TAGGED AS: Comic Book, The CW
Rotten Tomatoes and Riverdale fans got a sneak peek at episode 31 on Sunday at PaleyFest, an annual celebration of television in Los Angeles. In “Chapter Thirty-One: A Night to Remember,” airing April 18, the Riverdale gang puts on a high school musical version of horror classic Carrie. Rotten Tomatoes was on the red carpet with the cast and attended the Q&A following the screening to learn more about this and other upcoming episodes.
Archie (KJ Apa) plays Tommy Ross, the cool jock who tries to do a nice thing by taking Carrie White to prom. Apa shows off his moves in numbers like “Do Me a Favor.”
“I’ve never really done any dancing so it was tough, but we all helped each other,” Apa said. “There were some people who already knew how to dance as well, so that made me a lot more insecure. But, it was good. Everything turned out great.”
Veronica (Camila Mendes) plays mean girl Chris Hargensen, the one who plans the bucket of pig blood for Carrie. She gets a big solo in “The World According to Chris.”
“I never get to sing, dance and act all in the same moment, and I got to do that,” Mendes said. “Just doing it over and over again kind of reminded me of when I used to do musical theater in high school. That felt so nostalgic.”
Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) plays Carrie, of course, with Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) playing Margaret White to stay close to Betty (Lili Reinhart), who’s playing Sue Snell. Petsch does do the bloody finale, which she said was sticky.
“There’s a bar they put up for me to hold my arms up between takes because my arms would get stuck to my sides,” Petsch said. “The shower afterwards was sweet relief.”
Josie (Ashleigh Murray) already sings a lot on Riverdale. As gym teacher Miss Gardner, she sings “Unsuspecting Hearts” with Cheryl. For Cheryl and Josie it has added meaning.
“It’s a duet between her and Cheryl,” Murray said. “It’s a beautiful melody and a beautiful back and forth between the two of them. It kind of brings out the dynamic of their relationship and finding their way back together. After that, the next song [I sing on Riverdale] is the national anthem.”
Jughead (Cole Sprouse) does not perform in Carrie, instead documenting the production behind the scenes.
“The choreography was the most challenging part for me,” Sprouse joked. “Then learning the songs was difficult.”
Fred Jones (Luke Perry) builds the sets.
“They used my talents the way that they thought served the piece best,” Perry said.
Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said that he’d talked about doing a musical in season 1, but ran out of time. It kept getting pushed in season 2 also.
“We kind of came to a moment of truth where it was like, ‘OK, we’re either doing it now or we’re not doing it,’” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “It was sort of a now-or-never moment.”
Executive producer Greg Berlanti, who pulled off a musical episode of The Flash, supported a Riverdale musical.
“I loved his take on it, too, doing Carrie, which was not incredibly well received when it first premiered, but he had a love for it and really just fit so well with the story lines they were doing,” Berlanti said. “I think it’s given its due with the show.”
Chuck Clayton (Jordan Calloway) returns to play Chris’s boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta’s role in the Carrie movie). Being such a team player in the ensemble begins Chuck’s path to redemption.
“He’s been such a great villain for us,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “We wanted him to be able to do more stuff on the show so part of the story was to redeem him because he’s so great.”
With the success of Riverdale, another Archie Comics title is getting series treatment. Netflix is developing a Sabrina, the Teenage Witch series, which will be a darker drama than the ’90s TV sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart.
Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater said The CW was in the running for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but everyone agreed it was a Netflix show.
“I think both CW and all of us came to realize that it really probably belongs on Netflix,” Goldwater said. “I think it allows us a little bit more freedom in terms of certain aspects of things that you can’t necessarily do on network television.”
Goldwater said they are not thinking of a Riverdale crossover yet — but perhaps Hart could appear in a new role?
“You never know,” Goldwater said. “I would leave that to Roberto.”
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.