Trust us: when you discover K.J. Apa in the upcoming CW series, Riverdale (if you haven't already), you're going to love him instantly. The 20-year-old from New Zealand plays Archie Andrews in the Archie Comics-inspired television series, and there's no doubt about the fact you'll be immediately hooked. When our sister site Empire US caught up with the actor, he explained exactly what it was like transforming into the famously redheaded character, red hair makeover, American accent, and all!
"It was, honestly, scary at the start, because they had to dye it once a week and I’m shooting for six months," he told the site about his reaction to seeing his natural brown locks dyed red for the first time. "They had to bleach it. I’m probably going to be bald by the end of the series."
As for his voice, Archie is the picture of Americana, but luckily K.J. didn't find his American accent too hard to put on. "I just can kind of do it, I guess," he shared. "I used to talk to myself as a kid; I was one of those weird little kids, but it was always in an American accent. Maybe that’s why?"
Not only did he have to change his appearance and voice for the role, but K.J. also had to start from scratch in learning about the comic books' history and what it means to its dedicated fandom.
"It was tricky for me at the beginning, coming from New Zealand and playing such an iconic American character. The fans are so passionate and I was thinking, 'Man, I hope I don’t get too much stick from these guys,' but the feedback has been really good, which I’m pleased by," he shared. "I wasn’t familiar with the comics before I actually started working on the project, but my dad was really familiar with it. So I gave him a call from L.A. and he filled me in. He read them when he was a kid, so that was good."
We can't wait to see how he keeps interpreting this classic character in a cool new way.
This post was written by Kristine Kowalski. It was originally published on January 4, 2017.