Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week, in celebration of Valentine's Day, we're dreaming up anArchie movie... of a sort.
I love Archie Comics, and I've wanted to put them in this column for a long time, but because I can't exactly audition unknowns who haven't had screen roles before, casting more than a couple of teenagers is really hard to do (that's also why you haven't seen Young Avengers, Runaways, or Lumberjanes in this space). But then it hit me — what if the movie was about Archie's 20 year high school reunion? That way we could draw on some of the elements of Life with Archie without getting bogged down in the alternate universe structure, and the story could have an ending, which a high school Archie film really couldn't. Plus this way I can cast the most perfect Jughead ever born, who's too old for the part otherwise.
I know some of you are already scrolling down to the comments to tell me there was already an Archie high school reunion movie in 1990 called To Riverdale and Back Again (released on video as Return to Riverdale) and it was god-awful. And you're not wrong, but you know what? There was an even worse Captain America movie that same year, and that guy's doing just fine on the big screen these days.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Archie Andrews
Look, I already know people are going to be resistant to Ferguson because he's been stuck on a pretty mediocre sitcom for most of his career (and he's probably made too much money to be sad about it), but he actually has great comedic timing, and I'm confident he'd be that much better in a project with better writing. And anyway, it's not like Hollywood is full of handsome ginger men to choose from.
DJ Qualls as Jughead Jones
No real human being has ever looked as much like Jughead as DJ Qualls. The fact that he never got to play the role when he was young enough to pass as a teenager is a genuine shame, and if one thing would justify the existence of this ridiculous Middle-Aged Archies project, it's that.
Michelle Williams as Betty Cooper
Williams brings some serious acting chops, but she's proven her skill at comedy as well. She's also spent most of her career playing girl-next-door types, and Betty's one of the the originals in that regard.
Stephanie Beatriz as Veronica Lodge
Beatriz is tough as nails in Brooklyn NineNine, but even on that show she has an undeniable innate glamour. As Veronica, that dynamic will be reversed: glamour on the surface, iron will that refuses to be denied underneath.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Reggie Mantle
I went with a primarily dramatic actor for Reggie, because I think if you cast a comedian he'd just seem like an irredeemable jerk. Whereas Gyllenhaal can play him as the kind of guy who thought he was really cool in high school, and is kind of lost as an adult.
John Cena as Moose Mason
Of course you know it's my running gag in this column to always cast a wrestler, but the choice has never seemed more obvious. Cena's actually been getting noticed recently playing small parts in comedies, and the role of grown-up Moose is perfect for him. You could even say that Moose is a professional wrestler; it would make a lot of sense.
Christina Ricci as Midge Klump
I can't imagine Moose and Midge staying together into adulthood, chaotic as their relationship always seemed to be, but there's bound to be drama when they're reunited, and just the mental image of Ricci and Cena playing off each other is already amusing me.
Andrew Rannells as Kevin Keller
A version of Kevin who was out in high school in the early 90's would have had a different experience than the younger version (and he certainly wouldn't have planned a military career), but any swagger he lacked back then he'll certainly make up for in his 30s.
Bobby Moynihan as Dilton Doiley
I just think Moynihan's really funny, has a great look for the part, and can certainly play the kind of awkward adult an awkward teen like Dilton will almost certainly grow up to be.
Christina Hendricks as Cheryl Blossom
Yes, I know Cheryl doesn't go to Riverdale High, but if she's anywhere in the area, she'll certainly make her presence known when Archie comes back to town. And she'll probably be even more glamorous than she was back in the day, which we know Hendricks can pull off.
The Stars of Josie and the Pussycats as Josie and the Pussycats
What other band would the Riverdale gang want to play at their reunion? And who better to play the older version of that band than Tara Reid, Rachel Leigh Cook, and Rosario Dawson, the stars of the best comic book movie of all time, who just happen to be the right age now?