The gallery has been updated with new photos of Lili and Camila’s AOL Build interview. Enjoy the new additions!
The gallery has been updated with new 2016 event photos. Thanks to Neide for many of the new additions. Enjoy!
Betty Cooper, who was primarily defined in the Archie comics by her crush on Archie Andrews, is often seen as a the “girl next door.” Everything from her blonde ponytail down to her love of automotive repair made Betty a prototype for wholesome Americana as it was defined when the comics debuted in the 1940s.
But the ‘40s have long since passed, and as we all know, looks can sometimes be deceiving. Often, the “girl next door” has a lot of secrets of her own, and while it’s easy to hide behind a smile, her outward appearance doesn’t tell the whole story.
When Riverdale premieres tonight on the CW, it will give Betty that reboot that she deserves, showing audiences that there’s a multi-layered and complex girl underneath that bouncy hair and jean jacket.
For Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty, that three-dimensional transformation of these characters was extremely important. In the comics, Betty is tangled within a love triangle consisting of herself, Archie, and Veronica that, despite Betty’s friendship with Veronica, serves as a huge plot for a lot of the comics. Pitting women against each other? We’re so not here for that.
And neither is Riverdale. The show puts Betty and Veronica’s friendship front and center, pushing the love triangle off to the side. That decision was important to Lili, who tells Teen Vogue, “Our show does not focus on the rivalry and on the love triangle. These girls have other things going on in their lives besides Archie. There’s definitely a friendship there, and the friendship is strong at the end of the day. They aren’t frenemies, they aren’t rivals; they’re best friends, and they do truly care for each other.”
She adds that it’s important to honor the complex friendship between Betty and Veronica, who may fight and clash, but deep down, love one another and care for each other deeply. As anyone who has had a fight with their best friend knows, there’s nothing more relatable than that. Lili adds, “That’s beautiful and very refreshing to see on television…to not portray young women as being catty against one another. They can actually have these beautiful, strong friendships,” and notes that Betty and Veronica especially “don’t need to be pitted against each other, like they were in the comics.”
Lili Reinhart moved to Los Angeles on Jan. 8, 2016; exactly one year later, she found herself shaking hands with Viola Davis and gawking at Ryan Reynolds at the Golden Globes after parties. “I was completely overwhelmed, but in an otherworldly kind of way, in a great way,” she says, over the phone from on set in Vancouver. “It’s so weird to me because our show hasn’t aired yet, so part of me feels like I’m somewhere I shouldn’t be, you know? Because no one knows who I am. But it was incredible. I walked by Natalie Portman and she is one of my idols. And I was just like ‘holy s–t, she’s even tinier in person!’”
The 20-year-old is understandably still pinching herself. After attempting a solo move to Los Angeles at age 18, she retreated back home to Cleveland after five months of no success. “That was July 2015,” she says. “And I sat around for six months and thought about whether I wanted to try again, and if I should go back out there. I did a self tape at home with my mom, and we sent in the tape and it didn’t go anywhere. But then I moved to L.A., and a couple days after I moved my manager was, like, ‘so they still haven’t found that girl for Betty. I want you to go in again and try.’”
In “Riverdale,” she is Betty Cooper, but her version is a modernized take on the good-girl-next-door narrative, breaking away from the “plucky, happy-go-lucky light of the Fifties” and showing her as a “dark real teenager in today’s world, dealing with social media.” Reinhart wasn’t previously familiar with the Archie empire, which meant she was able to craft a Betty from scratch.
“Our Betty Cooper is still the girl next door — she literally lives next to Archie. And she’s the blonde all-American girl, she’s so sweet and forgiving, gives people the benefit of the doubt and second chances, wears her heart on her sleeve,” Reinhart says. “But she’s also incredibly broken on the inside, for many different reasons. For one thing, she suffers from mental health issues, and that’s something that I resonate with — I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I’m very open about that. So I can very much relate to Betty in that way, and that there’s a vulnerability inside.”
Making her mark on such a storied character, with a 75-year history a large swath of Americans know lovingly, is certainly a prime way to launch into an acting career. As Reinhart puts it, “what a difference a year makes.”
“I grew up with anxiety and depression, and going through high school, I felt entirely out of place. I felt very underwhelmed by the high school experience, and though I definitely felt pressure to be more social and not be so introverted, that’s just honestly who I am. I didn’t like to go to parties. I didn’t like to drink. That wasn’t fun to me, because from a very young age, I knew what I wanted to do: act and live in L.A. I was so ready to just get out of the small town that I grew up in and pursue my dreams. My mom was always like, ‘We just want you to have a backup plan if acting doesn’t work out.’ And I always said, ‘I don’t want a backup plan. I don’t want a plan B, because when things get hard, I’m going to fall back on that, and I’m going to give up, and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to give myself an option to give up, because this is what I’m going to do.’ “Especially having this inner struggle with myself, with depression and anxiety about life, I felt very alone. But I made it through because I wasn’t afraid to talk about my feelings, and I was very open with my parents. For example, I wanted to see a therapist, and I did, and it very much helped me. More recently, when I was feeling anxious about something in my life, I was told something helpful from a cast member: ‘Everybody is scared. Everybody is worried about what they’re doing. Everybody worries about what other people think, but none of us know.’ You're not the only one who is messing up. Everyone around you is figuring it out too, so when you feel like you have no idea what to do or what you're going to do with your life or where you’re going to go, just remind yourself that every other person in the world is dealing with the same thing. They’re just finding their own way to work through it. To me, it’s just about reminding myself we’re all wandering around sometimes.” — @lilireinhart, aka Betty on @thecwriverdale, series premiere TONIGHT at 9/8c on The CW. [2/3]
What leaps to mind whenever someone mentions Archie comics? Teenagers crammed into a jalopy, driving to the soda shop? A romantic rivalry between girl-next-door Betty and spoiled rich kid Veronica? Bubblegum pop hits like “Sugar, Sugar?” Jughead’s stupid hat?
Or has no one mentioned the name “Archie Andrews” to you in years?
The creative team behind the CW’s high school soap Riverdale hopes you remember just enough about the old comic books to be excited about seeing them radically reimagined. Backed by producer Greg Berlanti (who helps manage the network’s DC Comics properties Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow), the new show takes a wild spin through an unusual variation of the Archie-verse, dropping the classic characters into the middle of a moody murder mystery, designed to appeal to Veronica Mars and Gossip Girl fans. The show premieres this Thursday, January 26th; here’s everything you need to know before tuning in.
Archie comics have a rich, varied history
Because Archie has been so ubiquitous for so long, non-aficionados may not realize how long the character’s been around or how important he was in the history of American popular culture. Introduced in Pep Comics in 1941 as a sort of pen-and-ink version of Mickey Rooney’s Andy Hardy, the all-American teen proved so immediately popular that his publisher MLJ Magazines soon changed its name to Archie Comics Publications. The core premise hasn’t changed much since then: The popular, ambitious, accident-prone Archie tries to skate through his days at Riverdale High. Along for the ride: his woman-hating, eternally hungry buddy Jughead; his competing girlfriends Betty and Veronica; and a teeming cast of eccentric peers and grown-ups.
That concept though has proved flexible enough to allow the gang to change with the times, adapting to rock & roll, disco, breakdancing and beyond. Archie and his friends have anchored a series of evangelical Christian comics, and starred in a musical animated TV cartoon that spawned the hit single “Sugar, Sugar.” Over the years, the cast has expanded to include enduring characters like Josie & the Pussycats and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Even today, at a time when most comics are confined to specialty shops, Archie digests are still available in supermarket checkout lines.