Comic Book Casting: The ARCHIE Live-Action Movie

o.htmEvery Monday here at iFanboy, we look at comics’ greatest characters and stories and try to imagine what they’d be like in film or television. From the story concept to the people in charge and all the way down to who’d play who, we do it and we call it Comic Book Casting.

Archie Andrews. Comics’ affable and accident prone teen darling. Decades before Peter Parker or any other teen superheroes, Archie Andrews cemented a place in the American psyche with his light-hearted teenage antics that were a beloved throwback in a Happy Days style while still having a foothold in modern teenage drama. With his all-star supporting cast including the likes of Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Mr. Weatherbee and others, the Archie family of titles were the Dick Clark of his days — the effervescent teenager, resisting the toll of time.

And now here in 2013 — 72 years after his debut — Archie and the Archie line of titles is experiencing a resurgence with a honestly kitschy story sense and the classic artwork of Dan Parent and Co. And Hollywood, it seems, is picking up on that as earlier this month we heard that Warner Bros. has optioned the comic for a big-screen adaptation. It isn’t the first time Archie has stepped outside of his comic book into another form of media, but modern times might call for a modern Archie… but is there one?

To solve that problem, we put the idea of an Archie movie through the paces in this week’s Comic Book Casting.

The Concept:

The appeal of Archie in my mind is that it’s a timeless piece of fiction showing the trials of being a teenager that both modern teens and former teens can find something in common with. But in thinking of it as a modern big screen feature, it can’t be Happy Days redux. Instead, I think an Archie movie has to depict modern teenage life while still be appealing to the whole family — much in the same way the PIXAR films work, the GLEE show does on TV, and another classic teen franchise — the John Hughes movies. Archie has a rich legacy of creators but I’d add in Hughes as a sort of a lens to see how it could work as a modern film.

For story-lines, there’s loads of potential — the key is to settle into that epic love triangle of Archie, Betty and Veronica with Jughead playing the fourth wheel and the scene stealer at every go around. Archie needs to have that young everyman quality — the kind Tom Hanks exudes — without being a know-it-all or languishing in some kind of Dawson’s Creek throwback.

The Director:

For crafting this thing, I’d rely on the talented but overlooked team behind Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist — director Peter Sollett and screenwriter Lorene Scafaria. Sollett hasn’t done much feature directing since Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist, but after watching and re-watching that I think he has a sense of style and storytelling that would hit a home run with a great script. And as far as Scafaria’s scripting, she’s shown herself to be multi-faceted with Seeking A Friend For The End OF The World as well as great episodes of Children’s Hospital. She knows format, but she also knows how to break it without breaking the movie — and that’s exactly what Archie needs.

The Cast:

Archie Andrews – Calum Worthy: Oh Archie. He’s the lovable klutz and the glue that holdsRiverdale together. I’d bet money that Ron Howard’s character in Happy Days was stolen somewhat from Archie’s comic depiction, and I think Austin & Ally star Calum Worthy could do it even better. Playing the similiarly clumsy Dez on Austin & Ally, Worthy has won people over on the small screen and been nominated six times as the best “Leading Young Actor” for the Young Artist Award and even had some solo spotlights in the movie Stormworld back in 2009.

Jughead Jones – Ezra Miller: I first thought Ezra would be too old for this, but that’s just good acting giving him a more wizened presence than his actual age. After wowing me with We Need To Talk About Kevin in 2011, his work in 2012’s The Perks of Being A Wallflower sealed the deal for me to play Jughead. The only real question is if he’ll get sick of eating hamburgers.

Betty Cooper – Halston Sage: The quintessential girl next door. I think How To Rock‘s Halston Sage would be perfect for this; she knows how to play sweet, but has some acting skills to back it up.

Veronica Lodge – India Eisley: Veronica’s a tough nut to crack, but once I chanced up on India Eisley and looked into her work I couldn’t pass her up. The daughter of the epic Oliva Hussey (of Romeo & Juliet fame), Eisley currently stars in The Secret Life of An American Teenager and would be great as the posh princess who nevertheless can fit in with the Archie crowd.

Reggie Mantle – Luke Benward: Reggie is a jerk, and we love him for it. For this, I think Luke Benward, who recently played a autistic teen in Dear John would be great. Currently working a role in Disney’s Good Luck Charlie, Benward can be smug without being too much of a Biff Tannen.

Mr. Weatherbee – John C. Reilly: Weatherbee needs to be tough, but needs to know how to temper that — and John C. Reilly would knock that out of the park. This one-time serious actor did an about face when people found his funny bone alongside Will Farrell in Talladega Nights, and I think Reilly could act as a paternal figure in this movie and also drive the film’s comedy style.

Miss Grundy – Jane Lynch: ’nuff said.

“Pop” Tate – Stanley Tucci:  I have a major soft spot for Stanley Tucci, but luckily he’s a grade-A actor to boot. Playing the owner of the hub of Riverdale social life, Tucci would be great as Pop.


  1. To be honest, I’ve never liked Archie. Even as a kid I never found anything to like about it. But I do like “Children’s Hospital” and “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”, so maybe something like the latter would make this movie watchable for me.

    • I’m right there with you. Archie was never appealing to me but i can see why someone likes the stuff. I think that for many people Archie was one of their first comics experience. But to be brutally honest, if someone gave me Archies comics as a kid i’d thank them but i’d be secretly disappointed.

    • Agreed. This stuff reminds me of when I asked my Mom about “The Brady Bunch”. “So what did they do exactly? What did even talk about, isn’t everyone perfect and all that?” were my questions (my experience with family-centered sitcoms being “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Malcolm in the Middle”). I never understood how people could watch something where everyone is perfect and happy all the time. “Archie” is like that to me.

  2. I feel okay in my knowledge that I don’t recognize any of the teen actors.