Red Alert! Madelaine Petsch Toasts a ‘Riverdale’ Milestone & Teases More Choni

    Riverdale puts a fork in its five-episode event tonight with “The Jughead Paradox,” a patently unhinged hour of twists and trysts. In addition, there’s a full-on salute to the Archie Comics, several surprises, and a resolution that might clear up why we’ve been in a shadow version of our town known as Rivervale since Season 6 began.

    Fittingly, the pivotal hour is also the CW soap’s 100th episode, which makes this a grand time to look back with the grande dame of troublemaking, Cheryl Blossom herself, Madelaine Petsch. A series regular and breakout fave from the get-go, the TV newbie has infused the Queen Bee mean girl with enough emotional vulnerability and complicated quirks that we alternately want to hug her and hide from her.

    Here, she expands on playing such a tricky vixen (get it?), offers hope for a certain ‘ship, and celebrates the show’s big milestone.

    One-hundred episodes. How did this happen? I mean, it feels like it was literally-

    Madelaine Petsch: I don’t know. It feels like just yesterday!

    Michael Simon/The CW

    Exactly! And to have this big episode on the heels of last week’s episode, which was all you.

    All me. All me, the whole time. [Laughs]

    Who kept track of all the timelines your character had you jump into?

    Oh, I mean, I was very happy, because I spoke with the Assistant Director beforehand about how we were going to manage it because it was different hairstyles for each character, different voices, different mannerisms, everything. I was like, “Can you help me out and just shoot each character out?” So we shot Cheryl the first two days with Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka), then we shot Poppy for four days, and then we shot Abigail for four days. That was super helpful to go from character to character and have a night’s rest before going into the next person. A night’s rest, by the way, is like four hours of sleep. [Laughs]

    Watching the 100th episode and “The Witching Hour(s),” I was struck by how many versions of Cheryl you’ve gotten to create. This must be a dream for you.

    Honestly, it is. This is my first TV show, you know that, so as somebody who didn’t really know what I was getting into when I walked in—and then I look at the other characters around me— but no shade, mine is the best. [Laughs] Like, she’s done the most, she’s always doing the most, and she is the most. She’s crazy, but so much fun. She was a Pussycat, and then she was a Vixen, and then she was a Serpent, and then she was a Pretty Poison. You know what I mean? It’s like, she goes all over the place, and so, I feel like I’m never bored by Cheryl, that’s for sure.

    And I feel like what we learned in “The Witching Hour(s)” explains a lot about what makes Cheryl tick.

    100 percent. Totally. The weird thing is, obviously, in Rivervale, we don’t know what’s going to carry over [back] into Riverdale. And so I think that’s where our sixth episode is going to be very telling as to how much of Rivervale is in Riverdale. [In the March 6 return,] that’ll be a little bit more clear, but for the most part, that episode definitely offers a great understanding of her ancestral lineage.

    Riverdale - Madelaine Petsch + KJ Apa + Lili Reinhart + Camila Mendes + Vanessa Morgan + Erinn Westbrook + Cole Sprouse

    The CW

    So what did you think of the Cheryl in the 100th episode, because she’s a softer one?

    I personally love every version of Cheryl because I think that they all work together. In the 100th episode, specifically, I really liked getting to see her dynamic with her brother, Jason (Trevor Stines). I thought that was really cool because we never really got to see it before. You pick up the show after he’s already dead. So be able to see just a brief moment of that, I loved it.

    The whole episode is so kooky and crazy. And it’s fun to kind of go back to those moments and pay homage to the [Archie] beginnings in that way. I think they did a great job.

    Do they just keep Trevor on retainer? It’s like every now and then, they just call him in. “We need you to do four minutes. Can you come over?”

    Literally! I was going to say, it’s so funny because if anyone dies in Riverdale, they’re still going to come back and work all the time. [Laughs]

    Riverdale + Trevor Stines

    The CW

    Last week, they gave us so much great stuff with you and Vanessa Morgan. And you know, obviously, the Choni fans love that. But then, in the 100th episode, we barely see them interact at all.

    You know, it’s the weirdest thing. I don’t get it at all. I want it more than anybody, but I will tease you that there are more Madelaine-Vanessa moments coming this season. They’re funny and not what you would expect, but there is more of that coming.

    Riverdale - Madelaine Petsch + Vanessa Morgan

    Kailey Schwerman/The CW

    Outstanding. And because you’ve gotten to literally do so much on this show, the singing, the archery, the cults, now she’s a witch! What do you think they can throw at you next?

    Look. I am pitching every day that I get to fly on a broomstick. That’s what I’m hoping. I want to be rigged up on a wire, on a broomstick, in the air, flying around the studio. That’s what’s next for me.

    And you know they’ll do it. Don’t dare those writers.

    Oh. I hope they do because I am daring them. This is a public dare to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: I want to be flying around the studio on a rig, please! That would make me so happy.

    And did you guys celebrate 100 episodes on set? How are the protocols now?

    It’s a bummer because The CW typically would have a 100th episode party, but luckily, we found our own version of that. We really had a little cake-cutting ceremony. Roberto came up and gave us a beautiful speech. And I think because of how strange the protocols are and what’s going on in the world right now, the last year-and-a-half has been so much more bonding for us all that I don’t know if we even needed a party, to be honest. I definitely missed it because that’s when you get to see the execs, and our casting director would come up, and all the people that make the show behind-the-scene would be there too. But at the end of the day, we know where we stand with everybody and we all know how much they appreciate getting to this point. And it’s a milestone that a lot of shows don’t get to have. So, we all feel very lucky.

    Well, listen, I want to congratulate you on 100 episodes and also, for really killing it with this character. On paper, she could have been such a basic bitch and you have really humanized her.

    Thank you! I know, she’s delicious. Thank you so much for saying that. It means a lot.

    Riverdale, 100th Episode, Tuesday, December 14, 9/8c, The CW

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