Cole Sprouse making his grand return to our television screen thanks to his role as Jughead Jones in Riverdale was a true gift. Seriously, it had been a total of five long years since he was on a show, and no one knew if and when he would come back. And this is something Cole admitted he wasn’t even sure was going to happen too.
In an interview with Wonderland Magazine, Cole explained that he gave himself legit seven days to get cast in a project and if nothing happened, well that would’ve been it.
“I went over to California from New York for a single week and I told my manager, ‘If I don’t book anything this pilot season I’m never coming back to this,'” Cole said. “I just pulled the trigger on it and said, ‘Alright, f—k it, let’s see how it goes.'”
And the rest is as they say, history. And as Cole recently revealed in a reddit AMA, it was a bit of a challenge to go from being Cody Martin on the beloved Suite Life shows to Jughead, because of the audience.
“I’d say the biggest challenge doesn’t come from you as an actor (as most actors are prepared to be versatile), it actually comes from the audience wanting their childhood to stay etched in stone. I’ve had the privilege of being on a couple shows that have reached a rare level of success within the industry, and a longevity that many people grew up alongside,” Cole wrote. “That process of growing up, and wanting the childhood to always remain nostalgic, can keep a lot of actors in the same place. Public identity is a huge part of hiring potential, and it often takes a showrunner or casting director’s belief in an actor’s talent or appeal to look past that indentity. I intentionally left entertainment for five years, and experienced life, grew up a bit, trained, got a haircut, went to college, and the audience grew with me. Very thankful for that.”
Cole ended up landing the role of Jughead Jones, Archie’s longtime friend who has that air of mystery to him, often is labeled as the outsider in the town of Riverdale. He came from the life of being a child actor with two successful Disney Chanel series, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and The Suite Life On Deck, before giving it all up to head to college at New York University along with his twin brother Dylan, so he instantly connected with the character in a way you might not expect.
“Jughead, to me, was reflective of a teen experience that made a lot of sense to me. He’s the narrator on the show, so that to me was interesting because anybody who thinks they can write about their own town with the people living side-by-side right next to him… that’s a super pretentious thing to think. And pretentiousness is kind of like the currency of the teenage experience. I think there’s something so human about that and so understandable about that, that Jughead became really interesting to me. He’s this character that strives for a kind of deepness in almost a cringe-y capacity, and that experience was really enjoyable to try and portray on screen,” Cole explained to Teen Vogue. “That was definitely my experience. I mean, my brother and I were on a TV show for probably our entire teenage years, and we were also given this strange understanding that we had all this power. When I was 15 or 16, it went right to my head, and it took a long time for me to get past that. And coupled alongside masculinity as a complex as well, and the arrogance inherent within that, it was easy to get lost within the power trip of it all.”
It’s kind of crazy to think about how having such massive success at such a young age can really affect actors as they simply grow up and because Cole lived this life, he sees a lot of himself in dear old Juggy when it seems like he wouldn’t have much in common with this ficitional character.
“It felt like a role that I could really dive into. Of course I’m pulling off of lived experience for the character as well,” Cole explained to Wonderland. “There comes a real loneliness in celebrity where you’re constantly told you’re part of an out group in your own society.”
Deciding to take that step away from the spotlight to go to college and figure out what they really wanted to do with their lives was something Cole said was necessary for him and Dylan. They had become super well-known and at only 18-years-old, that’s a lot to handle.
“We were at this point of recognize-ability where we couldn’t even walk around anymore,” he said. “I was really socially anxious and strange.”
So taking some time to just be normal is what led Cole to the role of Jughead and frankly, it’s hard to imagine anyone else bringing this beloved Archie Comic character to life on The CW series. Along with acting though, Cole’s fans know he is passionate about photography too and has taken some stunning photos of his Riverdale co-stars and even Kendall Jenner. So you would think the idea of directing might be the next big move for Cole’s career. It combines being behind the camera with all of his knowledge from acting over the years and Cole admitted it is something that could possibly happen, with a focus on telling some sort of autobiographical story.
“I’ve considered it very heavily because I’ve had the encouragement of a lot of people,” Cole said. “I think my brother and I’s upbringing is reserved for such a small percentage. Child stardom since you’re eight months old is something that’s very, very rare. The narratives that have come out of that between my brother and I, I feel they deserve a more public discussion but I think I have a lot to learn and I need to take the time educate myself. We’ll see. I’m very specific and critical of myself so if I do come out with something, it’s got to be up to a standard that I’m sure I approve of.”
The true story of what life for Cole and Dylan has really been like, as told by Cole? Now that sounds like something everyone would want to see. But for now, we will have to stay content with Cole telling fictional stories as Jughead each week on Riverdale, which returns for its second season October 11. It’s the show that got Cole back on TV so safe to say it was a good way to make his big comeback. We’re forever grateful.
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