Ross Lynch has starred as Sabrina’s boyfriend Harvey Kinkle in the hit supernatural horror series since it premiered in 2018. Riker, who at 29 is four years older than Ross, actually auditioned to play Harvey’s brother Tommy a couple of years ago, but lost out to Justin Dobies. Still, Riker says his guest role in the concluding part of Sabrina‘s second and final season feels like it was “meant to be”. “There was just something about the vibe in the room when I auditioned,” says Riker, whose previous acting credits include the indie comedy Lost Angeles and a recurring role as Jeff in Glee. “I walked out of there and I was like, ‘I think I just booked that’.”
From 2009 to 2018, Riker and Ross played together in the pop-rock band R5, and Riker is now a touring member of Ross’s new group, The Driver Era. His role in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cleverly plays off their shared DNA and history of musical collaboration. “I’m the lead singer of this heavy metal band called Satanic Panic – my (stage) name is Trash,” he says. “We come back from the dead and compete in this Battle of the Bands contest, and it turns out that back in the day, Harvey’s dad Hank was a band member. So we’re looking at Harvey like: ‘You look familiar’.”
However, this doesn’t mean that Harvey and Trash are kindred spirits. “I’m definitely the antagonist of the episode and I have a couple of scenes where I really get up in Ross’s face,” Riker says with a laugh. “Ross was like, ‘I’m so glad you got to play this role and not [Harvey]’s brother because this is way more fun.’ You know, I’m kind of an over-the-top human being in my everyday life and Trash is just so extra. Like, his mohawk is so huge I had to duck down to get through doors!”
Since filming Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riker has kept himself busy by writing, directing and starring in Aliens on Halloween, a short film he describes as a mix of Superbad and Can’t Hardly Wait, infused with the “sci-fi spin of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure“. He plans to continue editing the film, which co-stars his Glee cast mate Curt Mega, in January while keeping an eye on how his Sabrina role goes down.
“I don’t think most people will realise straight away that I’m Ross’s brother,” he says. “But for the fans who do a little digging, it’s going to be a really fun discovery for them. Like, ‘I see what they did there!'”