Shortland Street’s KJ Apa Hits US TV Screens
Archie’s certainly not a kid anymore. Or at least not the same kid we knew from the old Archie comics, according to USA Today. He’s a hot, ripped 16-year-old, and a New Zealander – and he’s caught in the middle of a Twin Peaks-ish murder.
Produced by Greg Berlanti, the man behind CW network’s string of DC superhero hits, Riverdale is in line with a recent darkening of the character in the comics themselves.
Riverdale stars Auckland-born actor KJ Apa, 19, as the (dyed) redheaded football hero, yearning for a music career while working for his single-parent father, played by Luke Perry of Beverly Hills, 90210.
As a New Zealander, Apa says his high-school experience did not mirror Archie’s; “My school was more like Hogwarts.” But he can relate to the basic story of a boy who is trying to find his passion and figure out what he’s meant to do.
“I’ve exercised my whole life,” Apa says. “My dad got me into it when I was young, so I’ve been training for a long time. It was something I didn’t have to think about going in [to the show].
“The advantage [of being a redhead] is I can go back to my normal hair colour and no one will recognise me and I can go out for other roles.”
Media Village asks Apa, a rugby player, what it was like playing gridiron as an all-American jock.
“I always wanted to wear that uniform as a kid and I finally get to do it. There are no gridiron teams in New Zealand so there’s no way I could’ve ever worn it. I understand the rules of the game now and that took me a really long time. I didn’t like it at first – there was too much stopping, whereas rugby is really fast.”
Apa starred in Shortland Street as Kane Jenkins. He was cast as Archie after a four-month worldwide talent search.
Original article by Robert Bianco, USA Today, January 8, 2017.
Photo by Diyah Pera, CW.