“The Midnight Club” isn’t just one of the best Riverdale episodes of all time; it’s a tribute to a bygone era filled with performances from the show’s younger cast that awesomely channel the performances of the cast’s veterans.
Den of Geek was part of a group of journalists who visited the Riverdale set earlier this week. We talked to the “kids” of the cast about what it was like crafting those performances… and, for the “parents” of the cast, what it was like seeing their colleagues take on the unique challenge.
“I didn’t actually go back and actively search stuff up for that,” KJ Apa said of his performance as a younger version of Luke Perry’s Fred Andrews. The 21-year-old actor from New Zealand who usually plays Fred’s son and series protagonist Archie said that, while he has seen Beverly Hills, 90210, the show that made Perry famous as heartthrob Dylan McKay, it wasn’t something he binged to take on this role.
“Honestly, just talking to Luke is enough because he hasn’t changed much, like, in terms of his mannerisms and characteristics and stuff,” said Apa of the performance, which got a lot of positive feedback on Twitter.
“I think KJ really nailed it,” said Casey Cott, who plays Kevin Keller. “He is hilarious and he looks exactly young Luke. Which was fun. It was fun. I watched it with Mark, who grew up watching half the people we are playing and he was like, that’s crazy there’s Luke. So that was really fun.”
Cott took on the role of his dad, Tom Keller, for the flashbacks, saying: “Those are probably some of my favorite scenes. That was probably the most fun episode we’ve had all year. I think the entire cast would agree.”
Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead Jones normally, but who played a young F.P. Jones for the flashbacks said the actors didn’t receive a lot of instruction on how they should play the “Midnight Club” characters.
“The nature of network television is, often times, that we’ll receive an episode like the day of,” said Sprouse. “So, in terms of preparation, we didn’t really get too much preparation aside from the fact that we’ve all been working with the people playing our parents for quite some time.”
“The Midnight Club” isn’t just a fun gimmick of an episode; it develops the parental characters in some fascinating ways. For Sprouse, this played into the choices he made for his Young F.P. performance.
“There was also this dichotomy between, alright, are we trying to embody young FP as he is now … or an FP that they gave us in the network draft, which was a very different kind of FP. So there’s this kind of dilemma where you’re going, I want to embody the character, but he’s also a very different character when he was younger than then when he was an adult. So, to me, the thing that made most sense was just like physical mannerisms and things—chewing gum, standing in certain positions, uh, stuff like external representation that became super easy.”
The performance worked for Skeet Ulrich, who plays the present-day version of F.P.
“I thought he was amazing,” said Ulrich. “I think he’s always amazing, to be honest, but I thought that one really, uh, really, uh, I don’t know. I think it brought to life a different side of F.P. that’s quite helpful going forward to me. I thought he did a great job. I thought everybody did really extraordinary.”
“I loved Cami playing me as a daughter,” Marisol Nichols, who plays Hermione Lodge, told us. “It was actually really great. When that episode was filming, I was off. My father had passed away, and she sent me this really great picture of herself as me to kind of cheer me up and it was really really cool. It was really nice.”
For Mark Consuelos, who plays Hiram Lodge, the episode was a particular treat, as the show cast his real-life son, 21-year-old Michael Joseph Consuelos, to play a young Hiram.
There are so many adjectives I can use to describe how that felt for my wife and I just to have our son, this kid that was just… you know, he’s going to film school, he’s not interested in acting at all. And then, he’s making, like, you know, he’s a PA on a show in LA for a summer job and he got an opportunity. And he said, “Hey, Dad, they asked me to audition for the job.” And he gets there and he said, he called me and he said, “Dad, there’s like so many kids here. They look exactly like me.” And they go, “They actually look really like you, a lot.” And I go, “That’s called casting. That’s how they do it.”
Consuelos said he was “so proud” of his son, who had “the best time here.”
Consuelos hailed his co-stars’ performances, as well, saying: “We have such good actors. And KJ … can do anything. He’s really funny, he’s serious. He’s a great mimic. What he did wasn’t like an impersonation of Luke, but it was an impersonation of Luke. It really was. And he’s so good. And I think all the actors did such a good job playing their parents. It’s been my favorite episode. I mean, I was such a fan watching that. So well done. I was so impressed.”
For Nathalie Boltt, who plays Penelope Blossom, thought Madelaine Petsch as a younger version of herself was quite the compliment.
“I wish I was that hot and gorgeous when I was a teenager,” joked Boltt. “I actually posted on my Instagram what I looked like, which was just a mix of skewey teeth and peroxided bangs. But yeah, I take the compliment. But I love the whole nod to The Breakfast Club and the 90’s, I think its great. I certainly grew up with that.”
Nichols teased that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of these younger versions of Riverdale‘s parents.
“I think we’re gonna keep visiting that as time goes on, learn more about these characters,” said Nichols.
Cott echoed the tease, saying: “I get to jump back in to Tom Keller for just like a second in an episode we are about to shoot, which is really fun.”
This is good news, as the flashbacks are not only fun, but provide character development for the older characters on the show, who don’t usually get to be involved in the show’s central mysteries in this way.
“We got to see how these adults, as corrupt and horrific as they can be, how they were in high school and possibly how that led to where they are today,” said Nichols. “I think that, like I said, they’re going to be more involved than they’ve been in mysteries past, kind of thing. At least, the rest of us besides Hiram. And we’re gonna continue to touch on that.”