SHOWRUNNER ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA EXPLAINS, IT'S "LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF A BRIAN DE PALMA MOVIE"
Riverdale premieres Thursday night on the CW network, and A.V. Club's Danette Chavez asked showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about the show's influences:
When we originally developed the show, the show was a much more straightforward coming-of-age slice-of-life drama. It didn’t have the genre element, the mystery, the crime, the noir of it. When Fox bought it, it was that—it was just a high school show, and in the developing of it, they really pushed us to figure out how its voice would be different from Saved By The Bell or O.C. or Dawson’s Creek or things like that. One real touchstone for me and a couple of the other producers was Twin Peaks. What made it particularly germane to Archie was that the central mystery of Twin Peaks is what happens when a high school homecoming queen is murdered. That was like, “Wow, what would happen if one of the Riverdale kids had been murdered?” And rather than follow an F.B.I. detective through the investigation, you follow the ramifications of that through the points of view of the students.
Another big influence was—there was a great movie called Brick with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which was a suburban noir. That was, I think, an early influence as well. The two other big touchstones for me were movies that I loved when I was a kid and that were coming-of-age movies. One was Stand By Me, which is, of course, about four friends who go on a journey to see a dead body, and River’s Edge, the Keanu Reeves movie, which is about these high school misfits that know one of their friends killed one of their other friends, and the body’s by the river’s edge. When the idea to make Archie more like River’s Edge or more like Stand By Me or more like Twin Peaks—really even more than Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, which is one of my favorite movies—it framed every story we wanted to tell, but gave it a genre element, a genre twist to it. It really became a guiding principle, which was, every story we’ll tell on the show has to work as an Archie story, a high school story, but then also has to work as—there has to be some David Lynch element to it. So in episode three, there’s a slut-shaming story, but there’s a much darker solution to that story that’s almost like something out of a Brian De Palma movie. That’s why the episode is called “Body Double.” It became a way for us to be different from other shows. But you know, every show has a shorthand, and O.C. meets Twin Peaks is a great shorthand.
(Thanks to Frank!)