12 Surprising Facts About Riverdale

The CW
The CW

Based on the classic Archie Comics, the CW’s Riverdale takes a darker, Twin Peaks-like twist on characters Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, and Jughead Jones. For one, this show has a whole lot of murder.

Trying to figure out who the unknown “Black Hood” murderer is has been an addicting draw for fans since the series first aired in 2016. And while the real lives of Riverdale's stars and the production of the show isn’t nearly as dramatic as the series, that doesn't make them any less fascinating. Just ahead of the series' return, we've gathered up some things you might not know about Riverdale.

Warning: Spoilers for all aired episodes ahead.

1. RIVERDALE WAS ORIGINALLY PITCHED AS A TIME-TRAVELING MOVIE.

Before Riverdale came to its current iteration, there were a few other out-there ideas for what it could be. One pitch from someone at Warner Bros. saw Archie as a time-traveler, in a movie where the redhead protagonist would be played by Louis CK. (Yep, this happened.)

"We spent about a month trying to figure out how to do a high-concept Archie movie and that’s kind of the exact opposite of what we wanted to do,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained during the CW’s 2017 Winter Television Critics Association panel. Eventually, they went against what was pitched and decided Riverdale would be a TV show … minus any time travel.

2. JUGHEAD ONLY HAS ONE BEANIE.

The CW

Jughead Jones’ beanie in Riverdale is extremely important to the character, similar to his iconic crown in the comics. Given this, it’s surprising to learn Cole Sprouse only has one beanie that he wears every single day during filming. Apart from the obvious fact that it probably smells, it’s a little peculiar to only have one copy of a staple piece of costume.

While appearing on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Sprouse allowed Fallon to try on the beanie, but warned him not to smell it. "Same one, still smells like Mane and Tail," Sprouse explained. "We did get another one at the end of last season, but it was stolen when I placed it on a lunch table in the scene where Cheryl slapped Jughead."

3. THE POP’S DINER SET LOOKS SO REAL, PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS.

Not only is Pop’s Diner the place to go for the characters on Riverdale, people in real life have actually been enamored by it and tried to eat there, as they thought the set was real. While doing a Reddit AMA, Sprouse revealed that because their onset location is near an “industrial thoroughfare,” it isn’t uncommon for “hungry 18-wheelers” to pull into the filming lot thinking they could get a quick bite to eat at Pop’s.

However, the Pop’s used in the Riverdale pilot actually is a real restaurant, called Rocko’s Diner in Mission, British Columbia.

4. KJ APA BROKE HIS HAND DURING THE SEASON ONE FINALE.

The CW

In the season one finale of Riverdale, Archie Andrews heroically saves Cheryl Blossom from drowning in a frozen lake, and in real life, KJ Apa might’ve gone a bit too far with the Method acting. In the scene, Archie smashes through thick ice with his bare hand, and although Apa wasn’t actually punching real ice, he did do some real damage.

"That was a gnarly day of shooting, I'll tell you that much," Apa told TV Line. "I wasn't really punching the ice, but I got a little bit too excited. I was punching a foam mat … [that was] sitting on the ice … It was cold, so I didn't really feel it. It wasn't until 20 minutes after that I realized I broke my hand. I didn't tell anyone."

5. COLE SPROUSE AND CAMILA MENDES WENT TO COLLEGE TOGETHER.

Though they weren’t as close in circles as Jughead and Veronica, Riverdale co-stars Cole Sprouse and Camila Mendes attended New York University together. Though Mendes told Office Magazine that the two were not friends while at school, she did say that the actor was a familiar face on campus.

"There was a time when we had class in the same building so I would always see him outside, Mendes shared, before calling Sprouse a “weirdo” then. They’ve clearly come a long way since their NYU days.

6. EVERY RIVERDALE EPISODE IS BASED ON A MOVIE.

The CW

While it might be obvious to some die-hard fans, many viewers may not realize the significance of every episode title of Riverdale. All the episodes are the names of, or a variation of the names of, old movies. And it’s not just for aesthetic purposes, as they literally tell fans what the episode will be about.

Aguirre-Sacasa explained to Teen Vogue how much the episode titles reveal: "We usually work on the episode, and then, as we're going to the end of the breaking of the story, we're like, 'What's the title of this episode?'" he shared. "And then we have a list of provocative titles. Often the stories guide us."

If you’re keen on spoilers, just check out the upcoming episode titles for Riverdale, and you’ll probably figure quite a few things out.

7. SHOWRUNNERS WANTED SPROUSE TO PLAY ARCHIE.

Unlike most of the Riverdale stars, when Sprouse was initially approached about a role in the series, he wasn't interested. "At first ... I was immediately turned off," he told WWD. "But in more recent years, Archie comics have tried to stray away from the 'golly, shucks Arch, let’s go to the sock hop' thing."

When he agreed to audition, Sprouse was first asked to read for the role of Archie. However, the actor fell in love with Jughead and almost immediately knew he wanted that part. “He’s very much an outsider," Sprouse told WWD. "He has a pretty unique perspective because he’s seeing the town and the friendship and the friendships that are forming from a more objective point of view."

8. MADELAINE PETSCH’S FEAR OF WATER MADE FILMING DIFFICULT.

The CW

In season one of Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom has many scenes by a large body of water. While viewers probably didn’t think twice about it, the actress behind the redheaded River Vixen had a seriously tough time shooting the parts.

"I'm afraid of open bodies of water. I was in a glass-bottomed boat that broke a long time ago, so I've always been kind of freaked out," Madelaine Petsch told Glamour. The actress originally thought she could have a stunt double for her opening boat scene, and had a panic attack prior to having to do it herself. However, she confirmed that the fear was only temporary. "Once we started shooting, I was fine," Petsch said.

9. COLE SPROUSE FOUGHT FOR JUGHEAD TO BE ASEXUAL.

Fans of the Archie Comics might find it weird that in Riverdale, Jughead has a love interest. Fans of just the show, and not the comics, probably have no idea why that would be strange. In the more recent comic book versions, Jughead is actually asexual, something that was revealed once Riverdale had already started production. "The day I was cast was actually the same day he was announced as canonically asexual," Sprouse told Glamour. "It wasn't in the Digest—it was in [Chip] Zdarsky's universe, so it was in one of the newer comics that was written."

“I think, in this show, he’s not a romantic and not asexual,” Sprouse continued. “I argued in the beginning, creatively, that he should be both, but in this show, he’s kind of a tortured youth that ends up finding a comfort and a resonance with another person who’s going through a lot of trauma.”

Though Jughead has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Betty, Sprouse is still open to the representation of asexuality. “If it ends up finding a place in Riverdale and in future seasons, then hopefully we'll do it with tact and in a way that respects what it is and how it resonates,” Sprouse said.

10. VANESSA MORGAN GOT DEATH THREATS WHEN SHE JOINED THE SHOW.

The CW

Before Jughead and Toni Topaz kissed or began their mini-fling, viewers were already enraged about the possibility of the character breaking up Jughead and Betty (a.k.a. Bughead). In the end, Vanessa Morgan—the actress who plays Toni—was put on the receiving end of much of this fan anger.

Morgan revealed to Glamour that fans were sending her some pretty awful messages upon her introduction. "She's a Southside Serpent, a gang member, and Jughead's first friend," Morgan teased at the time. "So I might stir up the pot a bit with the Bughead relationship. There might be a little love triangle."

"I’ve already had some death threats," Morgan added. "But the thing is, it's half death threats because they don't want that [actually] happening, and there's half that's just all love.” Luckily, the actress didn’t take the fandom to heart.

11. SPROUSE IS IN TALKS TO WRITE RIVERDALE COMIC SPIN-OFFS.

Not only is Sprouse a fan of Riverdale and the Archie Comics the show is based on, but he actually wants to try writing comics based on the world, and seemingly will do so sometime in the future.

When asked if he’s ever reached out to the comic book writers about collaborating, Sprouse told Vulture: “Not so much with the comics creators. Now there’s a Riverdale universe that’s gonna take off in print form now, too. Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] has talked to me about writing a couple of those, which would be awesome. I’d love to try my hand at that.”

12. 13 REASONS WHY STAR KATHERINE LANGFORD AUDITIONED FOR BETTY COOPER.

Beth Dubber, Netflix

The leading lady in another favorite teen series had her shot at playing Betty Cooper, according to Camila Mendes. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Mendes revealed she auditioned with Katherine Langford, before Langford was cast in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. “I remember we went out and we got falafel with a guy who was auditioning for Archie,” Mendes said of the day.

The role of Betty eventually went to Lili Reinhart, which clearly worked out for the best. Although Langford is done with the Netflix series, she gained major attention from her role as Hannah Baker, and Reinhart fits the Riverdale role perfectly.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping Newsletter!

Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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10 Facts About David Fincher's The Social Network for Its 10th Anniversary

Jesse Eisenberg stars in David Fincher's The Social Network (2010).
Jesse Eisenberg stars in David Fincher's The Social Network (2010).
Merrick Morton/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Social Network—a movie made when Facebook was less than seven years old and the social media era was relatively new—seemed destined to age poorly. But in the decade since its premiere in October 2010, the film’s depiction of the website and its young founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is more relevant than ever.

Even if you haven’t logged onto Facebook in years, the film offers plenty to love, from David Fincher’s detailed direction to Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-winning script. In honor of its 10-year anniversary, here are 10 facts about The Social Network.

1. Aaron Sorkin started writing the script for The Social Network before the book it's based on was published.

Aaron Sorkin makes a cameo in The Social Network (2010).Merrick Morton, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Social Network is officially an adaptation of The Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich's 2009 book detailing the founding of Facebook. But according to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, he had already completed 80 percent of the script by the time he read the book. The project came to him in the form of a 14-page book proposal the publisher was shopping around to filmmakers ahead of the title's release. “I said yes on page three," Sorkin told Deadline in 2011. "That’s the fastest I’ve ever said yes to anything."

Instead of waiting for The Accidental Billionaires to be completed and published, Sorkin started working on the script immediately, doing his own first-hand research for much of the process instead of referring to the book.

2. Shia LaBeouf turned down the role of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.

When Transformers star Shia LaBeouf turned down the role of The Social Network’s lead character, Jesse Eisenberg was hired to play Mark Zuckerberg instead. Superbad's Jonah Hill was another star who came close to being cast in the movie, in his case as Napster founder Sean Parker; ultimately, Fincher decided Hill wasn’t right for the role and cast Justin Timberlake instead.

3. The Social Network wasn’t filmed at Harvard.

Harvard University is integral to the legend of Facebook, and setting the first half of The Social Network there was non-negotiable. Filmmakers ran into trouble, however, when attempting to get the school's blessing. The 1970 adaptation of Love Story been shot there, and damaged the campus; the school has reportedly banned all commercial filming on the premises since then. To get around this, The Social Network crew shot the Harvard scenes at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and two prep schools, Phillips Academy Andover and Milton Academy, in Massachusetts.

4. David Fincher did sneak one shot of Harvard into The Social Network.

To convince the audience that they were indeed seeing Harvard, Fincher couldn’t resist sneaking in a shot of the campus’s iconic architecture. When Jesse Eisenberg runs across Harvard Square (which is not on Harvard property) in the beginning film, some nearby arches (which are on Harvard property) appear in the background. Fincher got the lighting he needed for this scene by hiring a street mime to roll a cart with lights on it onto the campus.

“If security were to stop him, the mime wouldn’t talk," The Social Network’s director of photography Jeff Cronenweth told Variety. "By the time they got him out of there, we would have accomplished our shot.”

5. Natalie Portman gave Aaron Sorkin the inside scoop on Harvard.

Natalie Portman attended Harvard from 1999 to 2003, briefly overlapping with fellow star alum Mark Zuckerberg. While enrolled, she dated a member of one of the university’s elite final clubs, which are an important part of The Social Network’s plot. When she learned that Sorkin was writing the screenplay for the movie, she invited the writer over to hear her insider knowledge. Sorkin gave the actress a shout-out in the final script. During one of the deposition scenes, Eisenberg's Harvard-era Zuckerberg is described as “the biggest thing on a campus that included 19 Nobel Laureates, 15 Pulitzer Prize winners, two future Olympians, and a movie star.”

6. Armie Hammer and his body double went to twin boot camp for The Social Network.

Armie Hammer and Josh Pence (as Armie Hammer) in The Social Network (2010).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Armie Hammer is credited as playing both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, but he wasn’t acting alone in his scenes. Josh Pence was cast as a body double and Hammer’s face was digitally pasted over his in post-production. For every scene where both twins appear on screen, Hammer and Pence played separate Winklevi, and then they would swap roles and shoot the scene again. This method allowed the characters to physically interact in ways that wouldn’t have been possible with split screens. Pence’s face may be missing from the movie, but his physical performance was still essential to selling the brothers' dynamic. He and Hammer worked with an acting coach for 10 months to nail down the characters’ complementary body language.

7. The Social Network's tagline was changed at the last minute.

For The Social Network’s main poster, designer Neil Kellerhouse made Jesse Eisenberg’s face the focal point. Over it, he superimposed the memorable tagline: “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.” Originally, the text read “300 million friends,” but it was changed under the assumption that Facebook would hit half a billion users in time for the movie’s October 2010 release.

“We were really hedging our bets," Kellerhouse told IndieWire. "But we scooped them on their own story because right as the film was coming out they got 500 million [members] so we got their publicity as well. It worked out super serendipitously.”

8. Fight Club’s Tyler Durden (kind of) makes a cameo in The Social Network.

Sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed the Easter egg David Fincher snuck into The Social Network. In the scene where Mark Zuckerberg is checking someone’s Facebook to cheat on a test, the name “Tyler Durden” can be seen in the top-left corner of the profile. Tyler Durden is the name of the narrator’s alter ego (played by Brad Pitt) in 1999’s Fight Club. Fincher directed both films.

9. The real Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t a fan of The Social Network.

Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network (2010).Merrick Morton, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Social Network doesn’t paint Mark Zuckerberg in the most flattering light, and unsurprisingly, the real-life Facebook founder wasn’t happy about it. Following the movie’s release, he called out its “hurtful” inaccuracies, specifically citing the fictional Mara Rooney character that’s used as his motivation for founding the website. But even he admits that some details were spot-on. “It’s interesting what stuff they focused on getting right," Zuckerberg said at a Stanford event. "Like every single fleece and shirt I had in that movie is actually a shirt or fleece that I own.”

10. A sequel to The Social Network is not out of the question.

The Social Network premiered when Facebook was less than a decade old, and the story of the internet giant has only gotten more dramatic since then. Since settling lawsuits with Eduardo Saverin and the Winkelvoss twins, Facebook has been battling scandals related to privacy issues and its influence on the 2016 election. The last 10 years have provided more than enough material for a sequel to The Social Network, and both Aaron Sorkin and Jesse Eisenberg have expressed interest in such a project. As of now, there are no confirmed plans for a follow-up.