The Riker Brothers
Samantha Simon
Oct 18, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

Fans of Riverdale know Skeet Ulrich as F.P. Jones, the leader of the Southside Serpents. But long before he played Jughead’s deadbeat dad on the CW series, Ulrich starred in two of the ‘90s most iconic teen horror flicks: Scream and The Craft. While it’s been over two decades since those films came out, Ulrich still gets plenty of love for his pre-Riverdale projects. “There’s still a rabid fanbase for both Scream and The Craft—and it’s a very young fanbase,” the 47-year-old father of two recently told InStyle. “I hear from my kids how many of their friends and kids from school are into those movies, so they continue to excite young audiences 20 years later. In my experience, they’ve transcended generations.”

The same could be said for Riverdale, which has amassed a huge following among teens and adults alike. When the cast headed back to shoot season two, which premiered last week, they picked up right where they left off—although they definitely felt the impact of increased hype surrounding the show. “The camaraderie on set has always been amazing, and that continues,” said Ulrich, who was promoted from recurring role to series regular for season two. “But it's definitely ramped up a bit from last season, when people really weren't aware of the show as we were shooting. Now, you have to wade through 300 fans just to get to set. It’s the first time in my career that I've seen that level of fandom during filming.”

While Ulrich’s character was absent from the season premiere, we’ll get a glimpse of him in tonight’s episode. And when we catch up with FP, little has changed. “He's still in jail when we see him again,” said Ulrich. “We don't know for how long, and we don't know what will happen. Will he get out? Or will he not? There are a lot of questions.” According to Ulrich, there is one thing you can count on—and it’s not very promising for the wellbeing of our beloved group of Archie Comics characters. “Things are starting to fall apart on the south side—and in Riverdale, in general,” he said. Watch the drama unfold tonight at 8 p.m. ET on the CW, and scroll down for our full chat with Ulrich.

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Were you surprised by how obsessed people are with the show?

Yeah. You never expect it, even going as far back as Scream or The Craft. You just do your work and, in a way, you get into a bubble. You forget about the fact that people are even going to see it, or at least I do. And then all of the sudden, there's a lot of attention being paid to it. This one, it's a bit shocking. It does seem like a juggernaut. Fortunately, like I said, it hasn't changed the work ethic. If anything, it's made people focus even more.

Which plot twist in season one threw you for a loop?

Clifford Blossom was the biggest twist for me. We didn't find out until the table read that day—in fact, [the actor who plays him, Barclay Hope] didn't find out until that day that it was him. That was a shocker. Everybody had suspected F.P.

Katie Yu/The CW

When you were in high school, were you anything like Jughead or were you more of an Archie?

I was certainly more like Jughead, as if I was in Southside High, but going to school at Riverdale on the north side. I think I was one of three punk rockers in a high school full of very southern people, so I was pretty much an outcast. The three of us stuck together and had a great time, but we did not fit in. I'm primarily like Jughead, for sure. A bit angst-ridden and tortured, which I continue to be.

How are your parenting skills in real life different from F.P.’s?

I think the intention is exactly the same, which is protection, protection, protection. And I don't mean that in terms of condoms [laughs], I mean just in everything. And it’s not only because of the mistakes he’s made in the past, but just everything going on in life. The fun of playing him is he appears as one thing, while his heart is a completely different thing. But his goal all along, as a parent, is just to keep his kids safe and happy and moving in the right direction—and that’s the same as mine.

What’s your relationship with Cole Sprouse like off-camera?

I think the world of him. He has really taken what was going on earlier in his life, with the success of the show he was on, and then he went away for a while. He went to NYU, studied archaeology, went on digs in Africa. He's an incredibly bright and psychologically advanced human being. So conversations are deep and interesting, and they run the gamut of topics. I really enjoy my time with him. It's very comfortable and we talk about everything from the show and acting to politics and the world, in general. He always has advice for my kids. He adores and feels close to them, and they feel close to him. It's a great relationship. I love him, and he's a great person.

What a fun couple of days!!! @colesprouse Thanks for being you 🙌

A post shared by Skeet Ulrich (@skeetme1) on

Have you given him any advice about being a teen heartthrob?

I don't think he needs my advice. I think he's got it figured out better than I did, so I’ve never really discussed it with him. If there's ever been any advice exchanged between the two of us, it's to do with the work when we’re trying to make scenes better. But in terms of advice on stardom, he's got it figured out. He is just cool as a cucumber.

Riverdale is most likely going to be an insanely popular Halloween costume this year. Which character do you think would be the ultimate to channel?

F.P., of course! But only if you have a Harley to go along with it, which could be problematic for kids. I hadn't even thought about that, but there probably will be quite a lot of Riverdale characters walking around. Cheryl Blossom scares the crap out of me, so maybe that's a good one. She plays that part so well.

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Are you naturally drawn to scary projects?

Not really. I think if you looked across my resume, there's very few horror projects—and there's very few that I've actually been the bad guy in. Yet for some reason those seem to resonate with people. Maybe I do them better, I don't know. I've typically played more heroic or softer characters. But once I read something and can't stop thinking about it, I'll do just about anything to be a part of it. That includes a piece that I did a few months ago for Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The Versace Murders. It's not a big part—I’m not in it a lot. But the material is just so good that I couldn't not be a part of it.

The Riker Brothers

Over the years, what’s the biggest shift that you’ve felt in Hollywood?

I think social media has certainly transformed the awareness of celebrity lives—that happened even further back, obviously, when the Internet became more pervasive. When I came around, we didn't even really want to do talk shows. We felt like the mystery of who you were needed to lead to the mystery of a character so an audience could come in and see that—not see you, but see the character. I think to some extent, social media has done a disservice to acting. But also, at the same time, it's here and very prevalent. Fans used to feel that you were in their living room, but now I think they feel that you're part of their life all the time just from social media. I think the biggest transformation I've seen is the popularity on social media. It gets people hired now. It's changed the business for good and for bad.

How do you think the depiction of high school, specifically, has changed over time, from Scream and The Craft to Riverdale?

I think the depiction is somewhat the same. It’s always about these raging hormones and where that leads people—and that's pretty lifelike, having two teenagers in high school. I think we've started to see a little bit more of a grown-up version of high school, which is more realistic in its depiction. I think we used to have a bit of a wash over trying to portray this innocence of high school to some extent. Even in darker stories there was still an air of ephemeralness or this softness to it. Now, I think we really are portraying the darkness that's there and can be there.

Entertainment Pictures/Alamy

Do your kids watch Riverdale?

Oh yeah. They love it. I have to make sure they don't read the scripts! If I throw one in the trash, I make sure I pour coffee grounds all over them so they won't get it out to try and read it.

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