One of the stars of Riverdale has been involved in a late night car crash after a long day on set, prompting criticism over the long workdays that the cast are expected to put in. The live-action adaptation of the Archie Comics (which airs on The CW in the U.S. and as a Netflix Original series elsewhere) had an incredible first season, winning multiple awards and gaining a significant fandom for its murder-mystery take on the classic comic book property. The success of the first season has even led to the announcement of a spin-off series focusing on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Riverdale season 2 is currently filming in Vancouver, Canada, ahead of the new season's premiere next month, and promises to deliver an 'incredible new mystery', along with more horror/thriller genre elements. However, it seems that there is now some controversy on set, after one of the stars was involved in a car crash on his way home - leading to fears that the long work hours may have been the cause.
KJ Apa, who plays Archie Andrews on Riverdale, was driving home after filming last week when he fell asleep and crashed his car, according to THR. The star was unhurt, and was quickly discharged from hospital after the accident, but the passenger side of the car was destroyed where it hit a pole, and the car was 'rendered inoperable'. Apa was driving home after midnight, a forty-five minute drive at the end of a sixteen hour work day.
The crash has reportedly caused outrage on set, where cast and crew are protesting the long working hours, and especially the lack of transport for exhausted actors late at night. Cole Sprouse (who plays Jughead on the show) was allegedly planning to go home in the same car that night, but made other plans last minute - thankfully, given the damage to the passenger side of the vehicle. Sprouse has now asked that Warner Bros provide transport late at night, changing the current policy which is that actors are responsible for their own transportation. The policy does allow for actors to call a cab or stay in a hotel if they feel unsafe, but Warner Bros has not provided an official statement about the situation, or how that policy may change. According to THR, WB will be speaking with a representative for the actors tomorrow.
We spoke to a crew member who worked on the Riverdale set, who confirmed that working hours are long, and that others have brought up concerns before now about cast and crew driving home at the end of extremely long days.
Other cast members had expressed their fear of driving to places like rural Langley especially in weather conditions they do not experience at home (in LA for example). And the production refused to drive them. These hours are not unheard of but usually other productions do make sure that at least their cast gets home safe... a superior did express their worries that someone was going to get hurt with the amount of work and long hours that were expected at the beginning of the season.
The crew member also said that while WB policy is that cast and crew can call a cab or charge a hotel, but that there is pressure not to do this.
Thankfully, Apa was not hurt, but this accident and the resulting furor on set shows just how unsafe the working hours on productions can be. Long days and shoots that continue late into the night and even past midnight are the industry norm for many shows, but that kind of gruelling schedule is very hard on the cast and crew, especially when they have to drive themselves to and from set after a long day or on very little sleep. Only last month, a stuntwoman tragically died on another Vancouver-based production, Deadpool 2, and these are far from the only accidents that many in the industry have claimed are the result of unsafe working conditions, due in part to the long hours expected on set.
Riverdale season 2 premieres on The CW Wednesday, October 11 at 8 pm.