‘Riverdale’s Mädchen Amick Opens Up About Her ‘Exciting’ TV Directorial Debut & The Finale ‘Cliffhanger’

Mädchen Amick is making her television directorial debut with the 'Riverdale' season 4 finale. HL spoke with Mädchen about directing the episode, what to expect in the finale, and, of course, Falice!

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Image Credit: Kailey Schwerman/The CW

The final episode of Riverdale season 4 is a special one for Mädchen Amick. The actress, who plays the one and only Alice Cooper, steps behind the camera to direct her first television episode. For Mädchen, directing has always been on her mind. She’s been wanting to direct an episode of Riverdale since season 2, and she finally got her chance with “Killing Mr. Honey.”

HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Mädchen about stepping behind the camera to direct an episode Riverdale and what it was like directing her co-stars. The actress discussed how she prepared for the episode and her hopes of directing more in the future. Mädchen also teased the finale, which she says will end with a major “cliffhanger.” Plus, can we expect any Falice in the finale? Mädchen breaks it all down in our interview.

How did directing an episode of Riverdale come about for you?
Mädchen Amick: It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do over my career, but I’ve just been busy being in front of the camera. It just has gotten to a point in the last decade that has really been something I’ve wanted to do. I started laying all the groundwork in order to be able to do it and shot some music videos, a documentary series pilot, and a couple of shorts. I think it was the second season of Riverdale where I was like, “Hey guys, I want to direct an episode.” And then I got pretty serious for season 3 and was like, “No, seriously, I really want to direct an episode. I seriously would love to do this.” Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa], our creator and showrunner, Sarah Schechter, Greg Berlanti, and even Warner Brothers were so super supportive. I had to meet the criteria and had to go through the Directors Guild workshop and all that good stuff, but it was all so great and fun. I finally got slotted for an episode this season, and it was just really, really exciting. It was such a great experience.

What was it like for you to turn the tables and go from being in front of the camera and actin, with your co-stars to directing them?
Mädchen Amick: I didn’t know how they would react, you know? There was a part of me that was thinking… will they take me seriously? Are they going to give me a harder time? Are they going to be more apt to play and have fun? I wasn’t quite sure, but when they knew that I was going to direct at the beginning of the season, they said throughout the season, “Oh, I can’t wait for you to direct.” I felt really supported, and they were all really great. I think it’s interesting because I did episode 19 of 22, so that’s when we get to the end of our season. We’re tired and exhausted. It really is a challenging time for the cast and crew. We film 10 months out of the year, so you’re on your 9th or 10th month at that point, and I think just because they were being so supportive of me doing it I think it boosted some energy a little bit to get us through that episode. It was really fun, and I just kept challenging them at times to keep pushing it and bring something different and bring something new. They were all game.

What was the most challenging aspect of directing an episode of Riverdale, which is a very established show and a very established world?
Mädchen Amick: The director’s vision is just so unique to every single person, so you want to go into every project and you just see it a certain way and you want to execute it that way. But when you’re doing a television show that’s already established and there’s already a world that’s built and already a formula that is working, it’s just balancing your take on it, but then honoring the world that it’s in. I see that is sort of a challenge for a lot of directors that come on to series that I’ve been on. In my opinion, you don’t look at it like you’re handcuffed. You’ve got to look at it like, okay, I already know the template. I already know the world. Let’s just try to make it be the best that it can be. I think once you come at it from that perspective, then it just ends up being a fun playground. I wanted to just elevate the script and the episode. I always want to honor Roberto’s vision. I’m creating shows behind the scenes as well, so I put myself into Roberto’s shoes and started thinking about when I bring on other directors, yes, I want to give them the platform to elevate the material and do great stuff. But there’s always a little bit of don’t go too far away. There is a certain story we’re telling, so I just really enjoyed playing with the world I already knew.

Now that you’ve directed one episode, do you want to direct again?
Mädchen Amick: Absolutely. I hope this is the beginning of a very, very busy directing career. I’m still not ready to step away from being in front of the camera because I do love that, but I really, really love directing. I’ve been doing this since I was 16 and started with David Lynch as my mentor, so I got to see things from a very specific perspective and saw him in action always pushing the envelope. I don’t know if every actor goes through this, but when I read a script, I see it immediately. I feel it, and I see it. And then you do your part, and you’re one of the artists of this big production that is layered on to create the end result. But always in my mind, I’m like… I wouldn’t do it that way. I would do it this way. And I finally got to be in the driver’s seat and got to make the decisions. It was just so great and exciting. I would love to do another episode. I have so many shows that I’m a big fan of, so I want to do an episode of [Chilling Adventures of] Sabrina. Hopefully, it’ll be a great, new career path for me.

What can you tease about this finale? 
Mädchen Amick: What’s interesting is that we were getting towards the end of our season, but we weren’t quite there yet. So there’s this great climactic thing that happens throughout the whole episode, where the big bad Principal Honey, who’s been tormenting our kids all season, they’re finally getting back at him. So we’ve got some scenes in some scenarios that are based in reality, and then there are some that are actually based in fantasy. We got to really play and have fun. We really get to put Mr. Honey through the wringer. And then at the very, very end, which I think would have been the beginning to the end of our season, it’s now going to serve as a cliffhanger. There’s this voyeur that’s been sending tapes around town and filming everybody’s homes. He’s elevated to reenacting everybody’s sins. In our episode, that is pushed to a whole new limit where we don’t know if the reenactment goes too far or not.

Mädchen Amick directed the season finale of ‘Riverdale’ season 4. (Kailey Schwerman/The CW)
A behind-the-scenes look at Mädchen Amick directing episode 19. (Kailey Schwerman/The CW)

As we all know, Skeet Ulrich is not coming back next season as a series regular. Will there be closure for Falice? The people want to know…
Mädchen Amick:
I know that with Roberto, he always approaches things where he hopes that characters he loves continue to come back even though storylines change. He loves having characters come back and visit. I don’t know what he has planned, but I know that he loves Skeet and Marisol [Nichols]. I’m sure he’ll be concocting some way to bring them back, but I don’t know what he has planned.

Will there be any Falice goodness in this final episode?
Mädchen Amick: In my episode, we definitely join up. All the parents join together to support the kids against the big bad foe of. Mr. Honey, so there are some good little bonding moments there. We were halfway through episode 20 when everything shut down, so I don’t know what he [Roberto] had planned for 21 or 22. I’m assuming it probably would have either been dealt with storyline-wise at the end of this season, but it could have been something that he had planned to address at the beginning of next season.

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