ET recently called up the 29-year-old for an ultra candid chat about the 100th episode and the advice he'd give to his younger self.
The hit CW series hits their milestone moment with tonight's episode, "Chapter One Hundred: The Jughead Paradox" and who better to fill us in on all the chaos and commotion ahead than everyone's favorite Riverdale narrator?
ET recently called up star Cole Sprouse for an ultra candid chat about the 100th episode ("It's a bit confusing," he admits) and the advice he would give to his younger self on the set of Riverdale's pilot.
Plus, the 29-year-old actor opens up about how he really feels about Jughead's beanie after all these years and reveals his least favorite episode from the past six seasons!
ET: Cole, congratulations on 100 episodes of Riverdale! How are you doing?
Cole Sprouse: Doing good. Doing good. It's raining in Vancouver right now, as per usual. So I'm staring out the window of my apartment, acting moody.
Really setting the scene to get deep and retrospective. Can I be honest with you?
Your hundredth episode confused the hell out of me.
[Laughs] It's okay. It's okay. We'll all get through it together.
What was your initial reaction when you first read the script for Riverdale's 100th episode?
I loved it! Yeah, I really loved it. I thought the script was really considerate of the entire lineage of the show. I know it can be a bit confusing, but I think it does a really, really good job of speaking directly to the audience who has stuck with us for a while. And also, it's one of the first times — outside general narration — but one of the first times the show has actually discussed why it is the way it is, which I think is important, because this is a cult program, right? It's really campy, it's really large, it can be abstract at times.
And one of the things that I used to hear all the time is that people are constantly questioning why we're taking towards silliness or campiness to discuss certain topics, like when Cheryl is drowning someone in maple syrup. It's not exactly the most normal thing ever, but I think this episode does a really awesome job of going, "Oh, this is why," and finally letting the audience know why — that the show is not stumbling into these narratives blindly, but very consciously putting these things on paper and reacting to that paper in a very specific way. So I think this episode is awesome. I think it does a really good job.
Very important question for you: Do you miss your beanie?
Not at all. The only times I miss my beanie are when it's really cold and I'm working outside.
I was hoping they were going to bring your beanie back for the 100th episode, but instead we got Jughead's literal crown from the comic-books — which I know you love...
Yeah, that's the thing I love. Yeah. If I could wear that every episode, that'd be great. It's just so chill.
A hundred episodes of Riverdale. I feel old.
You're telling me, man. I've been working since diaper commercials, so I'm starting to feel like an old fart.
You obviously have had many, many episodes of television under your belt.
I think I'm up to 400 something. Isn't that nuts?
That's insane! Going into to Riverdale, you were the most experienced cast member — aside from the adults. If you could look back and talk to your younger yourself on the pilot of Riverdale, what would you tell him? Because it's a wild ride you guys have gone through over the past one hundred episodes, both on screen and off.
You know, I've thought about this before. I don't think there was any way I could have prepared myself. I used to get a lot of these questions during the first season of Riverdale's press circuit, and I think the truth is when I left Disney and I went to school and I came back, the entire industry had changed from social media, specifically.
Social media was the biggest changing force that the industry had ever seen. And all of a sudden, for the first time, in a very statistical and numbers sort of way, the industry had become quite conscious of marketability in a way that it had been, but not as much. Sheer number games, follower counts, active presence on social media, things that I was never really privy to, and things that ended up becoming the industry standard.
When we did the first season, the whole thing was filmed and finished before the show came out. So it was really a creative flow state that was not self-conscious, was coming purely from the desire and yearning to make the show the best that it could be. And it was 13 episodes, so it was much more manageable just in a technical and professional sense.
Yeah, jumping to 22 episodes per season was really difficult for this show.
It's not only difficult just in terms of time, but it's really demanding for the writers, and I have a tremendous respect for the writers, because those guys are working all year round. Then even when the script is finished, they have to pitch it and it has to be accepted and it's got to go through edits, and by the time the episode comes out, it's gone through 20 iterations. And then the episode which starts on paper and purely theoretical is then put into practice and changes again. So it's a huge process, and social media confused a lot of that in my opinion, and I don't think there was any way that I could have been prepared.
I think I'm very lucky that people took to the show, and it's created an absolutely stellar platform for all of the young actors on the show to — when the show eventually wraps itself — go, "My god, that was a huge opportunity," and it served as a huge opportunity for us, and it gave us the opportunity to work with a crew that I'm been very close to for six seasons. It's been a wild ride. But I think we're celebrating this 100th episode, and I hope in an industry where we binge these shows now, I'm hoping that the audience can sit down and go, "Wow. 100 episodes. That is insane," and appreciate the amount of work that has gone into that.
I know everyone's going to ask you, "What's your favorite episode?" But I want to know what has been your least favorite story line for Jughead?
[Laughs] Oh yeah. Well, to start, I will say, I think [the 100th episode] is my favorite episode. I will say that. Never knew it was going to come in season six. I have a very, very big fondness for season one, but I think this is my favorite episode.
Then my least favorite storyline, or at least one that I felt completely unequipped to tackle [was episode 319, "Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper."] There are times when I'm like, "Oh, wow, I'm really out of my element here." And that was when Gladys, my mother, was locked in a ninja battle with sai — those ninja turtle weapons — fighting in a Jumanji-type board game adventure against Penny Peabody for the life of my younger sister. And my mother, whom I already have an incredibly complicated relationship to, was fighting an enemy that I had skinned the tattoo off of in season two, and I had to sit on the couch passively and try and figure out how I would react in a psychological way. I will say I was a little bit out of my element. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Oh man. If Riverdale ever has a spin-off show, it should just be you explaining what had happened on Riverdale the first time around.
What's really funny is that during rehearsals, off camera rehearsals or blocking, a lot of the cast will play really outrageous versions of themselves when the cameras are off, just to sort of make the crew and cast laugh — especially KJ and I. And I have always thought, if this were the actual way we played every scene, how people would react to the show. Sign me up, dude. I'm there.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Don't miss Riverdale's 100th episode, "Chapter One Hundred: The Jughead Paradox," when it airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Check back to ETonline after you've watched the episode for more exclusive insights from Cole Sprouse — including how much longer he thinks the show will last!