The CW’s “Riverdale” adapts the classic characters from Archie Comics for the small screen, following Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the gang as they unearth the dark secrets of the small town of Riverdale. The series premiered in 2017 and has spawned two spinoffs: “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (Netflix) and “Katy Keene” (The CW).
While you’re watching "Riverdale," read this in-depth guide to getting cast on the hit series. We’ll break down everything you need to know about auditioning for the next season of the hit TV series—including audition tips from stars Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse, and casting director David Rapaport. Plus, get the latest updates about CW casting calls and auditions for Season 6 of “Riverdale.”
“Riverdale” was created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa The series began filming on March 14, 2016 in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, and premiered on Jan. 26, 2017 on The CW.
Season 1 of “Riverdale” focuses on high school students Archie, Jughead, Veronica and Betty as they investigate the mysterious death of their classmate Jason Blossom, who allegedly drowned over the summer. In Season 2, Archie and the gang are pursued and taunted by The Black Hood, a masked murderer, while trying to find the source of a recent influx of drugs—Jingle Jangle—into the town.
In Season 3, Archie is sentenced to juvenile detention after allegedly murdering a man. Meanwhile, the rest of the Riverdale crew plays a game called Gryphons and Gargoyles, and a sinister cult—The Farm—infiltrates the town. Season 4 deals with the town’s residents receiving mysterious videotapes from a voyeur, Jughead’s time at a new school, and the teens’ senior year of high school.
Season 5 opens with Archie and his friends’ final days as Riverdale High students. After they graduate, the show jumps ahead seven years, revealing that the gang has split up and moved away. Archie returns from a stint in the army to find Riverdale collapsing—so he gets everyone back together to save it.
The CW renewed “Riverdale” for a sixth season on Feb. 3, 2021. It is currently unknown when the new season will begin production.
Filming for Season 5 of “Riverdale” began on Sept. 14, 2020 in Vancouver. Production was halted due to delayed COVID-19 testing, but resumed by Oct. 2020. The first half of Season 5 began airing on Jan. 20, 2021 before taking a hiatus. The remaining nine episodes will reportedly be released beginning July 2021.
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There are currently no active casting calls for “Riverdale” Season 6. But keep checking with Backstage for when those calls are active—and while you’re waiting, check out our list of similar teen dramas that are now casting.
If you’re interested in being an extra on “Riverdale,” Vancouver-based Sandra-Ken Freeman of Freeman Casting & Associates is the casting director for all background actors on the CW series. There are currently no open calls for Season 6 background talent, but be sure to check Freeman Casting’s open casting calls page and their Facebook page for updates.
Since “Riverdale” shoots in Vancouver, it is helpful to be local to the area. Because background work often does not include relocation or travel stipends, being a local hire is crucial for getting repeat work as an extra.
Throughout its first five seasons, “Riverdale” has starred:
- KJ Apa as Archie Andrews
- Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper
- Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge
- Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones
- Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge
- Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom
- Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy
- Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper
- Luke Perry as Fred Andrews
- Mark Consuelos as Hiram Lodge
- Casey Cott as Kevin Keller
- Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones
- Charles Melton as Reggie Mantle
- Vanessa Morgan as Toni Topaz
In Feb. 2020, it was announced that Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones) and Marisol Nichols (Hermione Lodge) would be leaving the show ahead of Season 5. However, because COVID-19 caused The CW to cut Season 4 short, Ulrich and Nichols returned for Season 5.
David Rapaport of Rapaport/Baldasare Casting is the casting director for “Riverdale.” Based in Los Angeles, Rapaport has worked on series and films like “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Supergirl,” “Gossip Girl,” “90210,” and “300.”
Rapaport has been very open about how the cast came together, especially the fact that many of them auditioned for different roles than what they landed: Cole Sprouse (Jughead) was originally asked to audition for Archie, Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom) auditioned for Betty, and Casey Cott (Kevin Keller) auditioned for Archie and Jughead. And three of the four principal actors—KJ Apa (Archie Andrews), Camilla Mendes (Veronica Lodge), Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper)—were originally rejected before being cast.
Rapaport’s casting process involves numerous reads to get every aspect of a performance. “In an ideal world, we’d cast all the roles at the same time, but most of the time it doesn’t work out that way,” he explains. “I never quite know what’s going to happen until I get on set or see the first edit of a pilot. We read people so many times to make sure that there are no questions left unanswered so you know what to expect or what you’re going to get.” Rapoport also said he’d been reading Lili Reinhart for other series since she was 14 years old. So when “we knew [‘Riverdale’] was going to be a bit of a darker tone,” Rapoport turned to Reinhart for the role of Better Cooper because “from what I’d known from Lili, she was a person with a lot going on underneath.”
Wondering how to audition for the next season of “Riverdale”? Check out these audition tips from the show’s casting director and cast members:
Talent is born anywhere. “Riverdale” casting director David Rapaport searches for talent all over the place. “I look everywhere,” he says. “When working episodically, we mostly look for represented talent because that process is so short, but we just did a worldwide search for [a new series]. We did an online open call where anyone in the world could film and upload their own audition, and I watched [them]. I can’t even tell you how many auditions I watched for that. When we do a pilot, we also have CDs working for us in Vancouver [and] Toronto, usually in the U.K. and Australia, and New York City, in addition to Los Angeles. It’s a team effort.”
Acting credits don’t mean as much as pure talent. “In TV, I’m casting [up] to 15 roles a week on each show, and the actors are typically pretty unknown,” says Rapaport. “They’re not household names. It gives me a chance to really discover and audition people who are closest to the character for a show like ‘Riverdale’ as opposed to casting them for name recognition or face recognition. It’s really about who gives the best performance, so to me it’s exciting…to be able to really put forth the best talent I’ve been seeing.”
Make audition choices for yourself, not the CD. “A big mistake a lot of actors tend to do is they try to impress me or the producers by guessing what we want,” Rapaport says. “The whole purpose of auditions is to see what they can come up with and discover what they can bring to the game. If we knew what we wanted, we wouldn’t be doing auditions, we’d be making straight offers.”
Those decisions could even lead to something huge. Initially reading for the role of Archie, Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead in the show, went into the audition with a different interpretation, and made a brave choice. “So when I first read it, I was a little bit wary,” Sprouse recalls. “And then I did my audition just like Rod Serling when I went in, because he’s the narrator in [“Twilight Zone”], and I kind of knew from there it was going to be a little stranger, a little weirder, a little like “Twilight Zone,” and I figured, Oh this could be fun.” That one decision made the producers change Jughead from an initially smaller role to the character we know now.
Treat the audition like you already have the job. Don’t believe you’re great at auditioning? Don’t sweat it, neither does Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones). Yet he still goes in preparing to do his best. “I hate the process of auditioning,” he explains. “I think it’s the toughest part of the business. The limitations of the room, the brevity of the meeting—all that stuff works against you. So I don’t know that I’ve figured out how to audition well. In fact, I think I’m not very good at it, and I’m always very grateful when someone just offers something so I don’t have to go through that process. But I prepare as if I’m already hired and I’m going to set that day to work on it.”
Check out Backstage’s TV audition listings!