“Public identity is a huge part of hiring potential, and it often takes a showrunner or casting director’s belief in an actor’s talent or appeal to look past that identity.” – Cole Sprouse
Actor Cole Sprouse has been acting ever since he was an infant (his first big role coming alongside his twin brother as the kid in Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy) and became a child star on the Disney Channel show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Now in his twenties, Sprouse stars as Jughead Jones on Riverdale, a drama based on the Archie Comics characters in a much darker context. Recently he participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” about his role on the series.
When asked if it was challenging to go from “a happy family friendly kinda TV show” to a darker drama like Riverdale, Sprouse answers:
“I’d say the biggest challenge doesn’t come from you as an actor (as most actors are prepared to be versatile), it actually comes from the audience wanting their childhood to stay etched in stone. I’ve had the privilege of being on a couple shows that have reached a rare level of success within the industry, and a longevity that many people grew up alongside. That process of growing up, and wanting the childhood to always remain nostalgic, can keep a lot of actors in the same place. Public identity is a huge part of hiring potential, and it often takes a showrunner or casting director’s belief in an actor’s talent or appeal to look past that identity. I intentionally left entertainment for five years, and experienced life, grew up a bit, trained, got a haircut, went to college, and the audience grew with me. Very thankful for that.”
Another Redditor asked if scenes he has shot have been cut out of episodes. Not only did Sprouse confirm that it happens, but he talks about how actors need to learn to get over it when it happens. He explains, “We film about 60 minutes worth of content each episode, but air only around 42min. That being said, all of us are quite used to letting go of certain scenes or lines that we may have held quite dearly. As an actor, once you finish the work on set, you often have to let go and understand the finished product is going to look quite different.”
In addition to playing Jughead, Sprouse also has played his character’s father, FP Jones, in flashback scenes (FP Jones is usually performed by Skeet Ulrich). Sprouse explains that the difference between playing the characters, saying, “Certainly challenging, and without spoiling too much I can say, the characters in the flashback are younger, different versions of their older Riverdale counterparts. That gave us a lot of freedom, and also meant we weren’t simply copying performance from the older actors. I was satisfied by simply burying character quirks of FP into the performance, stance or physical acting, details like FP always chewing gum, etc. Don’t want to beat ’em over the head with a hamfisted attempt at mimicry.”