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KJ Apa Compared Working On "Riverdale" To Being "In Jail"

"There are times when I'm like, 'Wow, [the fans] really have no idea that we are actual people.'"

Posted on February 25, 2021, at 7:43 a.m. ET

Riverdale star KJ Apa has opened up about the limitations of working on the CW show, telling Demi Moore in a conversation for Interview magazine that it sometimes feels like he's "in jail."

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The New Zealand native has played Archie Andrews on the show since its beginning in 2017 and was cast when he was just 19 years old.

The CW

But now KJ has admitted the success of the show sometimes makes him feel limited in the role, saying there are "so many restrictions on what I can and can't do."

Comparing his time working on the controversial COVID movie Songbird to acting on Riverdale, KJ said the movie made him feel "free."

"I felt so free coming from a show where I feel like I'm in jail a lot of the time," he told Demi Moore. "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."

"There’s been so much pressure in playing Archie," KJ said of his role on Riverdale. "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."

David Crotty / Getty Images

He went on to say that the only people he feels he can talk and relate to about that baggage are his Riverdale costars, and Cole Sprouse in particular.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

"I try and look at it from a fan's perspective to understand the way they think," KJ explained. "But there are times when I'm like, 'Wow, they really have no idea that we are actual people. They can't separate us from our characters.' You don't have that in other professions."

He went on: "You don't dissect the life of a builder and start judging the decisions he makes in his life with his wife and kids."

"As an actor, I will be judged on everything: my political opinions, my opinions on drugs, my opinions on the people I want to be with. Everything," KJ said. "It's something I've had to come to terms with."

Gabriel Olsen / FilmMagic

Last summer, KJ faced backlash after defending his silence on the issue of Black Lives Matter amid worldwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd.

20th Century Fox

People online argued that since KJ starred in and therefore profited from The Hate U Give — a movie about police brutality — he should be among the celebrities to speak out in support of the movement.

But KJ didn't agree.

"I don't need to post about my opinions and beliefs in order for them to be real to me," he wrote in a now-deleted tweet.

"I support black lives," he went on. "But I don't feel it's necessary to prove to people I do by posting my attendance at these protests."

You can read KJ's full conversation with Demi Moore here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.