On The CW series Riverdale, the show’s focus is obviously on the lives of Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), who would prefer to pursue a career in music rather than follow in his father’s footsteps, girl-next-door Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), who is still crushing on her best friend and neighbor, new girl in town Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and a curious Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse). But their parents – played by Luke Perry, Mädchen Amick, Marisol Nichols and Skeet Ulrich – are just as interesting, considering how they’re harboring as many, if not more, secrets than their offspring.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actress Mädchen Amick talked about what attracted her to Riverdale, her initial hesitation, the movie inspiration for her character, getting to play such a huge range of emotion, how much she’s enjoying working with Lili Reinhart on the mother-daughter dynamic, the twisted lives of the parents, and trying to solve the show’s murder mystery themselves. She also talked about the uncanny similarities between Riverdale and Twin Peaks, what it was like to return to that show, after so many years, fighting back tears the whole first day of filming, and how it was shot like one big movie.
Collider: How did you come to Riverdale?
MADCHEN AMICK: When I first heard that they were doing it and I went in to meet Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa], my initial thoughts were, “Oh, dear, they’re bringing Archie comics to life.” You immediately go to your fear of what could go wrong and how bad it’s going to be done. But I have to give so much credit to Roberto, who wrote it so well. It’s so deeply written and so well written. And then, the way that Lee [Toland Krieger], the director of the first three episodes, captured it and established the style of the show is another huge element to why it’s such a good show. It’s so beautifully shot and so cinematic.
How much did they tell you about where things would be headed with this character?
AMICK: When I went in to meet with Roberto, I was skeptical because when you’re going in as a parent, you worry that it could just be a fluffy little fringe character that doesn’t have much depth. And when he was telling me about how dark Alice would go and that one of his inspirations was Annette Bening’s character in American Beauty, I was like, “Oh, I get it! Okay!” I’ve been so happy with what he’s written. I couldn’t wait to read the next script to figure out what Alice was up to next. The range that I get to play with Alice is huge. I don’t know if I’ve ever played that range in a character before.
And she’s so unexpected because you never know how she’s going to react to something.
AMICK: Yeah. Sometimes it’s comedic relief, and sometimes it’s just dark and tragic. Is she crazy? Is she not? Is she just a control freak? What’s going on? She’s been a lot of fun to play.
Have you made those decisions for yourself, or are you just taking the ride with it, as it goes?
AMICK: My biggest curiosity is the history of the town and the relationships. All of the parent characters have all gone through high school together and they have their own drama that’s continuing to happen. And then, how does that layer into the way that they’re parenting? The biggest thing for Alice is that she’s trying to help her daughter avoid the pitfalls that she went through, so she’s overprotective and over-controlling because she’s just trying to keep her emotionally safe. When you go into it, as actors, you’re promised, “We’re going to write really great, deep things for the parents. Don’t worry.” And usually it doesn’t pan out. They usually don’t have the time, or the focus goes somewhere else. But, they’re really kept their promise. Roberto has kept his promise. And the network is encouraging the writers to do more parent storylines. That was the beauty of Twin Peaks. The young people had just as deep of storylines as the older generation in town.
What’s it like to work with Lili Reinhart and get to explore the relationship dynamic between your characters with her?
AMICK: She is a special person, and I’m so lucky to be playing her mom and have my scenes with her. What’s funny is that the first day that we met, I glanced over at her, across the table, and she has the exact same tattoo, in the exact same place on her arm. I just was like, “Wow, that is so weird!” And it ends up that we got it done by the same tattoo artist, but for different reasons. That was just bizarre and cool. She’s a wonderful actress, but she’s also just a really great person to get through the day and the long hours with. There’s no drama. We have each other’s back. We’re constantly texting each other messages, throughout the day, even when we’re sitting across from each other. Because Alice comes off as somewhat villainous, in the beginning, you think, “How is that going to sustain? How is that relationship between mother and daughter going to evolve?” But the minute you think you’ve figured something out with the way they should react to each other, they write the opposite and you realize just how twisted and messy it is. Betty is just trying to get through adolescence unscathed, and Alice is just trying to keep her from reliving all of the old wounds that she’s gone through.