, I don’t know that we’re going to see her. I’m not sure how we’re going to handle that. But, again, I have a lot of faith in Roberto. The guy absolutely knows what he wants from the show and I believe he knows how to get it. I think he’s going to do well with it.”

(Interview by Sandy Kraisirideja. Article by Rebecca Murray.)

Watch the Riverdale trailer: