It looks like Archie, Betty, Veronica and the rest of the gang in Riverdale may be finally coming to the big screen, but with one little twist – they've somehow landed into the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But it’s probably nothing Jughead can't get through as long as he has a couple of sandwiches.
It was announced Thursday that Warner Bros. has struck a deal to make a live-action "Archie" movie, based on the characters from the long-running comic book series. Jason Moore ("Pitch Perfect") is currently attached as director, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a writer and producer for "Glee" and "Big Love" and the screenwriter for the upcoming "Carrie" reboot, will be penning the script.
It's Aguirre-Sacasa's participation in the project that makes things especially interesting: he recently wrote the scripts for an "Archie" comic spinoff series called "Afterlife with Archie," in which Jughead attempts to revive his dog Hot Dog after the pooch is hit by a car. Jughead accidentally transforms the dog into a zombie, and when Hot Dog bites a few people, suddenly everything in placid Riverdale is turned upside down as the living dead take over.
"'Afterlife With Archie' combines two of my great passions: Archie comics and horror comics," Aguirre-Sacasa said in an interview when the comic series was announced. "This series came out of conversations with Jon [Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie Comics], asking questions like, what if the Archie characters found themselves in a Stephen King novel like 'The Stand' or a Sam Raimi movie like 'The Evil Dead'? Could we pull that off, tonally? We're really going for it. The first arc is called 'Escape from Riverdale.' The second arc is called, brace yourself, 'Betty RIP.' Of course, all the horror stuff will be balanced by elements that are quintessentially Archie."
While Warner Bros. hasn't officially announced that the movie they're making will be "Afterlife With Archie," with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa writing the screenplay, it's not hard to imagine that if they hired Aguirre-Sacasa for an "Archie" project, they'd want to make use of the story arc he's already created.
In their traditional non-zombie form, the "Archie" comics follow the adventures of clean-cut, redheaded teenager Archie Andrews, who lives in the all-American community of Riverdale and can't seem to make up his mind between pretty girl-next-door type Betty and the more exotic rich girl, Veronica.Archie also has to deal with his best friend Jughead, a skinny woman-hater with a bottomless appetite for food, and Reggie, his slick-haired smart-aleck nemesis.
The Archie character debuted in "Pep Comics" in 1941, and by 1942 he had his own book to himself. Still going strong today, "Archie" has been one of the few non-superhero comics to enjoy enduring popularity. But while there have been both live-action and animated "Archie" TV series, and the spin-off feature "Josie and the Pussycats" in 2001, this will mark the first time "Archie" himself makes it into movie theaters.
All this begs the question, who should play Archie the Zombie Hunter?
If this project was going before cameras in the 1970s, Ron Howard would have been the perfect choice – he absolutely looked the part, and Richie Cunningham, his character on "Happy Days," was very Archie-like – but he's clearly too old for the role now. Perhaps Michael Cera could make it work with a red dye-job?
It’s not hard to imagine Zooey Deschanel having fun with Veronica if she was willing to play mean instead of adorkable for change. And if we could find a way to get "She's The Man"-era Amanda Bynes to play pre-zombified Betty and the current troubled Bynes to play post-zombified Betty, we could have the casting coup of the century.
Who would you like to see in these iconic roles? Let us know in the comments below.