Marisol Nichols probs crossed paths with Luke Perry in 1996 when she guest starred on 90210, and he was playing the iconic role of Dylan McKay. Little did she know that more than 20 years later, she’d be playing the Hermione Lodge to his Fred Andrews on the outrageously popular Archie comic book TV reboot, Riverdale (and, in case you were curious, she says Perry is “great, totally down to earth and extremely professional”). We got the scoop from the raven-haired actress, 43, on Riverdale’s second season (October 11, Netflix) and all the Riverdale BTS goss including whether or not we find out WTF happened to Fred, who’s the biggest on-set prankster—Cole or KJ—and how close she is with her TV daughter “Cami.”
How do you feel about the Archie comic books going dark with Riverdale?
I think it’s a reflection of the times that we’re in. And I think it was a reflection of the times we were in. Archie is still Archie. He’s still this sweet kid doing the best that he can. He’s earnest and good. So the core elements are still there.
Riverdale has been compared to shows like Twin Peaks. Is season 2 going to still have all the darkness and revolve around solving a mystery?
100 percent, absolutely. We left the last season with one of our main characters fighting for his life so there’s no way that’s going to be chopped off in the last episode, I can tell you that.
Speaking of Fred Andrews, I know you had a guest spot on 90210. Do you remember meeting Luke prior to Riverdale?
I think we did! I understand from being a series regular on other shows that guest stars will come in and out and sometimes I don’t remember them because it was one episode out of hundreds and hundreds—especially speaking of 90210. And in my scene, it was Brian Austin-Greene and the singer dude, Jamie Walters. So I think I met Luke and was like “Hi, nice to meet you” and that was it. But he’s a really great guy and he has a great reputation in the business.
What was it like when Mark Consuelos joined the cast as Hiram Lodge?
I don’t know if I’m one of the luckiest girls in TV right now but Mark is a dream—he is everything I pictured Hiram to be and those are not easy shoes to fill—and his wife, Kelly Ripa, is the most likeable person on the planet.
Has Kelly Ripa visited the set?
Yes! The first thing I said to Mark was, “I’m in love with your wife” and he looks at me and says, “I am, too.” The best answer that any husband can give!
It seems like the cast is super close. How has Mark integrated into the group?
He’s been so welcomed, and if you ask him he’d probably say the same thing. It’s a very good group! I’ve done a lot of shows and sometimes you get groups that are just amazing and it feels great of the bat, and other times it’s not so smooth of a fit. This was definitely one of those times where it was like, “Oh my god, please don’t let anything change because everything is amazing.” And Mark is such a great fit.
Hermione is a complicated character. How do we get to see her evolve in season 2?
I’m playing three things at once, particularly towards the end of season 1, because there’s the Hermione we saw in the beginning who’s like, Great, it’s just me and Veronica and we get a chance to start over. It’s clean and easy and it’s a new life. And [in season 2] as we get to know Hiram more, she now has to balance the world of Hiram—what he wants and what she’s done in the past—with her love for her daughter and what she really wants. So it’s really three things at once and each scene is balanced between: what can I give away, what do I need to protect and how dangerous is this? It really comes in season 2.
I’ve always believed to the core of her, Hermione will do anything to protect her family. Family first, no matter what, especially Veronica over Hiram. But sometimes, she knows what’s best and has to do the wrong thing in order to do that.
How do you like living in Vancouver where you film the show?
I love Vancouver. I have my little 8-year-old daughter here and it’s great. When I first moved here, I walked around the block and was like, “What is that smell? I know that smell… Oh my god, it’s oxygen!” It doesn’t smell like that in L.A. at all. And there’s that joke that Canadians are nice, but they’re really nice. So, it’s a good place to be.
Have things changed in your daily life now that the show is so popular?
For sure! People are really enthusiastic about the show and I can feel that immediately in the fans. But I love that! Especially living here [in Canada], it’s really nice.
Are there any exciting guests stars in season 2?
Skeet [Ulrich, who plays F. P. Jones] is coming back for a lot of the season, which is exciting because he’s really good. But I’ve only read up to episode 4! You know, it’s Riverdale. I daresay we have one of the biggest casts on television, maybe head-to-head with Game of Thrones. I’m honestly just a big Game of Thrones fan, so any time I can compare my show to that [I will] even though it’s nowhere near the same thing. [Laughs]
The cast seems to get along so well. Is there something that would really surprise people about any of the cast members?
KJ [Apa, who plays Archie] hands-down is the biggest joker on set. Hands down! He’s hilarious. And he’s also a practical joker, he does these things on his Instagram that are kind of hilarious.
Are you protective of your TV daughter in real life?
We all kind of break off [into groups]. Luke does that with KJ and I definitely do that with Cami, and probably a little bit with some of the other cast members as well. Casey [Cott, who plays Kevin Keller], Cami and Mark are probably the ones that I’m closest with. We all really do get along.