Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE - Season 4 - "Chapter Sixty-Two: Witness for the Prosecution" | © 2019 The CW Network/Robert Falconer

Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE – Season 4 – “Chapter Sixty-Two: Witness for the Prosecution” | © 2019 The CW Network/Robert Falconer

Adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa from the venerable ARCHIE Comics, RIVERDALE is now in its fourth season Wednesday nights on The CW.  This season devoted its opening episode to memorializing the character of Fred Andrews, Archie’s father, who had been played by Luke Perry. Perry died unexpectedly on March 19 of this year. He was mourned by his colleagues, who used the episode to honor Perry.

Unlike the wholesome characters of the comics, Archie (K.J. Apa) and his friends in the picturesque town of Riverdale are constantly solving murders, hooking up, and fending off gangs, cults and corruption. The scene is closer to BLUE VELVET than to GREASE

Skeet Ulrich, who plays FP Jones, father of Archie’s pal Jughead (Cole Sprouse), has certainly gone through his share of changes over the course of RIVERDALE thus far. The actor, originally from Virginia, costarred in the original SCREAM, then appeared in AS GOOD AS IT GETS and numerous other feature films. On television, Ulrich has starred in the series MIRACLES, JERICHO, and LAW & ORDER: LA, as well as the Emmy-nominated miniseries INTO THE WEST.

AX: Can you talk about FP Jones’s arc over the four seasons of RIVERDALE so far?

SKEET ULRICH: Well, the first three, I guess, were pretty extreme, from a ne’er-do-well, non-present parent, leader of a biker gang alcoholic, to somebody who’s trying to better his life and wound up being a sheriff [laughs].

AX: That’s pretty extreme. Can you compare him in any way to Jake Green, your JERICHO character, just because Jake started out as kind of …

ULRICH: Yeah, he was a ne’er-do-well who became heroic.

AX: And became sort of the sheriff …

ULRICH: Yeah, that’s true. That’s a great parallel. I was hanging out with James Remar [who is currently on The CW’s BLACK LIGHTNING], who was a part of that for awhile.

AX: When you first got involved with RIVERDALE, were you thinking, “They’re doing a drama based on the ARCHIE comics, what on Earth is this?”, or were you thinking, “Okay, this looks good,” or what were you thinking?

ULRICH: I liked what Roberto had to say about the arc of it through the first season. He didn’t know much beyond that at that point, but it sounded really intriguing to me. He told me about me being blamed for a murder I didn’t commit, but having to take the rap for my son. I thought it was intriguing.

Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE - Season 3 - "Chapter Forty-Sven: Bizarrodale" | © 2019 The CW Network/Dean Buscher

Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE – Season 3 – “Chapter Forty-Sven: Bizarrodale” | © 2019 The CW Network/Dean Buscher

AX: Has RIVERDALE turned out to be what you expected, or has it turned out any different?

ULRICH: It’s very different. The first season was what he said it was, and then I didn’t know what the second would be. The third was a curveball. I don’t know. I kind of gave up expectations.

AX: Did you have to learn how to do anything in order to play FP at any point, like how to ride a motorcycle?

ULRICH: No, I knew how to do that. The only thing I really researched a lot was gangs, because I’ve dealt with gang issues before, and when I created the gang symbol for the Serpents, I made sure that no other gang had that symbol.

AX: You didn’t want to create an actual gang war with that symbol …

ULRICH: Right, yeah.

AX: FP seems like he’s a leader whether he’s with a gang or in law enforcement. Is there any difference in playing somebody who’s in charge of a bunch of other people, and playing somebody who’s off on his own, or who is a subordinate?

ULRICH: Yeah, absolutely. There’s clearly a power structure that exists, and they’re very different.

Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE - Season 2 | © 2017 The CW Network/ J Squared

Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE – Season 2 | © 2017 The CW Network/ J Squared

AX: And how is it playing the parent of a teen college person?

ULRICH: It’s a lot like life [laughs].

AX: Do you have a child of that age?

ULRICH: I do. I have twins that are eighteen.

AX: Do you have any other projects going on we should know about?

ULRICH: I just did a Tom Hanks film called BIOS. It’s a post-apocalyptic film, there are five of us in it. And then I did Antoine Fuqua’s #FREERAYSHAWN, with Laurence Fishburne and Stephan James, which is the launch [TV series] for Quibi. It’s the first film to come out on Quibi.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about RIVERDALE Season 4?

ULRICH: Well, we’re not far enough in it, but there is a great tribute to Luke, in the beginning. I don’t know where the season’s going, so I don’t know how to comment on it other than that, but the first one is a beautiful tribute to Luke.

This interview was conducted at The CW’s party for the Summer 2019 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.

Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE - Season 2 | © 2017 The CW Network/ J Squared

Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones in RIVERDALE – Season 2 | © 2017 The CW Network/ J Squared

Related: RIVERDALE: Mädchen Amick on Season 3 of the CW Archie comics inspired series plus what she thought of that TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN ending

Related: RIVERDALE: TWIN PEAKS star Mädchen Amick on her new role in the ARCHIE universe

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Article: RIVERDALE: Skeet Ulrich on Season 4 and playing Jughead’s Dad – Exclusive Interview

 

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