It was a week of many firsts—it was my first time visiting Vancouver, Canada my first time visiting the set of a massively popular TV show, and my first time interviewing such a talented crew of actors that have achieved worldwide fame.
I began watching Riverdale earlier this year when it launched, and I was an instant fan. I grew up reading Archie Comics, and was initially curious and eventually delighted at how engaging and riveting the show turned out to be. When I was presented the opportunity to fly to Vancouver and meet the show's cast, I couldn't say no to the idea. I was psyched, but also slightly nervous.
On the day of the set visit, I woke up bright and early and met the rest of the group that was meeting the Riverdale cast as well. We hopped into a van and began our journey to Langley, a suburb located 45 minutes east of downtown Vancouver. And then we saw it—the unmistakable, towering sign of Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe.
My excitement shot up. We entered the set of Pop Tate's diner, the town hangout spot in the show, also where we were slated to meet the cast of Riverdale throughout the visit. That day, I got to meet nine actors from the show and I could not have been more delighted to be introduced to such a charming, humble, and hilarious group of people that all happen to work together. That being said, I learned a few things from this visit, which was, for sure, a trip to remember.
8 things I learned from my Riverdale set visit:
- Vancouver is the perfect location for Riverdale. "Did you bring an umbrella?" was the first thing my airport transfer driver asked me when I arrived, and in the five days I spent there, I do not remember seeing the sun peek out once. It was overcast, rainy, wet, gray, and hazy—the perfect setting for a show shrouded in murder, mystery, and intrigue.
- Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe is a full set inside and out. I expected the exterior to be filmed at an actual diner, and that the interior would be located inside a studio, but the production crew built Pop Tate's Shoppe on the set's parking lot. The interiors were meticulously decorated almost to perfection. Memorabilia lined the walls, a vintage pinball machine sat in a corner, a vintage freezer was to the side, and what appears to be a functioning washroom existed in the back. I would not be surprised if the crew actually hung out here.
- The cast members still do not know who the Black Hood is! That day, they wrapped filming episode 13 of the show, and only received the script for episode 14 two days prior. The actors have their guesses on who the season's murderer is, but they, for the most part, follow along with the audience and only have a six-episode spoiler advantage over the rest of us, and apparently devour each script as hungrily as we anticipate the episodes each week.
- Some of the actors are just like their characters. Much like Jughead Jones on the show, Cole Sprouse is skilled at weaving words together and is introspective and intelligent. Madelaine Petsch is just as sassy and fashion-forward as Cheryl Blossom and wore the most vibrant yellow jacket and mustard boots to the set that day. Lili Reinhart is just as sweet and thoughtful as Betty Cooper. Robin Givens is just as energetic and confident as Mayor McCoy. And the list goes on!
- Riverdale fans are a passionate and loyal group of people. The internet is filled with fan theories, fan fiction, and creative videos of the show. And apparently, some fans have now figured out which flights the actors get on and wait for them at the airports they land in. Yikes!
- Being a badass is a desirable character trait among the cast members. If given the option, Skeet Ulrich would love to play Alice Cooper because, according to him, she's a badass. In turn, Mädchen Amick would pick FP Jones as her top role choice since he heads the Southside Serpents. Lili Reinhart loves it when the dark side of Betty Cooper comes out (dubbed Dark Betty). Camila Mendes claims that she wants to see a more manipulative side of Veronica and to see her betray someone on the show. I sense a trend here, and I'm not complaining!
- They all really get along with each other. Perhaps it's because they're all filming away from home or because they've really just formed such a strong bond with each other, but they all have an undeniable chemistry that is rare, according to the Riverdale actors that have been in show business for years. And when you have a group of actors that gel so well together, it translates into how they appear on-screen. That being said, it's not hard to become invested and feel like you're a part of a core group of friends when you follow a show such as Riverdale.
- The cast is nice off-set, too! After the day had ended, I was out at a bar with a friend when we ran into Cole, Skeet, and Mädchen on our way out, the absolute coincidence of coincidences. Cole recognized me from earlier that day, Skeet thanked me for coming out again for the junket, and Mädchen enthusiastically waved as we went on our way.
The set visit was overall a surreal experience, and meeting the cast exceeded my expectations. I have a newfound appreciation for the show now that I've gotten a glimpse of the magic that happens behind the scenes. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the season's episodes, especially knowing how warm, modest, and interesting the crew truly is.
Watch the latest episodes of Riverdale on Netflix every Thursday!