‘Riverdale’ star KJ Apa compares being on the show to “jail”

"There’s been so much pressure in playing Archie"

KJ Apa has likened starring in Riverdale to being in “jail”.

The actor, who portrays Archie Andrews in The CW’s drama, said in a new actor-on-actor interview that he feels restricted by his comic book adaptation role.

“I felt so free coming from a show where I feel like I’m in jail a lot of the time,” Apa told Demi Moore for Interview magazine, referring to Songbird, last year’s pandemic-themed film which both actors starred in.


“There are so many restrictions on what I can and can’t do,” he continued, referring to his recurring role in Riverdale.

Riverdale season 5 episode 6
KJ Apa as Archie in ‘Riverdale’. CREDIT: Netflix

But with Nico in Songbird, he said, “it was like, ‘Wow, this is what it’s like to really express myself in a natural way.’ I wasn’t covered in makeup or hair products. I had long hair and a beard. I just felt free.”

In response, Moore said she could see how “playing a character that’s based on a comic book would come with a specific framework”.

Apa continued: “There’s been so much pressure in playing Archie. I’m so grateful for the show and its success, but at the same time, there’s a lot of baggage that comes with that success.

“I feel like the only people I can talk to about my issues are my co-stars, the people who can really relate to me. Cole [Sprouse, who plays Jughead Jones] is an amazing person to have on set, because he’s been doing this his whole life. I try and look at it from a fan’s perspective to understand the way they think. But there are times when I’m like, ‘Wow, they really have no idea that we are actual people. They can’t separate us from our characters.’ You don’t have that in other professions.”


Season five of Riverdale is currently airing on Netflix. Read NME writer Nick Levine’s latest episode recap here.