Squamish’s Olivia Ryan Stern first auditioned for the upcoming CW series Riverdale, based on the classic Archie Comics, as the Veronica character.
While that role didn’t come through, she did keep getting called back for auditions, never sure in what role she could potentially end up or even that she would be cast.
“I remember reading the pilot and falling in love with it,” she told The Squamish Chief.
Finally, after five or six auditions, she was added to the cast, first to shoot the pilot and now for the first season, and she admits she was a little surprised because she had a fever and felt awful during the final audition.
“I thought I did a horrible job, but a couple of weeks later, they called and told me that I booked it,” she said. “You never really know.”
Ryan Stern will play the role of Tina Patel, who is not a character from the original comic book series.
“I don’t really know what they’re going to do with my character,” she said.
What she knows so far is that Tina is both incredibly smart but also a “minion” of one of the popular cheerleaders at the school. Ryan Stern tried to create an air of mystery around Tina during the audition.
“I’m one of the ‘Queen Bees,’” she said. “We’re not too nice.”
Beyond this, she is not sure where her character will go and how many episodes she will shoot during the season, but she is optimistic Tina will come onto the scene early in the season.
“I have no idea what they plan on doing with me,” she said, adding that producer and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has hinted he hopes to expand her role.
She shot the pilot in the early spring and is waiting to start shooting for the upcoming season, as she found out only recently that the network had picked up the series.
Ryan Stern, 24, came to acting late but she has been getting more roles, including in the TV shows Supernatural and Psych and in music videos for the band Marianas Trench.
She was originally from Edmonton before moving to Squamish. Her mother and sisters still live here, but she is currently in Vancouver and is excited that Riverdale is being shot in B.C.
Even since being cast in the show, she’s noticed she has been getting more calls for auditions.
Many of the films and TV shows on which she has worked have a dark or supernatural edge, so it’s not surprising that Riverdale will have a much darker tone that the famed comic book series.
“It’s dark, it’s sexy, it’s very risky,” she said.
During the audition process, she heard it described as being a little like Twin Peaks, the famed surreal small-town series from the 1990s.
“People are going to be really surprised when they see it,” she said. “It’s not bubblegum at all. It’s pretty dark.”
Ryan Stern also got a lead in an upcoming movie called Mostly Ghostly 3 that she shot over the winter, so things have definitely been picking up, and with Riverdale now, she is hopeful the callbacks for roles keep coming in.
In fact, she just lined up parts in an ABC show called Beyond and a Hallmark movie called Relevant.
“The more you book, the more you work, the more you’re in demand,” she said.