Before Perry’s final episode airs on Wednesday night, Boltt remembers her late co-star.
The cast and crew of "Riverdale" are still adjusting to life without beloved costar Luke Perry.
In an interview with TooFab, Nathalie Boltt — who plays Penelope Blossom on the CW series — reflected on her time getting to know the late actor on set, sharing a few heartwarming anecdotes about the star before his final episode playing Fred Andrews airs on Wednesday night.
"It was, it was really tough," Boltt said of his sudden passing. "I mean, nobody expected it. I think as a show… it’s not the same afterward. It becomes a slightly different show because I think Luke was sort of like a father figure to so many people."
"He took a real active interest in so many other people’s careers," she added. "He’s sorely missed. He was like a good voice of reason and a lot of fun as well. Our hearts go out to his family."
"I mean, you look at as amazing children, his amazing children — Sophie and Jack — and the way they are just so pragmatic, positive, obviously grief-stricken, but still just getting on with their grieving process but also their lives and just beautiful, unassuming people, so kudos to Luke and their mum."
While many on "Riverdale" probably met Perry for the first time after they joined the show, Boltt actually ran into him in South Africa — where she’s from — years beforehand.
"So when we were doing the table reading for ‘Riverdale,’ he came around going and he went, ‘Hey, I’m Luke Perry’ and he shook my hand and I went ‘Luke, I know you,’" Boltt recalled to TooFab.
"So I told him the story of 2004 when we were both in Cape Town, South Africa and we had a combined wrap party for the two different projects we were working on," she continued. "And I parked my car and I think he just dropped out of the sky, maybe a balcony, and landed on the hood of my car, just like a surfer, like a sort of a Spider-Man. And I was like, ‘Get off my rental! You just dented my rental! And everyone was like, ‘It’s Luke Perry!’ And I was like, ‘I don’t care who it is. Get off my car!’"
Not only was Perry a "father figure" to many on set, but Boltt said Perry was like a "surrogate dad" to KJ Apa, who plays Fred’s son Archie on the show. Apa, who is only 21, is the youngest of the main cast members.
"KJ was very close and Luke was very kind to him," Boltt explained. "KJ’s also very close to his family in New Zealand so I think Luke was very sensitive to that and he realized this is probably someone he should take under his wing."
Boltt also explained how Perry would advise the young cast members about the "sudden fame" that comes with being a teen star, as nobody could relate to being a teen heartthrob more than the guy who played Dylan McKay.
Noting that she was only a "small player" in Perry’s life, she said his passing was rough for everyone on set, including the crew. "Luke knew everybody’s name, not just on ‘Riverdale’ but probably every show he’s worked on," she added.
On "Riverdale," Boltt plays the cold, conniving mother of Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch). Although Perry’s character — who owns Andrews Construction — never had a close relationship with Penelope, Boltt said the two would often joke about possible storylines they could have shared.
"We used to joke like, we just laugh all the time, which I think is, you know, the tone that Luke set on set," Boltt explained. "Everybody had a good time, but we used to joke because Luke is, you know, he’s like the carpenter, the builder, you know Fred, his character. Because my appalling daughter Cheryl burnt down Thornhill, Fred would have to come by and rebuild and thus a relationship would form between Fred and Penelope. And because he has a bit of a thing for redheads, there may be some sort of love interest."
After Perry’s passing, many who had worked with the actor in the past revealed how they were going to miss Perry’s hugs, something Boltt echoed.
"He had the best hugs," Boltt said. "He would come into the makeup trailer and he would do little shoulder squeezes… because we were there getting all this stuff done. And we were sitting there one of the first weeks that I was back into the swing [of things] and you know I just expected him to come through the door and come around give us our shoulder rubs. And that’s not going to happen anymore."
Perry’s final "Riverdale" episode airs Wednesday, April 24. We’ll have more from our interview with Boltt coming next week.
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