Actor K.J. Apa who plays Archie in the CW’s
Riverdale was in a car wreck last week after a long 16 hour day on-set outside Vancouver, Canada.
: The Hollywood Reporter K.J. Apa, 20, who plays Archie in the Warner Bros.-produced Archie Comics adaptation, apparently fell asleep driving the 45-minute trip home after midnight. He was taken to a local hospital for observation and later discharged without serious injuries. His car, however, didn’t fare as well. The passenger side was apparently destroyed after striking a light pole, and the vehicle was rendered inoperable.The crash has ignited a firestorm of protest on the Riverdale set, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. The show routinely requires shoots that last until the early morning hours, and the cast and crew are not provided transportation to and from the set. Cole Sprouse, who co-stars as Archie’s pal Jughead and is one of Apa’s close friends, had apparently planned to be in the car as well that night but changed plans at the last minute. Sprouse, a leader of sorts of the actors on the show, has asked that the Greg Berlanti-produced series provide transportation to castmembers working late hours.A call between representatives for the actors and Warner Bros. executives is being set for Friday to discuss the issue, according to three sources. (Warner Bros. Television declined to confirm any such meeting.)SAG-AFTRA announced Thursday afternoon that the union would investigate the set in Vancouver following the dangerous crash. “This is an extremely troubling situation and we are deeply concerned about the safety of performers on the Riverdale set,” the statement read. “We are sending a team to Vancouver to review the circumstances surrounding safety issues affecting performers on this production.”WBTV’s policy is that actors are responsible for their own transportation to and from set, particularly when production is shooting outside the U.S. The studio, which makes several shows in Vancouver, declined to comment, but a source notes that actors are told they can call a taxi or stay in a hotel near a set on the studio’s dime if they feel it is unsafe to drive.Many Riverdale castmembers are friends as well as colleagues, which may have contributed to an increased sense of unease and anger among them around the crash this week and the response to it. “They’re working these kids from morning until night,” says one person familiar with the production and the circumstances of the accident. “Someone’s going to die.”According to a statement Thursday from Warner Bros., the studio refutes any claim that Apa worked a 16-hour work day and that it could have caused his accident. “First and foremost, we are extremely grateful that KJ Apa was uninjured during his recent accident. Secondarily, we want to specifically address the characterization that conditions on the set of Riverdale are of concern,” a WBTV spokesperson said in a statement to THR. “We have a large cast of series regulars, and our actors do not work every day. On the day of the accident, KJ worked 14.2 hours. The previous day he worked 2.5 hours, and the day before that he worked 7.7 hours. KJ has repeatedly been informed about making production aware if he is tired or feels unsafe, and if so, either a ride or hotel room will be provided for him. The accident occurred last Thursday. Additionally, it is untrue that KJ was taken to the hospital. He was treated by first responders on the scene and released by them. We also sent a doctor to his home later that same day for a follow-up to confirm his well-being.”
It stands to reason that these kinds of collisions can easily be avoided with transportation to and from the set for the actors. Its not even a question of separate cars for each member. A shuttle can carry different people at the same time. But since these matters always come down to a thing how much money will it cost, the studio feels its best to let the actors drive themselves. It’s not like they do the actual running, the car does most of the work.