KJ Apa, a.k.a. Archie Andrews, was just involved in a very scary accident. Last Thursday, the 20-year old actor was driving himself back to his hotel in the wee hours of the morning—after a 14-hour day on set!—when he dozed off and veered his car into a light pole. Apa walked away from the accident unharmed, thank god, but his car was totalled. What’s more, Cole Sprouse (a.k.a. Jughead, a.k.a. our beloved) was supposed to hitch a ride with Apa but changed his plans at the last minute.
The show apparently shoots into the early morning on the reg, but cast and crew alike are required to find their own way to and from set. This is mandated by Warner Brothers policy, which states that transportation is not the studio’s responsibility, particularly with shows filmed outside of the United States. The drive to downtown Vancouver from the Riverdale set in Fraser Valley, B.C. usually takes about 45 minutes, and the fact that Apa was riding solo has prompted the show’s cast and crew to call for a revised safety policy to avoid this happening in the future.
Apa’s accident is a reminder of the historically controversial working conditions in Hollywood. In 2016, the Associated Press found that, since 1990, at least 43 people have died and more than 150 have been left with life-altering injuries on American sets. In response to safety concerns, SAG-AFTRA—the actors’ union—is launching an investigation into the conditions at the Riverdale set in Vancouver.
Warner Bros. released two statements regarding the alleged unsafe working conditions. The first:
“The safety of the cast and crew on all of our productions is of paramount importance to the Studio. Productions adhere to the Screen Actors Guild–mandated turnaround time of 12 hours from wrap time to next day call time for cast members. In accordance with industry standard policy, if any cast or crew member feels tired or unsafe at any time after working, the Studio will provide a taxi, a driver or a hotel room upon request. This is communicated to all cast and crew, both in writing and verbally, at the beginning of production and is reiterated continuously throughout the duration of production.”
And the second:
“First and foremost, we are extremely grateful that KJ Apa was uninjured during his recent accident. Secondarily, we want to specifically address the characterization that conditions on the set of Riverdale are of concern. We have a large cast of series regulars, and our actors do not work every day. On the day of the accident, KJ worked 14.2 hours. The previous day he worked 2.5 hours, and the day before that he worked 7.7 hours. KJ has repeatedly been informed about making production aware if he is tired or feels unsafe, and if so, either a ride or hotel room will be provided for him. The accident occurred last Thursday. Additionally, it is untrue that KJ was taken to the hospital. He was treated by first responders on the scene and released by them. We also sent a doctor to his home later that same day for a follow-up to confirm his well-being.”
Members of the Riverdale team aren’t the only people concerned by Hollywood’s current policy:
— Megan Mullally (@MeganMullally) September 21, 2017
I thought they all have drivers who pick them up in the morning and drive them home at night. No? Or is Riverdale a low-budget production?
— KB (@kb13189) September 21, 2017
— Patrick Goldstein (@patrickbigpix) September 22, 2017