KJ Apa is opening up about how he really feels playing the iconic Archie Andrews on Riverdale.
In an interview with his Songbird co-star Demi Moore, the actor said he sometimes feels restricted on the set of the CW series, especially when it comes to his appearance.
"I felt so free coming from a show where I feel like I’m in jail a lot of the time. There are so many restrictions on what I can and can’t do. With this character, it was like, 'Wow, this is what it’s like to really express myself in a natural way.' I wasn’t covered in makeup or hair products. I had long hair and a beard. I just felt free," he said in the Interview magazine feature.
Of course, Archie's look is based off the iconic comic-book character, so it's not too surprising that he has to do a lot to keep up with it, including dying his hair so it's the iconic Archie red.
KJ also revealed that he sometimes feels like his co-stars are the only one who understand the pressures of bringing these comic book characters to life.
"There’s been so much pressure in playing Archie. I’m so grateful for the show and its success, but at the same time, there’s a lot of baggage that comes with that success. I feel like the only people I can talk to about my issues are my costars, the people who can really relate to me. Cole [Sprouse, who plays Jughead Jones] is an amazing person to have on set, because he’s been doing this his whole life," he said.
Because of his ties to Archie, AJ also opened up about how fans and the public often perceive him.
"I try and look at it from a fan’s perspective to understand the way they think. But there are times when I’m like, 'Wow, they really have no idea that we are actual people. They can’t separate us from our characters.' You don’t have that in other professions," KJ noted. "You don’t dissect the life of a builder and start judging the decisions he makes in his life with his wife and kids. As an actor, I will be judged on everything: my political opinions, my opinions on drugs, my opinions on the people I want to be with. Everything. It’s something I’ve had to come to terms with."
AJ also credited Luke Perry for teaching him how to stay humble, especially when everything skyrocketed during the series.
"Having Luke [Perry] on the show was such a blessing for me. When I was first experiencing success, Luke had a way of just quashing it and being like, 'You’re only as important as the PA sitting over there.' He knew everyone’s name," he revealed. "Sometimes people talk about our job as this really important thing, like no one else can do it. Luke had the ability to be like, 'Step on your mark. Stay in line. Go home. Show up on time. Treat people with respect.' I loved that about him."
While Riverdale has another season on the way with KJ as Archie, the actor has also been working on a number of films throughout the years including the recently released Songbird, which he worked on with Demi and his co-star Sofia Carson during the pandemic.
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