LILI REINHART AND CAMILA MENDES (BETTY COOPER AND VERONICA LODGE)
So what are your feelings about these characters?
Lili Reinhart: I guess we’ll start off by saying that our Archie is a lot less misogynistic than the comics. There isn’t a constant rivalry between the two girls, especially over the guy. They have more to their lives than Archie.
Camila Mendes: That’s the thing, there’s more going on in their individual lives than just the obsession with Archie and who he’s interested in that week. Their friendship in the ‘40s is obviously going to be different from their friendship now. There’s more kindess between them, but that’s not to say that there isn’t going to be rivalry as well.
Reinhart: It’s been seventy-five years and things have changed. The world has evolved. We’re putting the more modern version of Archie and Betty and Veronica into this world.
Were you fans of the comics growing up?
Mendes: Not fans, no. I was familiar with it, but I have Brazilian parents and I don’t think it’s a big thing there.
Reinhart: I grew up one of three girls, and none of them were into comic books, so I wasn’t exposed to that world. I was Skyping with my friend when I got the audition and I was, like, “Oh, Archie Comics.” My friend was, like, “Oh my God, Archie! I love Archie. They’re making a TV show?” I was, like, “Yeah.”
Mendes: My agent at the time was, like, “Oh my God, I want you to play Veronica so bad.” She looked up all these pictures and sent them. There are so many people around us that do follow the comics that they were able to prep us for everything. My friend cried when I got the role. She was so obsessed. She’s, like, “My haircut is because of Veronica.”
Describe, if you can, the lives of these characters.
Mendes: Right now in Veronica’s life,she’s the new girl coming to Riverdale. Her dad just got arrested for fraud and embezzlement, and was involved in this huge scandal. It was kind of like Bernie Madoff. She’s dealing with the shame that that has brought to her family, the publicity because of it. She moves to Riverdale with her mother to start a new life. She’s really interested in trying to be a better person, taking it as an opportunity and running with it. Being positive about it. Then she starts to see that all of that shady stuff that was going on is still going on. With her, there’s going to be a lot of family problems.
Reinhart: Coming into the show, Betty and Archie are lifelong best friends. They both come back from the summer and Betty realizes, “Okay, I’m finally ready to tell Archie that I love him and I’ve always loved him.” But Archie doesn’t look at Betty that way. He doesn’t look at her as a woman yet. Betty is dealing with a lot of pressure from her mom, Alice. Betty has a sister, Polly, who is the troublemaker.
Mendes: The bad seed.
Reinhart: Betty’s mom is really trying to make Betty perfect. The perfect kid. Everything that Polly wasn’t, and so Betty has a lot of pressure on her shoulders. Betty is starting to crack, which is a good thing, because she needs to break down in order to get confience
Mendes: That’s part of their friendship, too. I’m trying to get her out of her shell. Seeing that Betty’s this talented, smart, beautiful woman, I’m, like, “Why aren’t you running things right now? Why aren’t you in charge? You should be strong, you should own up to it.
Reinhart: It’s shining a light on how much pressure women are under, and how we don’t have to conform to these things. We can be anything we want to be.
Read the full article on Empire.