Ross Butler's new series Riverdale has received critical acclaim since debuting on the CW earlier this year. The former Disney star is also working with Selena Gomez on her upcoming Netflix passion project, Thirteen Reasons Why. We caught up with Butler to chat about his acting endeavors, why he feels Asian actors should be cast in more roles not written for Asians, and his favorite LA eatery.
Tell us about your character Reggie and taking on a role in the world of Archie Comics. Ross Butler: Reggie is the jock rival of Archie and the prankster in the group. Bringing Reggie to life has been a fun process because he's the type of guy who just doesn't care what others think of him, or at least he doesn't show it. That characteristic allows me to commit to big choices and feel that they make sense.
Talk to us about your upcoming Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why. RB: Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of a high school girl who decides to take her own life and shows the heartbreaking steps taken for her to come to this decision. I feel it is a story that many teens and adults will connect with because it focuses on the troubles high schoolers face today with bullying, depression, their causes, and their consequences. It also stays very true to the original novel written by Jay Asher and builds on it, expanding the world in which it takes place. I would say be prepared to watch something real and raw; we made it our goal to make it as reflective of real life as possible.
What was it like working with Selena Gomez on her passion project? RB: Selena Gomez was amazing to work with. She is such a grounded and strong individual, and just being a part of something she is so passionate about made me feel more grounded and strong. Hearing what went into getting the project off the ground and why it was so important to her motivated me to make sure I gave telling this story my all. I believe charismatic is the best way to describe her.
There has been a lot of talk about the lack of representation by Asian actors on television. What are your thoughts on this matter? RB: Simply put, I think Asian American actors need to be cast in more roles that aren't written Asian. I think the majority of the community is focused on being cast in Asian roles, and rightly so, due to the fact that those are the only roles we could actually get in the room for up until a couple years ago. Instead I think the community should focus on, and what I personally have focused on, is getting in the room for roles that are written white or black or ethnically unspecific and make it more and more common for Asian-American actors to be considered. Winning that battle is what we need to do to achieve more diversity.
What is your favorite eatery in LA? RB: Santouka Ramen in the west side Japantown. The pork salt ramen is the first thing I get when I have earned a cheat meal. It's the perfect combination of carbs and sodium that my taste buds crave. Hatchet Hall, also on the west side, is amazing. They have a rotating menu of all kinds of seafood and meat that is always cooked perfectly and with the perfect pairings. They also have a solid whisky menu. They have one of—no—the best pork chops I've ever eaten in my life, and I'm not usually a big pork fan.