Confessions of a Riverdale Mom
by Rachel Disipio
The Archie comics became a huge franchise back in the mid-twentieth century. However, when mentioning them to a teenage girl now, you will probably hear about the suspense, drama and mystery of the hit CW TV Show Riverdale.
The first season of Riverdale focused on the unsolved murder of Jason Blossom, the son of the most prominent family in town. A new mother/daughter duo arrived in the town of Riverdale and began to turn heads. Why did Hermione and Veronica Lodge ever leave their luxurious lifestyle in New York City and head back to the small town where Hermione grew up?
Among the characters – who are all originally from the comics – Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones and Veronica Lodge take interest in this unsolved murder. They make it their mission to find out who committed the heinous crime, with the help of friends and family, including Hermione, who is played by Marisol Nichols.
With the start of the second season right around the corner, we chatted to Nichols to get the lowdown about all the cliffhangers and unanswered questions we were left with during the first season. The new season of Riverdale premieres on October 11th at 8:00 pm EST.
The Archie comics reached so many generations of people. How does it feel to be able to share that with this current generation who may not have been exposed to the comics growing up?
It’s pretty amazing. It makes me really proud. It’s so interesting how there is whole new generation being turned on to something that our parents – and maybe even our grandparents – loved. It’s been updated. It’s cool to see teenagers go “Archie, you’re so hot!!!” Sometimes I wonder if the same thing happened to our parents about something that was so relevant to them when they were teenagers.
Riverdale obviously plays the stories a lot darker and more seriously than the original comics. Before signing on for the show, were you familiar with the older comics at all?
A little bit. I wasn’t a comic book kid. [I didn’t] collect them, or read a ton, but I definitely read them here or there. Obviously, they were a much cleaner, wholesome version, that reflected the times. Right now, I think our show is really reflecting the times and pop culture, just like the comics did years ago.
In the show, you play a strong female role while your husband, Hiram, is in jail. Since he is to be released very soon, do you believe Hermione will still exhibit those strong characteristics?
Honestly, no. She will change so much. I miss the Hermione that was there for most of the first season, the woman that was like, “Okay, I’m going to do whatever it takes to protect my daughter and work hard to survive.” Once Hiram comes into play, she has to go back to being his partner, for better or for worse. That changes who she’s able to be, compared to when we saw her come to Riverdale on her own.
So far, while Hiram has played a big role in what has happened to you in the series, we have not seen him. Mark Consuelos has been hired to play the role in the second season. How is he fitting into the show, and how combustible have his scenes with you been so far?
He is amazing. He is so great in the show, and is a perfect Hiram. If I do say so myself, we make a really incredible Lodge team. You’ll see. (laughs) It’s just so good, I can’t wait for everyone to watch and go on this journey.
Hermione Lodge struggles a lot through the first season. She is raising her daughter alone (for the time being), is jumping from job to job, and is in a very complicated marriage. Do you think that’s what makes her so relatable amongst women?
Absolutely, yeah. What makes her the most relatable is that she is just trying to figure it out as she goes, like anybody else in life. For me, it was really important to show her vulnerabilities and her confusion. Show the audience she is truly doing the best that she can. That for me is relatable for anybody, as opposed to “I’m a super girl and I got this.” Because I don’t know anyone who has got this. We are all figuring it out.
While watching the first season, viewers really got a sense of Hermione and Veronica’s relationship. Can we expect to see the mother/daughter duo build a stronger bond this upcoming season?
I really hate to say this, but no. When looking at the first season you would think that, but Hiram coming in puts such a giant wall between them and changes their entire dynamic. I loved the relationship between Hermione and Veronica during the first season, but what you might have noticed especially towards the last episode: what the hell happened to Hermione? She changed, and unfortunately, she had to. Throughout the second season she has to even more, but I still believe that core relationship is underneath it all. She just has to be really, really careful.
Throughout the first season it is made very clear that Hermione, Alice Cooper, Fred Andrews, and FP Jones practically grew up together. Being some of the only adults the show features, how is your relationship with them off-screen?
Really good! We all get along, which is a blessing. Every one of us has been around for a while in the business. This isn’t our first rodeo. There is always that bonding, so it’s really good! Skeet Ulrich [who plays FP Jones] joins us as a series regular this season, and Mark [Consuelos], so it’s just been so fun. We have just been growing the family bigger and bigger!
I hear Molly Ringwald’s role will be expanded in the second season. Will that be complicating Hermione and Fred’s relationship, beyond that hand grenade thrown in last season by Hiram?
Surprisingly, not really. Archie’s mom during the show is a very distant parent. If you remember during the first season her character was so kind. That really shocked me. I remember looking at the script and thinking that there was going to be a whole lot of conflict between the characters, but she turned out fine! Now looking at the relationship during the second season, I think Hiram is enough for Hermione to deal with for the time being.
Throughout the first season viewers got a glimpse inside the teenage years of the parents who grew up in Riverdale. In the second season, do you think the audience will get to learn a little more about how the parents were when they were in high school?
I hope so. We are still filming it. We aren’t even halfway through yet, but I really do hope so, because it would really shed some light on where they are now. I’m sure some people could imagine what Alice Cooper [played by Mädchen Amick] was like in high school, and what Hermione was like, so it’s not that far-fetched that we would explore a little bit. Especially with Alice, which is really funny when it all comes out. It’ll be really awesome.
Over the summer Riverdale won seven Teen Choice Awards, including Choice Breakout TV Show and Choice Drama. Were you expecting this show do so well and create so much buzz among young adults?
Isn’t that nuts!? I was never expecting the show to do so well when I signed onto it. I’ve done a lot of shows, so you are never know if it is going to hit or not. When finding out about this show, I did feel like this was something really special. It wasn’t just your average show, where you cross your fingers and throw it against a wall and hope it sticks. I felt like we had something special, but you never know if audiences are going to embrace it or not. Who knows, we could have been competing with The Walking Dead the first season and we would have been gone. It’s timing and it’s a testament to the writing, because it is really, really relatable. When I finally saw the first episode, I was like “Oh my God, this is really amazing. Hopefully people see what I see!”
In what ways is Hermione like you?
The ways Hermione is like me is the way she acted in the first half of season one. I fiercely protect my daughter. [I] try to treat her as much as an adult [as possible], to help her make the right decisions. I like to be honest with her and have that connection so she is able to come to me and be like, “Hey, I messed up,” or whatever it is. That I would say is most like me. Also, the way Hermione was like “I’ll waitress to pay the bills,” or “I’ll do this.” I had my first job when I was twelve years old. I was pumping gas at a gas station, so I’m the type of person to make it right and do whatever you have to do, just like Hermione.
What parts of the character are hardest for you to connect with as an actress?
The ways she is not like me is that I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. I don’t have a butler. I don’t have that rich and entitled viewpoint Hermione unfortunately has. We see a lot more of her ruthless side and her business sense in season two, because of Hiram. Sometimes I’ll read the dialogue and be like, “Oh God.” She is a lot more covert, and I’m way more overt. She is so hidden and covered. I am the type of girl where what you see is what you get.
How does playing the role of Hermione Lodge differ from roles you’ve played in the past, such as the part you played as Nadia Yassir in 24, which was the last time we interviewed you?
Oh my God, that’s crazy! You may have noticed I tend to play a lot of strong female roles, because I like that and that’s what I do and show. But with Nadia it was such an interesting role, because she was thrown into this in-charge thing. That was complicated by her ethnicity, where at the time was a pretty big deal. When looking at Hermione, she has the luxury to plan for the long-time goal. That is their biggest difference. She has Hiram by her side. He is calling most of the shots, where with Nadia she just had to figure it out. I always like playing strong female characters, but also when they show their flaws and show that they are human and real. When it comes to Hermione, she does not. Especially when Hiram is around, she does not show any flaws, which I miss. We will see if there are any more opportunities for her to show more vulnerabilities as she grows as a character.
Without giving up any big spoilers, what can we expect from Hermione in the upcoming season?
You can expect a lot more Claire Underwood from House of Cards than we’ve seen. It’s almost like you have to zoom in on her when she is on camera to understand what she is thinking. She has to play two sides, one being the side that Hiram sees, which is his loving wife that has to back him up, and the other side being a mom who wants to help her daughter without her husband knowing. For Hermione it is a lot to balance, but you will see her true motives when you watch closely because it is hidden in there.
Describe the upcoming season in three words.
This is so hard but I’m going to have to go with rollercoaster, Halloween, and the outsiders. It will all make sense, I promise.
Copyright ©2017 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 10, 2017.
Photos © 2017. Courtesy of The CW. All rights reserved.