‘Riverdale’ Star KJ Apa Feels Restricted Playing Archie — ‘I Feel Like I’m In Jail’

KJ Apa is one of the most popular actors on Riverdale. But after being on the show for five seasons, Apa says that the pressure of playing Archie gets to him sometimes. And in a recent interview, he suggested the role makes him feel like he’s in jail. 

‘Riverdale’ actor KJ Apa arrives for the special screening of Lionsgate's "I Still Believe" at the Archlight in Hollywood, California on March 7, 2020.
KJ Apa from ‘Riverdale’ | JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty Images

‘Riverdale’ star KJ Apa is in a new movie

Apa joined Riverdale as Archie Andrews in 2016. And he has since branched out with a successful film career. His latest project, Songbird, is a sci-fi thriller that comes from director Adam Mason and producer Michael Bay. 

The film tells a post-Covid-19 pandemic story set in 2023. Apa plays Nico Price, a motorcycle courier immune to the latest virus mutation, and is in a virtual relationship with his love interest, Sara Garcia (Sophia Carson). Craig Robinson, Demi Moore, and Bradley Whitford also star. 

RELATED: ‘Riverdale’ Boss Confirms a ‘Sabrina’ Crossover Is ‘More Possible’ Than Ever

KJ Apa felt freer in this movie 

In a recent interview with E! News, Apa talked about his role in Songbird and compared it to Riverdale. He noted that he is confined to playing a very specific character on the CW series, with no freedom to improvise. 

“I felt so free coming from a show where I feel like I’m in jail a lot of the time,” Apa suggested. “There are so many restrictions on what I can and can’t do. With this character, it was like, ‘Wow, this is what it’s like to really express myself in a natural way.’ I wasn’t covered in makeup or hair products. I had long hair and a beard. I just felt free.”

RELATED: Before ‘Riverdale’ KJ Apa Was a Guitar Prodigy

Apa also revealed that the weight of portraying such a popular comic book character weighs heavy on him. And the only ones who can understand this are his Riverdale co-stars. 

“There’s been so much pressure in playing Archie,” he added. “I’m so grateful for the show and its success, but at the same time, there’s a lot of baggage that comes with that success. I feel like the only people I can talk to about my issues are my costars, the people who can really relate to me.”

This isn’t the first time KJ Apa revealed the restraints of playing Archie on ‘Riverdale’

Apa is a highly skilled guitarist, and he is often drawn to roles that highlight his passion for music. In 2020, he starred in I Still Believe, in which he played Christian rock musician Jeremy Camp and performed his songs. When talking to MTV about the film, Apa noted that while he does often sing on Riverdale, he doesn’t much enjoy it. 

RELATED: ‘Riverdale’: Who Is the Trash Bag Killer?

“People just … keep forcing me to sing in all these projects,” Apa said at the time. “Riverdale is a perfect example of ‘I’m a musician.’ But am I particularly enjoying the musical aspects of the project that I’m doing? Not really. I have to do it.”