Cole Sprouse Reveals He Fought For Jughead To Be Asexual In ‘Riverdale’: I’ll Keep Fighting
By Emily Longeretta
The day that Cole Sprouse landed the role of Jughead Jones in The CW’s ‘Riverdale,’ the news came out that the comics were identifying the character as asexual, ie., not attracted to men or women. However, that won’t be the role that the 24-year-old actor is taking on.
“Jughead will have romances with women . . . and burgers,” Cole Sprouse told HollywoodLife.com in an exclusive interview during Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, adding that he actually fought for the character’s asexuality, but knew it wasn’t his role to make those types of decision. “I come from an educational environment that really praises, as do I, the forms of representation that are otherwise lacking in our public media. But at the end of the day, I still had to do my job.”
However, Cole has hope that down the road, it’s possible Jughead could still be asexual, and he will keep “fighting for this pretty heavily.”
“I think there’s still a lot of room in Riverdale for that [though],” Cole said. “Asexuality is not one of those things in my research that is so understood at face value and I think maybe the development of that narrative could also be something very interesting and vey unique and still resonate with people, and not step on anyone’s toes. I think sexuality especially is one of those fluid things where often times we find who we are through certain things that happen in our lives,” he said.
“If season one is one of those events or something like that needs to happen in season one for Jughead to eventually realize that kind of narrative, I’d love to play with that too.” Ultimately though, he knows his job is to “breathe life into the words on the page,” and trusts the showrunners and EPs — especially since they’re also the creative officers of Archie Comics.
For what we do know about Cole, he sees Jughead as “an old friend who’s kind of worse for wear,” which is definitely a good way to put it. “His society’s not been too nice to him because he’s pretty anti-establishment and rebellious. Life has been pretty hard. He’s got a really super strong moral fiber and he holds on to that; he values friendships, and he’s super choosy about the people he lets in… but when he lets them in, he goes full throttle with it.”
HollywoodLifers, do you want to see an asexual Jughead? Riverdale premieres on The CW on Jan. 26 at 9PM ET.
The kid from Big Daddy is opening a mead brewery in Brooklyn
By Christina Izzo
Weirder things have happened—look at the entirety of 2016 for proof. But Dylan Sprouse brewing mead in Williamsburg is plenty weird.
A little backstory: Dylan Sprouse is one half of the Sprouse twins, the towheaded child actors known for their work in 1999 Adam Sandler comedy Big Daddy and the Disney sitcom The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Now Sprouse looks to be making a career move by opening All-Wise Meadery, an "all-local, heathen-run meadery," at the William Vale Hotel this spring. (At 24-years old, this makes Sprouse the youngest master brewer in the U.S.)
Details are scarce, but Sprouse tells Bedford + Bowery that he's been tinkering with a brew flavored with Hawaiian honey and tobacco-infused tea. Hey, he wipes his own ass—the kid can do whatever he wants now.
The CW gives Archie a smart and sexy makeover in the Twin Peaks inspired weirdness of Riverdale.
By Chris Cummins
This spoiler free Riverdale review is based on the first four episodes.
Twenty-one minutes. That's all it takes for Riverdale, The CW's oh-so stylish blend of post-Gossip Girl teen drama and Twin Peaks-inspired mystery, to have Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) begin making out. But like everything in this highly addictive show, there's so much more bubbling under the surface than you initially realize. "Check your sell-by date ladies, faux-lesbian kissing hasn't been taboo since 1994" barks cheerleading squad leader/Heathers refugee Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch). It's a delightfully snarky moment that works as a meta commentary on Riverdale itself. Yes, this is a show that mixes sex and murder and noir with Archie, but it does so in a way that is self-aware and instantly ready to shatter expectations and call itself on its own inherent ridiculousness. Like Jughead (here played by a brooding Cole Sprouse) at Pop Tate's, it is a show that is going to have its cake, eat it, and then have some more.
And you know what? It is magnificent.
The brainchild of veteran Archie writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also gave us the excellent Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comics, with an assist from producer Greg Berlanti, the show draws not only from the works of David Lynch, but also at times feels like the quite legitimate offspring of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and In Cold Blood (in yet another bit of meta commentary, the latter is namechecked early in the pilot episode). To be perfectly clear, this show takes the sort of major liberties with the Archie characters that has resulted in constant grumbles from purists in online fan forums for months, but from the perspective of this writer, a person who has been reading about this characters since he first was given an Archie digest back in 1982, Riverdale feels like a creative reshuffling of the deck.
Over the past couple of years Archie has been on a roll by demonstrating an unwavering willingness to go off-brand in order to push the boundaries of how these 75-year-old characters can be utilized. This is a tricky area to be in, as such experimentation runs the risk of making what is iconic about Archie unrecognizable. Although there are moments in the first four episodes that were provided to the press in which that line is walked right up to, it is never crossed. The series has Archie, et al remaining more or less the same individuals they are in the "New Riverdale" line of comics...with some carefully constructed wrinkles for maximum dramatic effect.
The series opens with a voiceover from Jughead in which we learn that, during a leisurely boat trip, Cheryl Blossom's twin brother Jason (Trevor Stines) fell overboard and drowned. Or did he? Meanwhile, over the summer Archie (K.J. Apa) has been working for the construction company owned by his father, Fred (Luke Perry), writing songs and getting ripped -- the first time we see the character he is shirtless, explicity to acknowledge this fact -- and having an affair with music teacher Geraldine Grundy (Sarah Habel). The two share more than just the secret of their forbidden tryst, they heard a gunshot on the morning when Jason died. While Betty's gay friend Kevin Keller (Casey Cott), encourages her to finally get up the nerve to ask Archie out, her romantic plans are immediately complicated by the arrival of Veronica Lodge, who has moved to Riverdale from New York City with her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols) to avoid scrutiny when her developer father gets involved in a high-profile embezzlement/fraud scheme.
The debut episode of Riverdale has a lot of exposition to get out of the way, as it's likely that a large chunk of the CW's target audience has only a passing familiarity with Archie comics. It is to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's credit that the few clunky moments in the pilot that exist only to deliver information are masked by an otherwise snappy script that instantly makes audiences feel that they know these characters, even if they don't.
The performances are excellent across the board, with Camila Mendes' Veronica and Lili Reinhart's Betty vying for MVP. (Perhaps fittingly). They bounce off of each other wonderfully, with instant camraderie -- especially in the third episode when they hatch a plan that is pure wishfulfillment for fans of the 'Betty Is Crazy' meme. Madelaine Petsch's Cheryl Blossom seems to be having the most fun, delivering eye-rolling lines like "the weather's predicting a downpour on the night of the rally but already you're raining on my parade" with Mean Girls aplomb.
Any discussion of Riverdale should mention how there seems to be a genuine effort to make the TV version of Riverdale every bit as diverse as its comic book counterpart. First and foremost, the show has a subtle queer aesthetic that ranges from Cheryl Blossom's meme-generating campiness to the honest, matter-of-fact portrayal of Kevin Keller as a young gay man -- something that is much needed on TV in an era where the Bury Your Gays trope is sadly alive and well. The character of Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) rightfully calls Archie on his white privilege when he wants to help the Pussycats write songs, explaining to him that the group chose their name because "we have to claw our way into the same rooms that you can just waltz into." The third episode features a frank discussion about the impact of slut-shaming, and a constant throughout the four episodes is how the female roles are written much stronger than that of the male -- with the notable exclusion of Ms. Grundy, who never really rises above her Letourneau trappings (although for the entirety of the first episode, Archie comes across as little more than a cipher, lost in the show's sea of strong female characters). What is surprising about all of these factors is how authentic it seems as opposed to the producers having some sort of checklist of representation to fulfill. Riverdale wants to be reflective of our society because Riverdale in comics lore is, and has been for some time.
Make no mistake, Riverdale is most definitely a CW take on Archie. But it is one that is packed with enough mystery, great perfomances and Scandal-worthy mic drops to make it the breakout hit of 2017.
I think this is a really interesting recipe, and it sounds absolutely tasty. 😋
These milkshakes look super yummy! 😍
MAKE YOURSELF SOME JUGHEAD RIVERDALE MILKSHAKES
By Jenn Fujikawa
As a long time Archie fan I’ve been anticipating the debut of Riverdale since the CW‘s dark take on the Archie series was announced a year ago. While this is a different interpretation of the 76-year old comics, one thing will be consistent: Pop’s Choklit Shop. The hang-out will always be the go-to for food and drama, and where there’s food, you know you’ll find Jughead.
This special milkshake is piled high with all of Jughead’s favorite things at Pop’s, including his beloved hat. Think of this treat as the perfect all-in-one meal for watching the premiere episode of Riverdale in a way only Jughead Jones could enjoy it. Hold onto your crown beanies, nothing in Riverdale is as it seems.
RIVERDALE’S COLE SPROUSE: FROM COMICS CONNOISSEUR TO ICONIC JUGHEAD
By Scott Huver
Let’s get this said upfront: even before being cast as “Riverdale’s” Jughead, Cole Sprouse had serious comic book bona fides.
Sprouse, of course, is certainly best known for his childhood acting career alongside his twin brother Dylan – most notably in the big screen Adam Sandler comedy “Big Daddy” and the popular Disney Channel series “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” but that’s just one portion of the actor’s life. After a hiatus from Hollywood in which he graduated from New York University, he spent time working in one of Los Angeles’ premiere comics and pop cultural meccas, Meltdown Comics, where he cultivated a keen sense of the comic book medium, its industry and its fans.
Now, in his first role returning to acting since entering college, Sprouse is bringing a comics connoisseur’s sensibility to playing one of it’s most enduring – and iconoclastic –icons: the ever-snarky, always-hungry, Archie-faithful Jughead Jones. As he reveals to CBR, he’s done his homework – and armed himself with plenty of snacks.
CBR: Did “Archie” have a specific place in your pop culture consciousness before this came along?
Cole Sprouse: Sure. Oh yeah, definitely. I think to a greater or lesser extent, the symbolism of “Archie” and the characters of “Archie” sort of exists in this cultural memory. I never read the “Archie” comics or the digests too heavily when I was younger, but I was a comic reader. I worked at Meltdown Comics in L.A.
So when I got the role, I obviously dove into it really heavily. We were given a large package of reading materials to pull from. Many of which were the reboots of the “Archie” comics, by Mark Waid and [Chip] Zdarsky and all that. So I understood that the tone we were looking at was something more modern than the digests. But of course, I knew Jughead. We all know Archie, we all know Jughead and Betty and Veronica, and that narrative.
Jughead’s a cornerstone figure in the whole “Archie” world. What did you want to take from the traditional Jughead that’s existed for all these decades, and marry to what this version of Jughead was going to be, so you had an essence, but he also felt fresh.
A super anti-establishment, super-against the grain, kind of philosophically-driven character. Jughead, even in the digest, is super-rebellious. He’s quick, he’s really intelligent. He just doesn’t care to apply himself in certain scenarios. I think that’s really what I wanted to channel with that.
The comedy for this – Jughead’s also the comic relief in many of the digests, and the way that I’m playing that in this is that he is using comedy as a defense mechanism for otherwise showing real emotion. Where Archie has the ability to be honest with like women and people around him, Jughead is very much the opposite where he will try and defuse a situation with a joke more often than he’s able to defuse a situation by just being honest or nice, which I think is a more fun way to play comedy in this darker take. So that remains the same.
In terms of the eating stuff, I’ve tried to have little snacks and things that I’ll be munching on in almost every episode or every scene to just allude to the fact that I’m consistently eating. Did you ever read “Death Note?” L actually is very much a good character to think about when thinking about Jughead for this show, because he’s like the sleuth. The weirdo that’s always eating.
What kind of conversations happened about the traditional Jughead headgear?
We have a really cool episode coming – Episode Seven – we do…I don’t want to spoil too much, but you get to see a lot of the original stuff. But a beanie crown seemed to be a more modern, more adequate fit for the tone of this show. It’s still pronged. It’s still weird. It’s a different kind of hat. But it remains.
He uses it kind of as a source of showing that he’s maybe a special snowflake, and I think he likes that about himself. That’s kind of how he uses it. I have to tuck all my hair in, and I have hat hair at the end of every single work day, but that’s alright.
You obviously grew up around LA and the entertainment industry. Tell me about the show’s small town gothic vibe: what appeals to you about telling stories in that context?
I grew up in a sound stage, really, which is kind of like a very closed little universe. It felt like…I don’t know, the way that this is being written and the way that people describe a small town, which is something I’ve never really lived in, but describe it, is very much the way that we used to talk about our set. So in some way, I think it helps me come to terms with whatever little universe that was that happened in there.
YeahI like the small town because often times they serve as microcosms for larger social experiments, and we use them as these catalysts for deeper questioning about perhaps society in a larger scale. I think that’s how we’re looking at “Riverdale.”
In your research, what appealed to you both about the traditional, quaint “Archie” Riverdale, and what has appealed to you about the rebooted Mark Waid take?
For some reason I hadn’t thought about this too much until now: America right now, we always have this sort of fascination that exists, right now more than ever, with this once great-form of America. “Make America Great Again” is a whole campaign by [Donald] Trump to sort of play to this narrative. That life was better and easier just after the war. This is also the time period “Archie” rose out of.
So when most people think of the “Archie” property, they are also simultaneously associating it with this great America, golden age America, which in actuality is a time of social hardship and financial hardship for people who weren’t straight, and white, and male. So the more subversive take on this is, it definitely plays with this idea of a once great thing: a kind of post-9/11 golden age, whatever this town can be.
It’s more realistic, it’s more honest, it’s more contemporary. I think it’s as if the citizens within the 50s were actually speaking of themselves in a contemporary period, and not this glorious, glamorized, “Mad Men” narrative fiction that gets passed on about an age that was real, and lived, and human, and debased, and honest.
That’s what I like about the duality of the show, is that it plays with that, very much like “Twin Peaks” did. That’s really what I like about this. I hope, and I hope we explore this more, but we’re confronting that great America, golden age America: “Hey guys, this isn’t that. It wasn’t that before.” It can exist as a comic, but a comic is not an accurate representation of that. If there were actual human narratives within this comic, deep, and brooding, and understanding, and empathetic, this is how it might take place.
Tell me about your relationship with the bigger world of comics, your years at Meltdown, and what the medium means to you at this stage of your life.
It’s kind of an assisted medium, because it’s not reading, you’re not reading a book where you’re not assisted by visual representations of certain characters. So inherently, comics become a medium in which people can get really frustrated or incendiary when the visual side of that medium is broken, or is tampered with, or is reimagined.
I think, unlike a book, or unlike a less assisted medium of entertainment, people have a right to be incendiary about it, because it’s given to us. We don’t want a different costume for Wolverine. We want the same costume that we’ve always seen.
Or from the era that we grew up with.
Yeah, precisely right. We feel this profound sense of ownership for certain comic properties, which we’ve seen in this. That demands respect, and that demands investigation. But we also have to be…As fans, I’ve been incendiary about comic properties. I get it. I have to be flexible enough as a fan to go like, “Huh. If the X-Men were a theater troupe, would it be cool to see them in an ultimate form of themselves?” “Is it cool to see Hulk go to Mars? Is it cool to see a Planet Hulk?” “Is it cool to play with these ideas and toy with these ideas?”
And the good thing about the “Archie” universe is that it’s big, and open, and fluid enough for something like this to take place now. But it took “Afterlife with Archie.” It took Zdarsky’s “Jughead.” It took the Predator coming. It took all of these weird little off-brand preparations for something like “Riverdale” to exist.
Tell me about, because you’re familiar with fandom, you got insta-fans the minute you were cast before they saw a minute of your performance. They’re like, “Yes! Jughead, I love him!”
Sure, and it’s not right, inherently, because you don’t know if I’m good or bad for the part!
What’s been interesting about your fan interaction up until now as it gets closer to the show coming out?
You have the good and the bad. You have the people who dislike you as the role, and like you as the role, but they’re both uninformed. So it doesn’t really feel like, as of now, they’re only really informed by the digest and the comics. They’re only really informed by the previous version of this property that they knew. So inherently, it’s not that they’re uninformed, it’s just that they don’t have the comparison to make yet.
I just hope people don’t watch the show mindlessly. Even if they don’t like it, I’m fine with that. It’s bringing out a reaction from them, and that’s ultimately your goal as a character, is to say like, or as a character actor, to have people react and respond to the work in a good or bad way, but at least in an emotional way.
That’s what I hope doesn’t come from fandom, is that we’re 12 seasons in, and people are watching poorly written something just because it’s the property they love. We shouldn’t readily ingest something because of fanaticism. That’s dogma at that point. I don’t want people to be dogmatic about liking “Archie” or not responding to “Riverdale.”
Have you prepped your co-stars, given how you have some insight?
A little bit.
Have you given them some notions of what they should expect?
No, and that’s probably because I don’t know how this is going to differ from like Disney’s process. They’re also not children. I was a child. I understand the fame part of it, but this is kind of new for me too, because I’m coming back into this for the first time since college. I don’t know if I have all the answers to this yet, and it feels wrong to be like, “Don’t worry buddy, I’m here for you. Look up to me for advice.”
To be honest, I’m dealing with it actively. Yes, I’m still very much currently trying to decide if this is still right for me. I think people should always deal with that in different ways. If they want advice, and it’s an answer that I can possibly give them, of course I’m going to be there to help them in any way I can to help prepare them for that. But I’m still dealing with it too.
Is your brother Dylan thinking about coming back to Hollywood at all?
I think he is. But his pet project since we graduated has been a large meadery. It’s a brewery and bar over in Brooklyn, which is great. It’s called All-Wise, and he signed the lease for that about two weeks ago. So that’s getting off the ground, and once that’s off the ground and running, and it’s being managed correctly, who knows? He might come back. But we wanted something more permanent, something like a home base. We’re playing it smart.
After that long break from acting, that first day back in action for you, what was that like?
Weird. Really weird. It felt kind of like “The Truman Show.” I don’t know. I realize now that I’m ten episodes in, a lot of my acting now has been me actively trying to unpack what it meant to act on Disney, and act on like a real, real project. Because Disney acting is child’s theater. It’s super-loud and boisterous, and you’re trying to capture the attention of children. It’s almost like theater. It’s very dramatic. It’s, “NO!” Easy-to-read punchlines, and so on and so forth.
It’s funny because Jughead is kind of a calm character, but he’s supposed to also have this very real side of himself. It’s interesting as an actor right now, learning what parts to keep from that old part of acting, and what parts to completely do away with.
Your take on the character is the most surprising – and welcome – to me. I thought you brought an interesting new quality to it.
Oh wow, thank you. Now that I’m watching the show, I think Jughead is the most different character out of all of them from the comics, which is going to, like I said, piss people off. And some like yourself are going to be like, “This is interesting and welcome.” Hopefully I have more people saying what you’re saying. He’s definitely the most different character from the comics so far.
RIVERDALE: BETTY & JUGHEAD WILL TEAM UP TO FIND JASON BLOSSOM’S KILLER
By Meagan Damore
In “Riverdale,” Betty Cooper is on a mission to find out who killed Jason Blossom — and figure out what happened to her sister Polly in the meantime. To do this, she’ll team up with Jughead Jones, and the unlikely duo will work together to uncover the corruption at the heart of Riverdale. During a set visit, Lili Reinhart (Betty) and Cole Sprouse (Jughead) discussed how their characters would approach the show’s central mystery.
“Betty does have a very strong relationship with Jughead throughout the season. They work together to try and figure out what happened to Jason and who killed him, because they think that the Blossoms and the sheriff are hiding something,” Reinhart revealed. “They think their town is corrupt, so they want to know what really happened to him, because they think the police are lying to them, and — since they’re high schoolers and they can talk to Jason’s peers — they try and get the inside information and kind of work together to solve the mystery a little bit.”
As to what Betty feels she can do to combat the corruption, Reinhart said, “Be on the inside! Her sister dated the kid who was murdered, so that’s why she’s so set on trying to find out what happened to her sister, because she thinks her sister can give her a lot of insight as to who would have hurt Jason, and that’s why she teams up with Jughead, because she wants to figure it out for herself and just to make sure the police aren’t lying to her and the Blossoms aren’t trying to cover up anything that they did.”
Sprouse also weighed in on why Jughead helps Betty out — and revealed what’s in it for him. “It’s because Betty has the journalistic resources from her parents and the background of her lineage and Jughead is an objective character on the outside very much of their school society and of their society at large,” he explained. “It gives him an interesting angle to approach writing about the town, writing about the students, writing about how people treat him and — by association — treat the rest of their classmates and the citizens of Riverdale.”
“It’s pretty obvious that Betty’s relationship to the journalism of the show is very much driven by her relationship with her mother, whereas Jughead — without saying too much — has a different angle for it,” he added. “Jughead really approaches a lot of this — a lot of his motivation, in my opinion, is driven by him trying to figure out quite a bit about himself and how he stands in society and where he fits in and how people are treating him. It’s the classic if you’re a bully in school, it’s probably because the person is hurting a bit at home. Jughead is trying to figure out other people, or he’s being quite cynical to other people, or he’s pushing away from other people because doesn’t understand himself, and I think a lot of that writing is going on through that.”
Starring K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, “Riverdale” airs Thursdays at 9 pm on The CW. The series also stars Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle and more. “Breakfast Club” alum Molly Ringwald will also recur as Archie’s mother Mary.