Any Riverdale fan knows KJ Apa best as Archie Andrews, but he's heading back to the big screen in The Hate U Give. It's the adaptation of the Black Lives Matter-based young adult novel of the same name about a teenage girl named Starr who witnesses her unarmed best friend get shot and killed by a police officer. KJ is playing the role of Chris, Starr's boyfriend. Oh, and did we mention Starr is being played by queen Amandla Stenberg and Sabrina Carpenter is also part of the cast? So this movie is not only covering super important topics, but it features tons of faves.
KJ originally wasn't the one originally cast as Chris though – it was actually Kian Lawley. Kian ended up getting dropped from the film after a racist video surfaced of web star turned actor using derogatory language. While Kian did take to Twitter to issue a statement on the situation, he was ultimately still fired from the film.
if u don’t learn from ur mistakes, u can never grow as a person.— Kian Lawley (@KianLawley) February 4, 2018
i’ve learned a lot & i am grateful to have the power to change. i never want to be who i was yesterday. we’re in a constant battle to become a better version of ourselves, use ur voice as ur weapon.
His scenes had to be re-shot due to the fact that filming had since been completed – and KJ is the actor who snagged the part. Speaking to Seventeen, KJ explained that he wasn't really worried at all about stepping into the role, despite all the controversy surrounding it and Kian's exit.
"I wasn't intimidated by it. I knew the circumstances when I walked into that film and I was picked for it. I knew what I had to do. I knew how to play the character, I can relate to the character. So, you know, all I was really worrying about is doing the character justice and being honest with it because it really is an important character in the film. Obviously, I was aware of the situation when I was on set, but it was pretty smooth runnings. It wasn’t as gnarly as people might think," KJ said.
He's focused on the character and the story the film is telling so that's what matters here! We have a feeling this is just the beginning of KJ's movie star career. And if he's already taking on roles in films that are going to make an impact like this one will, then we know we're in for plenty more KJ on our screens.