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‘Riverdale’ Cast Had to Be ‘Picked Up Off the Floor’ While Filming Luke Perry Tribute Episode (Exclusive)

Saying goodbye. The first episode of Riverdale season 4, titled “In Memoriam,” will be a tribute to Luke Perry, who portrayed Fred Andrews on the CW hit and died in March after suffering a stroke. The episode will reveal how Fred dies and will not only show how the town is affected, but how the actors were too.

Related: ‘Riverdale’ Season 4: Everything We Know

“It was really hard on everybody. We had gone through the hiatus and sort of, in a way, could dodge the feelings if we needed to, whatever the healing process became,” Skeet Ulrich, who portrays FP Jones, told Us Weekly exclusively at New York Comic Con on Saturday, October 6. “We could lean on each other still through that break and then when we were tasked in retelling our own grief, in a way, it was quite a bonding experience. It’s a really tight-knit cast as it is, but that really put us to task.”

Riverdale Cast Reflect Retelling Our Own Grief Luke Perry Tribute
Shannen Doherty, KJ Apa as Archie, Camila Mendes as Veronica, Cole Sprouse as Jughead and Lili Reinhart as Betty during episode ‘Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam’ on ‘Riverdale’. Robert Falconer/The CW

The Scream vet then became choked up, recalling the emotional days of filming.

“There wasn’t a day where somebody wasn’t getting picked up off the floor from their emotions of it. It’s hard. It’s incredibly hard,” he said. “I mean, he should be here right now, doing this. He’s not gone. He’s as much a part of us now. I just miss his presence, and I think we felt that really deeply in the making of that episode, and it was quite a challenge.”

Related: Luke Perry Through the Years

Since FP Jones was very close with Fred, Ulrich’s character — now Riverdale’s Sheriff — will also step up in taking care of Fred’s son, Archie (KJ Apa). “A lot of the beginning part of the season is the protection of Archie with Fred’s absence and him understanding that what Archie’s doing isn’t necessarily by the books,” the Craft star, 49, said. “He gets both sides of it and actually really will use his power and his badge to help him in any way.”

Riverdale Cast Reflect Retelling Our Own Grief Luke Perry Tribute
Luke Perry as Fred during episode ‘Chapter Twenty-Eight: There Will Be Blood’ on ‘Riverdale’. Jack Rowand/The CW

During a recent Q&A, the show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa opened up about the filming process.

“We knew this was going to be brutal on the cast, especially KJ, who was Luke’s main scene partner. Luke and KJ, almost every episode, had a scene in the kitchen and no matter what was going on, you’d find them at the island and Fred would be giving Archie advice which he would or wouldn’t listen to,” Aguirre-Sacasa told reporters in Los Angeles on October 2. “That was a real touchstone for KJ, I think. So I talked to KJ about it. I think everyone was really proud to gather, to tell this tribute to Fred and to Luke. … When it happened, we were all scattered, so there was something really special when we all gathered to do the table read that was cathartic. But we knew it was going to be hard, and it was.”

Related: 'Riverdale' Cast Mourn Luke Perry

The new season of Riverdale premieres on The CW Wednesday, October 9, at 8 p.m. ET.

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