CW’s “Riverdale” is the prime-time destination for teen soap opera, neo-noir mystery and plenty of death, while Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is the streaming home for coming-of-age witchy doings with a touch of devil worship.
In contrast, Lucy Hale’s lucky to call her new CW series “Katy Keene” (Thursdays, 8 EST/PST) the “Sex and the City” of the Archie-verse. “It’s a show about dreamers who are living in New York, and they’re just trying to figure life out. No one in our show is getting murdered.”
A spinoff set five years after “Riverdale,” “Katy” centers on its title character (Hale, best known for “Pretty Little Liars”), who works at a department store and harbors dreams of becoming a fashion designer. She’s surrounded by her friends and roommates: Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), a Riverdale native trying to make it as a singer; Pepper Smith (Julia Chan), a mercurial sort with big artistic plans; and Jorge Lopez (Jonny Beauchamp), who juggles a popular drag show and Broadway ambitions.
Hale wrapped up filming the first season of “Katy” last week, but “she’s already like a tiny part of me.” In addition, the 30-year-old Memphis native appears on the big screen this Friday in “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island,” a horror reimagining of the classic ABC show in which guests at a tropical resort are granted wishes that turn into nightmares.
Hale talks with USA TODAY about why she’s “Keene” on Katy, and her pick for a fantasy musical chat.
Question: Katy’s a woman still trying to figure out a lot of stuff. Did you find connections between her life and yours as an artist?
Answer: The first time I read the script, it reminded me of the younger version of me moving to LA and auditioning and being broke and having really great friends and not really knowing what you’re doing but just having your eye on the prize. So there were definitely a lot of parallels. And still to this day, it’s a journey, right? It’s not a destination.
Q: Her work life involves diamond rings and fancy clothes. How much have you loved what you get to wear on a daily basis?
A: It’s so fun, because what Katy wears and loves is so different from me in real life. When you step into someone’s wardrobe, it ties everything together. Katy obviously loves fashion, and so do I, but Katy understands it on a way deeper level than I do.
Q: Have you fallen in love with New York yet?
A: It really is one of the best cities in the world. I’ve become a big walker, and I now understand all the different sections. Before moving here, I thought Brooklyn was tiny. Brooklyn is huge! And I’ve become way more spontaneous. I’ll just, like, walk out and do things I wouldn’t normally do.
Q: Since you’ve had a side career as a singer, are you belting some tunes on “Katy” this season?
A: I sing a few times. I don’t know if they’ll let me say (the songs), but there’s a couple of group numbers, and then I have a solo number I do toward the end of the season, which is coincidentally one of my top favorite songs of all time, and they didn’t even know that.
Q: You had one guest spot on “Riverdale.” Is a visit with “Sabrina” next?
A: That show seems dark. I don’t know how Katy would fit into that world, but the Archie universe loves a crossover, so I wouldn’t count anything out.
Q: Speaking of horror shows and “Fantasy Island,” do you have any wishes you hope wouldn’t turn bad?
A: There’s a million things that would seem silly, but for me, I would love to sit down and have conversations with people that aren’t around anymore or have more time with my grandmother or something like that. I just want one day with Elvis Presley.